Ben and I just got back from Ephraim, where they held the 107th annual regatta combined with this year's Midwest District Championships. Ephraim is an amazing club, driven entirely by its junior sailing program. For those of you who have been to the club (they hosted NACs a few years ago) they barely have room to turn around on their pier and yet they have more than 400 memberships, which comes out to about 1,000 total members. I will note here that the permanent population of Ephraim is 299. Do the math!
So for two months in the summer Ephraim Yacht Club is a burbling, energized spot for kids of all ages. They have almost 20 kids hired to be sailing instructors and most of those kids also help or compete in the regatta. The whole weekend we did not see a single person (by that I mean teen or younger) messing with their phone; kids were swimming off the club's float, they were kayaking, they were playing a kind of ball game or they were sailing. Too bad I can't have a "do over" and spend my youth at Ephraim!
Meanwhile, the sailing conditions Saturday could not have been better. Winds were pretty steady at about 10 and the direction was pretty predictable. The exception came at the end of the first race, with a 70 degree shift. Going downwind we could no longer hold up the chute, so down it came. Rounding the last leeward mark we saw the new course heading, but could not find a finish line for the longest time. We did see about seven or eight club motor boats scooting around like bees, rushing to what we figured would be the right general area. So, we headed that way, following Jay Lott, who was leading, and Ryan Malmgren figuring they both had to know what was what!
The race committee, led by Don Smith from Lake Norman Yacht Club (near Charlotte NC and host of next year's NACs) did a masterful job and we had three fantastic, five-leg races. Sunday, however, was a total blow out. We could hardly stand out on the pier and people started de-rigging their boat around 9. Race committee called it officially about 11.