Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lake Norman Great 48 Hosts 42 Boats

We were so excited to get out on the water this morning! It was about 70 degrees, sunny, and they promised wind about 6-8. Sadly, by the time we got to the course, it was as if God had taken her finger and swirled the wind around in a big, slow mess. The first race the wind just died, with tiny little patches at various places but with very little rhyme or reason. Rounding the windward mark, the wind shifted and, at least at times, boats were sailing upwind again. We never did see a single spinnaker that leg! Thankfully, the race was only three legs long ... but it took a full, long hour for the first boat to cross the line.

If that race took the patience of Job, the second race was no better ... well, maybe a little better, since we did actually hoist our spinnaker. We noticed Harry Carpenter's new, one-of-a-kind spinnaker, complete with a Pittsburgh Steelers logo. Nice!!

It was a real challenge to be consistent today, but a few boats did manage. Here are the results:

The Midwest District is represented here by Ben and Deb, Frank and Marianne Gerry, Cain Goettleman and Gordie Roberts (who drove 15.5 hours nonstop from Wisconsin to get here!!) and Carrie Carpenter Andrews and Tyler Andrews from Indianapolis.


Before the racing began, District Governor Carol Claypool presented the 2014 Helmold-Singletary Travel award to Charlie Bruckner.  Qualifying boats must sail four of six regattas in the Carolina District, so it's similar to the Midwest District travel trophy. After Charlie thanked her, he gave the assembled group a very compelling ... "pep talk." I put that in quotes because the point he made was quite sobering: no one is traveling anymore. In 1990 there were 40 boats at the Governor's Cup (a North Carolina regatta). Last year there were nine. He also mentioned that only four boats total from the Carolina District qualified for the series. Bottom line? This sport relies on all of us to travel and support one another's regattas.  So get out there and travel, Sailors!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chattanooga Results

Note: for those of you on Facebook, some photos are posted at Dixie Lakes Flying Scots Facebook Page. While you're there, join them!!


SUNDAY
By Sunday the wind had shifted dramatically from the south/southwest to the dreaded north, or over the hill, as the locals like to say. When the wind comes from this direction it comes over those beautiful, rolling hills that surround the lake, making for some pretty flukey conditions. These are the conditions that earn the lake the name, Shift-a-mauga.

Before heading out we enjoyed Flying Scot communion (mimosas) in memory of the late Charlie Fowler and an enormous french toast, hash brown, sausage breakfast cooked up by Linda Lind and her crew. I do not know how she found the time and energy to feed us so well AND race!

Meanwhile, not only was the wind coming over the hills, it was quite light. The race committee postponed for a while, then, seeing some wind, sent us out. It was looking good for the 20 minutes leading up to the race. Almost as soon as the gun went off, the wind evaporated. The start was a bit chaotic since none of us had tons of boat speed, but we eventually got underway and found some little bits of wind. We liked the left side, though many of the locals were on the right, which made us nervous. In the end we all ghosted eventually to the windward mark. At one point, someone sneezed and everyone in the fleet told them "Gesundheidt!" I think the sneeze sent them forward a boat length or two!!

The lead, such as it was, passed all around as one boat or another got their own private wind. Finally, after an agonizing mark rounding, which looked like a parking lot with every boat pointing in a different direction, the race committee abandoned the race and sent us in with a tow. I think every single boat, even those in the lead, cheered!

I want to take a moment to applaud the race committee. Matt Gregory was PRO, assisted by Monty Humphreys, Sue Humphreys, Holly Gregory, Bob Strang. They did a fantastic job and did not get the applause they should have. Saturday they set good, square courses that were nice and long. They got us started quickly and efficiently and generally did such a good job that no one hardly noticed!! And on Sunday, they worked hard to find any wind, sending boats up to the dam and down the lake to see if there was any wind coming before abandoning the race at the first mark (which took us 45 minutes to get to). So I congratulate the race committee and apologize for not doing so in person!!

