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!!
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.
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!