Monday, September 29, 2014

25 Boats Participate in Glow in the Dark


The eighth annual Glow in the Dark regatta hosted the largest crowd yet, with 25 boats on the line, only 8 of which were local club members (our previous record was 21 boats). Travelers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Indiana joined us at our beautiful lake to camp and sail.

I do think that, aside from our record numbers, the other most newsworthy event was  that….Harry Carpenter CAMPED! Carrie said it was the first time he’d ever done that and let me tell you that is a testament to the Glow and the appeal of camping at this regatta. This year we had so many tents there is some talk of clearing some more land for next year’s event. 

We had a great weekend, though I will say the wind was paltry. Some years, last year included, we have had a bit too much wind, which is probably because we constantly worried about wind conditions. This year we didn’t worry, since we had such a good track record and, wouldn’t you know, hardly any wind.

Nevertheless, the PRO, Nick Schneider, used every scrap of wind that existed on Saturday. The start was scheduled for 11 and he postponed on shore for an hour, at which point he thought conditions were picking up and he sent us out. We floated around for about 45 minutes or more as the wind tried to decide what to do.

Nick had the 3-leg, windward-leeward course set up for the northeast breeze, at which point the wind blew Nick a raspberry and shifted hard to the east, making the flags fly perpendicular to the committee boat. Nick was not intimidated by that move. He looked that darn wind straight in the eye and began a start sequence, almost daring it to keep blowing from that direction.

Every skipper was wondering how the start was going to work and hoping Nick would abort it. But no, 4 minutes to go, 3 minutes, the wind was still from the east. Finally, 30 seconds to go we heard,  “beep beep” and the postpone flag went up. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Still, Nick had the wind’s number and looked positively brilliant when five minutes later the breeze filled in and his northeast course was spot on!

So the sequence started again and this time we had a nice smooth start on a nice long line and the regatta had begun! We had a few puffs and may have even used the vang a bit that first race, which was at least an hour long, but the wind was pretty flukey. The top four boats (Cain Goettleman, Harry Carpenter, Frank Gerry and Ben Williams) stretched out a commanding lead from the pack and by the leeward mark were a good 30 boat lengths ahead.  But as we sailed to the finish, which was up by the windward mark, things began to get quite squirrely, especially in the middle of the course. Meanwhile, several boats in the pack (Mark Benner, Randy Adolphs) went up the left side of the course and found some wind that enabled them to catch and pass several of the leaders.

Harry and Carrie Carpenter, performing miracles as usual, held onto their lead, Cain and Gordy held on for second, Mark and Maria Benner finished third, Frank Gerry and Luther Torgerson were fourth, Randy Adolphs and Kari Reskoke were fifth and Bill Vogler and Greg Florian finished sixth. Glow results are here.

The wind continued puffy out of the northeast for the second race, and the pressure dropped a bit, so that by the downwind leg many spinnakers were hanging limp…that is never a pretty sight! Still, some sailors found patches of wind, with Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu taking an early lead and holding on to it for 85% of the race. At the top of the course, near the finish is where the trouble seemed to occur for everyone…except Harry and Carrie, who neatly sailed by Ryan and the rest of the leaders and took first again. Ryan and Stacey held on for second, and Frank and Luther finished third. Ben and Deb finished fourth and Bill and Greg nabbed fifth, but by then the water and once again turned to glass. The rest of the fleet managed to ghost to the finish and then we were out of wind for the day.

Back on shore the beer flowed and everyone traded stories of getting stuck in holes and watching everyone sail past them. But most everyone was at least still smiling! The first was started and steaks began cooking about 5:30. The Glow tradition is that we have a grill meister, this year ably handled by our club’s own Erin Bauer, who did a masterful job. The grill meister oversees the cooking of the steaks but each guest is responsible for keeping an eye on their own steak and calling for it to be flipped or taken off the heat, etc.

The bonfire was burning nicely and many sailors gathered around it as we gave out a few door prizes, provided by Flying Scot Inc (Harry and Karen Carpenter), Mad Sails (Ryan Malmgren) and Angie Hunt (Clinton Lake Club Member). Then a local musician plugged in his amp and provided some nice guitar music for the group. The fire is always such a magnet, but so is the beer cooler, and several other groups of sailors stayed up by the pavilion to drink and talk about the day’s racing.

