Monday, April 4, 2016

Shakedown Cruise

The Midwinters at St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club has begun! Everyone who is going to be measured has been measured, we had two practice races yesterday, as well as the competitors' meeting. Today the racing starts at 12:30, to take advantage, I assume of the afternoon's seabreeze.
We have a ton of sailors from the Midwest District. Eric Bussell and his crew Gordy Roberts (from Sturgeon Bay), Craig Rost and Rob Parker, Ryan Malmgren and his father-in-law, Ralph Rieu, Bronson and Rachel Bowling, Mike and Jennifer Faugust, John Cassada and Adam Sampson, Randy Adolphs, Bill Vogler and Jack McClurkin, and Ben and me. That's many more than from the Florida District, in which this event is being held. I think the Floridians are not feeling the need for a weeklong event since they've been sailing all winter ... not to mention getting a week off of work.
Eric and Gordy: Nice start!
The club is lovely and everyone is going out of their way to make us feel very welcome. At first I thought they had a very simple two story club with one big room. Next door was what I thought was a bank. So Ben and I were going to drive somewhere for dinner on Saturday when Craig Rost pointed across to what I thought was a closed up bank and suggested we all eat there. "Oh, that's part of the club?" I asked. It turns out that what I thought is a bank is a lovely building with a full fork and knife club, with a restaurant and bar. The best feature is the back patio which is shaded by an enormous and gorgeous live oak covered in Spanish moss. We had a delicious dinner. I had grouper for the first time of my life. A dense, buttery white fish. I'll be having it again!
I am surprised that the club has only one working hoist. That is to say, the other one works, but you have to roll your trailer by hand into the loose sand, which several people demonstrated was ridiculously hard. So, one hoist. There is a perfectly good ramp, but because we have to park about five blocks away it is not practical to use the ramp. If there were an ATV to help, that would be nice, but the other problem is the hoist and the ramp are almost right on top of each other...
So, one hoist for 40 boats. But no one's in any rush, it's all good!!
Yesterday we had two practice races. The wind at first was pretty manageable for us northerners. I'd say it was 8-10. By the end of the second race it was closer to 15 and had shifted dramatically to the southwest from the northwest. Hopefully today conditions will either be lighter or I'll have gotten stronger over night.  We'll be using a lot of vang.
I went to the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors meetings. The good news is that there is no news. Our finances are stable, membership is at the same level as last year. But if anyone reading this hasn't renewed their membership...DO IT NOW!! Please. The class is only as vibrant as its collected members. It's up to each one of us! Bronson Bowling described his plans for match racing at Carlyle Lake. He has done a ton of work and the board was very interested to hear about his plans. It's scheduled for Labor Day, so put that on your calendars. Bronson said he'll be sending a story to Scots N Water about match racing for those of us who don't really know how it works.
More tomorrow.

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