Monday, April 24, 2017

29 Boats at Chattanooga, Though Not Much Wind!

 We had so much fun at the Chattanooga Choo Choo this weekend, even though we did a lot of this:

and not so much of this: note, this photo is from 2016!
Of course, we all know you cannot control the weather!

Ben and I couldn't leave town until 4:30 Friday so we spent the night on the road, and drove from Nashville to Chattanooga Saturday morning in pouring rain. Miraculously, the rain cleared as we arrived in Chattanooga and there even seemed to be some wind. We set up our boat, visiting with a few folks before the skippers' meeting.We caught up on the latest news, which was that Bill Vogler from Carlyle Lake had taken delivery of his brand new boat. We heard rumors of other regular racers getting new boats and Ben and I talked a little bit about the possibility of a new boat...But it's all talk on our part at this point!!

Anyway, 29 is a lot of boats for a regional regatta, and one of the locals had the idea to pair up the out-of-towners with the locals, in a kind of quasi team racing that served also as an ice breaker. They had two pots with names, one with locals, one with visitors and they called out the names in pairs so everyone knew who was paired with who (actually I guess technically that should be "whom"). There were plenty of hoots and hollers about the pairings and it lent a very fun element to the event. There was no actual team racing on the water, but the team with the highest finishes won a special trophy at the end of the regatta. The winner (spoiler alert) was Lynn Bruss and Tyler Andrews. Woot Woot!!

Anyway, we all headed to the course and got ready to sail. The wind had dropped a bit, but there was plenty to race in....Still, 29 boats on the line and you know what happens.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1, START: Toot Toot!! General recall. Okay, try again, this time with the I flag: 5,4,3,2,1 START Toot Toot! Another general recall! Okay, let's see, third time's the charm? Yup! Off we went on the first leg of a four-leg race. The less said about our particular leg the better, but the wind got lighter and lighter and lighter as the race progressed, to the point that, by the time everyone had rounded the windward mark, the race committee had shortened the course to just two legs. The race committee set up for another race, but soon realized there just wasn't enough wind. We happily waited on the water for close to an hour, but by then we began to give up hope. Plus, the beer keg was calling!

On shore we enjoyed margaritas (thank you John Kreidler!) and dark and stormies (Thank you Privateer volunteers!) and then a delicious cook-your-own steak dinner and lots and lots of visiting. We caught up with sailors from Birmingham and Muscle Shoals, Alabama,  Lake Hartwell and Lake Keowee, SC, from Cowan Lake and  Moraine State Park, both in Ohio, Tyler came from Deep Creek, MD,  Ryan and Stacey came from Madison, WI, Bill Vogler, John Cassada and Rachel Bowling from Carlyle Lake, Mark and Michele Taylor came from Sarasota, Florida. And I"m sure I'm forgetting some clubs. It was like the United Nations of Flying Scot sailing!!

Sunday dawned rainy and it just got rainier. When there was a little wind the visibility was so poor the race committee made the call to cancel. We all de-rigged in the rain, but even though we were damp our spirits remained high!!

Next regatta for us, and perhaps other Midwest sailors? Great 48 at Lake Norman first weekend of May. Hope to see you there!

The final results were:
Scott Cline on left, Rob Fowler on right

  1. Rob Fowler and Scott Cline
  2. Mark and Michele Taylor
  3. Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu
  4. Richard Wade and his crew that I don't know
  5. Bruce and Lynn Kitchen

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 Season is Under Way: NOTE: Chattanooga Choo Choo is April 21-23, not 28-30

Well, even though I was not there, the season was kicked off with the 2017 Midwinter Regatta at Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. For some great write ups you can go to Diane Kampf did an awesome job on daily reports.

Meanwhile, Midwest District sailors Ben Williams, Eric Bussell and Ryan Malmgren represented our esteemed district. We had a fine showing, too, with Ryan placing fourth and Ben placing fifth. In addition, our very own Eric Bussell received the extremely prestigious Alan Douglass Memorial Trophy for Sportsmanship in recognition of all the incredible work he has done for the class. His videos are epic!! Congratulations Eric!!!
Here are a few videos from Midwinters for you to sample!

