Saturday, July 31, 2010

Arrival in Ephraim

Here we are in lovely, cool Ephraim, WI, for the 105th annual Ephraim Regatta! Clinton Lake has three boats here; us, John Heizer and Jen Liu, and Eric and Rod Bussell. We passed the Bussell’s on the road yesterday; it’s always so exciting to see another Flying Scot on the road!

Last night Jay Lott threw his annual “roadkill party,” with the most amazing food, all of which he had caught. We had salmon fresh-caught by Jay and Ryan Malmgren … where DO you catch salmon inland? Then there were duck and pheasant kebobs, which I’ve never had and were very flavorful. In addition there were crowd pleasers like mac n cheese (one kid who was in line accosted Ben as he walked by with a full plate, ‘is there mac n cheese left?” he asked in desperation!) Then there were hot dogs, brats and the works.

In addition to Flying Scots participating in the regatta, other Ephraim Yacht Club members came to Jay’s and Clinton Lake Flying Scot sailors Joe and Denise Karbarz, who are spending the week in their cabin boat and are planning on being spectators, came to the party.

We camped at Ryan’s cabin, which is tucked away in the woods up the road in Sister Bay. The land borders the water and is up on a cliff. They have steps down to a gorgeous beach, full of huge rocks. It is absolutely breathtaking and we feel lucky to be here. It does, however, rain in this paradise, and last night as we snuggled in our tent, the rain came down for hours. Still, we stayed dry, it looks like the rain has stopped for the moment, and we are now looking forward to setting up our boat and having a great day of sailing in gorgeous Ephraim.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 Ephraim Reggatta: plan to attend!

The 105th consecutive Ephraim Regatta is coming up, July 30 - August 1, 2010. This is always a great event with a large Flying Scot fleet. Deb and I are planning to attend, and at least two other boats from our club have registered: Eric Bussell, who just joined fleet 135 at Clinton Lake Sailing Association this year, and John Heizer, who joined last year. Eric sails with his Dad, Rod, and John sails with his wife, Jennifer.

We plan to post some regatta updates and pictures once the regatta is under way.

Here are links to the NOR, Registration Form, and other information:

2010 Ephraim Regatta Notice of Race

2010 Ephraim Regatta registration form

2010 Ephraim Regatta Welcome Letter and information for competitors

2010 Flying Scot Midwest Districts a Big Success

Photos by Dave Miller. Other pictures from the regatta can be found at the following link: Dave Miller's Photo Album

The post below was contributed by Deb Aronson (Sophie, 5897):

This year's Flying Scot Midwestern Districts were held on Medicine Lake, MN, Larry Klick's home club. Those of you who have sailed at the Glow will know Larry, since he owns the bright red boat named Ketchup.

The turnout for the regatta was exceptional, with ten out-of-town boats, including three from Ephraim, two from Madison, one from Ames, Iowa, as well as Bill Vogler from Carlyle, Frank and Marianne Gerry from Delavan.

Due to a lack of babysitters, two Clinton boats had to drop out at the last minute, but Ben and Deb, sailing Sophie, traveled to the regatta and had a great time! Medicine Lake is small but has a quite active Flying Scot fleet. Visitors launched from a local park and met the locals, several of whom live on the lake, on the race course. Saturday was overcast and quite cold, with a light wind. Just as the racing began, so did the rains, but the rain was relatively light and only started in earnest as we came off the water around 3 or 4 pm.

The first race everyone crowded at the pin end, resulting in a bit of a pile up and some boat bumping at the start. We had a fairly slow start but soon found some wind and got the boat moving pretty well. With the patchy wind, boats traded places throughout the race, and though we had some shining moments, we finished the first race in 10th place. The second race we got a better start, figured out that the left side of the course often paid off, tried to stay left but also watch the compass, and finished fourth. Our light weight appeared to help considerably this regatta on the downwind legs in the light air. We marched past several boats with our spinnaker up in this second race, for example.

