You know that old saw about "for want of a nail, a shoe was lost .." etc? Well, we almost had something like that happen this past weekend at Cowan Lake. This morning (Sunday) as we headed to the racecourse for our second day of racing, Ben found that he had a screw loose ... in his glasses, I mean! He was on the verge of losing the lense. Thankfully, the screwdriver on my Leatherman was just the right size and he was able to fix his glasses.
That was lucky because, as of this morning we were in contention for first place (quite a rare occurance for us). Rob Tikoft, a Cowan Lake sailor who we have met at many other regattas as well, was just ahead of us in the standings. After us there were several other sailors, including two other traveling boats, Sandy and Keith Eustis (formerly of Cowan, now of Lake Koewee in S.C.) and Tom Hohler and Chris Czapleski that we had to worry about. I was relieved that Ben was going to be able to see what he was doing.
This was my first time at Cowan Lake, though Ben had been a couple times with other crew. It is a lovely lake and the people are incredibly friendly.They are Flying Scot Fleet One, so they have a long history of Flying Scots and still have a large and strong fleet (as well as an active fleet of Snipes, Highlanders, Y Flyers and Lightnings). I'm going to try to post a photograph of the club, which sits at the top of a very high, grassy hill overlooking the lake, which only allows 9 horsepower motors on it, I might add. As an aside, Saturday evening there was a really interesting and lively presentation by Steve Tsuchiya, a club member, Flyiing Scot sailor and America's Cup historian. I thought I was too beat to listen, but I really really enjoyed it! Steve was an engaging and entertaining speaker.
The race committee ran Olympic Modified courses the whole weekend, which is rare for Flying Scots, at least in my experience. My main concern was we might forget about the reaching mark, but no worries. Saturday the winds were light and shifty. There were about 12 boats in the Championship (aka Hogs) fleet and 7 in the Challenger (aka Oinkers) fleet. We got two good races in, with the lead changing frequently, what with those shifty conditions, etc. In the end, Rob Tikoft won a race and Tom Hohler won a race. Ben and I finished a consistent 2nd and 3rd.
Today there was more breeze and slightly steadier winds. Ben and I got to the first windward mark in the lead after an awesome start and led the rest of the way around. All we had to do to win this regatta was finish about mid fleet, assuming our closest competition was only a few boats ahead of us. So what happened? Well, we were over early on the last start! Ack! Okay, that's okay, we re-started, got the all clear and put our heads down to try to recover from that mistake. We found some wind, we liked the right side of the course, we worked on good boat balance and sail trim; it was, in the words of Ryan Malmgren, hard work conditions. As we approached the windward mark, I was hoping we'd be maybe mid-fleet if we were lucky. I looked up from whatever I was doing to see that we were going to be first around the mark because two boats to leeward of us could not fetch the mark!
We continued around the course and successfully finished first, again. That is not something we do often, so two bullets in a day was really special. Happy Father's Day, Ben! The traveling trophy is a concrete pig that has got to weight 30 pounds. We get to write our names on it and bring it back next year.
I also want to mention that, in the final standings, every boat that trophied had Mad Sails, so that's a great plug for our very own Ryan Malmgren's sailmaking prowess!