Meanwhile, for those of you planning your season and considering the Chattanooga Choo Choo, remember that this year the event is NOT the last weekend of April, as it usually is, but instead is April 20-22. Although Chattanooga is in the Dixie Lakes District, we often get a great Midwest District showing from Clinton Lake, Carlyle Lake, Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, and even from the Madison, WI, area.
Last year we had a record 29 boats from all over, including several Ohio boats. So if you are thinking of going, here is are the deets:

Monday, February 20, 2017

George Washington Birthday Regatta at Lake Eustis

On Groundhog Day, Florida District Governor Mark Taylor shared the news that the palm tree saw its shadow, indicating those sailors had 12 more months of summer to look forward to.  In addition to Mark's constant trolling of us Northerners, Michael Faugest and Jennifer Ikeda from Ephraim promoted the joys of Florida sailing after spending the last offseason sailing the sunshine circuit after they arrived at the 2016 Midwinters and sailing extremly fast.   We heard similar reviews from our Chatanooga friends Lynn and Bill Bruss at the Choo Choo Regatta who suggested we head south for the winter if at all possible.   I was sold!  

The George Washington Birthday Regatta is hosted by the Lake Eustis Sailing Club on a perfect 7000 acre inland lake.  Fleet Captain Dean Grimes has a strong fleet of 32 Flying Scots and goes all-out to host a great regatta.  There is plenty of camping available for both RV and tents with 24/7 access to showers and bathrooms (important for us campers).   They have plenty of mooring balls to accommodate dock overflow and a water taxi service to get you back and forth from your boat.    Not only does that regatta attract 35-40 Scots on a regular basis, the GWB Regatta hosted a San Juan 21 and Wayfarer fleet on our A course while a small army of youth sailors raced optimists, lasers and 420s on the youth sailing course.  It was an amazing vibe that reminded me of the Glow due to the warm and friendly atmosphere and the sailors camping on site.


Ben Williams and I loaded up the big white van on Thursday after lunch and enjoyed a smooth 15-hour drive (not counting stops).   Leaving after lunch enabled us to just miss the Nashville rush hour and get though Atlanta in the late evening.    All travelers eventually learn the hard way to plan their trip around the horrible Atlanta rush-hour traffic!  Before leaving, my loving wife Nancy joked and asked what sailors talk about on a long drive.  "Have fun talking about masts and ropes," she joked as she wished us safe travels.   Actually, we passed the time with rules discussions and designing a fun handicap racing game for our fleet, but the conversation eventually focused on rigging and tuning.   We realized after about an hour into the rigging conversation that we actually do talk about masts and ropes.  *shrugs*

The goals of the trip were rather simple.   We simply wanted  to have fun and sail fast as this was our first time racing together.    Consistency has been a problem of mine on the starting line and I was hoping to improve on that ahead of Midwinters.  I was also converting from a loose to snug jib for the first time and wanted to work closely with a fast snug rig racer so I could feel confident in my boat setup.   Ben hasn't sailed as crew in a regatta in recent memory so we both expected to shake off some offseason rust and enjoy racing in a most competitive fleet.   We were also hoping to test the new camera rig with wireless lavaliere microphones hooked up so we hoped to bring home some quality action footage from inside the boat.  Last but not least, we wanted to avoid going swimming because of my fear of alligators and Ben's reputation of regularly falling of the boat.   

All of our expectations were exceeded and then some!   We arrived early on Friday and Jeff Linton was there and spent 20 minutes helping us set up the boat exactly like his.  Jeff Linton needs no introduction to many in the sailboat racing community.  He was the 2007 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year is a multi-time FSSA North American Championship winner, among his many other sailing accolades.   Ben and I joked that spending 20 minutes picking Jeff's brain was worth the long drive by itself and we appreciated the help because we were certainly confident in our boat setup.   It was great start to the weekend and it had barely started.  

Friday was very relaxing and fun meeting new friends as the sailboats rolled in.  David Mooring and Ariel Harrington generously offered us a power boat ride around the lake before dinner where we saw a majestic bald eagle in the treetops.    We later met the Scot sailors at the Oster Troff, which we learned is an an important Friday night tradition on Lake Eustis.   The Flying Scot sailors filled the backroom oyster bar area for a perfect evening with great food.   


