Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crazy Conditions at the Fall 48

Four Midwest District boats made the trek to Lake Norman this past weekend. Two boats from Clinton Lake, Eric Bussell and Ben Williams, Ryan Malmgren from Madison, together with Bronson Bowling from Carlyle Lake traveled almost 12 hours to the Lake Norman Fall 48. Lake Norman is just outside Charlotte, NC, and has a very, very strong Flying Scot fleet. Ben and I try to make it there twice a year, for both the Great 48 the first weekend of May and the fall 48, the first weekend of November. They typically run a fantastic regatta.

This year Ryan ran a racing clinic on Friday that was very well attended. Unfortunately, there was no wind so they could not do an on-the-water segment, but everyone enjoyed the clinic nonetheless.

The weather Saturday morning couldn't have been more different than that on Friday. The area temperature had dropped precipitously and it poured rain Friday night. We stayed nice and dry in our tent but I know a few other campers ended up damp. Saturday morning we awoke to continued rain and temperatures in the 40s, without the wind chill. The wind was stiff.

The PRO said he'd take into account the cold weather and stiff wind, but when the wind moderated a bit and he got a reading of only 10-12 with gusts to 18 he sent us out. Those might have been the conditions for a moment, and if they were, that would have been fine, but once we got out to the racecourse, the predicted winds in the upper 20s with gusts in the low 30s showed up.

37 boats registered for the event, 10 started the  race and only six were able to finish (with one boat capsized and one with broken equipment). I was curious and so I checked the FSSA guidelines. One of those guides is that when a "significant (greater than 25%) number" of boats don't start, you might want to reconsider running the race. In this case 66% of the fleet stayed on shore....

Ben and I did go out because we have a general philosophy that if the race committee runs a race, we'll be there. We may have to re-think that philosophy. As the wind built and I got colder and colder my enthusiasm began to wane. We sailed the first upwind leg, at which point I mutinied for the first time in our history of sailing Scots together. I felt deeply in my core that this was not fun. We went in. Somehow, hearing that only six were able to finish made me feel even better about my mutiny!

Still, we took warm showers, laid all our wet clothes out to dry and had a very enjoyable evening at the toasty clubhouse. 

Sunday dawned sunny, though the predicted winds were not much lower than Saturday's. This day 25 boats did not race. I don't know how many just stayed on shore and how many missed the start, but I do know that as we were starting there were about 8-10 boats heading for the line. The race committee did not wait for them.

Anyway, I was determined to put on my big girl pants and enjoy the races, which I did, for the first leg and a half. We rounded the mark second behind a three-up team on Mojo and were working to catch them. Unfortunately, a rogue gust caught us on the downwind leg and we turtled the boat. That is not a big deal; we've done it before and know how to handle it. There were plenty of motor boats to help, though it was very difficult for them to maneuver in the gusts and the chop.

Meanwhile, the race committee shortened the race to three legs and sent everyone in. I did see one person whose spinnaker pole was bent into an "L" shape, but other than that I do not think there were any big equipment failures. The hilarious thing is, for us at least, because we bailed on Saturday and didn't finish Sunday, we ended up in the same place as all the boats who never even went out! 27 boats tied for 10th place!!

Here are the results:
http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/9169#_newsroom+results

Despite the crazy conditions, I know that several people were very happy to have gained some high wind experience. Eric Bussell, in particular, was very pleased to have sailed both days.

So that wraps up our 2014 season! Our boat is tucked away for the winter and soon we'll start dreaming of the 2015 Midwinters. They will be in Sarasota this year, so make sure to put that event on your calendars!!


