Friday, July 31, 2015

Plenty of Wind for Ephraim Clinic

Ben and I made it to Ephraim by 1 pm, instead of 5 pm which is when we typically arrive. We discovered that arriving just a few hours early makes a huge difference.  We felt a lot more relaxed and had a lot of fun visiting with people.

 It was very, very windy; probably about 15 with gusts higher. Lots of white caps. Ryan Malmgren and Larry Taggart ran a great racing clinic, even though the wind was a bit higher than desirable for a clinic. First they held a chalk talk and 20-30 people attended. They had a very thorough handout that Larry's crew, Carrie Berger, created, that touched on everything from jib trim to "be nice to your crew." I definitely learned, or was reminded, of a few things I'd forgotten, including the importance of windward sheeting.

Then about eight or 10 boats went out for some on-the-water coaching. I decided, instead of helping Ben rig the boat (sorry Ben!) I'd go out in one of the motor boats to see if I could watch and learn. I started out on a pretty big boat with Ryan and Mike Faugust (and Ryan's daughter Chloe and her friend Julia). Then Larry and Jennifer Faugust came out in the dinkiest dinghy you've ever seen! They were so low in the water they were almost swimming! Boy, was I glad not to be in that boat...but then Jennifer needed to switch with me because she was video-ing and couldn't do that in the little boat! Ack! I had to clamber into that little boat, that was rocking in all the waves, but it all worked out okay in the end....

It was very instructive to watch the boats as they adjusted their sails according to Larry's pointers. Especially to watch how the main sail changed shape when they pulled on more vang or let it off, for example.

After a little more than an hour we all came back in. Meanwhile, Ben, with help from Mark and Maria Benner, had rigged the whole boat, including putting up the mast, so it was all good. The coaches held a second chalk talk highlighting the things they saw on the water and then spent a good hour answering questions from the sailors. All in all, a very productive afternoon.

Tomorrow, it looks like the wind will come down a bit to about 10-12. Skippers meeting is at 9:30. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Time to Head North to Ephraim!

Okay, well, Midwest sailing has been a little quiet the last few months, at least as far as district-wide events are considered. So now we head to Ephraim, WI, for the second regatta in the Midwest Travel Series. I know we have at least four boats coming up from Clinton and I know that Carlyle sailors have really been traveling a ton too, so I expect to see many familiar faces!

Tomorrow starting at 1 pm Ryan Malmgren and Larry Taggart will be running an on-the-water sailing clinic. Boy, do I wish we could make it for that! But we have an 8-hour drive in front of us and we did not budget enough time to get there that early. BUMMER!!

Weather looks good so far, with plenty of wind. We've been having great, relatively mild July weather in Urbana, and it looks about the same in Ephraim: highs in the mid 80s, low in the high 60s.  Good weather to enjoy the great outdoors!

I'm packing my camera, so stay tuned for a few photos and news....

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ephraim RegattaJuly 31-August 2 Features Racing Clinic

Please join us in beautiful Eagle Harbor, Door County, WI for the 110th Ephraim Regatta. The regatta typically draws ~30 boats, including some of the best sailors in the Midwest. Registration is now open, with early registration ending July 26, 2015. To register, go to You will also find information at the Ephraim Yacht Club website:

New this year is an off- and on-the-water racing seminar/ tune-up starting at 1:00 PM on Friday August 31, featuring Ryan Malmgren and Larry Taggart, fresh off their 6th and 7th place finishes in the highly competitive 2015 NAC. Details are below. This pre-regatta event is free to Ephraim Regatta registrants who are members of the Flying Scot Sailing Association; other registrants may participate with a $25 donation per boat to the Flying Scot Foundation.

Nancy Claypool (Regatta Co-chair):
Bjorn Hooper (Regatta Co-chair):

Pre-Ephraim Regatta Flying Scot Racing Clinic
Date:  Friday, July 31, 2015
Time:  Dockside presentation begins at 1:00 p.m.  (PLEASE have boats launched prior to this time).  The clinic will conclude by 5:00 PM
Fee:  Free to Flying Scot Sailing Association Members; all others, $25.00 donation per boat to the Flying Scot Foundation.

Please join us in a pre-regatta, off-and-on-the-water racing clinic and Ephraim Regatta warm-up, featuring Ryan Malmgren and Larry Taggart. The clinic will begin with a brief dockside presentation on boat set-up.  Ryan and Larry will then be on power boats, observing and videoing racers on short W / L courses.  If conditions allow, they will provide immediate feedback, summarizing in a post-race, on-shore debriefing. Topics that will be addressed may include:
- Boat setup
- Sail trim
- Boat handling
- Boat balance
- Starts
- Mark rounding

- Racing as a team

If you have any questions, please contact the regatta co chairs listed above! See you there!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jackson, MS, On the Road Home

I think many people were not convinced we'd get a race in today. The race committee had only a one-hour window, noon-1 pm, in which to start the race. Considering we had not seen a true, on-time sea breeze since Sunday, the odds looked low.

We all trickled out to the course, doubt in our hearts and minds. The race committee was looking high and low for wind, but all they were finding was out of the north, northwest. Not a sea breeze at all. And then, miracle of miracles! Like the cavalry, the sea breeze came galloping in from the bridge, ready to save the day. It might not have been mighty, but it was more wind than we'd seen for the finals, and we were all very happy.

Ryan Malmgren had another good day, with a fifth place finish, giving him a sixth place overall in the regatta. Congratulations Ryan! He and his wife, Stacey, are off to hang out in New Orleans for the weekend.