The third race looked at first as if we were going to tank it. We got called over early, as did Bill Vogler, and had to restart. Figuring we might as well try for some clear air, since the wind was getting patchier and patchier, we headed right while the bulk of the fleet went left. And there, something magical happened. It was as if we had a little motor on our boat. While everyone struggled to find some pressure, we just sailed over the water, Sophie felt perfect, no matter what we did we went fast, and we were second at the windward mark! Then putting up our 'chute, again in air so light it was hard to tell where it was coming from, Ben figured out it was a tight reach, we got the 'chute full and just marched past Cain Goettleman, from Ephraim, who had beat us to the first mark. We got to the leeward mark more than 10 boat lengths ahead of Cain. The course had, meanwhile, been shortened and so we finished at the windward mark and headed in for a warm shower and dinner.

After everyone got warm and dry we met at a local pizza place for a lively dinner and the swapping of various tall tales and handing out of door prizes. Ben was introduced by Ryan Malmgren as the new district governor to a loud round of applause.

Sunday Larry Klick promised sun and warmth, neither of which materialized. Still, the rain held off and we had two more races in similar conditions as Saturday. We had two solid races, nothing very spectacular, but no big mistakes either. Still, the fleet is tough, several boats behind us in the standings beat us in the races, so although we were in fourth going into Sunday's races, we figured we'd fallen out of trophy contention. Much to our surprise, we had managed to hold on for a fourth place trophy in a very very tough crowd.

2010 Midwest Districts at Medicine Lake: Results

Sail #SkipperCrew 1Crew 2R1R2R3R4R5ScorePosition
5622Ryan MalmgrenCarrie Carpenter2131181
1186Cain GoettelmanSeth Goettelman13226142
5015Frank GerryMaryann Gerry32663203
5897Ben WilliamsDeb Aronson104187304
5551Chris WrightJohn Wright 66855305
5892Bill VoglerJill Rendleman87772316
5698Jay LottDavid Sauter494105317
5150Larry KlickJames Williams78549338
1202Tim DeVriesDeb Torgerson5510319429
4113Shannon WilfertMark Wilfert9121516116310
1354Dave SchwainKevin Schwain14131212126311
5074Claus NiesenMelissa Niesen11101315146312
2576Mike MiskMaria MiskNatalie Misk12141414136713
4815Josh BroseCurt Holmquist19111911107014
2695Walt BarniskisNorrie Simpson1316917157015
238Jeff HowellBarb Emahiser191919987416
3958Tom ConnDan Madsen19151118157817
2770Liz SumptonLiz Salzman15191613167918

Single-Handed Results
Sail #SkipperR1R2ScorePosition
1202Tim DeVries1121
5150Larry Klick2242
2576Mike Misk3583
5551Chris Wright6394
5897Ben Williams5495
4113Shannon Wilfert47116
5074Claus Niesen76137
2695Walt Barniskis98178
3958Tom Conn89179

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 Flying Scot NACS – A Perspective From The Rear – By John Heizer

Jennifer and I were able to get a one week summer vacation and since we've only had our boat since last Fall we wanted to get more experience racing Scots. Even though we have participated in some club races and Wednesday night races, two regattas (Clinton Lake SA 2009 Glow, Carlyle 2010 Egyptian cup) and the Mid Winters in New Orleans, we felt out of our element racing in a larger group. We thought that if we were to brave up and race the NACS we would learn a lot about racing and become more comfortable at regattas.

Even so, in the days before we left, I had doubts (in spite of lots of encouragement from Ben Williams and Deb Aronson) that we belonged there. I emailed the FSSA president, vice president and the gulf district governor expressing my concerns. All three heartily encouraged us to come. The president, Charles Buffington, even introduced us to the current Flying Scot national champion, Allan Terhune and asked him to check our boat for correct setup and advice, which he did graciously. I was pleasantly surprised. At the NACS we made new friends, strengthened existing friendships, increased our comfort sailing in large groups and improved our sailing technique.

One of our problems has been focusing so much on sail trim and boat handling that we forget to look outside. We haven’t been able to free ourselves up enough to get our heads out of the boat and look for the part of the course that has better pressure, to see what the competition is doing, or even closely follow the wind shifts. With the many hours we spent racing over the last week I feel we were able to make some progress in these areas.

For the first time, in some of the races we actually had more than one boat behind us at the first windward mark. In one of the earlier races, which was eventually cancelled due to the wind turning completely off, we were on the line, in a clear spot, right at the starting gun. However, we were not up to speed when I decided to tack. We only made it halfway and were caught in irons. Even so, we went to the side of the course that benefitted from a persistent shift and had 8 boats behind us at the windward mark! I was so surprised I counted the boats behind us several times until Jennifer yelled to me to turn around and steer. This was a thrill and a huge victory for us .

