Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chattanooga Results

Note: for those of you on Facebook, some photos are posted at Dixie Lakes Flying Scots Facebook Page. While you're there, join them!!

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!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Great Conditions Prevail at Chattanooga; Carlyle Lake Sends FOUR Boats!!

(editor's note:
In re-reading this I can see the effects of the very nice gin & tonic that I had had earlier in the evening. I apologize for any sloppiness found below...)

Well, we drove down to Chattanooga prepared for storms and gusty winds but in fact the conditions today were just lovely! I'd say the wind was about 10-15 steady out of the south-southwest all day.  We had 17 boats on the line and sailors came from all over: The biggest turnout was from Carlyle Lake, with four boats — Bill Vogler and Jack McClurkin, Bronson and Rachel Bowling, Greg and Linda Vitt, and John Cassada and Eric Sutton. Boats also came from Louisiana (Corky and Molly Hadden), Wisconsin (Ryan Malmgren), Alabama (two boats from Muscle Shoals, Willson and Bonnie Jenkins and Joel VerPlank and crew Ted T.), plus a boat from Georgia (Joe Price from Atlanta) and us (Illinois). And I've probably overlooked a few!

That's a really nice turnout, and pretty impressive when 10 of the 18 boats are from out of town. Nice going Privateer!

Privateer, as I've written about many times before, is a lovely yacht club and Chickamauga Lake, though often shifty, is a beautiful lake surrounded by green, rolling hills. Of course, unless the wind is coming out of today's direction, it often has to come over those lovely hills, making for some very squirrelly conditions...nothing we lake sailors are not used to, right?

The race committee ran three, good-length races. Each one was a four-leg, windward-leeward. Since they were modified, we still finished upwind ... though the first race Ben and I were thinking we were doing a downwind finish and were very surprised to realize we had to keep racing a little longer!

During the first race we traded the lead with locals Ed and Tom Craig, Corky and Molly, and several other boats. By the last downwind leg of that first race we were duking it out with Corky and Molly, at least until our mental error mentioned above.  In the second race Bill Vogler and Jack McClurkin led for almost the whole race and Corky and Molly snatched first place from them in the last few boat lengths (sound of teeth gnashing here !!). In the third race Ben and I traded the lead with them and did manage to finish ahead of them for their only second-place finish of the day.

Linda K. Lind, the fleet captain (and Privateer vice commodore), has led an awesome social team, providing a beautiful pork dinner with baked potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and more. Tomorrow morning she and her team are making French toast. Isn't sailing awesome?

So we have a busy morning scheduled: first mimosas, then French toast, then racing starts at 10 a.m. The winds look like they'll be light and flukey, but maybe we'll luck out and it'll be better than that.

Okay, stay tuned!
Also, we have some photos that were taken from the committee boat, but no way to download them just yet....patience is a virtue, right?!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chattanooga Bound!

Ha, ha! Not a Chattanooga photo, but one of my all time favorite photos. Frank and Marianne Gerry at Deep Creek Lake....kind of looks like Chattanooga!!

Ben and I are heading to Privateer Yacht Club in Chattanooga tomorrow. I've told the story many times about how, just weeks after we'd bought our first Flying Scot (this was in 2005) Ben was so anxious to sail it he begged me to go to this regatta even though we'd never sailed the boat or even rigged it. So we drove, it's a long way for us! And we showed up and all these really friendly sailors came over and showed us how to step the mast and how to rig the jib and everything!

It was windy Sunday and we got T-boned at the start, which pushed us into a tack and then capsized because I was so busy being outraged, I forgot to uncleat the jib. So! It was a memorable regatta for so many reasons!

But we go back faithfully, religiously even, every year. I guess we've talked it up so much that this year at least four or five other Midwest District boats are joining us! I have heard that three boats from Carlyle and Ryan Malmgren from Madison are all headed south. We're looking forward to enjoying the hot racing and great fellowship that Privateer Yacht Club is famous for ... plus, I should mention they have a brand new clubhouse!!

I'll post updates -and photos -
as they become available!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Only 70 Raffle Tickets Left!

I realize that I have been remiss in letting you all know of this amazing opportunity created by the Flying Scot Association. The association, with support from Harry Carpenter, is raffling off a brand new Flying Scot. And it's not just any boat. It's a boat built to your specifications. You can get it rigged for cruising or for racing, you can get it painted the way you've always dreamed.

So! What're you waiting for?!

Tickets are $100 each. Think of that, $100 for a beautiful new Scot! And you have pretty good odds, considering only 250 tickets total will be sold. You have until tickets are sold out or the North American Championships, whichever comes first. The winning ticket will be pulled at the NAC in Bay Waveland, LA (June 20-26). If you are wondering about whether you might be able to go to that event, check it out on the fssa.com website (though you don't have to be present to win...you don't even have to be an FSSA member....though I'm sure you are!!).  Seventeen boats have already signed up for the regatta and we are months away!

As the headline says, ticket sales are strong. Out of the original 250 tickets, fewer than 70 are left. So giddyup, pardner, and head to fssa.com, click on join/renew/donate, scroll down to and click on "Flying Scot Foundation DONATION" Where the donation dedication box is, put Flying Scot Raffle, and amount = $100. You'll get a receipt and acknowledgement of your donation. All names will be put in the pot when it comes time to draw the winner, so you won't have to keep track of a ticket or anything.

Plus, even if, heaven forbid, you don't win, your donation goes to support Flying Scot Foundation, a great cause!! That's what I call a win-win!!!