Monday, July 29, 2013

Sheridan Shores Had Wind and Party Atmosphere

Bahai Temple behind Sheridan Shores Yacht Club

 Sheridan Shores, just north of Chicago, has a small club with tons of boats. It has a gorgeous view of the Bahai Temple, just to its west. Cool building, if you are ever in the neighborhood.

 Ben and I have never been to this regatta, Sheridan Shores Race Weekend (July 27 & 28), mostly because it is a multi-class regatta and, for whatever reason, Scots in our district don't tend to travel to it. Still, it is part of our Midwest Travel Series, so Ben and I wanted to support it. We had three out-of-town boats, us, Mike Pitzer from Carlyle Lake, and Henry Schultz from Neenah, WI.  Henry we don't see much, but he is a fast, fast sailor. His crew, Pierce (whose last name I did not catch), has moved back to Neenah, so maybe we'll see them on the circuit some more this year. That would be awesome!

Meanwhile, back to the harbor: to get many of those (sometimes enormous) boats in the water they have to use this monster hoist, requiring professional operators. Using it to put Sophie in the water was a little overkill, but still, it worked. And check out the size of that hoist!

Monster hoist putting Sophie in the water

 The wind Saturday was pretty windy, but more challenging were the waves, which were about 4-5 feet. I almost got seasick! Things got really hairy in the middle of the last race, when we got a puff of about 24 mph that almost knocked Ben and me over. To make matters more chaotic, my foul weather pants had fallen down to my knees. They've been a problem before: I tend to put them on over everything else, including my life jacket and the shoulder straps are just not tight enough to keep them up. It wasn't a problem until our almost capsize when I couldn't move fast enough to do my part, being "leg cuffed" in my pants.

Once we got past the risk of capsize i wouldn't do anything until I got my pants off and got my shoes back on. By that point we were half way down the downwind  leg and the wind was honking. Ben started thinking we should put the chute up and then he saw John and Chris Wright almost capsize gybing without their chute and he decided to play it a little conservative...

Of course, John Wright apparently had some trouble with his foul weather pants too...We'll have to find out the details!

The sailing was thrilling! I never imagined I would say that. I was sopping wet and a little terrified, but it was also really really fun. Of course, that also could be because we did well, catching Chris and John on the last leg of that race and catching Henry and Pierce on the first race. It's also because after traveling and sailing so much I have been almost completely de-sensitized to fear on the boat. Almost, mind you.

After two hair-raising races (actually more like hair plastered to my face) we came in and still had time to sink into a hot bath and take a nap before the lobster fest.  The party ("Clause for Celebration" har har) was the club's chance to celebrate re-earning the lease on the property. There were some ugly politics and it looked very likely that one-design racing, especially in dinghies, was going to get flushed down the pipes, when the lease was not renewed. But then, thanks I'm sure to some backroom maneuvers, the club got the lease back. Whew!

Lobsters, yum!

Sunday the wind had moderated a tiny bit and clocked more northwest so the waves were not quite as bad. I also don't remember any puffs like we had on Saturday.  You can see the Chicago skyline in the photo below ... kind of!

Sunday, no waves!
After we pulled our boat, jumping in line ahead of a J-24 — have you ever seen a J-24 hoisted from the water?! — the club had a really nice hot lunch grilled on the patio, where we joined our Flying Scot pals and relaxed in the sunshine. It was an awesome weekend and we'll do it again next year!
Fleet Captain Mike Fuller with his arms up celebrating

Thursday, July 25, 2013

108th Annual Ephraim Regatta

The Ephraim Yacht Club invites all Flying Scot sailors to participate in the 108th annual Ephraim Regatta on August 2-3-4, 2013.  The Ephraim Regatta is consistently one of the largest Flying Scot regattas in the country, and features two great parties, a beautiful sailing area, and superb hospitality (the EYC won US Sailing’s One Design Regatta of the Year award in 2009 for its hosting of the Flying Scot NAC).  The NOR is available and registration is open at  For more information contact regatta chairman Jay Lott

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicago Race Weekend Up Next, and Ephraim Right After That!

Both the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club Race Weekend Regatta this weekend, July 27 & 28 and Ephraim Regatta, August 3 4 are part of the newly created Midwest District Traveling Trophy. For those of you interested, I'll post the details on the trophy shortly.