Ryan Malmgren explained something that happened to us a lot on the course and I got so excited I can’t wait to apply it when we get those conditions again: There were many times when we were going along fine and then suddenly our jib would luff, in what we thought was a wind shift, so we tacked, only to find that that tack was way, way headed. Ryan said what we experienced was not a wind shift, but a hole in the wind. When that happens it seems like your jib is luffing because of a shift but it is really just luffing because your velocity dropped (at least that’s how I understood it. Ryan if I’ve garbled this let me know!).  He said the solution is not to tack, and not even to foot off, but to heel the boat even more to leeward to minimize the jib’s luffing and keep the faith. You should, of course, be looking at your wind indicator and making sure the wind hasn’t shifted, but in these light flukey conditions he said that is often what is going on. That was cool to learn.

The last sailor retired about midnight and Ben and I were up at dawn to start the coffee. We were met by Ken Johnson and Chris Tesdal who prepared their amazing hot breakfast. The menu is potatoes and eggs friend in lard (don’t groan it’s yummy!). We also cut up many steaks to add into the mix. I really think this year that, not only did we have many more boats, but more people than ever camped, because the line for breakfast stretched pretty far. When Ken ran out of steam, Erin stepped up and cooked for about a dozen more people. Huge success!

And that was the most excitement we had Sunday because the wind never did show up. By 10:30 Nick had called it (since we couldn’t start a race after 12 noon) and people began breaking down tents and packing up boats. By 11 we were eating again, as Eric Bussell grilled hamburgers and we ate what few leftovers we had from Saturday dinner.

We gave out a few more door prizes and then had the awards. Marianne Gerry, Frank’s life mate and regular crew, made all the trophies and the lovely Glow tshirts. She couldn’t be at the regatta because she was helping their daughter, who had just had a baby. But she was there in spirit!

I want to  point out that this is the second highly attended regatta in the district; the Egyptian Cup at Carlyle Lake at the end of August hosted 20 boats. Way to go Midwest District!

Thus ends the Glow and the last Midwest District event for the year. Since the Glow is the last District event, that is when we award the Travel Trophy. This year seven boats qualified. Last year five qualified, so at this rate we'll be up to 20 participants in no time! We take the three best finishes at district regattas to determine the winner. ....
Also, as soon as I find my cable, I'll download photos.  Meanwhile, you can see some that Angie Hunt took at the
Fleet 135 Facebook page
and others at the Clinton Lake Sailing Association webpage at Clinton Lake's website




Monday, September 22, 2014

Bridge to Bridge was Quite a Ride

I will admit to feeling a little bit dubious about Sunday's "bridge to bridge" race. It seemed like, unless the wind was exactly right, it could be a long, reaching race in which it would be almost impossible to catch boats or have boats catch you. I also imagined, because of that, that it would be a pretty relaxed race with plenty of time for refreshments, and sightseeing.

Boy, was I wrong! Sunday's wind was very similar to Saturday's, out of the south/southwest with lots of big puffs. It seemed like the gusts might have been even stronger...Anyway, the course was a broad "V" shape. It began near the club, went down that part of the lake we raced in yesterday and then took a left turn around a point. That second leg was at least as long as the first leg of the course.

We started with a standard length windward leg up by the first bridge near the club, and then took off down the lake on a spinnaker run. Although it was tight, we could carry the spinnaker almost the entire way to the second bridge. What a run it was! Some of the puffs were so strong that, with Ben and me putting our weight far back, it felt like we were on a motor boat! And I can feel that ride in my muscles this morning (it's Monday).

Charles and Sarah Buffington rounded first and locals Greg and Kathy Madzelonka rounded second, with Ben and me in hot pursuit. The race to this point had taken about 30 or 40 minutes. Given our ability to fly the spinnaker, we thought there would be plenty of opportunity to point on the return leg. There was. Lots of pointing. And hiking. And tacking. And pulling on the vang. And spilling the main in the puffs.That was the longest windward leg we've ever raced and it was hard, fun work.

