Thursday, March 10, 2011

My First Midwinters...So Far So Good

This is my first post to the Midwest District Blog. I sail FS 5631 Wind Talker and started sailing last year. I am a member of Fleet 135 (Clinton, IL). This year I want to learn how to sail fast and hope to be able to keep up with some of the faster sailors.

This year I am attending my first Midwinters Regatta in Sarasota, Florida with Steve Hartman. The host this year is the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Wow! That was my first impression of the host club, the welcoming committee, the organization, the facilities, and all the friendly sailors from across the country.

60+ boats are competing and it has been fun to watch. Unfortunately, the windy conditions (15-20 mph) are a little too much for my experience level. Steve and I decided to hitch a ride aboard Jerry Hartman's cruising boat Charisma and watch the action.

I wanted to be racing, but how can I complain when I'm drinking a cold Miller Lite on a boat in sunny Sarasota, Florida? Here is a video of the second start of Day 2 Championship Division:

The racing was great to watch! After reading some books over the winter break, it was interesting to watch the starts from our vantage point. I think I learned a thing or two from watching the pros, but we'll find out this spring when I get back in the boat.

While on board Charisma I heard story after about about many past regattas and particularly the Glow in the Dark Regatta. Steve and Jerry were former Fleet 135 regulars in Clinton, IL and highly involved with "the Glow". The Glow in the Dark was a regatta hosted annually at Clinton Lake. From what I gather, anyone who has been around Flying Scot sailing for a while has heard of The Glow. If you are like me and new to Flying Scots, apparently we missed a hell of a good time (and great sailing).

After returning to the harbor (and towing in a broken boat), I grabbed a beer with fellow Fleet 135 sailor John Heizer. While at the bar, we heard Nautical Bob on the microphone referencing The Glow and telling those gathering for the top gun briefing how he earned his nickname at the Glow in the Dark. I thought this was very interesting because (1) I just heard several stories about The Glow and (2) The Glow regatta will be the venue for the Midwest District Championships. I tracked down Nautical Bob and he explained how he got his nickname:

I'm appreciating that regattas can provide great sailing and great company. I'm taking notes because the the Sarasota Sailing Squadron and the racing committee is doing a great job so far. The Clinton Lake Sailing Association will not be hosting The Glow until September, but I'm already looking forward to hosting these great sailors at our club. Hopefully a few of them will make the trip.

There are still a few days left at the Midwinters. I'm sure Deb will fill you in the details. As a newbie attending my first national regatta, I'm already looking forward to my next Midwinters.

Hopefully the wind will die down so we can get out on the racecourse...

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