Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Remember We Also Have A Single-Hand Regatta at the Districts

For those of you planning on coming to the Glow, September 22-24 (and it looks like we're on a way to 30 boats *GULP*), please make room in your travel schedule to arrive and rig your boat in time for the single-hand event that starts Friday at 5 pm. It's a District tradition and this year we will even have some trophies to award!! The races are basically up and back (no spinnaker needed), they will be organized by our own Rod Bussell, and there will be no more than 3 races. So, c'mon down and join us!!

Monday, August 7, 2017

EPHRAIM Regatta, and Update on Midwest District Championships, and the Travel Trophy

 Greetings everyone! First, some business. For those who might not have heard, our Midwest District Championships will NOT be held this weekend (August 12-13) at Neenah Nodaway Sailing Club. Instead they will be held together with the Glow in the Dark regatta at Clinton Lake the last full weekend of September (23-24).  Apologies to those who made plans to attend but not enough people pre-registered to make the club confident of having a good event. For those of you who had a conflict for next weekend, you get another chance to compete in the Championships. For those who arranged to compete this coming weekend, we apologize deeply. Please, please spread the word to anyone you hear planning on traveling this coming weekend. I do NOT want someone showing up only to find out the event was cancelled…Now we turn the page on this unhappy turn of events….

We went to Ephraim this past weekend. I know this blog is technically for all of the Midwest District, but I’ve got to give a shout out to the SEVEN boats that came from Fleet 135. We were all very, very proud. It was the first time for a few of our sailors. In another case (Rick and Chris, I’m looking at you!) they decided to come up the day before — AND found a camping site. They live a charmed life I guess.

Speaking of travelers, this year there were two sailors up from Florida, Tom McNally and Charlie (and his wife, Cindy) Clifton, as well as Larry Taggert from New Orleans and Harry Carpenter and Melanie Dunham from Deep Creek Maryland, not to mention Mark and Maria Benner, who traveled at least as far, coming from Pittsburgh. It’s a real testament to the event to attract people from so far away.

Ephraim is an epic event. This year they counted 35 boats. Friday was kind of freaky, however, because the winds were sustained in the high 20s with gusts so strong they blew you backwards. No one could put up their mast because of the wind. And, because the wind was out of the north, the waves at the club were incredible.

 Everyone’s wheel chocks just floated away!
Here is a pile of chocks that were collected as they floated away

Participants gathered at the end of the regatta

Amazing. Still, Harry Carpenter gave an outstanding talk on starting in large fleets that was very well attended. Those kinds of sessions are always worth it — no matter how experienced you are you learn something new.

Anyway, as predicted, the wind completely settled down by Saturday morning and we had three races in increasingly light wind. The water had also settled down though there still was some chop and a few errant waves. We may have hit every one! (Kidding). Saturday’s races were each five legs and each lasted an hour, so it was a real endurance test out there. Stacey Rieu and Ryan Malmgren had an outstanding day with two bullets and a fourth-place finish. Tom McNally (up from Sarasota, Florida) and local crew Liz Gheorghita were in hot pursuit with seven points, as were Jennifer Ikeda and Michael Faugust with nine points.
Never got to chat with these sailors but admired their one-of-a-kind sails

Debbie and To
m Yeagle from Clinton Lake. Debbie's first time sailing at Ephraim!

The legendary bratfest was legendary, as usual. How could it not be?  J
Rain poured down at one point in the evening and everyone crammed in under the one tent area. It was pretty loud, but that’s always the sign of a good time, right?

Sunday was another light wind day. Even when people might have been frustrated about the conditions it was hard to feel upset when you took a minute to appreciate the gorgeous setting and the refreshing temperatures. It was hard to believe it was August, the weather was so mild. Still, the conditions were challenging. The poor mark boat set the mark to the north, then had to dash to the west when the wind shifted about 30 degrees or more. And then, of course, they had to dash back toward the north about 15-20 degrees just before the start. And the start …. was agonizing. There was so little wind that the horn went off and what felt like ten minutes later many boats just crossed the start line. Painful.

Still, there was eventually enough wind that, if you didn’t move much and your skipper had laser-like focus you could get the boat coasting a bit. Thankfully the race committee shortened the race to two legs and then everyone (except the three or four boats that somehow got a tow) struggled to return to the dock under continued light conditions. A tow would have been really nice! Just sayin’ … Instead I tried to practice steering with the spinnaker up. Tried really hard to channel that whole idea of enjoying being in this gorgeous place but finally gave up and handed the tiller back to my skipper with a growl.

