The Glow in the Dark typically marks the end of regattas in the Midwest District, though our members continue to travel and sail through the fall and winter sometimes (i.e. the Faugusts do the Florida circuit in the winter). And last week (October 6-8) a few members of Fleet 135 had a fun adventure. Two boats, Wildcard (Eric Bussell and Trent Johnson) and Sophie (Ben Williams and Deb Aronson) drove 10 hours to Birmingham, AL, to participate in the Birmingham Sailing Club’s annual Great Scot regatta.
|View from the clubhouse of the BSC docks|
We are always looking for new sailing adventures and the BSC fleet captain, Andrew Fox, is a real energetic sailor, young and new to the class. We wanted to support his efforts and made sure to leave a CLSA burgee at their clubhouse!
In addition, it turned out that Geoff Endris, a Flying Scot sailor from the Indianapolis Club at Eagle Creek was serving as PRO. His first words were “Jeez, I drive 600 miles in the opposite direction from you all, and I still can’t get away from you!”
|Geoff Endris conducting Participants' meeting|
The wrinkle with this particular regatta adventure was that Hurricane Nate was scheduled to come ashore the same weekend. And it was aimed right at Birmingham. This felt sometimes like the height of crazy, to drive straight toward a hurricane … to go sailing! Still, we figured, what did we have to lose except a little rubber on our tires? As the time got closer it appeared that the weather Saturday would be sailable. My bottom line? I told Ben, “I am not sailing in a hurricane.” He seemed to think that was reasonable.
Anyway, Saturday turned out to be light to moderate roughly out of the southeast. Races started at 1 pm. The later start enabled boats to arrive and rig on the Saturday instead of driving over Friday. Geoff’s goal was to try for four races Saturday in case Nate arrived Sunday. The wind was so shifty that Geoff had to postpone and re-adjust the course before the series began but after that he got three good races off before the wind petered out.
Eric and Trent had an awesome regatta, staying in the front pack and often leading the entire race. They had Wildcard going really, really well. In the second race, for example, Eric and Trent led the entire course until the last few yards (as far as I could see) when ace sailors Tom and Melissa Miller from Corinthian Sailing Club in Dallas, TX, caught him. The Millers trophied in the North American Championships, so you see the kind of competition we had! Ben and I also had a good regatta, after finishing ninth in the first race we figured out the wind a little bit better and had some better finishes after that. The feeling of winning the last race against these amazing competitors was particular sweet considering we had a slow start and took off to the right of the course all by ourselves. It’s not always a great feeling to be hanging way out on one said of the course by yourself, but the move paid off for us. Thank you, wind gods!!
|Eric and Trent placed third, Ben and Deb were fourth.|
All the travelers packed up their boats after the racing on Saturday. We reasoned that it would be much easier to re-rig the boat if Sunday turned out to be nice than to take the mast down in pouring rain and howling winds. In the end, the organizers canceled Sunday racing at the Saturday dinner, handed out trophies and encouraged us to stay for Sunday breakfast. Instead, the Fleet 135 sailors all hit the road to try to avoid the worst of Nate. We drove home through some very heavy rain, until about Nashville, and it was smooth sailing from there.
It was fun racing against some new Flying Scot sailors and seeing what a good job PRO Geoff Endris did at the event. Next up? A road trip to Charlotte, NC, in November.