In the first half of the upwind leg the lake was narrower and we traded tacks with the Madzelonkas, Jim Diffily, and Dan Goldberg. Plus the Benners were catching us. Soon, though, we got our rhythm and we began to pull away a little bit from the other boats. The Buffingtons,  by this point, had pulled so far away from the rest of us that they were a speck on the horizon. As we passed the point and turned for the finish we were most worried about Dan, so we covered him loosely. And that's the order in which we finished: Buffingtons, us, Dan, Benners and Madzelonkas.

So that was the bridge to bridge. No time for refreshments. No time for sightseeing. Just an exhilarating race on a gorgeous day with lots of friends, new and old. That's why we travel.

We packed up our boat, had lunch, enjoyed the awards ceremony and then hit the road. It was an almost 9 hour drive and we had work the next day.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Huffy and Puffy


The wind today was what you might call … puffy. Up and down, side to side. As we waited for the skippers’ meeting this morning sailors fretted because the gusts seemed stronger and stronger. There were some whitecaps, but my theory is that the wind seemed strong, in part because of the lulls between them.

Ben and I set the boat up with an hour to spare so we wandered around catching up with friends, like Mark and Maria Benner and Dan Goldberg (Moraine Sail Club), Charles and Sarah Buffington (Deep Creek Lake), and Jim Diffily (Berlin Lake). 






Moraine Sailing Club is surrounded by rolling hills and I bet it is even more gorgeous when the leaves turn. The lake limits power boats to 20 horsepower, which was lovely, and perhaps contributed to the large number of Hobies, windsurfers and larger cabin boats we saw out enjoying the day. The lake was really packed!

We had three back-to-back races, all windward-leeward, starting right at noon. 

skippers meeting
With winds out of the south/southwest the course was necessarily pretty short, and with 13 boats on the line, there was definitely some traffic. We did not get a great first start and were probably about fifth or sixth to the first mark. The starting line was closed, so Ben and I did a gybe set and headed to the left (facing downwind) of the committee boat, while the rest of the fleet headed right. Somehow we picked up some nice wind and rounded first at the leeward mark. That was about the last good break we caught, though!

The last windward leg, we just had to go ½ way up the beat to finish and we could not catch a break. Despite being probably 15 boats lengths ahead of the next boat (Tom Dawson and Margery), every time we tacked the wind shifted right into our teeth, plus the wind was lighter and lighter, so we were losing all our speed. We tried to cover Tom and Margery but every time we looked up they had better speed and pointed better. It was neck and neck at the finish and I think they caught us. Argh!

Never mind, it was still a good race for us, but the wind began to get flukier and flukier. We couldn’t figure out which side of the course we liked and we couldn’t see any pattern to the puffs. The second race we tried again for a good pin end start, which we got, but it just didn’t help at all. We were mid fleet at the first mark. We tried our gybe set approach again, but this time it didn’t pay off for us. Finally, on the second upwind leg, Ben decided to dig right (facing upwind) and hope that his theory, that the wind was gradually clocking right, was correct. Either that, or we had better pressure or something because we definitely caught a bunch of boats that leg and finished that race in 4th.

The third race the committee moved the marks to the right and we were sure that we should protect the right. We started at the boat with speed, though the wind by then was pretty light. Whoa! The wind clocked to the left instead! We were about fourth around the mark, but many boats that had been to the left of us were sitting pretty! Sheesh!

Dan Goldberg and Jim Diffily appeared to be the most consistent to my eye, but maybe we’ll see the results at dinner.

Tomorrow it’s a bridge-to-bridge race, which will bring new challenges!   

*Late update: we did see the results at dinner. Dan was first, turns out we were second and Jim is third.           



Friday, September 19, 2014

Off to "Sail for the Grail"

Ben and I are hitting the road for our next regatta, since we haven't sailed enough this year! Instead of heading north to the Michigan-Ontario District for their Hot Scot regatta we are driving 8 hours east to  Lake Arthur, Pa., which is just outside Pittsburgh, I believe. Mark and Maria Benner, two of our best sailing friends, host this regatta every year and we can't wait to see them. The camping is going to be lovely too, I understand. Sunday we will partake in a tradition we are unfamiliar with: they do a distance race, called Bridge-to-Bridge, instead of round the buoys! We'll let you know how that works out for us.

