Monday, September 16, 2019

Light shifty winds but we got in three good races

Ben and I had never been to Corinthian Sailing Club in Dallas, despite knowing so many people whose home club it is. Texans go big, as we all know, and that is certainly true with the Flying Scot population at the club. With 150-160 Flying Scots at the club, it was an impressive sight. Corinthian, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary, is clearly a solid one-design club, to the point they are a little worried they are crowding out other boats!!

Entrance to Corinthian. A fraction of the boats

The number of boats was especially dramatic because they are all moored on these beautiful davits. Each member owns the davit, just like they own their own boat. There is some payment for upkeep of the dock walkways and the owner is responsible for maintaining their own davit. It means you can show up, lower the davit, jump in your boat and away you go. I have been to other clubs that have this system, Cowan Lake comes to mind, but never one that has so many boats. It's eye-popping!

I've also never been to a club, that I remember, whose clubhouse is IN THE WATER. Apparently, because park land surrounds the lake, which used to provide drinking water for the city, buildings were forbidden. But somehow, it was okay to build out into the water. So as the club has expanded, it builds another large pier out into the lake. I counted three. It is lovely to be surrounded by water, though I gather it's a pain when the lake floods, as it often does. Another wonderful feature of this lake is that motorboats are prohibited. It's a sailor's dream!

I never doubted that the Corinthian crew would be generous hosts, but several sailors went so far as move their own boats off their davits to make way for the visiting boats. They even made up ID cards for us at our assigned davit. These organizers thought of everything!

Tommy and Melissa Miller very kindly vacated their davit for us

Still, even with the can-do organizing team of Nina Cummings, Bowman O'Connor, Red Dog Jones and countless others, the wind was not as Texas-sized as they would have liked. The race committee, bless their hearts, kept us in the shade and near the water, gatorade, etc as they hunted for wind. Racing was supposed to start at 10 a.m. Instead they held off until after lunch (a quick aside, the food this weekend was unbelievable, courtesy of Audrey Duffell, a professional chef, who made even sandwiches a work of art and deliciousness, but lest you get the wrong idea, dinner was shrimp AND steak and too many amazing side dishes to list).

And still there was no wind. But wait ...  just about 2 pm, when many groups would call it a day so as not to interfere with dinner schedules, the race committee decided some wind might be coming. Down came the AP flag, we all headed to our boats and sailed to the course [ the lake is not large and it only took 10 minutes or so to get there]. Lo and behold, there was wind. It came and went, but it was mostly there. Sometimes the velocity changes were such that you went from bobbing to hiking and pulling on the vang and dumping the main in a blink. And the wind direction shifted sometimes as much as 50 degrees in a moment, but it was wind! 

The first start resulted in a general recall but after that, with some line adjustments, the 20 or so Championship fleet boats got off without a hitch.  The race committee did a masterful job all around.

There also was a 10-boat, no spinnaker division and a five-boat, challenger fleet that competed. I was very pleased to see the non-spinnaker division and its popularity. I can't remember how often that is offered but I think it gets back to the original intent of the event and I applaud it!

Still, for lake sailors like us, these are our conditions. I can imagine those coastal sailors used to steady sea breezes this was even more frustrating than for the rest of us, but somehow the heat did not bother me, and I felt more energized at the end of the day's racing than I ever remember feeling. Perhaps the fact that Ben and I have not been able to race in as many regattas this year is not a bad thing.

Yes, Ben is drenched in sweat, but he is happy! Also, notice more boats on davits behind us.

The first race Ryan and Stacey won. Woot Woot!! But CSC sailors (and former national champs) Kelly and Heidi Gough dominated with a 2, 1, 2. Bill and Jennifer Draheim tried to keep up, and then came the rest of us. By the end of the afternoon — we raced until about 6 I think — we'd done three four-leg races, each about 45 minutes or so. Perfect, IMHO.

