Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Considering Going to the Chattanooga Choo Choo April 20-21? Here is another reason to go

Have you ever been to the Chattanooga Choo Choo? It's one of my favorites because the club is so beautiful, as is the lake. So when I saw this article in the New York Times about how nice Chattanooga is, I thought it only right to share it with you all.
Perhaps it will entice you to join us at the regatta and then stay a bit longer! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This Made Me THink of the Carlyle Lake Event a Few Years Ago...

I remember when there was that terrible crash between a motorboat and Shirley Bild's boat while she was teaching sailing. It was so very hard for me to imagine how that could possibly happen, and when you watch this video you can't believe it. But here it is, in full color.....Ugh...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sad Sad News for the Flying Scot Family

For those of you who traveled east at all, many of you will know Tom Hohler, who died today. Tom was always smiling and telling great stories. He was a bulldog of a man who loved to sail and loved his sailing friends. My first memory of him - and one that many share - is hearing him bellow on the race course. Being a relatively new sailor, I asked my skipper, "what did we do what did we do?" And he said, don't worry about it, we're fine, which we were. Turns out, that's just Tom's voice!!!
We will miss him terribly...He was so young....

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Weather Outside is Frightening ....

Photo Courtesy of the Eagle Creek Facebook page

While the weather has been brutally cold here in the Midwest (I’m talking negative numbers in the double digits. What is this, Minnesota?!), that doesn’t mean it’ll never warm up. Some day it will be sailing weather again. And to that end, on New Year’s Day I cracked open my new calendar (Yes, I still use a paper calendar. It’s not old-fashioned, it’s retro and, thus, hip) and scheduled the coming season’s regattas. Doesn’t every Flying Scot sailor do that?!

Anyway, to that end, I thought I’d post this schedule that District Governor Bronson Bowling sent me several months ago.  You’ll see that some of the Midwest District regattas have shifted to make room for the North Americans which will be held in Rush Creek, TX, in June.
Also note the Midwest Districts are at Ephraim this year. I'd also encourage you to consider the regatta in Jefferson City, MO. It's really important to support our fledgling fleets!!

So put as many of these on your calendar as you can and keep the faith. The temperature will rise above freezing eventually!!

GWBR - Eustis FL (Feb 17 -18)

Mid-winters Championship - Sarasota FL (March 24-29)

Chattanooga Privateer - 4th weekend in April?

Great 48 - Lake Norman (TBD May 5-6)

Memorial Day Regatta - Little Rock, AR (May 26-27)

Pig Roast - Cowan Lake  (June 2-3) 

North American Championships (Heath TX - June 10-14)

Egyptian Cup Regatta at CSA Carlyle IL (June 22-24)

Indy Regatta - Eagle Creek Yacht Club - (June 30-July 1)

Sheraton Shores, Chicago IL (Tentative last weekend in July (TBA-Race Week))

Ephraim Regatta and Midwest District Championship (August 4-5)

Smackdown CLSA Vs CSA (Mid-Augustish)

Mayors Cup - Jefferson City, MO - NEW FLEET UNDER CONSTRUCTION (TBD Sept 8-9)

CSA Whale of a Sail - Carlyle (TBD but likely Sept 16-17)

Great Scot - Birmingham AL (Sept 22-23)

Glow -  Clinton Lake (Sept 29-30)

Fall 48 - Lake Norman (TBD Nov 4-5)

Gator Bowl - Jacksonville FL (Dec 1-2)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fleet 135 Has Strong Showing In Birmingham Sailing Club's Great Scot Regatta

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.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Most Boats, Least Wind Ever! PLUS: Inaugural Whippersnapper Award Given AND Inaugural Custom Brew

view from Joe and Linda Budden's boat on Sunday

Well, having done this event 11 years now, we’ve got a pretty good system down. But we still haven’t figured out how to control the wind. So this article will be more about the food than it will be about the racing!

This year (perhaps because it was also the Midwest Districts?) we had 31 boats registered. I always pride myself in the number of returning participants we have; many people have never missed a Glow since we revived it and that feels good. But this year I was also specially tickled to have five new traveling boats: Jim Moyle, Jim and Jennifer Colegrove, Mark and Michele Taylor, Kerry Pebbles (who had as crew Allen Shaklee, a new CLSA member), and Mike and Connie Conrad. Mark and Michele flew up from the Tampa area when their regularly scheduled regatta was cancelled due to Irma. With cheap plane tickets and family in our area it was a win-win! We provided them with a boat and sails (they brought their own spinnaker). We were only sorry we couldn’t provide more wind.

Another high point was our shower!! Worked better than ever this year. This is the crew that helped set it up...from left, Eric Bussell, Trent Johnson and Bruce Kitchen

Because it was also the districts, we held our traditional single-hand race series on Friday. Rod Bussell and Heather Johnson served as PRO and Dick Hanson drove the safety boat. The committee ran two races and the competition was very tight, with Bruce Kitchen taking a 1st and a 2nd , Eric Bussell finishing 3rd and 1st and Rick Wojnar with a second and a fourth-place finish for the top three boats. The cool thing is we had 11 boats for an event that typically attracts just 4-5. Perhaps the light wind helped?
boats coming in after the single hand

The potluck Friday was raucous, people brought their appetites and we plowed through all the brats and burgers that Frank and Marianne brought and the chicken that Ben Williams grilled. No one went away hungry, though, with plenty of hearty side dishes, desserts and beer (plus Tito’s Vodka courtesy of Kerry Pebbles and rum and coke courtesy of CLSA member Rick Langlois!).