So far, I'm packed:
camera, check;
sailing gear, check;
camping gear, check;
computer so I can post blogs, check;
skipper ....Ooops, almost forgot to pick him up at work! (As if!).

We're off!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Egyptian Cup Had 21 Boats and Perfect Conditions. Let's Hear it for the Pharoah!

Well, I meant to post something before we left for the Egyptian Cup at Carlyle Lake, because we knew before we got there that we would have 20 boats. That's an awesome turnout! As Mike Pitzer, the "Pharoah" for the regatta, explained on Sunday, he was hoping for 20 boats to help mark the 20th anniversary of the Cup being held at Carlyle. Before that, for those of you not familiar with the regatta, it was hosted by a lake in southern Illinois. The regatta has a long and storied history. If you ever get a chance to look at the cup you'll see names like Gordon Douglass and other Flying Scot greats on it. When they closed up shop, they asked Carlyle to continue the tradition, which they did and they have.


And that's only 1/2 the fleet!


Meanwhile, the weather gods, whether Egyptian or otherwise, seemed to be pleased with the Carlyle race committee because they provided perfect weather all weekend: wind between about 8-11 and moderated temperatures in the low 80s, down from the high 90s of the previous weeks, so we were all very thankful.

In addition to four boats from Clinton Lake (Ben and me, Eric Bussell and Bryan Hunt, Chris Tesdal and Stephanie Temple and Frank Gerry, with Roselyne Hazard, a pick-up crew from Carlyle — since Marianne is getting ready to be with their daughter, who is expecting her first baby), Geoff Endris and Tom Moore from Eagle Creek Sailing Club (Indianapolis), and Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu from Madison/Ephraim, we also had two boats from the Ohio District, Bruce and Lynn Kitchen from Cowan Lake and Mark and Maria Benner from Moraine Sailing Club.  But consider this, unless I'm overlooking someone, that means Carlyle had 12 boats from its own club participating in the regatta. That is phenomenal!! FSSA President Frank Gerry commented on the resurgence of Scot sailing at Carlyle. Keep it up guys and gals! And make sure to join FSSA while you are at it!

Ben brought his nice camera and lent it to Sandy Pinkel from Carlyle, who very ably photographed the regatta from the committee boat. Here is a link to a Flickr account with pages of photos from the weekend.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingscotphotos/sets/72157646752585790/


Ted Beier and his crew ran five great windward-leeward races. After the first one Saturday, which Bill Vogler and Marc Schillebeeckx won, and in which Dan and Tobi Moriarity (last year's champs) grabbed second, Ted sent us all in because of a storm on the horizon. We ate lunch as it dissipated and then we headed back out. The wind all weekend was fairly steady at about 200 degrees though it showed an inclination to shift left a little bit. Ben and I liked the left side for most of the weekend, though we mostly just played the shifts. Ryan liked the right side the first two races, much to his disappointment, since it didn't pay off. But by the third race on Saturday, Ryan and Stacey had found their groove, getting not only a bullet on that race, but also winning the two races Sunday by a large margin. 


Ryan and Stacey (#6077) leading the fleet


The standings after Saturday were Dan and Tobi with 6 points, Ben and me with 7 (consistent sailing, though no wins), Bill Vogler and Marc S with 10 and Ryan and Stacey with 12.

Sunday the winds were about the same, though they gradually lightened and shifted a bit more to the south. We used the vang a lot less on Sunday and I was having to shift my weight a lot more, spending a fair amount of time on the low side going upwind.  The first race, Ben and I were fourth place (behind Ryan and Stacey, Dan and Tobi, and Bruce and Lynn Kitchen) so we thought our chances of catching Dan and Tobi were out of reach. We concentrated instead on trying to fend off Ryan and Stacey, who were catching us fast!

The final race of the regatta Ben got an awesome boat-end start and we liked where we were. We rounded the first windward mark in about sixth place, however, not as high as we would have liked. Still, we dug in, and tried to keep our speed up going downwind, focusing on boat balance, topping lift adjustments and the like. Luckily for us, three boats got tangled up and stalled at the leeward mark, and Ben and I were able to scoot around them and head back into the lake. Then, somehow, we had a magical leg. We caught every shift just right, and by the time we were half way up the leg we'd left those other boats 20 lengths behind. The only boats in front of us were Ian Moriarity and Ryan. We managed to catch Ian before the windward mark. At that point, we tried to sail conservatively, since Ryan and Stacey were at least a half leg ahead of us!