But meanwhile, please consider attending these events:

The annual Sheridan Shore Yacht Club Race Weekend will take place on July 27-28 and will serve as one of the five venues for this year’s Midwest Travel Champion trophy.  The SSYC is beautiful club in a very pretty harbor about 12 miles north of downtown Chicago.  The beaches are clean, the lake water is amazingly clear, and the view of the Chicago skyline in the back ground is breath taking.  The party is sure to be a smash as always … this year the club members have a “claws for celebration” with just having received the news that the harbor lease has been renewed for 39 more years.

Any questions should be directed to the Flying Scot Class Regatta Chair: Chris Wright [] 847-492-3693

The Ephraim Yacht Club invites all Flying Scot sailors to participate in the 108th annual Ephraim Regatta on August 2-3-4, 2013.  The Ephraim Regatta is consistently one of the largest Flying Scot regattas in the country, and features two great parties, a beautiful sailing area, and superb hospitality (the EYC won US Sailing’s One Design Regatta of the Year award in 2009 for its hosting of the Flying Scot NAC).  The NOR is available and registration is open at  For more information contact regatta chairman Jay Lott

Saturday, July 20, 2013

All Five Races at NACs Completed!

In a stunning reversal, instead of sailing zero races as we did on Thursday, on Friday we sailed three, to complete the regatta. The wind came in overnight and we had almost perfect conditions: 6-8 knot breeze out of the southwest. The races were long, with downwind finishes so the committee could get us off again as soon as possible.

We sailed from 9:30 til about 2 p.m. That's a long day of racing! Still, the wind conditions couldn't have been better. Sometimes we were even both on the high side! I might even have pulled the vang a time or two!

The first race we had a really good pin-end start and liked the left side. The boat felt good and we got to the first weather mark just in with a pack of six or eight of the top sailors. We held our own on the spinnaker leg and then I got greedy and suggested to Ben that we might try the right since so many boats made out up there. That was the wrong side to be on and we slide back to about mid fleet.

The second race Ben once again had an outstanding start. I think we mostly stayed on the left, but to be honest things started to blur at this point! I do remember that coming into the downwind finish Steve Shaw, from Lake Norman, protested us and we had to take down the spinnaker, do two circles and then put it back up. That is slow, let me tell you!

The third race we didn't realize the starting sequence had started until there were only two minutes left, so our start was a little wobbly. Still, Ben made a great recovery, tacked for clear air and we found good company. We were almost in contact with the leaders (Jeff and Amy Linton, primarily) and tried to follow them but they soon got so far ahead we went back to sailing our own race. We were doing pretty well, especially considering that the heat and exertion was starting to take its toll. We lost some boats at the top of the course the second time around, had a pretty strong spinnaker leg and then we were done.

Jeff and Amy Linton had a great day, finishing first in two of the three races to come from third to win the NAC. Allan and Katie Terhune took second and, competing in his first Flying Scot NAC, skipper Rob Whittemore, with crew John Wake, took third.

In the Challenger Division racing was fierce, with one point separating the first three places. Outgoing FSSA President Diane Kampf and her husband, Greg, won the Challenger Division and incoming FSSA President Frank Gerry and his wife, Marianne, came in third. Don Smith and Chris Kacinski lost a tie breaker for first place and earned second.

The final results can be found here:

Championship Division Results

Challenger Division Results

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where the Wind Deserts Us Once Again

 Thursday we woke to dead calm. The race committee had prepared us for this, explaining at the Wednesday night dinner what they would do when/if they postponed the next day. We got the strong impression that even they were not very optimistic about wind.

This time, unlike Tuesday, they postponed for a set amount of time, posting the message on the website and hoisting a number flag (i.e. "1" for one hour) under the AP flag at the Race Management Center. So by 9, when they flew the "2" flag under the AP we knew the racing was postponed at least two hours. That gave me time to go for a swim. John Wake and I swam along the shore, using each dock as a guide and a waypoint. The water was so calm that swimming 40 minutes was pretty relaxing, all in all. It was so warm I didn't even wear my hot pink bathing cap, which I usually do to ward off motor boats.

