Sunday, March 23, 2014

And then there were the rest of us!

Committee Boat bearing down on us as they shift the course on the last day

Eric and Chris accept their trophy!

Okay, if Ryan had a pretty memorable regatta in not-always-positive ways, I'd say Bill Vogler had a highly positive regatta. Bill had recruited longtime Flying Scot sailor Jack McClurkin to crew for him. Jack flew in from Chicago Monday and we were all very glad to see him. It had been too long. It turns out his "retirement job" driving the water taxi in Chicago really cuts into his sailing time. That's a big bummer.

Anyway, every time Ben and I looked up from out boat, there was Bill, sailing fast and high and looking really really good. We saw a lot of his stern! He told Ryan that he was really pleased with how he was sailing. Maybe Jack is lucky crew and you should consider trying to get him to join you more often, Bill! I can't remember if Bill got new sails at the Midwinters, but he was looking quite spiffy. The last day may have been, at least in some ways, his best day. The first race he finished 6th. In this crowd any single-digit finish is something to be proud of. The second race, alas, he was second to the windward mark but, due to some unfortunate course choices, ended up almost second to last at the finish. Still, he was smiling at the end, and that's really what it's all about!

We saw Mike and Jen Faugust in the back of the fleet more often than we should have. I think it is safe to say they had some very good races, including a 5th place finish the first day, and some finishes they were not so happy about. They finished 13th, one place ahead of Bill Vogler.

Actually, I just realized that the three Midwest District boats (not counting Ryan) finished in a cluster. Faugusts, then Bill Vogler, and then Ben and me finishing 15th. Okay, speaking of finishing 15th, team Sophie did not have their best regatta. We could not get the boat going those first three days. In retrospect, I would say the first day we protected the right all day, anticipating the wind, which started out in the north, would clock right and end up coming in from the south/southeast. That never happened and the right side was NOT the place to be. The locals said afterward (of course!) that the left and out in the lake is always the place to be when the wind is in the north. Maybe one day we'll learn that lesson.

Ben and I got our groove  on in the third race that day. Unfortunately, we were about third place when they abandoned the race due to lack of wind, and perhaps dramatic wind shifts. Drat!

On Wednesday we had three races and the winds continued out of the north/northeast, but we had no boat speed at all. We were really scratching our heads and trying not to feel too discouraged. The same for us on Thursday. We had a great start and, although there were several major shifts, the race committee was on the ball with regard to moving marks and announcing changes. For some reason, however, they abandoned the race after four of the five legs. Ryan was in the lead, but we were definitely in the top 10 in that race. Our best races this regatta were definitely those that didn't end up counting. The ran a second, long race and Ben and I had our hats handed to us. Ugh!

Anyway, finally on Friday, we decided maybe our sail was the problem and we shifted mainsails. Granted the sail we used most of the week was two years old, but that didn't seem too bad. It was only on reflection, when we realized we'd raced in at least two regattas per month for six months each year that we realized just how "used" that sail probably is. Our newer sail is supposed to be for heavy winds, but we decided we had nothing to lose. And we performed much better, as our standing shows. Lesson: old sails hurt!

Anyway, that's an awful lot of talking and I've probably lost everyone who came by, but there it is, the Midwest report from the Midwinters!

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