Our worries about a potential lack of wind were put to rest on Saturday morning as the wind built to 10-12 with steady pressure across the lake.  New concerns emerged as we looked at the radar and saw a scary system to the west bearing down on us.   We hoped we could at least get a couple races in before it hit, but ended up only racing once on Saturday.  When we did race, the conditions were perfect!  The pressure seemed to gradually weaken from about 12 to about 8 from the time we left the dock to the end of the first race, but it made for great sailing.   By the end of the first race, the clouds started to look ominous and the race committee erred on the side of our safety as the conditions grew more flaky.  

The first race was was an amazing experience with 35 boats on the line.   We didn't sail perfect, but we had a solid start and rounded the mark in fourth place just behind Jeff and Amy Linton.   To say we were pleased is an understatement.   We maintained our position on the second leg, but a centerboard knot cost us a bunch of spots at the leeward mark.   We shook it off and maintained our position throughout the race and even passed a few boats on the last upwind leg to finish a respectable 10th in a most competitive fleet.  Check out the onboard footage from Quiksilver from the first leg of the race.   We might have been a little rusty in the first race, but it was very comfortable having two captains in the boat and I felt our chemistry was great.   With the wireless mics, it feels like you're on the boat when you watch the video.  The main sheet line slipped out at the start, but overall I pulled the trigger at the right time and we did well in clean air on the first leg because of the good start.   Having a crew who can contribute with so many helpful observations allowed me to focus more on sailing fast and that's exactly what we did the entire regatta. 

At end of day, we decided to tie up a mooring ball for the night.   As we were being towed in, the driver of the power boat came in too hot and Ben reached for the ball and he ended up falling off the boat because we were moving too fast.   I froze in fear because he fell in very near the boat prop and I was very worried an alligator noticed.   We got him back in the boat and after being relieved that he was okay, we joked that we almost made it a whole day without him falling off the boat.   

After surviving the day, we had a great time hanging out with the Scot sailors on shore where John Kreidler was serving up premium margaritas as a gourmet food truck served up dinner.   If you look closely, you might notice Larry Klick in the light blue shirt while standing in line at the food truck.  He was helping on the safety boat and it was great seeing another long-time Midwest District racer.   We were also very excited for Michael and Jennifer as they were sailing fast and finished in second on the day.   

Day 2 of racing was much like the day before.  The wind looked promising as we left dock but it continued to gradually weaken.   The race committee tried like hell to get three races in, but there just wasn't enough wind left to race a third.   Ben and I had another solid day on the water.  We had solid starts and rounded the windward mark in the top five in both races.   We finished 8th in the second race and 16th in the third after another line issue inside the boat cost us a bunch of spots.   We were very pleased with an 11th place finish in that fleet and the few mistakes we did make will certainly not be repeated at Midwinters.

Here is a link to final scoring: Regatta Results - Click Here

Congrats to Michael and Jennifer on a great 4th place finish!  She also had an impressive photo bomb (see below).  They sailed great and if you get the chance, ask them about that righty that allowed them to pass six boats in the last 500 yards of the last race.   We certainly noticed it because we were one of the boats they passed.   That shift cost us a Top 10, but it secured a regatta trophy for them so overall it was a favorable shift for the Midwest District.   Also note Lynn and Bill Bruss from Chattanooga who finished 5th and are continuing to improve and sail consistently fast, especially downwind.   Well done Lynn and Bill!  All in all, us Northerners represented rather well. 

Wow!  We were told Lake Eustis is the place to be and it did not disappoint.  It is clear to me why Eustis is a very popular stop on the Florida circuit and this regatta is definitely one you want to plan for if at all possible.  Thank you to Fleet Captain Dean Grimes and all the volunteers for hosting such a stellar event.   I'm already looking forward to going back. 