Frank and Marianne packed up and hit the road, as did we. Last night Frank handed off the FSSA reins to his successor, John Domagala (originally of Clinton Lake!) who will be FSSA president now for two years. Frank has done a really great job as president and has led the organization through two strong years. Thank you Frank!! Ben and I also got on the road about 4:15 and made it as far as Jackson. Luckily we stopped relatively early because hotel rooms are very very hard to come by for some reason.

The NAC is always an intense competition, which is fun but exhausting. That made staying in a house with a group of friends extra fun. We stayed with Ryan, as I mentioned in an earlier post, and also  Dave and Kim Thinel of the Florida District, who found the house, John and Susan Domagala (see above. Susan is the daughter of Bernie Knight, of Carlyle Lake Flying Scot fame), and also Rob Whittemore and John Wake, of Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Virginia. It was nice to come back to the house and relax, whether by jumping in the pool or drinking gin and tonics or margaritas (or cappuccinos in the morning, courtesy of Ben), or just chatting about anything other than sailing.

Next year's NAC is in Newport, RI. There is already a great buzz about it. For those concerned about the cost, there are some houses like what we did here, though you've got to find them early. In addition, efforts are being made to get housing at a beautiful local college. You can return to your youth and stay in a dorm! Thirdly, there is camping not far away, I believe. Soon there will be info on the fssa website, so stay tuned!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ryan Malmgren Carries the Midwest Flag

Ryan and Kris had a great day today, with a fifth- and second-place finish in somewhat trying conditions. The race committee was working hard to produce a sea breeze, but the wind gods were just not cooperating. We ended up sailing in a roughly westerly wind that shifted so hard that Championship boats that went to the left side, were passed going up wind by the Challenger fleet, which had seen which way the wind was blowing, so to speak..

In any event, we got in two races, which leaves one for tomorrow.

The annual meeting and dinner was delayed because we finished racing at 5, but it took more than an hour for everyone to get their boats out using the one hoist and ramp. Nevertheless, dinner began at 7, we held the annual meeting and the raffle ticket for the new boat was drawn...Dah da Dah! Norman  Wainwright, won the boat. All we know is that he is not a current Flying Scot boat owner, or at least not a member of the FSSA, so perhaps we've got another convert! Three other tickets were drawn, for 2nd place a Mad Spinnaker, 3rd place a North jib and 4th place a nice bag and turtle made by Stacey Rieu, Ryan's wife. Although all three items were very nice, it was a tiny bit of  a let down, since none of the tickets pulled belonged to anyone in the room!

Tomorrow racing starts at noon and we have a window of only one hour to get the racing complete, so we'll see what happens...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We Have a Regatta!

Well, we had two good races today and so no matter what we have an official regatta! It was a very hard work day, with the wind going up and down and up and down in pressure. We had some moments where we were keeping speed with some of the top sailors, but at the end of the first race, which finished downwind, the wind just freaking shut off. The water went to glass, a whole mob of boats was all trying to ghost over the line while the challenger fleet was coming up fast with some fresh breeze. Argh!!!

Ryan and Kris had a good first race. They were in second place most of the race, when the wind shut down and a few boats drifted past and grabbed a fourth. Second race Ryan did pretty well too. Frank and Marianne and Ben and I had a less stellar day, which is a bummer, but we have a couple more days to redeem ourselves.

For results go to:

After we all came in and many boats were waiting at the crane, this monster storm came in. It was EPIC!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Another Amazing Dinner, No Races

Porch off the bar
This morning I was appreciating that the Bay Waveland Yacht Club has a perfect design. You can sit up on the second floor in the bar and see the whole bay, from the bridge to the horizon. So here we sit in the clubhouse, even 30 minutes before the racing is scheduled to begin, because we can all see the breeze. When we see it coming in from the bridge, we all leave the bar and head for our boats!

 That is precisely what happened this morning. The expected breeze came in at about 12:15 and we all headed out. It was going to be a gorgeous day. We had one race to do. I did notice some clouds to the north and east of us. The race committee was keeping an eye on them and was confident that once the clouds passed, the wind would settle into the expected direction and we'd be all set.

Before that happened, however, the rain started coming down in buckets. No problem, kept us cool ... Then we heard thunder...The wind picked up. We started heading toward the harbor.  The signal boat asked the race committee if they had sent us in. Race committee said no. Boats continued to head for the harbor. More thunder, plenty of lightning. Almost all of us came in and headed for cover. We did notice several boats who stayed out through the whole storm. Some took their sails down and anchored.

Racing back to shore just ahead of the downpour.

Mark and Michelle Taylor (below) were among those who stayed out, but finally the race committee asked everyone to come on in. And eventually everyone gave up waiting for the storm cells to all pass by and pulled their boats. By 3:30 or so they blew the horn and everyone cheered! 

Mark said, "I brought her out across the lake to teach her the procedure." She said, "yeah, the procedure for death!"

Check out this gorgeous green heron

Later in the afternoon we had a really productive open forum, with many people weighing in with all kinds of great ideas to keep the Flying Scot Association strong. It was especially fun to hear from people relatively new to the class, like Tom and John McNally (from Florida) and Chris Powers (San Antonio).

Tonight we had another incredible dinner, BBQ this time, at the club. I wish I'd taken a photo. I know we come mostly to sail, but I sure have been enjoying the food! Tomorrow we go to Tripani's, a great seafood restaurant. But before that we'll have some great sailing!!