Ah well! I’m a work in progress, you could say… We packed up our boats and headed home. But in a few short weeks many of us will re-convene at Clinton Lake for the Glow in the Dark Regatta September 23-24.

Which reminds me, for those of you paying attention, there are already more than 10 people qualified for the travel trophy. For those of you at the Glow you might have envied the qualifying sailors who each received a trophy made from a tire tread (so clever!) with a small plaque on it.  I’m not sure if qualifiers will once again receive a trophy or simply a plaque to add to their existing tire tread trophy. I lean toward the later. That way you can just keep adding plaques to your tire tread trophy til you fill it up! Other opinions are welcome, but I don’t think we have set this up for comments so feel free to email me! debaronsonATnasw DOT org

Friday, July 28, 2017

We See the Other Side of Sailing at Sandy Bay...

Whenever we talked about sailing in Sandy Bay people would say, "if the wind is out of the right direction it's gorgeous but if it is not it's a real bear." Yesterday it was out of the right direction (SW) and lovely. Overnight the wind shifted to the northeast and brought all the waves and swells from the ocean right into the bay. Thankfully the wind was not in the upper teens and low 20s as some predicted, but the swells were enough that I heard of many many people being sick on the boat. The things we do for fun! Ryan and Stacey had another awesome day and finished second overall behind the Lintons. For full results, you can go here

Also, for a wonderful set of albums from the event, go here and here.

The championship fleet got two more races in and the challenger division did one. It was just gorgeous out in the bay. The day was, once again, lovely, which is more than I can say for Monday.

from left: Ben, Mark, Maria, Deb, Ryan, Stacey 

We decided, together with our housemates, Ryan and Stacey and Mark and Maria, to wait and pull our boats Monday. It would take pressure off the Sunday crew, we figured, and save us having to try to find somewhere to park our boats overnight. Little did we figure on waking up Monday to a steady drizzle.
Mark Benner (yellow hood) helping while Stacey and Ryan yuck it up in the rain!
After we all packed up we headed home in the pouring rain. For us it was a 20 hour drive. I know Ryan and Stacey stayed on the east coast to visit family. We'll see them again, and maybe the Benners, at Ephraim the first weekend of August.

Meanwhile, driving home I was saying to Ben it would be fun to stop at a "roadside attraction." There was one where we pulled off for dinner called "Claws and Paws," which must have been a private zoo and not really something I was dying to do - especially after reading some reviews. Anyway, by dinner time it was closed. Still, we stopped at a place called I84 Country Store. A restaurant I never would have gone to except for Yelp. Yay Yelp! And, turns out, it was a "roadside attraction" in its own right! Plus it had awesome food. We both had a Philly Cheesesteak. Delish, as they say! 

Back home and nose to the grindstone for a week and a half, then Ephraim and immediately after that, Midwest Districts at Neenah Nodaway, a club we have never sailed at. We're so very thankful for them volunteering to host our event. Go SIGN UP NOW!!!

can you see the fake cow head there? 
Ben and ...Stuff!

Alert! Alert!! All Midwest District Sailors, Sign Up NOW for Districts!!

Hello all Midwest District sailors reading this blog. Bronson, our district governor, got an email from Neenah Nodaway organizer Ken Friedman that as of now there are only four boats registered for the August 11-13 Midwest District Championships. (Five now, I just registered!). If he doesn't get 10 boats by Monday they are going to CANCEL THE EVENT!!!!

It's going to be an awesome event, with the single hand racing on Friday afternoon and a delicious dinner at a local restaurant on Saturday. They've got six races scheduled, so it'll be a top -notch event. I"m not 100% clear about the Sunday schedule because they have it listed as an evening/dinner awards ceremony at a restaurant but I have an email in to Ken to clarify that.

So, register now, Here!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

We're Here! Rockport is Gorgeous!!

Well, as usual, no time to write while in the middle of the regatta, but I will say the Midwest District has a pretty good representation here. We've got Ryan and Stacey Malmgren (who had a great day of racing yesterday), Frank and Marianne Gerry (who took delivery of their new boat at this event), Bill Vogler and Jill Rendleman and Ben and me.