Photo Credit: John Cole
Photo Credit: John Cole
Photo Credit: John Cole

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chicago Strictly Sail Show a Chance to Catch up with Fellow Sailors

Ben and I had such a fun weekend in Chicago at the boat show. It's always a chance to catch up with Harry and Karen, and this year also Tyler, Carrie and baby William (I got to meet baby William!!!). But there were so many Flying Scot sailors it was like a reunion. Somehow we all showed up on Saturday without planning anything.
Can you see little William?
From left in front Cathy, Deb and Janet
Second row, Jim, Mike Harry, Karen, Williams, Tyler, Carrie, Ben, Jack Greg and Linda

From Delavan there were Jim and Cathy Walsh and Jack and Janet Markwick. Bronson and Rachel Bowling and Greg and Linda Vitt made the 5 or 6 hour trek from Carlyle despite ice storms. Dale Counihan came from Neenah Nodaway, which is where our Midwest Districts will be in August, so it was fun to see him. Debbie and Tom Yeagle and Bryan and Angie Hunt helped us represent Clinton Lake Sailing Association. Plus Mike Faugust was there, picking up his new boat!! Woot Woot! His was the one the Carpenters were displaying. I'm sure Mike was thrilled to have the boat delivered, even if he was a little nervous when people crowded around. He didn't want any dings in that pristine gel coat, and who can blame him?!

Ben and I don't always go to the boat show but we were especially excited to support Tyler and Carrie when they gave a seminar on "Sailing with Your Spouse" this year.
Tyler and Carrie were very well prepared and did a good job!

You can see a bunch of us in the front two rows here. Also, notice how crowded the room is!

We hung out at the boat show until dinner time, grabbed some pizza at Connie's in McCormick Place. We met up there with several (not necessarily Scot) sailors from Clinton Lake, which made it extra fun.

After pizza a group of us headed to First Draft, a pub that Bryan and Angie Hunt had found last year. Boy was it fun! There was one page of food and about 10 pages of beers to choose from.
We also did an experiment to determine how many people you can fit around a "four-top." We squeezed in 10!!  Ben ended up in a "Debby/Debbie sandwich" here with me and our Clinton Lake friend Debbie Yeagle, who, if you've come to the Glow, you will recognize!

The next day Ben and I, having socialized to our fullest extent, spent a more quiet day touring the Field Museum. We saw a very cool exhibit on the various traditions surrounding tattooing and another on ancient Chinese history. Then we were ready to go home. It was such a fun weekend. Full of camaraderie, laughs and beer (or whiskey for some!).

Can't wait to be on the water, but this weekend will help sustain me over the next few months!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Feeling the Winter Blues?

Where I am the sky is gray, it's pouring buckets upon buckets, and I'm wearing long johns. But I'm dreaming of sailing! I bet you are too! And so, I thought I'd give you some sailing news. The first item is that on January 14 Tyler and Carrie Andrews will be giving a talk at the Chicago Boat Show about crew work. My sources tell me Tyler and Eric Bussell are also giving a talk but I have no details on that just yet. So! Mark your calendars for the Chicago Boat Show!! If you get a group of 10 or more, my sources say you can get a 50% discount. That's not nothing!!

Secondly, many of us are starting to plan our sailing seasons, so I thought I'd list below the regional regattas — mostly midwest district, but not exclusively— so you can also start planning. You will note that the Midwest Districts have not quite been identified, but any day now we'll have that info! Now some folks (Hi, Vitts!) might still be enjoying sunshine and warm weather somewhere not in the Midwest, but for the rest of you, here we go:

March 12-16 MidWinters. New Orleans, Southern Yacht Club. My personal all time favorite Mid Winters destination. We always have moderate conditions, unlike Sarasota and Panama City and it's an easy drive for many of us.
April 29-30 Chattanooga  Choo Choo, Privateer Yacht Club (Tennessee)
June 3-4 Cowan Lake Pig Roast, Cowan Lake Sailing Association (Ohio)
June 10-11 Sixth Annual Indy Regatta, Eagle Creek Sailing Club
June 16-18 Egyptian Cup, Carlyle Lake Saiiling Club
June 25-30 60th Anniversary North Americans Sandusky Sailing Club, Sandusky, Ohio. I cannot promote this one enough to you all. First of all, it's practically in our backyard, plus 60th ANNIVERSARY, people!! and finally, Sandusky has so many other fun attractions that you can bring your friends an family and they can have fun while you are racing! We are expecting to have a guest speaker Sunday evening, and perhaps an opportunity to go as a group to the famous Cedarpoint Amusement Park. Hopefully you've been getting an occasional email from us and also seen a few announcements in Scots N Water. Come to the NAC!! Enough said.
July 29-30 Muddy Duck (Wooden Duck?) Medicine Lake Sailing Club, Minneapolis. We've lost touch with Medicine Lake for a few years, but those of you who were at Delevan had the pleasure of meeting some young, new sailors, as well as old salt Larry Klick. Medicine Lake is just outside Minneapolis and will be included in this year's Travel Trophy series.
August 5-6 Ephraim Regatta, Ephraim Yacht Club
September 15-17 Whale of a Sail - this is a multi-class regatta at Carlyle Sailing Association
September 22-24 Glow in the Dark, Clinton Lake Sailing Association.