One thing I'm especially pleased about is how many Midwest District boats came to the regatta. By my count we had a total of six district travelers to an out-of-district regatta! Yay us! Not only that, Chattanooga has always been a favorite of mine and Ben's and I guess all our years of talking it up paid off because we had several people tell us they came because of our relentless promotion of the club. And everyone who did come raved about how beautiful it was and what a good time they had, so I hope they'll all come back next year.

Here are the standings, which I'll also send to the fssa.com website:
Top 5 awards went to;

1st - Corky and Molly Hadden, BWYC
2nd – Ben Williams and Deb Aronson, Clinton Lake Sailing Association
3rd – Tom and Ed Craig – PYC
4th – Rob and Patricia Fowler, PYC
5th – Scott Cline and Linda Lind, PYC


In other news, on Saturday Ryan Malmgren had been T-boned at the start ... I'm starting to think of that as the Chattanooga Christening (;-)   and the fiberglass was damaged enough he wanted to get it back to the factory. He spent Sunday morning coming up with a plan that rivals James Bond! We (Ben and I) were already planning to drive straight to Lake Norman, leave our boat and visit Ben's parents for the week before the Great 48. Now, instead, we would sail Ryan's boat at the Great 48, since it is not so damaged as to be un-sailable. From there Harry Carpenter, who will also be at Lake Norman, will take the boat back to the factory. Meanwhile, Ryan would take our boat back to our house in Urbana, since he drives by there on his way home to Madison, WI. In the meanwhile, we could deliver several sails for him to Lake Norman and he could bring home a boom we picked up for a club member back in Sarasota, but that had been sitting in our boat in Chattanooga since the Midwinters.

In order to do this, however, we had to make sure each boat was packed up just right. New sails had to go in Ryan's boat, not ours (the original goal was we would bring them in our boat to Lake Norman), we had to remember our own gloves and life jackets, which usually stay on our boat and now had to get into Ryan's boat, etc, etc. Long story short, our boat made it back to Urbana and Ryan's boat is waiting for us at Lake Norman, where we dropped it on our way to visit Ben's family. Whew!! Hopefully when we show up to race next weekend we won't realize we forgot some essential piece of equipment. Of course, considering Harry will be there, we'll probably be well covered!

Another bonus: we'll drive back home without a boat in tow, which is always a tiny bit easier!


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Great Conditions Prevail at Chattanooga; Carlyle Lake Sends FOUR Boats!!

(editor's note:
In re-reading this I can see the effects of the very nice gin & tonic that I had had earlier in the evening. I apologize for any sloppiness found below...)

Well, we drove down to Chattanooga prepared for storms and gusty winds but in fact the conditions today were just lovely! I'd say the wind was about 10-15 steady out of the south-southwest all day.  We had 17 boats on the line and sailors came from all over: The biggest turnout was from Carlyle Lake, with four boats — Bill Vogler and Jack McClurkin, Bronson and Rachel Bowling, Greg and Linda Vitt, and John Cassada and Eric Sutton. Boats also came from Louisiana (Corky and Molly Hadden), Wisconsin (Ryan Malmgren), Alabama (two boats from Muscle Shoals, Willson and Bonnie Jenkins and Joel VerPlank and crew Ted T.), plus a boat from Georgia (Joe Price from Atlanta) and us (Illinois). And I've probably overlooked a few!

That's a really nice turnout, and pretty impressive when 10 of the 18 boats are from out of town. Nice going Privateer!

Privateer, as I've written about many times before, is a lovely yacht club and Chickamauga Lake, though often shifty, is a beautiful lake surrounded by green, rolling hills. Of course, unless the wind is coming out of today's direction, it often has to come over those lovely hills, making for some very squirrelly conditions...nothing we lake sailors are not used to, right?

The race committee ran three, good-length races. Each one was a four-leg, windward-leeward. Since they were modified, we still finished upwind ... though the first race Ben and I were thinking we were doing a downwind finish and were very surprised to realize we had to keep racing a little longer!