Friday, October 24, 2014

For Those of You Who Missed It...Here's the Sailing World, Wife-Husband Article

I spoke to many people who tried very hard to find a copy of Sailing World on the newsstand, with no luck. The editor of that magazine, Dave Reed, has graciously allowed us to post it, so here it is! This article ran in the July/August 2014 issue of that magazine:


Couples Therapy

We pull into Deep Creek YC at Turkey Neck in the pouring rain, still recovering from a hair-raising U-turn with our boat trailer on a windy, single-lane country road. We park in the muddy fields of the upper parking lot, and slop to the cedar-sided clubhouse overlooking the lake. With more rain and no wind in the forecast, my mood is glum.
The Midwest Districts own Frank and Marianne Gerry
But then I spot my friend, Chris Czapleski, and squeal with pleasure. We embrace like the girlfriends we are, and rejoice in the success of her bunion surgery. Her husband, Tom Hohler, whose foghorn voice belies his amiable nature, stands alongside her beaming, waiting for his turn to share a hug. And so begins the Wife-Husband Flying Scot regatta, the only spouse-only regatta I know of—no kids, no friends, no girlfriends; it’s married couples only.
A ship’s bell soon rings, signaling the start of the grill-your-own dinner. There are two sailing clubs co-hosting the regatta on Deep Creek Lake, a ganglion-shaped lake in the hills of western Maryland. Friday’s dinner is at Turkey Neck where sailors and old friends greet each other with hugs. There’s little talk of racing, more of pets, mutual friends, black bear sightings, and jokes.
The Wife-Husband Regatta got its start years ago at Cowan Lake, near Columbus, Ohio, home of Flying Scot Fleet No. 1. Sandy Eustis, then of Cowan Lake, was looking for a novel way to boost attendance at the class’s 30th anniversary regatta. He thought maybe he could lure more people with the “First Ever Husband-Wife National Championship.”  
Seventy-two boats attended, and Eustis had a hit on his hands. The regatta’s official name —with wife prominently placed first—is sacred, and Scot sailors fiercely protect it, correcting any newbie who utters husband first.
Let’s face it: sailing is a men’s sport. Even in dinghy racing, women are scarce, but the Flying Scot is an exception. Many of the top teams today are spouses. Take the 2013 North American Champion and  2007 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Jeff Linton, who sails with his wife, Amy Smith Linton.
Diane Kampf’s story is like many others at Deep Creek. “The first time I went on a boat, I cried when it tipped,” says Kampf. The next time her husband, Greg, took her sailing on his Scot, Diane’s 65-year-old mother-in-law came along, too. “She sat there like she was knitting,” says Kampf. “I decided if she could do it, so could I.”
The Kampf’s first Wife-Husband was in 2000 at Saratoga Lake Sailing Club, N.Y., which traditionally gave out camp chairs as trophies. For the Wife-Husband they had camp loveseats. They still have theirs.
“Greg is a gentleman on the boat,” says Kampf, explaining why she likes to sail with him. “He says please and thank you, he taught me everything I know. It’s something we get to do together that we’ll always have.”
When Kate and Roger Sharp were dating, Roger took Kate sailing in the New Year’s regatta in Manhasset Bay in Long Island, N.Y. They capsized, Kate in her heavy Irish knit sweater and other cold-weather clothes.
“That’s it,” she said, “I’m never sailing again.”
They eventually married and had two children, both of whom who sailed with Roger all the time. In 2009, after about 20 years of marriage, and almost as many years as a junior sailing mom, Kate decided she’d give racing another try. The Wife-Husband was at her home club and the regatta offered a non-spinnaker division, so Kate agreed to crew. They won the 13-boat division, and she’s been sailing ever since.
 “I liked the strategizing with other boats around you,” she says. “It puts a whole new spin on sailing. Everyone is literally in the same boat. Not everybody here is the top crew that the skipper can find. Instead, people who live together are now playing together.”
By 9:45 p.m. on the opening evening, after sailors have had their fill of brownie fudge sundaes and beer, the party winds down and the clubhouse is quiet. There’s no barhopping for this crowd. Gray hairs far outnumber perky butts.
The following morning, the crisp air feels more like April than July. The skippers’ meeting starts late in the morning and is short and sweet. Once it’s over, we mill around, hugging, laughing, greeting old friends, and making new ones. Most of the 42 boats are already in the water. 
By the time we leave the dock the air is warm, the sky an electric blue and the predicted rain is nowhere in sight. The clouds are white and puffy, and the north wind is gusty. The starting sequence begins. No more smiling and waving at friends. We’re in race mode. It’s a clean start. We win the pin, and in just a few minutes, we can clear the fleet on port tack. We savor our lead until the second downwind of the five-leg, windward-leeward course, when we see that John and Sharon Wake and John and Lisa Meredith have snuck past us. We beat back the Wakes to finish second. Then we all head to shore for lunch.
Like many others here, my husband, Ben Williams, taught me everything I know about sailing. When I first started racing with him we had a Lightning, which we sailed together with our then nine-year-old daughter. Very few men at our club raced their Lightnings with their wives, and I often felt self-conscious about being one of the few women, not to mention having a pre-teen on board. I sailed with him, but I wouldn’t say I loved it.
When we moved, our new club didn’t have Lightnings, so Ben looked into the Flying Scot class. He noticed they had a national event specifically for wives and husbands, and that alone convinced me that the class was for us.  We bought a boat in 2006 and we now travel to regattas several times a month during the sailing season.
The second race follows lunch. The wind direction is the same, but the shifts are bigger. The Merediths win this race, too.
On Sunday, the winds are lighter and shiftier. The Merediths have a commanding first-place position with two points, and we’re in a three-way tie for second. The start is postponed several times as the wind shifts 90 degrees or more. The gorgeous weather, with no sign of rain, welcomes the lake’s powerboat armada, which turns the lake into a washing machine.  The Wakes have a masterful race. We are lost in the back of the fleet. Frustrated I grumble, “look at the wind over there, maybe we should tack.”
“We just need to keep going this way,” Ben insists. Sure enough the wind fills in for us and we catch some boats, finishing sixth —better than I expected.
At the club, while everyone finishes lunch, the results are announced and the winners troop up for their hammered pewter candy dishes. After another round of hugs we hit the road for our 12-hour drive home, tired but jazzed from visiting with and competing against so many friends and great sailors.
“Sorry I grumbled,” I say to Ben as we pull away. “No problem,” he says, as he leans over to kiss me.
Even though the Wife-Husband was one of the main reasons we bought a Flying Scot, it took us several years to get to our first one. Now that we’ve experienced it, we’ll never miss one. Next year it’s in Sayville. It’s already on our calendar.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Glow Photos Posted