Monday, October 24, 2016

God Bless Texas - Open House Regatta 2016

The Corinthian Sailing Club on White Rock Lake is a Flying Scot oasis located in Dallas, TX.  Four Midwest District racers made the long drive to attend Fleet 23's Open House Regatta this past weekend.  Midwest District Governor Bronson Bowling and his amazing crew Rachel Bowling hauled Wreckless down while Gordy Roberts from Ephraim agreed to crew for me on Quicksilver.  Upon our arrival on Friday, it was hard not to step back and admire the dozens and dozens of Flying Scots parked in their own dock spaces and raised up on their own individual davits.  We appreciated the atmosphere because we were clearly in Flying Scot country and we looked forward to seeing where we stacked up against one of the most competitive fleets in the class.

Bill Drahiem from Gus sails rounds the mark in this Texas-themed sails.  It was easy to spot him up on the front of the pack.  More photos by Cathy O'Neil.

From the CSC Website:

The CSC Flying Scot Open House regatta was started 43 years ago with the notion that the CSC members open their homes to traveling attendees to offset housing costs. We still practice that tradition today and we have boats for charter as well. Held over three days, the schedule is based around a "get to know each other" party on Friday night, followed by racing on Saturday, followed by a blow out party with live music, followed by more racing Sunday!!!There is a single regatta fee that includes everything from meals, drinks, party passes to the actual regatta entry. Only regatta t-shirts are extra. This years theme is "Scots on the Rock." Come join Flying Scot Fleet 23 for our signature event.

Bronson and Rachel stayed with Red Dog Jones while Kelly and Heidi Gough hosted Gordy and I.  When I asked Kelly about Red Dog's story, he mentioned there are plenty of members in the club who don't know his real name.  

We immediately learned they don't do anything small in Texas.   On the way in we drove by some of their high school football coliseums.  OMG!   I was told it's not uncommon for high school football stadiums to cost in the tens of millions of dollars and noted that one cost $60 million to build.  My goodness, these things all had their own press boxes and all the stadiums I observed would be impressive for a college stadium.  CSC reinforced this mentality by going big to host a great event.   We helped unload six kegs of beer on Friday as Gordy and I rigged our boat.   They had 5-star catered hot food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner both days and held nothing back.  I couldn't decide if the brisket and egg tacos were my favorite, but that BBQ and jambalaya was equally amazing.  The live band on Saturday created a fun backdrop on Saturday as we discussed the day's action with our new Texas friends.  The biggest impression of the weekend was Texas-sized hospitality that was constant all weekend long as all of their members went out of their way to acknowledge and thank us for making the long trip.   

Even the dogs are big in Texas.  Here I am photographed with Oscar.
We raced a total of six races (3 Saturday - 3 Sunday) in tough wind conditions against 22 total boats in the Championship Division with an additional 8 boats racing the Challenger Division.   You can review the results here.   Unfortunately, Bronson and I finished towards the back of the standings, but we both adamantly agree it was exceptional racing and we are already looking forward to next year.  Next time you see Bronson, ask him about the Texas-sized pinwheels at the leeward mark.   When you have so many great sailors racing in such close proximity, it really made for a lot of close crossings and challenging mark roundings in high traffic.  We both made some really good moves and we both appreciated that one bad decision can be very costly in this kind of fleet.  Bronson stated, "This is what I imagine racing at the NACs is like."   There were so many learning moments to process that it took me the entire 13-hour ride home to process everything.   One thing I can say for sure is traveling to these competitive regattas is how racers get better and I hope we can talk a few more Midwest sailors into joining us next year. 