Everyone except the top two boats had at least one double-digit finish, which tells you how tough both the fleet and the conditions were. Also, only 18 points separated the 2nd place from the 11th place finishers. That is close racing!

Saturday's dinner, as mentioned, was a work of art and the weather had cooled enough that, with the help of some enormous fans to move the air, sitting outside was lovely. The Corinthian fleet held a silent auction of countless sailbags provided by Sea Bags. Proceeds supported the junior program. 

Sadly, Sunday's wind never materialized and so, after we waited two hours for it to show up, while enjoying Audrey's delicious and decadent breakfast and bottomless cups of coffee, the committee called it a day and distributed recognitions and trophies. I imagine the incomparable Diane Kampf will get those posted on the FSSA website shortly.

On Sunday, flags were  limp and dragonflies swarmed the top level of the club house. Not good racing conditions.

 Corinthian is a marvelous place and full of so many one-design-loving sailors that I know Ben and I will be back! Thank you again to all the volunteers that make this kind of event happen. You all deserve kudos and some R&R!
From left: Bowman applauding Stacey and Ryan, with Red Dog in kilt on the right.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I have been bad ... very bad!

Gosh, I'm shocked at myself at how poorly I've been chronicling this sailing season, even after vowing to be better in my last post. Right now, we are packing to go to Dallas for the National Wife-Husband regatta.

It sounds like a nice, relaxing weekend, right? Like a couples retreat? Ha!! When the event was first created by Sandy Eustis (shout out to Sandy!!) maybe 20 years ago? It was intended to give wives a chance to sail a little bit with their husbands and it was a very low-key event. But then many more wife/husband combos starting sailing together all the time. In fact, if you look at any recent national event, you'll see that those kinds of teams often dominate.

You can read a little bit about the history of the event here:

Not to say this weekend won't be fun! It'll be a blast! But it is no walk in the park, for those of us marrieds who regularly sail together. But I also see that this year there will be a non-spinnaker division, which is AWESOME, especially because there are 10 boats registered for that division. That tells me it's high time that option was offered. Kudos, Corinthian Sailing Club!

I also see that fellow Midwest District sailors Bronson and Rachel Bowling, Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu, Michael and Jennifer Faugust will be there, as well as Fellow Fleet 135 members, Mark and Michele Taylor. Can't wait for the fun to begin!

Which is my cue to sign off, because I gotta go pack, and feed the cats, and all that good stuff!!
More later, in fact, I wrote a post about Ephraim, but somehow it never got posted ... so I'll put that up too!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Eagle Creek Holds Very Successful Midwest District Championship

Normally by this time of year Ben and I would have done several regattas: Mid Winters, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Lake Norman’s Great 48 and sometimes a few others. For various reasons this year has been a light sailing year so far. We did do a new regatta in Decatur, which some of you might have been at or heard about, but other than that, this past weekend at Eagle Creek (Indy) was the first time Ben and I had sailed together since the Glow in late September.

Hike! HIKE!! HARDER!! 

Would we feel refreshed from the break? Or rusty? On the one hand, we’ve sailed together for at least 15 years, so we didn’t think we’d exactly forget the basics, but you never know. And the forecast was for very gusty (up to 25 mph or more) conditions, which puts a premium on teamwork and on not being rusty. I had pretty low expectations and was mostly hoping we — and the rest of the competitors — stayed upright. Also, because the wind was out of the east (East? Really?) it meant we would have to sail across the short dimension of the lake, meaning we’d probably have to do a ton of laps. When you get to be my age sometimes it is just a challenge to remember how many times you’ve gone around the course!

On a happier note, with 16 boats, regatta had the best attendance ever, with tons of strong, strong competitors. Racing was fierce, and we had great representation from all active Midwest fleets: Ephraim, Clinton, Carlyle and Eagle Creek. And our honorary Midwest District sailors, Bruce and Lynn Kitchen also came from Cowan Lake in Ohio. I was also so happy to see Rob Fowler, from Chattanooga, who crewed for Carlyle Lake’s Bill Vogler (our esteemed class president, for those of you in the know!).