Of the 16 boats who completed all three of the races in the challenger series we finished 2nd from last and were miles behind the 1st three-fourths of the Challenger group. To sum up: even though we were at the back, my doubts were unfounded – everyone was friendly and welcoming; we gained experience, confidence, and some skills; and most importantly we had a lot of fun. Even though this serious event was thickly populated with professional and expert amateur sailors, there was still room for inclusion and encouragement of these two newbies.

Congratulations to Clinton Lake’s Ben Williams and Deb Aronson 2010 NACS Challenger National Champions!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Deb's third post from the NACs (posted Sunday, 7/4)

Well, it might seem that we fell of the end of the world there for a few days, but things got a little hectic. In catching up, this post is a bit long, I give you fair warning.

After the qualifying rounds finished on Tuesday, we showed up Wednesday for the 1 pm start only to be met with more weather. The winds were high, storms kept sweeping through and so we sat in the club house watching the radar and the clouds.

Finally at about 2 or 2:30 the RC announced we were going out, so everyone dashed to put their boats in. There were about 50 boats using one hoist and so, although the process went very smoothly, it took a while. By the time Ben and I just got our boat in, a squall came through,and the race committee sent everyone back in. At that point, everyone took their boats out and 30 minutes later a lovely sea breeze set in!! Argh! Still, that was it for the day and we were told to come back Thursday for a 10 am start.

Thursday started out looking better. There was a decent wind, they started the race (windward-leeward twice around), and off we went. The wind shifted a bit and the race committee was really trying to make things perfect, so they kept shifting the marks, providing a whistle at the preceding mark to alert us to the change. Unfortunately, on the third leg they muffed the setting of the mark, turning that leg into a reach instead of an upwind leg. For some reason, they then finished us at the end of the third leg, probably (maybe?) because they figured that was a crazy race and better to just end it as soon as they could. Ben and I were not only well back in the fleet, maybe 17th or so, but we didn't get a finish, which is the first moment we realized we had been over early at the start. They had put up a individual recall but do not announce boats, so you just have to guess. Ben knew we had been over before the gun but thought he had dipped below well before. It turns out, the "I" flag was up, meaning not only do you have to go around an end to restart if you are over early, but you have to be behind the line one minute before the start. We had forgotten that important detail!

Luckily for us (to spare you any suspense) they had to throw out that race because in the instructions for this particular regatta the minimum race has to be four legs. Whew!!

Next they tried another race, again windward-leeward. We got a good start that time and headed pretty hard right in the dying wind. We got to the windward mark just behind John and Susie Domagala. As we rounded the mark we began to realize just how much the wind had died and we ghosted down the course, barely under way all the way to the leeward mark. We rounded and went left and the wind died still more. I will spare you the painful details, but it was a long, long leg during which what wind there was shifted and we put up our spinnaker again. Finally, we were in spitting distance of the mark, the water like glass, when we heard the abandon horn. The race had not been completed in the allotted time. What torture!!

So we'd been on the water since 9:30, it was now 2:30 and we had no races that counted yet. Looking grim!

Happily, when we got in, a sea breeze began to blow, they sent us out again and ran a lovely race. We decided on a conservative start and to head right, which we did. We traded tacks with two or three boats up that leg, but managed to round in first place, got our chute up though the wind was light, and headed to the leeward mark. We managed to pull away a little on that leg and also benefitted from a big traffic jam right behind us when about six boats got to the leeward mark at the same time. The next two legs we did the same and pulled out more. They finished us downwind and by that time we were about 20 boat lengths ahead of the next boat. That was a fun race!!

Friday they had to run two races to even make the regatta count and things were tense. They had us start at 9:30, got a good race in with a moderate wind from the north east. We had a conservative midline start, played the shifts, had the boat going well upwind. Each mark we rounded in second place, though the leader changed every time! In the end, Kim and Dave Thinel, of the Florida District, had the best boat speed and won the race. We were second and felt really good about our finish.