For those of you who didn't get enough photos by looking at clsasailing.org and Fleet 135's facebook page, we have photos taken by Anna Stenport from the committee boat. You can get there by going here:

1) go to this URL:    https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingscotphotos/sets/

2)  Click on the photo album titled "Glow II 2014".

Or, load this URL to go directly to the photo album:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/flyingscotphotos/sets/72157647794027287/






Monday, September 29, 2014

25 Boats Participate in Glow in the Dark


The eighth annual Glow in the Dark regatta hosted the largest crowd yet, with 25 boats on the line, only 8 of which were local club members (our previous record was 21 boats). Travelers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Indiana joined us at our beautiful lake to camp and sail.

we had so many  boats we almost ran out of parking spaces

I do think that, aside from our record numbers, the other most newsworthy event was  that….Harry Carpenter CAMPED! Carrie said it was the first time he’d ever done that and let me tell you that is a testament to the Glow and the appeal of camping at this regatta. This year we had so many tents there is some talk of clearing some more land for next year’s event.  
Harry in front of his tent, which he borrowed from Melanie Dunham


We had a great weekend, though I will say the wind was paltry. Some years, last year included, we have had a bit too much wind, which is probably because we constantly worried about wind conditions. This year we didn’t worry, since we had such a good track record and, wouldn’t you know, hardly any wind.

Nevertheless, the PRO, Nick Schneider, used every scrap of wind that existed on Saturday. The start was scheduled for 11 and he postponed on shore for an hour, at which point he thought conditions were picking up and he sent us out. We floated around for about 45 minutes or more as the wind tried to decide what to do.