Because this was our district championship it made the attendance and the competition that much more gratifying.

The weekend started with a scheduled single-hand race series, a tradition that dates back to Larry Klick (Medicine Lake) days. Unfortunately, given the gusty/windy conditions, the event was canceled. The trophy, which last year was won by Rick Wojnar (Clinton Lake Sailing Association) , traveled to Carlyle with Bronson Bowling (district governor). Since the districts will be held at Carlyle next year we won’t have to chase that trophy down!

The weather was much cooler than at last year’s events and those of us who tent camped (plus Jim Moyle and crew Eric Dexter in their RV) enjoyed a lovely night’s sleep.

Saturday was, as predicted, gusty but was certainly manageable. The race committee did their best to use as much of the lake as possible and, given the wind shifted a little bit south, the legs were not as short as I had feared.
Mark rounding with the top three finishers still neck and neck
We had two five-leg races, two four leg and one three leg race. Although the elapsed time of each race was on the short side, about 30 minutes for the leaders, with so much hiking and adjusting to the gusts they were plenty long and we got a full day of racing in.

The first race (three legs) went off without a hitch, though the line seemed a bit short for as many boats as we had. I think that was demonstrated in the coming starts, when we had a general recall, then an abandonment due to some starting line chaos, and a third start that was called back. Ultimately the race committee lengthened the line and I think that solved a lot of those problems. Still, racing was really fierce and if you go to the photos in Facebook you’ll notice tons of really, really close mark roundings. I noticed more yelling and more boat-on-boat contact than in most regional regattas. Some of that was the conditions — things happen much quicker in that kind of gusty wind — and some was the caliber of competition, which meant racing was close through every leg of every race.

It took extra work to keep the boat flat this weekend

When the dust settled Saturday, Hugh Haggerty and Sarah Olson were in the lead with the Faugusts not too far behind him. The next three boats were separated by a single point each. Racing on Sunday promised to be exciting!

Geoff and Myra Endris once again provided a delish meal of BBQ, together with plenty of beer and soft drinks. These two have pretty much perfected the art of hosting a regatta on their own though I did notice some helpers this year, which I appreciated.

Geoff cooking 

Sadly, Sunday morning brought tons and tons of rain and little wind. I did not hear a single skipper interested in heading out in that weather and so instead we had another great breakfast, swapped tall tales, made plans for when we would see each other again, and then the trophies were announced. The results are here and can also be found at There is also a link to hundreds of photos that Sheila Krout took. Thank you Sheila!!

Geoff has a sly sense of humor plus an abhorrence of trophies that require dusting. So the real trophies were gift certificates to Flying Scot Inc, which were loudly appreciated. But then, jokester that he is, Geoff also handed out little toy-sized trophies for those who wanted something to dust!!

Again, every mark rounding was hard fought

We also did have some perpetual trophies to distribute. The Fleet 135 trophy goes to the club with the highest finishing three boats. Since Ephraim finished 1,2 and 3, that was not really a tough call! Bronson also initiated a new trophy a few years ago called the Whippersnapper trophy, which goes to the top finishing skipper 32 years old or younger. There also is a crew trophy with the same criteria. This year there was no whippersnapper skipper, but Sarah Olson won the crew trophy. It seemed like she was tickled pink! The Century trophy, which goes to the highest placing team whose combined age is 100 or more went once again to the Faugusts. Lots of jokes about how Michael is 70 and Jennifer is a mere 30, har har har!!

With that, we all packed up before the rain came. Those sailors from Ephraim started their trek north, while Ben and I were home in 90 minutes! The next event is Carlyle’s Egyptian Cup, June 21-23. Be there or be square!!

p.s. sorry I haven't been so good at posting the last six months (and thank you to Eric Bussell for really picking up the slack!). I just couldn't remember out how to log in to the blog. Operator error 😖

Hugh and Sarah with Geoff. Check out the trophies!