Little did we realize, if we hadn't caught Ian, Ryan and Stacey would have caught us in the standings. As it was, when we got to shore, Ben and I weren't sure exactly where we stood. Had Dan and Tobi held on to the lead? Had Ryan caught us? Who had won the regatta? I thought we might have won, but in any case I was very happy with how we sailed, no matter how it turned out.

The race committee tabulated the results by hand and it took quite a while, what with 20 boats and all. Mike Pitzer, the grand Pharoah of the regatta, did a really good job raising the tension, insisting that everyone give a drum roll as he announced the results.  In the end, Dan and Tobi had finished 3rd, and we had beat Ryan and Stacey by only one point...if we hadn't caught Ian, we'd have been tied and they'd have totally wiped us out in the tie breaker, since they won three races and we'd won none!! I guess that's a case of consistency beating out brilliance!!! Bruce and Lynn Kitchen came in a strong fourth and Ian M., following in his dad's footsteps, had a strong showing in fifth place.



Results are now posted below!!


Check out that trophy!!




Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lake and River sailing, all in one weekend

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I never appreciated that Detroit is a waterfront city. There is water everywhere, and it's pretty water, often a pale turquoise. This morning Commodore Carr met me by the Flying Scots and we did the official burgee exchange. He was all dressed up because today marks the beginning of Venetian Week and he had many official duties to do. Last night at dinner we walked by the spot in the bar where they display all the burgees from other clubs. It's fun to imagine our CLSA burgee there now!



The festivities at the club did get me wondering about the derivation of Venetian night, or week, or whatever. At CLSA we decorate our boats at the moonlight sail in August and call it Venetian night, but I never stopped to wonder why we do it....

Today we had two races right in front of DYC, in a current of about 2 knots. I have heard of some regattas where they do around the buoys on Saturday and a distance on Sunday, but this is the only place where we sailed in a lake on Saturday and a river on Sunday!


What you can't tell from this photo, is that there are some pretty upscale homes just beyond this big industrial structure!

Paul Lee, a local sailor, gave a short tutorial on managing the current before we began racing Sunday morning. The main message: stay as close to the shore as possible going upwind (against the current). We had easterly wind again today, which had gone a little farther right than yesterday's breeze. I feel like that is a pretty unusual wind direction, but this summer we've sailed in more east winds this season than I ever remember doing before.

From left: Deb Aronson, Suzie and Sam Hawkins, Bob Lieb, Brian Hawkins and Kerry Pebbles


Anyway, we made sure to stay above the start line during the starting sequence so that we didn't have to beat up against the current to get over the line. In both races Ben got a good start with speed, winning the pin end both times. Then we headed for the left shore. Although it was .3 mile to the windward mark, we probably tacked more than a dozen times in order to stay as close to the shore as possible. It gave us a chance to really practice our roll tacks and to entertain spectators along that shore. We tacked so close to the shore, which was reinforced by a big metal wall, that we could have almost shaken hands with them.

Brian Hawkins, sailing with his son, Sam, and Paul Lee, sailing with his kids, Elliott and Adrianna, gave us a good run for our money, but we managed to finish ahead of them in both races.

Sam and Brian Hawkins, Michigan-Ontario District Champions. This was Sam's first-ever regatta!


At the awards ceremony we received a huge gift basket full of Detroit-based edibles, including beer, coffee and candy. Yum! The peanuts and one of the candy bars did not make it home, but it made the six-hour drive home go much quicker! Plus, I think that's a pretty cool idea for a trophy and I think I might ... "borrow" it. I can think of at least six things we can assemble to represent Urbana-Champaign products, and I bet we could find at least that many to represent Bloomington-Normal...

Special thanks to regatta organizers Sean Murphy and John Gallagher and to Sean's wife Kelli, who was very helpful when I called to get the lowdown a mere two days before the regatta!

No more regattas for us until Carlyle Lake's Egyptian Cup, which is Labor Day. Join us there!!