Dan conducting competitors' meeting
Saturday dawned hot and still.  Really hot. Very still. Heat advisory hot. We made lots of announcements about the low lake level and how to leave the dock without running aground but we never really left the dock Saturday. Race committee, headed by Dan Goldberg and Dave August from Pittsburgh, PA, and Moraine Sailing Club, tried to whistle up the wind. They kept looking for it and even when they were on shore, the support boats captained by Dick Hanson and Gary Magnuson spent all day out in the heat doing a wind dance. To no avail.

On shore we went to get out our tailgate toss game, only to realize we’d lost the bean bags. We had a volleyball game but it was too hot for that kind of nonsense and we didn’t even bother. People mostly seemed happy lolling in the shade. It was so hot many people moved from the pavilion to the shade of the trees closer to the water in the hopes of a tiny bit of air circulation. After a valiant effort, Dan called the day at about 2:30, everyone cheered and several people headed into Clinton to explore the Pork and Apple Festival.

Meanwhile, Luther Torgerson had gone on a quest for Mount Gay rum in order to make something I’d never heard of, the Sailor’s Drink. That’s Mount Gay, tonic and lime. He said the tonic was to prevent malaria (because of the quinine) and the lime prevented scurvy, so it was a healthy drink! I will say it was very refreshing.

Apparently it has a long proud history because when I told Mark Taylor what I was drinking I got a hug! So now I’m a real sailor!!

Another high point  alcohol-wise was Tom Yeagle's presenting a custom made, actually two custom made beers from his nephew made in honor of the Glow. One was a traditional porter and the other a honey porter. Delicious! I only was sorry I had already drunk the rum!!

Saturday dinner was grill-to-order steaks and the grill masters, Bronson Bowling and John Cassada, really had a tough job in the heat. But gradually the day cooled down we got out the glow sticks and the refreshments and everyone had a grand old time. There was lots of talk of being glad we weren’t sent out in the blazing heat to sit on the lake and wait for wind, so Dan Goldberg really made the right call.

Next morning our breakfast crew of Rachel Bowling, Marianne Gerry and Lynn Kitchen (you’ll notice two of the three of the team are from other fleets … Lynn is from another DISTRICT!!) stepped up and provided enormous breakfast casseroles, including everything from biscuits, sausage and eggs to corned beef hash. We heated them on the grill. And by we, I mean Trent Johnson, who earned extra wings in heaven by getting up each morning before dawn to make coffee. Sunday, he also started the fire for the casseroles and had them already warming when I stumbled out of my tent about 7 or so.  Life is Good!

Okay, then we raced! A little bit. We started the racing 30 minutes earlier than scheduled in the hopes of squeezing a few races in. Before we started we tried to do a sailing tribute to Greg and Linda Vitt. We  pinned ribbons on our sails with the Vitts’ sail number on it, and sailed in a sort of short parade upwind (led by Bronson Bowling from Carlyle Sailing Association, the Vitts’ home club) and then downwind Bronson hoisted the Vitts spinnaker (which he “borrowed” without their knowing it) and parade back toward the committee boat. Eric Bussell had plans to stream it all on Facebook Live. He even had a drone!! Aggravatingly, the internet world chose Sunday morning to insist Eric perform some kind of system upgrade just as we started our tribute. So we did it … but it didn’t get streamed like we envisioned. Best laid plans and all that.

Anyway, after that, we raced! The wind was so light that crossing the starting line was tough but we had moments of pressure. Everyone had different moments. And everyone sailed into a hole or multiple holes. The wind became so light that Dan shorted the first race to two legs. The finish was unbelievable. I’ll have to find some photos. Luckily, Erin Bauer had video recorded the whole finish. It then took them 20-30 minutes of replaying the tape (back on shore) to determine how each boat finished. Tough, tough competition.
this is near the finish!

The second race had enough pressure that we sailed all three legs. But th The rest of the fleet was spread pretty far and wide and there was not a lot of wind coming from anywhere, so the race committee decided that was all the racing we could get out of the day’s wind and we headed to shore.

The last 20 yards for the lead boats took longer (it felt like) than the whole rest of the race! Finally we got just enough pressure to cross the line.

Where we had more food!! We cooked up 65 burgers for people to enjoy before the travelers hit the road. Some, including both the race committee and Mark and Maria Benner, had come from the Pittsburgh area, so that’s a long trek home.

We had lots of trophies to give out because it was not only the District Championship and the Glow in the Dark, but it is the last regatta of the season for the Midwest District. For that reason, we also award the traveling trophy (we had 16 qualifiers this year).  Should have taken a picture of all those people...
All of Fleet 135 posing for the Fleet 135 trophy (to three highest finishing boats from a single fleet. That was Fleet 135. Confusing, I know!

This year District Governor Bronson Bowling also inaugurated the Whippersnapper award, which goes to the top finishing skipper and the top finishing crew who is younger than 32 years old. (Bronson is 32 and his wife, Rachel, didn’t want him to make a trophy he was eligible for!). The winners were Skipper: Rick Wojnar, and Crew: Tess Burant. Congratulations!! And let’s hear it for the Whippersnappers!!!

And then, with lots of hugs and back slapping, our visitors hooked up their boats, got in their cars and drove away. Until next year!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Remember We Also Have A Single-Hand Regatta at the Districts

For those of you planning on coming to the Glow, September 22-24 (and it looks like we're on a way to 30 boats *GULP*), please make room in your travel schedule to arrive and rig your boat in time for the single-hand event that starts Friday at 5 pm. It's a District tradition and this year we will even have some trophies to award!! The races are basically up and back (no spinnaker needed), they will be organized by our own Rod Bussell, and there will be no more than 3 races. So, c'mon down and join us!!