During the first race we traded the lead with locals Ed and Tom Craig, Corky and Molly, and several other boats. By the last downwind leg of that first race we were duking it out with Corky and Molly, at least until our mental error mentioned above.  In the second race Bill Vogler and Jack McClurkin led for almost the whole race and Corky and Molly snatched first place from them in the last few boat lengths (sound of teeth gnashing here !!). In the third race Ben and I traded the lead with them and did manage to finish ahead of them for their only second-place finish of the day.

Linda K. Lind, the fleet captain (and Privateer vice commodore), has led an awesome social team, providing a beautiful pork dinner with baked potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and more. Tomorrow morning she and her team are making French toast. Isn't sailing awesome?

So we have a busy morning scheduled: first mimosas, then French toast, then racing starts at 10 a.m. The winds look like they'll be light and flukey, but maybe we'll luck out and it'll be better than that.

Okay, stay tuned!
Also, we have some photos that were taken from the committee boat, but no way to download them just yet....patience is a virtue, right?!





Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chattanooga Bound!

Ha, ha! Not a Chattanooga photo, but one of my all time favorite photos. Frank and Marianne Gerry at Deep Creek Lake....kind of looks like Chattanooga!!




















Ben and I are heading to Privateer Yacht Club in Chattanooga tomorrow. I've told the story many times about how, just weeks after we'd bought our first Flying Scot (this was in 2005) Ben was so anxious to sail it he begged me to go to this regatta even though we'd never sailed the boat or even rigged it. So we drove, it's a long way for us! And we showed up and all these really friendly sailors came over and showed us how to step the mast and how to rig the jib and everything!

It was windy Sunday and we got T-boned at the start, which pushed us into a tack and then capsized because I was so busy being outraged, I forgot to uncleat the jib. So! It was a memorable regatta for so many reasons!

But we go back faithfully, religiously even, every year. I guess we've talked it up so much that this year at least four or five other Midwest District boats are joining us! I have heard that three boats from Carlyle and Ryan Malmgren from Madison are all headed south. We're looking forward to enjoying the hot racing and great fellowship that Privateer Yacht Club is famous for ... plus, I should mention they have a brand new clubhouse!!

I'll post updates -and photos -
as they become available!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Only 70 Raffle Tickets Left!

I realize that I have been remiss in letting you all know of this amazing opportunity created by the Flying Scot Association. The association, with support from Harry Carpenter, is raffling off a brand new Flying Scot. And it's not just any boat. It's a boat built to your specifications. You can get it rigged for cruising or for racing, you can get it painted the way you've always dreamed.

So! What're you waiting for?!

Tickets are $100 each. Think of that, $100 for a beautiful new Scot! And you have pretty good odds, considering only 250 tickets total will be sold. You have until tickets are sold out or the North American Championships, whichever comes first. The winning ticket will be pulled at the NAC in Bay Waveland, LA (June 20-26). If you are wondering about whether you might be able to go to that event, check it out on the fssa.com website (though you don't have to be present to win...you don't even have to be an FSSA member....though I'm sure you are!!).  Seventeen boats have already signed up for the regatta and we are months away!

As the headline says, ticket sales are strong. Out of the original 250 tickets, fewer than 70 are left. So giddyup, pardner, and head to fssa.com, click on join/renew/donate, scroll down to and click on "Flying Scot Foundation DONATION" Where the donation dedication box is, put Flying Scot Raffle, and amount = $100. You'll get a receipt and acknowledgement of your donation. All names will be put in the pot when it comes time to draw the winner, so you won't have to keep track of a ticket or anything.

Plus, even if, heaven forbid, you don't win, your donation goes to support Flying Scot Foundation, a great cause!! That's what I call a win-win!!!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Changing from Flip Flops to Flannel as We Head North

Well, I meant to post this final entry a few days ago, but what with getting home, doing laundry, getting food poisoning, things got a little backed up.

