Reflections on 2011 NAC’s
Many of you don;t know me, but I am sure you all know Frank. When I go to a regatta, I am all about the sailing, the time outside in the sun and the physical and mental challenge of sailing in different places and different conditions. I don’t hang around and socialize too long so it takes longer to get to know me. Both Frank and I continue to strive to improve our sailing and do our best, no matter what place that gives us.
Anyway, on to the NACs. Two days of driving, first night a stop at Berlin Yacht Club in Ohio to pick up our boat and spend the night, see a few friends who were in the middle of overnight Junior Sailing Camp; 50 + kids; we didn’t hang around too long; afraid we’d get put to work.
I hadn’t even looked at any of the NAC promotion material until I began reading it on our second day of travel. WOW, I was impressed by the clear and concise instructions and the attention to every detail on paper. I asked Frank who wrote the instruction packet and he said either Hank or Melanie. When I met them both, I complimented the author; Melanie by the way. I tend to be a very organized person (some say OCD) and recognize and appreciate that trait in others.
As we pulled into Cedar Point Yacht Club, were greeted, directed, boat unhitched,etc. I realized the organization on paper had been transferred to reality. I have never attended a National Championship (17 years in the Highlander class and 6 NACs in the Flying Scot) where measuring was done so efficiently and stress free. I remember at other times, baking in the sun, waiting in line, tempers around me growing short and I won’t even tell you about my temper!! Ephram was pretty awesome but the addition of a full service yacht club at Cedar Point made the NACs that much better. I quickly found the upstairs balcony with shade and a breeze and not many people and it became my yoga studio every morning before racing.
We pulled into the Cedar Point Yacht Club parking lot at 4:15 pm on Saturday and were measured and registered by 5 pm. WHAT SERVICE
For the first time ever, we had time to sail on Sunday at a leisurely pace, try out our new spinnaker,( Ryan finally got there with spinnaker in bag) and get acquainted with the big water of Long Island Sound.
Day One, Monday July 11. Got there early so Frank could have time to play with the boat, socialize, and generally take his time. Not a problem for me, I used the time to go for a walk, check out the real estate, and do a nice yoga practice up on the balcony. An hour or hour and a half of exercise is my normal morning routine.
The first glitch in the NAC organization happened just when Scots began lining up at the hoist, and all of the dock space was taken up by Junior sailors in Optis for an hour. No wind and a hot day so we delayed for an hour and I am glad those Optis did us the favor of getting in the way. We still bobbed around until 2 pm waiting for the sea breeze to come in. The best favor the Optis did was to delay our race starts until noon for the rest of the week. The heat took it’s toll on me that day and I was glad I hadn’t planned on attending the Jimmy Buffet themed dinner that evening. I did throw my Jimmy Buffet Parrot T-Shirt and earrings and a lei into my suitcase, but never wore them; stayed in my room at the DoubleTree. AIR CONDITIONING and some chicken fajitas were much better than a social event.
Day Two July 12
We still haven’t figured out the wind on this BIG LAKE. Is there a favored side? Do we play the compass? Does the tide really make a difference? At least there was better wind today and we did finish respectably enough to make the Championship division.
Used the afternoon to hang around the yacht club. I headed for the beach where I took a dip on Monday after the races; glorious cool clean water,(never seen a midwest lake this clean). I was planning to do some serious lap swimming, invited Ben and Deb, Ryan and Carrie, Sarah and Charles, but no one was up for it. Just as well. It was low tide and there was no water for me to swim in. I walked out to the dock and dangled my feet in the 4 inches that had been over my head on Monday.
Day Three July 13
Yay, the wind is blowing nicely and the forecast is to build. Our Lake Erie years got us used to some pretty wild conditions, and taught us to respect the water but not fear those high winds. Contrary to most women, I actually love “balls to the wall” sailing. I remember some windy crazy rides being mad at Frank for not putting the chute up. Although I am a Master’s swimmer and swim 2000 yards or more three times a week, I do put my lifejacket on if it is blowing enough that I could get hurt. Doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are, if you are unconscious. So when you see me with a lifejacket on, it’s definitely time to put on yours.
Day Four and Five
I confess it is now August 2 and two weeks past the NAC’s and I never finished this. I was writing in the van on the drive home to kill the time and as soon as I got home, all the minutiae of daily life took over and I never wrote again.
To sum it up, though, I had a good time at the NACs and everything went smoothly. Also as one of the locals told me, they had a “Chamber of Commerce” week for weather. The following week they and us were wallowing in the 100 degree nasty stuff.
One never knows what Mother Nature has planned so we got lucky that week. I think the weather is the number one factor in the success of any regatta. At this NACs they had everything else perfectly under control and someone must have paid the right bills to get the weather to cooperate too.