Nick had the 3-leg, windward-leeward course set up for the northeast breeze, at which point the wind blew Nick a raspberry and shifted hard to the east, making the flags fly perpendicular to the committee boat. Nick was not intimidated by that move. He looked that darn wind straight in the eye and began a start sequence, almost daring it to keep blowing from that direction.

Every skipper was wondering how the start was going to work and hoping Nick would abort it. But no, 4 minutes to go, 3 minutes, the wind was still from the east. Finally, 30 seconds to go we heard,  “beep beep” and the postpone flag went up. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Still, Nick had the wind’s number and looked positively brilliant when five minutes later the breeze filled in and his northeast course was spot on!

So the sequence started again and this time we had a nice smooth start on a nice long line and the regatta had begun! We had a few puffs and may have even used the vang a bit that first race, which was at least an hour long, but the wind was pretty flukey. The top four boats (Cain Goettleman, Harry Carpenter, Frank Gerry and Ben Williams) stretched out a commanding lead from the pack and by the leeward mark were a good 30 boat lengths ahead.  But as we sailed to the finish, which was up by the windward mark, things began to get quite squirrely, especially in the middle of the course. Meanwhile, several boats in the pack (Mark Benner, Randy Adolphs) went up the left side of the course and found some wind that enabled them to catch and pass several of the leaders.

Harry and Carrie Carpenter, performing miracles as usual, held onto their lead, Cain and Gordy held on for second, Mark and Maria Benner finished third, Frank Gerry and Luther Torgerson were fourth, Randy Adolphs and Kari Reskoke were fifth and Bill Vogler and Greg Florian finished sixth. Glow results are here.

The wind continued puffy out of the northeast for the second race, and the pressure dropped a bit, so that by the downwind leg many spinnakers were hanging limp…that is never a pretty sight! Still, some sailors found patches of wind, with Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu taking an early lead and holding on to it for 85% of the race. At the top of the course, near the finish is where the trouble seemed to occur for everyone…except Harry and Carrie, who neatly sailed by Ryan and the rest of the leaders and took first again. Ryan and Stacey held on for second, and Frank and Luther finished third. Ben and Deb finished fourth and Bill and Greg nabbed fifth, but by then the water and once again turned to glass. The rest of the fleet managed to ghost to the finish and then we were out of wind for the day.

Back on shore the beer flowed and everyone traded stories of getting stuck in holes and watching everyone sail past them. But most everyone was at least still smiling! The fire was started and steaks began cooking about 5:30. The Glow tradition is that we have a grill meister, this year ably handled by our club’s own Erin Bauer, who did a masterful job. The grill meister oversees the cooking of the steaks but each guest is responsible for keeping an eye on their own steak and calling for it to be flipped or taken off the heat, etc.

The bonfire was burning nicely and many sailors gathered around it as we gave out a few door prizes, provided by Flying Scot Inc (Harry and Karen Carpenter), Mad Sails (Ryan Malmgren) and Angie Hunt (Clinton Lake Club Member). Then a local musician plugged in his amp and provided some nice guitar music for the group. The fire is always such a magnet, but so is the beer cooler, and several other groups of sailors stayed up by the pavilion to drink and talk about the day’s racing.

Ryan Malmgren explained something that happened to us a lot on the course and I got so excited I can’t wait to apply it when we get those conditions again: There were many times when we were going along fine and then suddenly our jib would luff, in what we thought was a wind shift, so we tacked, only to find that that tack was way, way headed. Ryan said what we experienced was not a wind shift, but a hole in the wind. When that happens it seems like your jib is luffing because of a shift but it is really just luffing because your velocity dropped (at least that’s how I understood it. Ryan if I’ve garbled this let me know!).  He said the solution is not to tack, and not even to foot off, but to heel the boat even more to leeward to minimize the jib’s luffing and keep the faith. You should, of course, be looking at your wind indicator and making sure the wind hasn’t shifted, but in these light flukey conditions he said that is often what is going on. That was cool to learn.

The last sailor retired about midnight and Ben and I were up at dawn to start the coffee. We were met by Ken Johnson and Chris Tesdal who prepared their amazing hot breakfast.
It's kind of like Brigadoon, every year the little town appears out of the mist....

