Lots of excitement today on Eagle Creek Lake. As Maria Benner said, "We got our Money's worth!" Storms were predicted for the afternoon so the race committee decided to try to get several short races in the morning and then see where we were. We had 10-15 mph winds for the first race, which was just once around. The fleet is so tough that traffic and the windward mark was like a parking lot! Bruce and Lynn Kitchen, who had a fantastic day, did seem to round first, with Harry Carpenter close behind. The Kitchens held Harry off for their first win of the day.
The second race was twice around, which gave the fleet a chance to spread out a little bit more, though that first windward rounding was still very crowded. At the top of the course the second time around a monster microburst came through. Most of the boats were still beating up and were able to luff until it passed. Meanwhile, Ben had managed to almost catch up to the leaders, Frank and Marianne Gerry and the Kitchens, but unfortunately we were part way down the spinnaker leg when the microburst hit. I have never, EVER gone so fast on a Flying Scot. Ben and I were both back in the boat and the spray was flying up like we were in a motor boat. It felt like the stern was just skipping over the surface of the water. Someone on the committee boat said they saw us fly by and only our centerboard and rudder were in the water. I wish we had a photo. I will never forget it. If we could have figured out a way to get the spinnaker down we would have, but we just kept sailing, figuring it had to blow by us soon. Before we could figure out how to get the spinnaker down, as I was watching the spinnaker, I saw the mast begin to bend and before I could say anything, the entire rig collapsed into the water ahead of us. That was it, stick a fork in us. We were done.
The mast had bent like a straw. We managed to get all our sails safely in the boat and got a tow in. Less than five minutes after we were dismasted, the rest of the boats finished the race in calm, sunny conditions.
To explain the headline: Many people who saw us dismasted thought we'd capsized. I must say, for the record, We DID NOT capsize (this time). After our last capsize (Lake Norman Fall 48) Ben promised he'd NEVER capsize again. So today, instead, he just broke our rig. :-) Ben says "no, I just sailed the boat until the boat died!"
The next two races were run in more reasonable conditions. Winds continued to be about 10-14 and shifty. The third race was once around, the fourth race was twice around. While the Kitchens continued to finish strongly, Bill Vogler and Emilio Tellini won race three and Mark and Maria Benner won the last race of the day. The other excitement occurred in the fourth race when the wind provided one last monster puff and Bronson and Rachel Bowling capsized with the spinnaker up. But no worries, they got the boat back up on their own. They would have finished the race but the halyard went up the mast and so they took a tow in to the beer tent.
After dinner (yummy barbecue) a band of Flying Scot sailors went to the Traders Point Creamery for ice cream. It is quite a beautiful spot. Only about 15 minutes at most from the club, it is set in rolling countryside where they make ice cream from their own cows! And the best part was that we all sat around for the evening talking about what a great group of people Flying Scot sailors are. It was really a lovely, lovely evening.
Tomorrow the race committee is saying they may run two more races. Ben and I are sending our mast home with Harry Carpenter to be salvaged for parts. Harry says he can bring us a new mast with our old parts on it to the NAC next week. Gotta love Harry Carpenter!!!