Shortly before noon we got the AP over H flag, which told us the race committee had given up for the day and we were free to move about Mooresville. The rest of the day we basically hung out, mostly on the back porch but by the end of the day we'd moved inside. Ben and I did have lunch with the Chattanooga  crowd (Rob, Stuart, Tom, Linda, Bill and John) from Privateer Yacht Club and then went to see The Heat at a local theater. By then we barely had time to rush back to the house to primp for the annual meeting and banquet at the Memory Lane Automotive Museum. The museum was a funky affair, full of, not only old-time cars,
but bicycles, cut outs of various race car drivers and ...
Seriously! Two suits of armor!

Diane Kampf passed the gavel to our very own Frank Gerry, of the Midwest District (and Clinton Lake Sailing Association) and got a standing ovation for all her hard work over the last two years.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day #3 NACs

We have wind! Not much, but enough to run two races. We woke up to a red sky, which I decided not to point out to Ben. I was feeling cautiously optimistic, and sure enough, by 8:45 there was a light, but steady breeze on the lake. They got the first race off a little late, in order for all the boats to make the start, and then we had a 90-minute, 5-leg windward-leeward race. Boats on the right definitely did better than those on the left ... we were on the left. Bummer!

The second race the conditions were about the same, with light winds between 30 and 60 degrees. Greiner Hobbs and Robert Hobbs, from Davis Island Yacht Club, took an early lead the second race and held on to it for three legs at which point the race committee shortened the course as the wind died. Jeff and Amy Linton, also of Davis Island Yacht Club were second and Rob Whittemore and John Wake of Fishing Bay Yacht Club were third.

In the challenger fleet, Frank and Marianne Gerry from Clinton Lake Sailing Association are in first after two races and Don Smith and Chris Kicinski of host club, Lake Norman Yacht Association are in second place.

We were off the water by 1 and a bunch of us headed — surprise!— back to the house where we wallowed in the water.

Later in the afternoon severe thunderstorms moved through the area. We sat on the porch and enjoyed the show.

Three more races are scheduled for the championships.

Before dinner we had Scottish games. Sailors were strongly encouraged to put on a "kilt." Frank Gerry said a woman he'd never met marched right up to him and put a kilt on him, at which point he said, "Pleased to meet you!"

 The winner of each game gets a coveted red plate, which allows them to go to the front of the dinner line. Ben and I really wanted a red plate so we picked the haggis toss, run by our pal, Dave Safirstein. Only one other person had participated so we thought our odds were good. The toss involves taking the soccer ball (in a spinnaker bag), and tossing it over a badminton net.....while standing backwards!

Here is Keith Eustis throwing ....
And Sandy "catching!"
You can see from these photos that competition was low (Sandy claims they won the senior division) and Ben and I successfully won a red plate. Dinner was yummy; marinated pork loin, a cold pea salad in a vinegary dressing that was delish, and a hashbrown casserole that was so good I do NOT want to know what was in it. It was too good to be good for you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day #2 NACs

7 a.m.:
Ben and I put our boat in the water
8 a.m.:
The water is like glass
9 a.m:
Postpone flag goes up
No wind. Everyone is relaxing and the flags are limp.

4 p.m.
The race committee, after looking up and down the lake all day, calls it quits.

20 or more of us go to dinner at Joe Fish. Yay Joe Fish. Good food, nice atmosphere, closed both Sunday and Monday, which surprised us. We go to Joe Fish almost every time we come to Lake Norman. The party was so large that we split into three tables. We sat with John Kreidler, Mike Phelan, and the Cooksons, Chris and his dad, Pete. Then, in addition to the 20 people in our party at least two other Flying Scot groups came in, including Harry Carpenter, Melanie and Bill Dunham, Larry Taggert, and Heidi and Kelly Gough.

BTW, we all ordered the Pasta Fra Diablo (except Mike, who went with the shrimp special)

9:30 p.m. Ben and I took our boat out of the water.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day #1 NACs

I’m sitting on the back porch of our rental house and there is a great blue heron on the neighbor’s dock. It’s a peaceful sight and a satisfying end to a day that did not look all that auspicious. We all got to the racecourse ready for a 9:30 start, but the wind that looked imminent never materialized. We drifted around for almost two hours and then the race committee sent us in.

After we tied up our boat at the dock Ben and I trooped over to the house, along with everyone else staying there plus some others and proceeded to hang out for three or four hours, trading stories, napping and looking at various blogs. We kept an ear on our radio and listened to the race committee as they went out dutifully looking for wind.