The menu is potatoes and eggs friend in lard (don’t groan it’s yummy!). We also cut up many steaks to add into the mix. I really think this year that, not only did we have many more boats, but more people than ever camped, because the line for breakfast stretched pretty far. When Ken ran out of steam, Erin stepped up and cooked for about a dozen more people. Huge success!

Erin (in blue) and Ken (in white) cooking breakfast

And that was the most excitement we had Sunday because the wind never did show up. By 10:30 Nick had called it (since we couldn’t start a race after 12 noon) and people began breaking down tents and packing up boats. By 11 we were eating again, as Eric Bussell grilled hamburgers and we ate what few leftovers we had from Saturday dinner.

We gave out a few more door prizes and then had the awards. Marianne Gerry, Frank’s life mate and regular crew, made all the trophies and the lovely Glow tshirts. She couldn’t be at the regatta because she was helping their daughter, who had just had a baby. But she was there in spirit!

I want to  point out that this is the third regatta in the district this year that had at least 20 boats on the line; the Ephraim Regatta the first weekend of August had 27 boats and the Egyptian Cup at Carlyle Lake at the end of August had 20 boats. Way to go Midwest District!

Thus ends the Glow and the last Midwest District event for the year. Since the Glow is the last District event, that is when we award the Travel Trophy. This year seven boats qualified. Last year five qualified, so at this rate we'll be up to 20 participants in no time! We take the three best finishes at district regattas to determine the winner. ....
Meanwhile, you can see some other photos, ones of people actually sailing, that Angie Hunt took at the
Fleet 135 Facebook page
and others at the Clinton Lake Sailing Association webpage at Clinton Lake's website




Monday, September 22, 2014

Bridge to Bridge was Quite a Ride

 I will admit to feeling a little bit dubious about Sunday's "bridge to bridge" race. It seemed like, unless the wind was exactly right, it could be a long, reaching race in which it would be almost impossible to catch boats or have boats catch you. I also imagined, because of that, that it would be a pretty relaxed race with plenty of time for refreshments, and sightseeing.

Ben getting psyched up Sunday morning
Boy, was I wrong! Sunday's wind was very similar to Saturday's, out of the south/southwest with lots of big puffs. It seemed like the gusts might have been even stronger...Anyway, the course was a broad "V" shape. It began near the club, went down that part of the lake we raced in yesterday and then took a left turn around a point. That second leg was at least as long as the first leg of the course.

We started with a standard length windward leg up by the first bridge near the club, and then took off down the lake on a spinnaker run. Although it was tight, we could carry the spinnaker almost the entire way to the second bridge. What a run it was! Some of the puffs were so strong that, with Ben and me putting our weight far back, it felt like we were on a motor boat! And I can feel that ride in my muscles this morning (it's Monday).

Charles and Sarah Buffington rounded first and locals Greg and Kathy Madzelonka rounded second, with Ben and me in hot pursuit. The race to this point had taken about 30 or 40 minutes. Given our ability to fly the spinnaker, we thought there would be plenty of opportunity to point on the return leg. There was. Lots of pointing. And hiking. And tacking. And pulling on the vang. And spilling the main in the puffs.That was the longest windward leg we've ever raced and it was hard, fun work.

In the first half of the upwind leg the lake was narrower and we traded tacks with the Madzelonkas, Jim Diffily, and Dan Goldberg. Plus the Benners were catching us. Soon, though, we got our rhythm and we began to pull away a little bit from the other boats. The Buffingtons,  by this point, had pulled so far away from the rest of us that they were a speck on the horizon. As we passed the point and turned for the finish we were most worried about Dan, so we covered him loosely. And that's the order in which we finished: Buffingtons, us, Dan, Benners and Madzelonkas.