So!

The first thing to say is CONGRATULATIONS to Mike and Jen Faugust for trophying at the Midwinters! I missed the trophy ceremony (gnashing of teeth here, long boring story) so I'm not really sure what happened, except that there was a protest and places tumbled around in ways I was not anticipating. Mike and Jen finished seventh, winning a tie breaker with Ryan Malmgren and Kris Smith. Considering the number of Florida boats in the top 10 we Midwesterners have a lot to be proud of, with the Faugusts and Ryan finishing in 7th and 8th, respectively. Go Team!


Meanwhile, we had a pretty leisurely drive home, skirting Atlanta by going on some kind of crazy back roads. I'm not 100% sure we saved time, but it was scenic and we didn't feel like we were in a parking lot, so my sanity was intact! We dropped Sophie at Chattanooga's Privateer Yacht Club in anticipation of our next regatta, the Chattanooga Choo Choo (April 25 &26, come one come all!). By the time we hit Chattanooga we also had changed from flip flops to jeans and flannel. But when we got home our daughter kept exclaiming how tan we were, so I guess we really did travel south and have the time of our  lives last week...or was it all a dream?

Also, a quick plug for our new Mad spinnaker (#5897), which Ben designed. In this photo you'll also see Ryan's new spinnaker (#6077), also extremely attractive. Does it make you want a new sail, perhaps?!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Races Finished One Day Early

Well, I hate to be repetitive, but the weather Wednesday was as perfect as Monday and Tuesday. With winds once again out of the NNW at about 10-12 mph, we had our last two races and the regatta was finished a day early. Today it's overcast and no wind, so I bet the race committee is feeling especially good about their call.

Whaaaat?! You say, can they do that? What will we do with our spare day, you ask? Well, I already outlined my plan yesterday: Mote Aquarium, the only place I'll get to see sea creatures (although according to others there have been sightings of eagle ray, dolphin, sea turtle and manatee) and then the beach. Plus Ryan Malmgren's wife, Stacey Rieu, flew down last night and we'll have lunch together. So we've got a full last day planned and no one is sorry that the race committee didn't send us out for one race yesterday and one race today. All in all, an outstanding regatta.

The things I liked best about it:
The weather
The very efficient system of two tractors that pulled boats and put them in at the ramp (our bow number matched our trailer tag and our parking spot)
The race committee was very good, setting excellent, square courses, keeping things running smoothly
The weather

The things that could be improved:
Not losing my camera (or the tactic, that got stolen from Lawrence Bigus, who was parked right next to Harry Carpenter's boat parking spot)
Safety pins for the challenger fleet to attach their streamers (some had to go to the drugstore to get a pin!)
Some warning at the skippers' meeting that there is a potential for three races in a day. The first day, when that happened, many of us northerners were caught mentally flat footed and it took some significant effort to get psyched for a third race.

And that's about it!

At last night's dinner we heard a plug for next year's Midwinters in Panama City, FL, and the ACCs, which are mid-September at New Bern, NC (Blackbeard Sailing Club), as well as the Wife-Husband which will be back in this neck of the woods, at Davis Island near Tampa in October. It was good to be reminded about all those upcoming events and to think about getting together with this great group of sailors again!

For those of you not interested in a race recap, you can check out now. What follows is just a little bit about the racing.

We had one 5-leg race and one 4-leg race. We did occasionally get a shift and tried to play them, but it seemed mostly a matter of boat speed and a good start. Paul Abdullah won both races yesterday (though because of a protest decided against him - a questionable decision, IMHO- he was disqualified in one race) but it was Jeff and Amy Linton dueling against Zeke and Jay Horowitz for the overall standings. The Midwesterners held their own, with no big changes, though the Faugusts had an especially good regatta, trophying in seventh place. Go team!

Okay, I smell pancakes, so I've gotta run. Time also to pack up the boat and head home. Read more about the sailing at fssa.com and also at the fleet135 facebook page!