Vineyard memories: Dr. Kim Zeh

Vineyard Race memories… hmmm…. those naive years…

In the 1980’s, as an all knowing medical student and Martha’s Vineyard aficionado, I was very disappointed to learn that my first Vineyard Race was not, in fact, around ‘The Vineyard’… or to ‘The Vineyard’, or much at all, really about ‘The Vineyard’.

 Then, too, in those early years, I was a more humble, sleep deprived surgical resident, able to sleep at any given moment, once given the ‘nod’… and especially considering what I had to do to get an entire weekend off from work!  A fan of lighthouses, I was again off watch and missed the rounding of what I thought I knew was the Vineyard Tower… you know, it’s what the Vineyard Trophy looks like in the photo to the left.

Imagine my disappointment, once again, when I finally learned that the ‘VineyardTower’ is not the previously sunk ‘Vineyard Lightship’.

Oh yes, the next millennium, I recall the year when the fleet was gathering before the start and the Cap’n got a call asking our location and offered a ‘heads up’… the fleet was then strafed at the start!  Certainly fun racing with those in the world of aviation, eh?

This brings me to my most heartfelt Vineyard Race memory…. 2005.  As a non-resident transfer member, I would fly in early and stay at the Club a few days to get acclimated to being a ‘day person’ from working nights and to enjoy the Club and friendships that I never really left behind when I moved toTexas.

I was packing to leave and I got an email from my medical staffing company that help was urgently needed to staff our Emergency Departments in the greaterNew Orleans area, as some of our colleagues were either missing or desperately needed relief from duty while tending to the hurricane Katrina ravished parishes ofLouisiana.  I knew I had to go.  I contacted my company and learned more about the rotations they were setting up.

I needed to contact Randy Green, owner and Skipper of KODIAK, the stunning 66′ custom Frers Concordia, which I was always honored for the privilege to crew on.  I am not a ‘quitter’, I love blue water racing and this particular crew and event, and I absolutely despised the thought of having to bail a few days before the race, yet I knew where my priorities had to be.

Randy, a man with my genuine respect for his calm leadership in adverse racing conditions, not only understood my predicament as an emergency physician, but he offered to fly me toNew Orleanson a private flight, to help ship supplies and to help in any other way he could.  I cannot begin to tell you how his generous offer made me feel… to this very day.  I contacted my company.  They had filled the first rotation, but were now in need of physicians for the following week.  I signed up for that vacancy and I was now able to race, once again.

On board, before the start of the race, we were led by Don, our navigator, in a moment of silence followed by a prayer for all those afflicted by the ravishes of Mother Nature.

The Vineyard Race has taught me a lot, yes, about sailing, racing, weather, safety, and urgent do-it-yourself repairs, but much more important to me, it is not about the boats, it is about the people, the friendships, the camaraderie, the pulling together in adverse situations that strengthens what is the very essence of the ‘human condition’.  I am forever grateful to be a part of the Stamford Yacht Club family.

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