So that was the bridge to bridge. No time for refreshments. No time for sightseeing. Just an exhilarating race on a gorgeous day with lots of friends, new and old. That's why we travel.
Regatta winner Dan Goldberg and his crew pose in front of the scoreboard


We packed up our boat, had lunch, enjoyed the awards ceremony and then hit the road. It was an almost 9 hour drive and we had work the next day.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Huffy and Puffy


The wind today was what you might call … puffy. Up and down, side to side. As we waited for the skippers’ meeting this morning sailors fretted because the gusts seemed stronger and stronger. There were some whitecaps, but my theory is that the wind seemed strong, in part because of the lulls between them.

Ben and I set the boat up with an hour to spare so we wandered around catching up with friends, like Mark and Maria Benner and Dan Goldberg (Moraine Sail Club), Charles and Sarah Buffington (Deep Creek Lake), and Jim Diffily (Berlin Lake). 






Moraine Sailing Club is surrounded by rolling hills and I bet it is even more gorgeous when the leaves turn. The lake limits power boats to 20 horsepower, which was lovely, and perhaps contributed to the large number of Hobies, windsurfers and larger cabin boats we saw out enjoying the day. The lake was really packed!

We had three back-to-back races, all windward-leeward, starting right at noon. 

skippers meeting
With winds out of the south/southwest the course was necessarily pretty short, and with 13 boats on the line, there was definitely some traffic. We did not get a great first start and were probably about fifth or sixth to the first mark. The starting line was closed, so Ben and I did a gybe set and headed to the left (facing downwind) of the committee boat, while the rest of the fleet headed right. Somehow we picked up some nice wind and rounded first at the leeward mark. That was about the last good break we caught, though!

The last windward leg, we just had to go ½ way up the beat to finish and we could not catch a break. Despite being probably 15 boats lengths ahead of the next boat (Tom Dawson and Margery), every time we tacked the wind shifted right into our teeth, plus the wind was lighter and lighter, so we were losing all our speed. We tried to cover Tom and Margery but every time we looked up they had better speed and pointed better. It was neck and neck at the finish and I think they caught us. Argh!

Never mind, it was still a good race for us, but the wind began to get flukier and flukier. We couldn’t figure out which side of the course we liked and we couldn’t see any pattern to the puffs. The second race we tried again for a good pin end start, which we got, but it just didn’t help at all. We were mid fleet at the first mark. We tried our gybe set approach again, but this time it didn’t pay off for us. Finally, on the second upwind leg, Ben decided to dig right (facing upwind) and hope that his theory, that the wind was gradually clocking right, was correct. Either that, or we had better pressure or something because we definitely caught a bunch of boats that leg and finished that race in 4th.

The third race the committee moved the marks to the right and we were sure that we should protect the right. We started at the boat with speed, though the wind by then was pretty light. Whoa! The wind clocked to the left instead! We were about fourth around the mark, but many boats that had been to the left of us were sitting pretty! Sheesh!

Dan Goldberg and Jim Diffily appeared to be the most consistent to my eye, but maybe we’ll see the results at dinner.

Tomorrow it’s a bridge-to-bridge race, which will bring new challenges!   

*Late update: we did see the results at dinner. Dan was first, turns out we were second and Jim is third.            
I see that I did not describe the Moraine Sailing Club's very unusual scoring system. The frame has hooks on either side and the slats can be moved up or down according to a sailor's performance. Every regatta they paint fresh slates and often, apparently, sailors take them home as a memento. I forgot ours, but I would have liked to have it. An unusual souvenir!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Off to "Sail for the Grail"

Ben and I are hitting the road for our next regatta, since we haven't sailed enough this year! Instead of heading north to the Michigan-Ontario District for their Hot Scot regatta we are driving 8 hours east to  Lake Arthur, Pa., which is just outside Pittsburgh, I believe. Mark and Maria Benner, two of our best sailing friends, host this regatta every year and we can't wait to see them. The camping is going to be lovely too, I understand. Sunday we will partake in a tradition we are unfamiliar with: they do a distance race, called Bridge-to-Bridge, instead of round the buoys! We'll let you know how that works out for us.

So far, I'm packed:
camera, check;
sailing gear, check;
camping gear, check;
computer so I can post blogs, check;
skipper ....Ooops, almost forgot to pick him up at work! (As if!).

We're off!