I was convinced that our best chance for wind would be about 5 or 6 pm, but at 2:30 the breeze filled in. We all scattered like so many cockroaches making our way to our boats. We got to the racecourse in time for a 4 pm start and the conditions were really perfect. Maybe about 5 knots and all filled in across the lake. Hallelujah!!

There were two separate starts with about 35 boats per start. Both starts went off without any general recalls. We did one really long, five-leg race that took about 90 minutes and then went on in.  For a really great description of the race, go to

I was sorry that Coral Reef Sailing, which has sailing clothing and other equipment and always comes to the Midwinters and often to the NACs, was not here. But we got something even better, Rick's Canvas repair! We got a strap replaced and all kinds of other rips and tears mended. Here's a big shoutout for Rick's! Check out all the other sailors doing the same.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day #0 of North American Championships

It is Sunday afternoon and we are sitting on a screened porch by the water, in a house two doors down from the Lake Norman Yacht club. The wind is gorgeous! About 10 mph steady from the northeast. The women and the juniors’ championships are finished, though I couldn’t tell much from my view. 

Racing for the rest of us starts tomorrow. We are divided into four fleets and will sail, round-robin style, against the other three fleets over the next two days. The top half of the finishers will then be in the Championship Fleet and the other half will be the Challenger Fleet and the finals will begin on Wednesday.

We are all wishing we could bottle some of this lovely air and save it for the coming days because most models predict maybe 6 or 8 tomorrow and then absolutely nothing, with the wind boxing the compass, until Friday. Plus temperatures in the 90s…Yikes! Well, time will tell, of course.

It’s been wet and cool in North Carolina, just like in the Midwest (best line I heard today was from Stuart Cofield of Privateer Yacht Club in Chattanooga , “last summer was so hot and dry fishermen had to check their catch for ticks!”). LYNC has gotten so much rain in the last few days that the usual field where we park is a swamp and they had to reorganize all the parking places so they didn’t tear up their field.

Best part of the regatta so far? The Loch Ness/dragon-style gumball dispenser (in keeping with the theme of the regatta “Loch Norman”). You put a penny in it and turn the contraption and a gumball comes out. Green, blue or yellow and that tells you what measurement you get. Yellow is the biggest pain in the neck; you have to get your boat weighed, among other things.

We have about 70 boats registered, based on my last information and there are several boats representing our district: Frank (who will become President of FSSA at the end of the regatta) and Marianne Gerry, Ryan Malmgren, Bill Vogler, and Ben and myself.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Give Lake Pymatuning a Try!

Ben and I went to the Ohio Districts to help support the young Flying Scot fleet at the host club at Lake Pymatuning, Ohio. The regatta coincided with their annual Independence Day regatta and I haven't seen so many boats in one place since I was at St. Petersburg. There were 45 Thistles, 20 Flying Scots, six Lightnings, about the same number of Highlanders and J-22s. You'd think that tempers would flare trying to maneuver all the boats into the water, but nothing of the sort happened. Everyone was very mellow and patient with one another. As Ben and I rigged our boat in the middle of the lot, blocking several parked boats since it was the only free place without overhead wires, a Lake Pymatuning Thistle sailor generously moved his buddy's Thistle (who wasn't sailing the regatta) onto the grass so Ben and I could pull in and out of the way. Very kind! This photo doesn't even convey the degree of crowdedness, but it's the best I could do.

 Pymatuning is a large lake and it has a horse power restriction on boat motors so we had the lake to ourselves, except for some pontoon boats and fishermen. The wind was light on Saturday and I'm not sure we really should have had the last race, which ended this way!

Though I shouldn't complain because Ben and I were at the back of the fleet on that last race, with not even a whisper of wind. Our mantra, "don't give up," and so I practiced not feeling frustrated (practice being the operative word). On the last leg we got some weird private wind and ghosted past a big knot of boats, coming in second. The wind gods were on patrol for us, I guess!

Sunday was a little windier — we were even both on the high side! — and we got a couple very good races in. Bruce and Lynn Kitchen had an awesome day, beating Harry Carpenter and Courtney Dunham in one race.

I don't have the results, unfortunately, but I'll try to track them down....