Then, just like the day before, the wind died and we sat, and sat ... and sat. The smart boats, including John and Jen, headed in to get out of the sun. By the time we figured out we could do that they had decided to try to start a race in a wimpy north wind that had shown up. They were running out of time, the race had to start before 3 pm and it was already 2:15. As they started the Championship Fleet we saw the seabreeze coming in from the exact opposite angle and Ben said, "Deb at the start, get ready to put the chute up." Luckily, the RC also saw what was happening, abandoned the race, we all trucked down wind, they set up a new course and voila! we got a good race off in a steady, moderate wind. Hallelujah!

That race was similar to the one on Thursday. We traded tacks with a couple boats on the way upwind. One boat, Greg and Diane Kampf from Massachusetts, got there first, then we were second. That was the situation for almost the whole race until the last upwind leg, when our closest competitor, John Kreidler, got by us to finish second.

We had a one, two and three finish, which gave us six points. John K had nine points, so that made us the winner of the Challenger division. We are feeling pretty darn good about it!

Deb's second post from the NACs (posted Wednesday, 6/30)

Well, when I left you all yesterday, we dashed out to the racecourse during a break in the weather and, between one thing and another managed to complete all three races of the round-robin qualifying series. Unfortunately, it took about 8 hours, with winds topping out at about 18 with gusts over 20 and lots of chop. In addition, we had almost finished one race that they subsequently abandoned when a squall came through, and had several general recalls in which one fleet sailed almost an entire leg. So that made for a long day!

Both Ben and John qualified for the Challenger fleet, but no races are being run yet, since winds are now 20 and above, with some gusts being reported at 29! This is survival sailing at its finest, especially with a light crew weight. Nevertheless, we're have a good time, we are certainly not overheating, which had been my big concern. From our district, both Ryan Malmgren and Frank Gerry are in the Championship Fleet, so GO MIDWEST District!!

BUT, the big news is that the local paper, the Sun Herald has front sports page feature of the regatta and Yours Truly is in a photo below the fold, complete with our Clinton Lake affiliation! Check it out!!, scroll down the page until you find sports and you'll see a feature labeled, "The Big Breezy." The photo of us at the start line was in the print version too!! Go Clinton Lake!!!
Or you can go straight to the story at

Deb's first post from the NACs (posted Tuesday, 6/29)

Greetings from Bay-Waveland, Mississippi, where the Flying Scot North Americans have been stalled due to Hurricane Alex's far reach. Sunday, when we were getting measured, the weather was lovely and both the Junior and the women's divisions were able to compete.

Yesterday (Monday) was supposed to be the first of a two-day round-robin qualification series. There are four fleets of 12 boats each and each fleet will race against the other three. Then the finals will consist of a total of five races with the 50 boats divided into a Championship and a Challenger series, based on results from the quals. We got our boats in the water, only to have an enormous storm come through that had all 50 skippers and their crew hunkering down in the club house (a very lovely club house, by the way) for the entire day.

So there has been a lot of visiting and tall-tale swapping among the sailors, who are both top-notch and extremely friendly. John Heizer and Jen Liu with their son, Will, are also here and are enjoying meeting the sailors and soaking up the scene. We are sharing a house together that is a bit inland but on a canal. It is very scenic, with dense foliage and exotic plants. Someone sighted an alligator in the reeds near the club, but according to those who know, an alligator isn't half as scary as a crocodile. who knew?

It appears to be an incredibly competitive group here, with many former North American champions, professional sailors and the like. We'll learn a lot!!

This morning, instead of starting at 1 pm as previously scheduled, to take advantage of the sea breeze, we were going to start at 10:30 to try and fit all three qualifying races in this morning. Alex had a different idea, and at about 9:30 another large cell began moving through, bringing buckets and buckets of rain and a stiff breeze. It looks as if racing will be put off for another hour or so, so keep your fingers crossed!

Photos of Midwest sailors at the 2010 NACs

The inaugural post of this blog is coming after the Flying Scot NACs at Bay Waveland. I meant to start it before, but that's how things go sometimes.

To start with, let me include a few pictures of
sailors from the midwest district who attended the NACs. These were taken on Sunday (measurement day), before the all of the rain started, as folks were setting up their boats.

From top to bottom:

Frank and Maryann, just after stepping Helga's mast.

Maryann showing off cool sunglasses.

Ryan and Carrie.

John standing between Sophie and Blown Away.

Jen and Will, just after setting up Will's play area under the Bay Waveland Club.

Lots of Scots...