By Sunday the wind had shifted dramatically from the south/southwest to the dreaded north, or over the hill, as the locals like to say. When the wind comes from this direction it comes over those beautiful, rolling hills that surround the lake, making for some pretty flukey conditions. These are the conditions that earn the lake the name, Shift-a-mauga.
Before heading out we enjoyed Flying Scot communion (mimosas) in memory of the late Charlie Fowler and an enormous french toast, hash brown, sausage breakfast cooked up by Linda Lind and her crew. I do not know how she found the time and energy to feed us so well AND race!
Meanwhile, not only was the wind coming over the hills, it was quite light. The race committee postponed for a while, then, seeing some wind, sent us out. It was looking good for the 20 minutes leading up to the race. Almost as soon as the gun went off, the wind evaporated. The start was a bit chaotic since none of us had tons of boat speed, but we eventually got underway and found some little bits of wind. We liked the left side, though many of the locals were on the right, which made us nervous. In the end we all ghosted eventually to the windward mark. At one point, someone sneezed and everyone in the fleet told them "Gesundheidt!" I think the sneeze sent them forward a boat length or two!!
The lead, such as it was, passed all around as one boat or another got their own private wind. Finally, after an agonizing mark rounding, which looked like a parking lot with every boat pointing in a different direction, the race committee abandoned the race and sent us in with a tow. I think every single boat, even those in the lead, cheered!
I want to take a moment to applaud the race committee. Matt Gregory was PRO, assisted by Monty Humphreys, Sue Humphreys, Holly Gregory, Bob Strang. They did a fantastic job and did not get the applause they should have. Saturday they set good, square courses that were nice and long. They got us started quickly and efficiently and generally did such a good job that no one hardly noticed!! And on Sunday, they worked hard to find any wind, sending boats up to the dam and down the lake to see if there was any wind coming before abandoning the race at the first mark (which took us 45 minutes to get to). So I congratulate the race committee and apologize for not doing so in person!!
One thing I'm especially pleased about is how many Midwest District boats came to the regatta. By my count we had a total of six district travelers to an out-of-district regatta! Yay us! Not only that, Chattanooga has always been a favorite of mine and Ben's and I guess all our years of talking it up paid off because we had several people tell us they came because of our relentless promotion of the club. And everyone who did come raved about how beautiful it was and what a good time they had, so I hope they'll all come back next year.
Here are the standings, which I'll also send to the fssa.com website:
Top 5 awards went to;
1st - Corky and Molly Hadden, BWYC
2nd – Ben Williams and Deb Aronson, Clinton Lake Sailing Association
3rd – Tom and Ed Craig – PYC
4th – Rob and Patricia Fowler, PYC
5th – Scott Cline and Linda Lind, PYC
In other news, on Saturday Ryan Malmgren had been T-boned at the start ... I'm starting to think of that as the Chattanooga Christening (;-) and the fiberglass was damaged enough he wanted to get it back to the factory. He spent Sunday morning coming up with a plan that rivals James Bond! We (Ben and I) were already planning to drive straight to Lake Norman, leave our boat and visit Ben's parents for the week before the Great 48. Now, instead, we would sail Ryan's boat at the Great 48, since it is not so damaged as to be un-sailable. From there Harry Carpenter, who will also be at Lake Norman, will take the boat back to the factory. Meanwhile, Ryan would take our boat back to our house in Urbana, since he drives by there on his way home to Madison, WI. In the meanwhile, we could deliver several sails for him to Lake Norman and he could bring home a boom we picked up for a club member back in Sarasota, but that had been sitting in our boat in Chattanooga since the Midwinters.
In order to do this, however, we had to make sure each boat was packed up just right. New sails had to go in Ryan's boat, not ours (the original goal was we would bring them in our boat to Lake Norman), we had to remember our own gloves and life jackets, which usually stay on our boat and now had to get into Ryan's boat, etc, etc. Long story short, our boat made it back to Urbana and Ryan's boat is waiting for us at Lake Norman, where we dropped it on our way to visit Ben's family. Whew!! Hopefully when we show up to race next weekend we won't realize we forgot some essential piece of equipment. Of course, considering Harry will be there, we'll probably be well covered!
Another bonus: we'll drive back home without a boat in tow, which is always a tiny bit easier!