Monday, July 8, 2013

 Ben and I had never been to Deep Creek Lake before, so we were really looking forward to going to the Wife-Husband this year (June 29 & 30). It had been raining forever but you can't tell from these photos! Deep Creek is gorgeous. It's up in the mountains so the mornings are cool and then it warms up comfortably. Despite predictions, it was sunny and gorgeous all weekend. Winds were moderate Saturday and then lighter and flukier Sunday, but that's sailing!
 Deep Creek is, of course, the "birthplace" of the Scot, what with Harry's factory (which was Sandy Douglas's and Eric Amman's before) in town. I was really struck by both the number of Flying Scots on the lake and the virtual absence of any other sailboat. This dock has FOUR Scots. It's just a private home, not a club. The mooring field in front of one of the clubs, the one where we've all parked, is full of Scots and only a small number are even participating in the regatta. It's an eyeful.
It's always gratifying to look at a photo like this and count each of these people as our friends. We have made such an amazing group of friends in just a few years. That doesn't happen often at our age and we don't take it for granted. From left: me, Don Smith, Chris Kicinski, Sandy Eustis, Keith Eustis, Tom Hohler, Chris Czapleski, Jo Baugher, and Rick Baugher.

I have submitted a story about this regatta to Sailing World magazine and, while nothing in life is guaranteed, my hope is that it will be published some time in the next six months. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Midwest Districts Had it All

The first Midwest District Regatta hosted by Eagle Creek Sailing Club had it all: light wind, moderate wind, thunder and lightning, sunshine and buckets of rain!  We had boats from six clubs, including Medicine Lake (MN), Ephraim (WI), Chicago, and Clinton Lake and we got all five scheduled races in. Our district covers a lot of ground, when you figure Larry Klick came from Medicine Lake, Minnesota, and that's a 12 hour drive!!

The wind Saturday was light and variable out of the west, southwest. The trick at Eagle Creek is that, unless the wind is coming due south, the course runs across the width of the lake, which does not leave much room for a race course. We were all hoping for some nice southerly winds, but on Saturday it started in the southwest and soon clocked to the west. I will be forever haunted by the windward mark placed up against the shore, where Ben and I approached roughly even with Carrie and Harry Carpenter and by the time we rounded, they were at the leeward mark. It was the hole of death for us!

(From top: close racing; Chris and John Wright; Mike and Jennifer Faugust; Fleet 135!; and tight pack at the start)

Eagle Creek harbor is at the end of a long inlet and quite protected, so we occasionally had to get a tow in or out to the race course. Saturday as we began sailing back to the club a storm that we thought was going to dodge us dumped an absolute deluge on us. It wasn't cold, exactly, but it was very, very wet! As  lightning lit up the sky, we graciously accepted a tow... By the end of the evening many participants were very happy to put on their long-sleeved, Eagle Creek Flying Scot commemorative tshirts!

The water was a little too much like a mirror early Sunday morning and race organizers were very nervous. Nevertheless, by the time we got to the race course the wind had picked up and was out of a friendly, southerly direction. We got two more races in, mostly along the long axis of the lake, which was a very nice way to wind up the event!

Mike and Jennifer Faugust were by far the most consistent in the difficult conditions. Clinton Lake sailors won the Fleet 135 trophy, which is for the three highest finishing teams from a single club. Clinton Lake IS Fleet 135, but this is the first time our club has won the trophy since it was inaugurated in 1995. Frank and Marianne Gerry also won the "Old Salts" trophy as the highest finishing boat with combined ages of 100 or more.

The results are here:

Sail # Skipper Crew Club Race 1 Race 2          Race 3 Race 4 Race 5    Total
5775 Mike Faugust Jennifer Faugust Ephraim 2 2 3 2 1 10
5015 Frank Gerry Marianne Gerry Clinton Lake 6 5 2 1 5 19
5419 Carrie Carpenter Harry Carpenter Eagle Creek 3 4 5 5 3 20
5551 Chris Wright John Wright Sheridan Shores 8 1 7 3 2 21
5150 Larry Klick Jacob Meldman Medicine Lake 7 6 1 4 7 25
5897 Ben Williams Deb Aronson Clinton Lake 5 3          11 (ret) 8 4 31
5631 Eric Bussell Bryan Hunt Clinton Lake 1 10 10 6 6 33
4278 Geoff Endris Patrick Endris Eagle Creek 4 9 4 7 9 33
3951 Jeff Gilman Brett Eickenberg Sheridan Shores 9 7 8 10 8 42
5395 Jack Marwick Janet Marwick Delavan 10 8 6 9 10 43