Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Berlin Regatta

Only photo so far from Berlin. Thank goodness my mouth isn't hanging open like it usually is.  More photos coming...
This past weekend Ben and I drove six hours to Berlin Lake in Ohio, near Akron. Berlin is a multi-class regatta, with Thistles, Highlanders, Scots and a Laser/Force5/Sunfish division. This weekend I remembered why I don't love multi-class regattas. Several times one fleet was starting while another was finishing. At one finish there was a Sunfish stalled at the line, which blocked us. We ended up in irons trying to avoid him and another Flying Scot and sat there while a couple more Scots finished ahead of us. (Sound of teeth gnashing).

Still, it was a fun weekend. Again we saw Bruce Kitchen, met his son, Nathan, who was sailing in Lynn's place, and Mark and Maria Benner, Frank and Marianne Gerry (Berlin is really their "home" club, where their kids grew up), plus several sailors from Berlin we see on the circuit, including George and Rachel, Tom Dawson, Marjorie (sailing with her dad), Rick Banning (sailing with his wife), and Jim Diffily, whose wife, Paula, we also met.

In addition, this event is clearly a "family" reunion for the club. So many people who grew up there, returned, with their kids in tow, and visited all weekend. Jim Diffily proudly talked of his kids and his 8 grandkids, several of whom were there this weekend. Did I mention there were tons of kids? That made the meals very enjoyable.

Saturday the wind was ghostlike. I don't like to speak ill of the race committee, but there was so little wind I sat in front of the shroud trying to hold the jib out to make some kind of surface. Even the Thistles were dead still. You know there's no wind when you see that! And I shouldn't complain since Ben and I eked out a win, with Bruce and Nathan accelerating with some fresh breeze they found just 100 yards from the finish! Thankfully race committee called it a day after that.

That evening Berlin Yacht Club outdid itself with appetizers that stretched over two tables and included shrimp, cherries, some crazy yummy dips and more. It was a feast ... and then came dinner!!

The funniest part about Saturday were these kids next to us ... maybe 4-years-old? 5? Who were munching on these cheese balls, like Cheetos but spherical. Bruce Kitchen first asked for one. Naaaah, said the little boy. Bruce begged. Then some more of us started to beg. The boy shook his head, grinning, no no no. They were his! But soon, he shyly offered them around. Then the adults were trying to toss them in their own mouths. I confess both Ben and I fell off the picnic bench trying to catch them, but no luck. It's true that Nathan, Bruce's son, showed us how it was done, but the funniest moment was when a second little boy sidled up to see if he could play. He offered a cheese ball around and Ben accepted the offer. The little boy threw it toward Ben's mouth ... and it went RIGHT IN!!! High point of the night, IMHO!

Sunday didn't look good, but miracle of miracles, at the appointed start time of 9:30 the wind had filled in nicely from the south and we had three fine races. Definitely a full regatta. Bruce and Ben were battling down to the last race. At that point we had two firsts and two seconds and so did Bruce. We realized we had to keep Bruce from winning the last race in order to clinch the regatta. Luckily the last race was a single lap, so we stuck to Bruce like white on rice, as they say. We were so busy covering Bruce and trying to slow him down that we both ended up mid-fleet at the windward mark. No worries, just keep Bruce from the front and it's all good! Anyway, in the end we finished 4th and he was 6th I think, so mission accomplished. It definitely gave me a taste of what's to come at Carlyle Labor Day weekend in their match racing event. Yikes!!

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