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....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Getting Ready for the Longest Road Trip yet!

The Wife-Husband regatta is in Rockport, MA, this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. The only trick is it is going to take something like 18 hours to drive there.....I think that might be a personal record for us! Anyway, we're renting a house with Midwest District sailors Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu, as well as Mark and Maria Benner, friends from Lake Moraine Sailing Club, who I'm sure I've mentioned many times. That means good times are guaranteed!

I'll have my computer with me so if there's time I'll send updates...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thursday Racing: The Day Sanity Reigned

On Wednesday the word went around that winds for Thursday would include gusts in the 40s. And, like in any organization, rumors swirled. No way would we race. Some people were already taking their masts down or putting their bottom covers on. Phones were pulled from pockets. Forecasts checked. Some had winds slightly lower. No one knew for sure but everyone acted like they did. The general sense in the air was that the regatta was finished as of Wednesday afternoon.

But then at the banquet Wednesday night it was announced, a final decision on whether we would race would be made Thursday morning at 8 a.m. One tried to be philosophical about it and not worry too much about this kind of ambiguity. The day would bring what it would bring. But on waking Thursday it looked as if it was going to be the worst kind of day; winds just on the cusp of acceptable. People milled around the notice board. They tried to get on the website which is another place the announcement would be made. The website was down (of course, that’s just the rule of the universe!). Eric Bussell put on sunblock, sure we would sail. We headed to breakfast and tried to prepare as if we were going out, even though we knew it would be a very, very hard day. I tried to eat but I just didn’t have much appetite. So finally, at 8:10 a.m. I texted the fount of all knowledge; Diane Kampf. She texted me right back (bless her heart!) to say the racing had been canceled. Miraculously, my appetite came right back!

Returning to the club to pack up our boat we saw Tom Clark from Chattanooga. We all agreed that we were relieved with the decision. Tom said, “Today, sanity reigned.” Then his hat blew off and he had to chase it down the parking lot.

Bruce Kitchen announcing trophies

table full of perpetual trophies
Not too much longer, after the awards and everything, we were taking down our tent. Ben stepped away to answer the call of nature, I set to rolling up a sleeping bag, when out of the corner of my eye I saw our empty tent sailing like a tumbleweed right for the harbor. NOOOOOOOOOO! I ran the fastest 100 yards of my life, only to watch as the tent sank into the green water. I will not tell you what I said next. I will tell you I could hear Lynn Kitchen laughing her posterior off. Still, to her credit, she and Bruce came and lent me a hand as I jumped into the water (remembering to take out my electronic key and phone first) and dragged the tent back to land. It was very very cold water.

After we’d packed up we wandered Sandusky a bit, from West Marine to the Maritime Museum. We saw various other Scot sailors, including  Robert and Mandy Cummings, John and Connie Eckard and Kathy and Ray Trask, doing the same. We ate one last time at the New Sandusky Fish House. This time we ate with our elbows holding down our plates as the gusts built steadily.

The ride home was especially blustery and every time a gust hit us, rocking the car and boat, I thanked the wise race committee once again for doing the right thing!

Wednesday Night Banquet and Annual Meeting

 After sailing two very civilized races on Wednesday, we came in in time to clean up and get ready for the annual banquet, which was held at Sandusky Yacht Club (not the same as the sailing club, but walking distance). In keeping with the 60th Anniversary theme, we had birthday hats and blowers at the annual meeting, not to mention birthday cake. Lots and lots of birthday cake.

The highlight of the evening was
 special guest Greg Fisher, who shared his thoughts on how to grow the sport, as well as his experiences coaching the College of Charleston sailors. Flying Scot champ Zeke Horowitz is an alumnus of that program, which for some reason I had not realized!  It was a real honor to hear Greg speak and to hear his deep fondness for the Flying Scot class.

yes, I know he is handsome, but focus on what is in Ben's hands! That is a gorgeous program designed by Fleet 135's Heather Johnson. Lovely job, thank you Heather!
Also at the event we had outstanding music (thanks for finding the musicians, George Gecik!), interspersed with Bruce Kitchen recognizing every individual who was part of this great event (the list was long!). Then we had guest MC Willson Jenkins, from Muscle Shoals (Alabama) Yacht Club who had a great time livening up the crowd with various jokes about Texas v Alabama, specific Scot sailors, including Keith and Sandy Eustis (their names got switched!) and Harry Carpenter (who was supposedly going to start building boats in Mexico!). He had the crowd laughing and I heard many people say it was the liveliest FSSA banquet they’d been to! We did have an annual meeting, but it was short and sweet. Bill Vogler was duly elected new FSSA President and the full slate of officers was approved. Out-going president John Domagala gave Bill Vogler the enormous, ceremonial gavel (so tempting to bop someone on the head with it!) and we took a few votes and we were good for another year.

Speaking of which, next year’s NACs will be hosted by Rush Creek Yacht Club and held (I believe) at the Corinthian Sailing Club, near Dallas, TX, so put it on your calendar. Texas brought a large team to the event and did extremely well, with three boats in the top 10. That earned them the Fleet One trophy for highest finishing fleet (of three) in the NAC. (but that news took place on Thursday, so I’m getting ahead of myself).

Fleet 135 from left, Frank Gerry, Deb Aronson, Bryan Hunt, Eric Bussell, Ben Williams, Angie Hunt. (Missing Marianne Gerry)
Speaking of highlights, the one award always announced at the Wednesday night banquet was Fleet of the Year, which is a recognition fleets apply for in writing. Unbeknownst to me, Heather Johnson of Fleet 135 had submitted an application on Fleet 135’s behalf and, despite very, very tough competition (including the Rush Creek Yacht Club), Fleet 135 won!! What a thrill that was!! I only wish all of our Fleet 135 members could have been there to accept the trophy!

All in all, it was a fun evening. I especially enjoyed visiting with Harry Haack, of Lake Delavan, who told me some great stories of all the cruising he has done in his Flying Scot, from Canada’s Boundary Waters, to Jackson Lake in Wyoming, and then all the way to Florida. I hope you’ll see some of these stories in future issues of Scots N Water! 

Second Day of Finals: Flat Water!

Bill Vogler sailing his new boat, FS#6140
There is something really special about racing against the fastest sailors in our class against a backdrop of rollercoasters and Ferris Wheels! And that’s exactly what we did on Wednesday. Instead of sailing upwind through chop for 45 minutes we sailed in the East Bay, which is just minutes away and more protected.  That and the fact that the wind came down to the 10-12 mph range made for a different set of conditions compared to Tuesday’s races … conditions that Ben and I, for one, enjoyed quite a bit!

The race committee ran one 4-leg windward leeward race and then a 5-leg race before sending us in to clean up for the annual meeting/banquet. At various points it seemed like the wind was building and building, but then it settled down again. The most exciting wind came at the end of the first race (championship) and on the second up wind leg in the challengers’ first race when the wind, which had been shifting slightly right all morning, came in strong and hard from the left. That meant that the mid-fleet boats in the championship fleet came bearing down fast on the leaders and it meant that many boats on the right side of the course going upwind in the challenger fleet saw 15-20 boats, who happened to be on their left, leap past them. Lots of teeth gnashing on board. Don’t you love sailing?!

Still, kudos to the race committee, which set good square lines and handled the shifty wind with aplomb and professionalism. As one sailor said, “no matter what they decide, you know we are in good hands with Jim Tichenor and his crew.”