A friendly reminder that everyone should come the NACs in Sandusky this June!More photos by Cathy O'Neil.  

Gordy Roberts and I with our hosts Kelly and Heidi Gough.   All four Midwest District sailors received CSC burgees as Heidi Gough helps us promote the Glow Regatta with her new shirt. 

Bronson and Rachel put their boat away in record time and took off before i got a chance to get a group photo.   I hope to update this post with a picture of them soon.  I'll close with a fitting musical tribute to an impressive event and amazing hosts.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Memories of Florence Glass ~ courtesy of Jim Harris....

As many of you would have heard, longtime Flying Scot member Florence Glass died recently.
Here are some memories provided by Jim Harris and Betty Struckhoff, of Carlyle Lake...

Photo from the 19921Midwinters,
Front:  Ted Glass, Florence Glass (notice the pearls!), Barry Moore, Alison Woodworth
Back:  Joe Gerrity, Ron Berkel, John Woodworth, Lynn Cook, E. Paul Moore, Bernie Knight, Marilyn Gerrity, Jim Harris

It was June when Betty and I had our last visit with Florence.  She was in a nursing home, bedridden, with a broken leg that she knew would never heal.  When we called she suggested we come at happy hour.  We offered to bring a bottle of wine.  When we arrived, she had arranged for another friend to put out a spread for us – wine, cheese, crackers, ripe fruit, dips.  That was Florence!  We talked about Ted, sailing, classical music, opera, traveling.  She explained how she and Ted were so successful at planing with the Scot on a reach without a spinnaker.  She was as sharp as ever.  It is a day we will always remember, being with a very classy woman.

Florence had a full, long, remarkable life:
·       She was an avid sailor, crewing for Ted on their Scot.  We remember her hiked out straight as an  arrow, every hair in place.  Then there was the time she threw the spinnaker pole overboard in a disagreement – Betty always says sailboat racing is the test of a marriage.  It was late in their sailing career that they came back from a regatta in Dallas with their mainsail muddied from capsizing in the shallow lake.  Another Fleet 83 member remembers sailing with them on Lake Erie.  Long time Carlyle Sailing Association member (and new Flying Scot owner!) Andrea Sepanski shared a memory on Facebook:
What a wonderful, classy inspirational lady!!! I remember one Sunday working RC and pulling her out of the lake after she had fallen off the boat, and she didn't let it her faze her one bit.  We took her back over to the boat and she jumped from the whaler back into the boat with Ted. I remember pulling away thinking, I want to grow up and be like her... Heaven gained an awesome lady!
·      Florence knew how to party and yet remain a proper southern lady.  When the Glow in the Dark regatta at Clinton Lake awarded a party trophy, most winners were camping at the club – because they were in no shape to drive anywhere.  Florence won it on her terms – treating everyone to Mint Juleps and leading the campfire songs with a kazoo!  Just a few years ago, she was spotted on the back of a flatbed truck in a parade in her hometown of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, supporting a local candidate for sheriff.
·       Ted and Florence were big supporters of FSSA.  Ted served as President.  Together they donated the True Love trophy recognizing the highest placing boat at the NAC's with husband and wife on board.
·       Beyond sailing, Florence had deep and abiding interests.  She traveled the world to watch birds. An opera lover, she traveled to Europe for opera.  She was a supporter of St. Louis' Opera Theater and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.  Perhaps her major philanthropic patronage went to the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon (  If you are in the area, it is well worth a visit.
·       Over the past few years, Betty and I loved visiting Florence in Mt. Vernon.  When she still lived in her home we would pick her up and she would insist on treating us to lunch at the best restaurant in town.  After that we'd stop by Cedarhurst to see what was on display.  Usually the director gave us a private tour.  Everyone knew and loved Florence.  We felt like we were escorting the Queen of England!

Now she is gone but her spirit lives on in all of us who knew her.  In recent comments about her, two words come up repeatedly:  “inspirational” and “lady”.  Florence showed us what a good life looks like.  We will always miss her.  No, not England,  Florence was the Queen of Scots!