Monday, August 4, 2014

Light Winds and Lots of Fun at Ephraim

Before I start praising Fleet 135's (Clinton Lake) sailing, I want to give a shout out to all the other traveling sailors we saw this weekend. Larry Taggert and Carrie Berger came all the way from Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans (and they scheduled a vacation around the regatta so they got to stay extra days, lucky dogs!). Bob McElwain came from Florida, though I don't remember (if I ever knew!) his home club. Both Larry and Bob were able to borrow boats, which made their travels much easier!

We saw Chuck Howting and Arik Riley from Madison, Jeff Gilman and Brett Eikenberg from Sheridan Shores (Chicago), and also Shannon and Mark Wilfert, whom I haven't seen in forever! Last I knew Shannon was pregnant. The Wilferts  came two the regatta with two-year-old Mattie and Mattie's grandmother (Shannon's mom). Yikes! Time flies!! Anyway, it was great to see them! In addition, Fleet 135 brought three traveling boats: us, Eric Bussell and Chris Tesdal, and Frank and Marianne Gerry. I also want to give a huge shout-out to Dan Goldberg, who came all the way from Pittsburgh to be the PRO, and he did a FABULOUS job!!

Parking is always tight at Ephraim, but we managed to squeeze in at the end of the pier next to a boat sailed by three young women. It's always fun to see all the kids racing when we come to this regatta!
Friday night we caught up with all our friends at a barbecue in the park across the street from the clubhouse. It's always exciting to see who makes the trip ... to any regatta we travel to!
Ben paddling around to find a spot on the dock...

I'm afraid I neglected to remember to take many photos this time, and my memory is a bit fuzzy on wind direction and the like but I'll do my best. My plan is to try and get in the habit of writing these reports on the way home instead of the next day. My neurons can only hold on to a memory for a few hours these days!

Anyway, Saturday brought winds from the northwest (240-260) and the first race I'd say the winds were in the 10-12 range. Ben and I felt like we got the boat going well and we were in the front cluster all the way around the five-leg race and it looked like we'd have a fourth behind Mike and Jennifer Faugust, Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu, and Jay Lott and Dave Sauter. Unfortunately, Larry Taggert snuck by us right at the line, but we felt good about our performance.

The wind dropped the next two races and we felt like we were in a washing machine and really struggled to get Sophie going. We finished the day in sixth place. Frank and Marianne, on the other hand, found their groove, finishing fourth in both races and fourth in the standings behind Ryan, Jay and Larry. That is highly respectable in a fleet like this filled with fast sailors who've grown up sailing these waters. And Eric and Chris finished in the top 10 both races, as well, getting Wind Talker going very nicely in the slop.

I see this boat out every year. I think it gives rides...
We sailed in, admiring this boat that I see every year, and headed back to shower and get ready for our annual bratfest-ival.

boats waiting to use the hoist at the end of the day
I kept remembering how last year it rained and so I especially enjoyed the lovely evening. We ran into our old friends, Lal and Matt Burridge, from our days at Carlyle Lake sailing Lightnings. Lal is retired and lives up in Ephraim year round and Matt just happened to be up this weekend visiting. We caught up on his kids, including his oldest who was 10 years old last I noticed and is getting ready for his first year of college.....

We had a bonfire with a group singing and strumming their guitars (again, would have been nice if I thought to take a photo...) and all in all it was a lovely evening.

By next morning winds had clocked around to the north, northeast with readings of between 30-40 at the beginning of the day. The wind was light, even lighter than the end of Saturday, but thankfully we had much flatter water. Ahhhhh! Dan Goldberg mercifully ran three-leg races in the light air. Pressure was going to be king, but the question was, where was the king? Ben and I were going to start by the boat because we liked the pressure on the right side. At the last minute we saw all the locals at the pin end  so we scurried down there and got a good start with speed. After a few minutes we decided we liked how the boat felt and we'd just stay left. By the top of that first leg we were out to the left with Jay, Ryan and Eric. Ryan was covering Jay, who took him way past the lay line. Eric and we tacked for the mark and **high point of the regatta for me** rounded in first place together!!!!

Anyway, that was fun!

Downwind we lost a few boats (reminder to self: WATCH THE LOCALS!! even when they are behind you for the moment!) and the second upwind leg we went right, thinking either side would pay off and because all the leaders went to the right. All, that is, except Frank and Marianne, who cast their lot with the left side and came out smelling like roses, crossing the whole fleet at the top of the course and finishing even ahead of Ryan, who was having a glorious regatta.

Frank and Marianne with Jack O'Rourke and their 2nd place trophy

The second race the wind was slowly clocking left, but not very dramatically. In fact, the wind was pretty steady all weekend, as far as I could tell... We got another good start and felt like we had good boat speed, but just occasionally made the wrong guess in terms of which side to go on and that kind of thing. Marianne and Frank continued to be rock stars, finishing second after Ryan and Stacey did a horizon job on the fleet. That moved the Gerrys up from fourth to second!!

Ben and I held on to our sixth place finish and the Faugusts slipped by Eric and Chris, beating them by one point. So, all three CLSA boats finished in the top 10 at Ephraim, that's something to celebrate! And we did: Eric, Chris, Ben and I met at a Mexican restaurant we like that is on the way out of town and debriefed... Brett and Jeff joined us and then we all headed home.

Chris, Eric and Ben before we ate our burritos

Next weekend Ben and I are planning on going to the Michigan-Ontario districts. Anyone want to join us?!

Also, just remember, there are two more eligible regattas for the Midwest Travel Trophy: the Egyptian Cup at Carlyle on Labor Day weekend and the Glow in the Dark at Clinton Lake September 26-28. See you there!!

All weekend we were hearing from various Ephraim and other sailors who are planning on coming to the Glow. Register before the early register deadline and be eligible for the drawing for a free steak dinner for you and one crew!

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