Before I write about the sailing I want to mention that Rockport is gorgeous. It's  a little fishing village kind of place and the club is on the end of a wharf (think Ephraim but tinier!). Every boat at the club is moored. They had to pull a few boats to make room for us. We got there at low tide and the drop to the water was eye watering. I know Diane Kampf took a photo of Ben in the boat at the bottom of the hoist, so I'll try to get it from her. They have a very talented and dedicated launch service every day from 8 am to 8 pm so you can get to your boat. The trick is there's no running back to the car if you forget something. Plus our car is parked at the house we're staying at, which is walking distance, but several blocks away. It's been an exercise in efficiency!

We inland lakes sailors don't sail on the ocean all too often and I was worried about the wind and the waves, but Saturday the wind was out of the south/southwest and the water was flat. We had a light wind day! It was so exciting and I was happy not to be on the rail and pulling on the vang the entire day! The wind was a bit squirrely, though I might note. The locals all started at the boat end even though the left side of the course looked like it had more wind. They sailed hard for the right shore and, although we thought we were pretty good, having started with speed at the pin, when we got to the top of the course, they were miles ahead. John and Sharon Wake from Fishing Bay, as it happens, (not locals) took the lead early (I think) and never gave it back. The fleet, as accomplished as they all were, really spread out and people said it was because of the spotty wind.

Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu had a great day and were the subject of a really good point made by Brian Hayes (who'd come up from New Haven for the day to video boats and talk about them at the end of the day). Ryan was on the left side and just stuck with it, trying to get his boat to go as fast as he could with the wind he had. Because of that he was not too far behind at the first mark - maybe 7th? That was a good lesson: you should lie in the bed you've made. How often, when you are racing, do you look around the course and say to your skipper, "those boats over there have more wind"? Not that helpful! You've got to go as fast as you can where you are. That is not to say you can't look up the course, but it just doesn't help to envy other people's wind conditions. The other point that Brian made that really resonated with me is about spinnaker trim in light wind. He took video of people's spinnakers touching their forestay. That is very slow, he reminded us. It make the leeches (shoot, is it leaches? leeches? how do I not know?!) close in on one another which is terrible for air flow. You need the chute way out in front and fully expanded and in a situation like that the skipper needs to heat the boat up, and sail closer to the wind (and crew has to then let the pole move forward) to get some boat speed. Then once you have speed you should be able to slower steer downwind and keep the chute looking good.

I don't have photos from today, but a woman from the club whose name I've forgotten took incredible photos. She promises to get them to Diane Kampf at and Diane will post them, and I'll steal a few to put up here later!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers to the Vitts

Quick shout out to Greg and Linda Vitt. Greg's surgery was today in St. Louis and we've been waiting to hear all day. Hopefully things went well. If you go to  Linda Vitt's Facebook page you see so so many photos of the two of them together, grinning, heads together, often on their Scot....Here's hoping for smooth sailing....

Don’t Forget to Check Your Bearings

 We all know that sailing is just a small part of what we do. We left Urbana yesterday after work and drove about four hours. Today our adventures involved driving across Ohio and Pennsylvania, and into New York. 

Ohio? Pennsylvania?

Once in New York we stopped for dinner in Port Jarvis, just over the Penn/NY border. Sadly, our meal was overshadowed because we realized that the tire on our trailer was about to fall off. It turns out that after 120,000 miles the bearings had given up the ghost.  The trick was whether we’d caught it in time that we only had to replace the bearings (we hadn’t) or if we had to also replace the axle (we did). Still, the meal and the beer (mine was called something like Milltown Kilt Spinner) were lovely.

We limped a mile to AutoZone hoping, as they often do, someone on staff might be able to help us figure out how to solve our problem. They didn’t have anyone right there but they sent us to a little garage two blocks away, which is about as far as we felt safe driving, as wobbly as the wheel was. (I LOVE Auto Zone), As we left the AutoZone the skies opened up so I got to use my favorite joke: “It could be worse, it could be raining.”
Kim's Shop

See the Rain?!

The mechanic, Kim, took the wheel off and broke the news to us that we needed a new axle. He sent us four miles down the road to the Tractor Supply place that, miraculously, had just the new axle we needed. Best $140 I ever spent!
For those of you who might not realize, that end of the axle is supposed to be smooth!  ;-)

look what a good job we did ruining our axle!

He and Ben reassembled the axle and the wheels and we headed off into the sunset. We won’t make it to Sandy Bay quite as soon as we expected, but much much sooner than we feared!
Our savior!! Thank you Kim!! BTW, that's a Scots N Water in his hand! We tried to indoctrinate him....