Monday, August 22, 2016

Are YOU Eligible for the Travel Trophy?

We have one more District regatta and that is the Glow in the Dark scheduled for September 24-25 at Clinton Lake. (sign up NOW!) So I went through my records and have determined that we have five boats who are already eligible and EIGHT more boats eligible if they attend the Glow. If you wonder if that is you, contact me and I'll let you know!

To be eligible you must sail in three of the six qualifying district regattas (Eagle Creek -Indy; Egyptian Cup - Carlyle; Ephraim; Sheridan Shores - Chicago; Delavan Districts; Glow in the Dark). And next year we hope to add the Wooden Duck regatta at Medicine Lake in Minneapolis. It's no further than Ephraim, I'm telling you!

This year we will recognize every sailor who participated in the Travel Trophy. it's important to remember that the point of the trophy was to actively encourage traveling, so what better way to do that than to celebrate the travelers?

47th annual Smackdown now a Tradition!

Fleet 135 (Clinton Lake) and Fleet 83 (Carlyle Lake) continued their tradition of an annual smackdown regatta. Some of you might remember the awesome belt that Bryan Hunt created last year for the first 47th annual event. We hosted this year at Clinton and came up with some gorgeous weather. The Carlyle sailors, just two boats this year, came up the night before to join us for our annual Venetian night and cookout. We had a record 60 people attend the steak cookout and moonlight sail. Unbelievable! Sunday was crisp and bright with winds probably about 10 but up and down, dropping by the end of the day to more like 6, I guess. Rod Bussell ran five races and Bronson Bowling from Carlyle Lake came out on top, with Rick Wojnar from Clinton Lake winning the Fleet 135 trophy as the top performer from our fleet. The belt, however, stays with Clinton because as a team Fleet 135 outperformed Fleet 83 ... barely! It'll be interesting to see who prevails next year!
John Cassada trying on the belt with, from left, Lisa Harshbarger, Chris Tesdal, Rachel Bowling, Bronson Bowling, and on the right, Tom Yeagle

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Happy Ending to the Missing Trophies Story

Hi All! A quick up date on the missing trophies saga. I will not keep you in suspense: they have all been found! The single-hand was at Carlyle but turned over so only its back was visible. Hiding in plain sight! And the Wisconsin Cup, which does end up being a trophy specific to Ephraim, was sitting in that club's trophy case, having been retired many years ago.

So! It was great we sent out an APB and especially great that they have all been located. Bill Vogler promises to send Larry Klick the single hand trophy. Fleet 135 might get the fleet trophy next week, and the Wisconsin Cup is tucked safely in its home at E;hraim!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Districts Wrap Up .. and the Tale of the Missing Trophies...

So we waited, we waited, and we waited a little more. The motor boats came out and made enormous waves, a little wind winkled by, more motor boats drove by. We watched. We waited. Larry Kmiecik, of Delavan brought me inside to see all the great photos his crew took on the water Saturday and he and I went through all those, picking which ones he'd send to me. People started packing up their boats. ... And then the horn went off and that was it. The regatta was over.

The districts ended more with a whimper than a bang, which happens, as we all know, and I will say here that I think Delavan did a very good job on this event. Kudos to them! Yesterday's conditions were great, and we had far more wind than the predictions I saw called for.

Meanwhile, the trophies were handed out. I'm proud to say Fleet 135 won the Fleet Trophy, with the three highest finishing boats (1st, 2nd and 5th). Hopefully that trophy will be found in the coming week and delivered to Clinton Lake soon...And when I get the photos Linda Vitt took you'll see we wore our neon shirts just like we did at the NAC. Subtle, we are not! At the districts we also have a century trophy for the top finishing boat whose captain and crew's combined ages are 100 or more. That described all but about two or three boats this weekend. We've talked for awhile about the need for a Whippersnappers Trophy or something. We really need a trophy for the team whose combined ages are either under 100 or under ... I don't know ... 50? Am I right? Let's do this!!

Meanwhile, it pains me to mention that we have not done a great job as a district keeping track of our perpetual trophies. The fleet trophy was not in attendance but we think we know where it is. The Single Hand trophy (which Larry Klick won Friday evening) is missing, as is something the Faugusts remembered as the Wisconsin Cup, which is a big, silver-colored champagne bucket-shaped trophy. No one is clear on its history, but if someone comes across it, please let us know! And perhaps we need to begin a practice of keeping a ledger of the trophies we do have and who is in possession of them. It's a shame to lose track of this treasured objects.

I know I mentioned photos, and there are some. I just don't have them yet, but when I do, I'll post them here, pronto.

Next and final district regatta of the season is the Glow, September 24-25. We heard from many people this weekend who are planning on coming. Hope to see you there!

Oh, as a P.S. : Larry Klick actually sold Popeye to a couple new to the Flying Scot who had been shopping around the last couple of weeks. I didn't catch their last name, but they are Jim and Jennifer? Janet? from Mills Lake, just an hour from Delavan. They bought Larry's boat and then Jim convinced him to come to the Glow and crew for him. It's gonna be epic!!

Where Will Districts Be Next Year?

This morning we awoke to virtually zero wind, so while we waited to see what might happen, we had so much fun visiting one another. From my perspective it was great to see the Delavan sailors, who we don't often see on the regatta circuit. Ironically, it is because they have such a strong club racing program. They are understandably unwilling to leave town and jeopardize  their club standings.

I also got to catch up with Larry Klick and Mike Minsk from Medicine Lake, MN, who I haven't seen in a long time. You all may remember Larry sailing the bright red boat, Ketchup. He recently sold that boat and this weekend was sailing "Popeye." Also, I met several other sailors from Medicine Lake, including Mariah Minsk, Caroline Urban, two young women and enthusiastic sailors from that club. We talked a lot about making sure to include the Wooden Duck regatta, which I believe is the last weekend of July, in district publicity and to make sure we include it in the regattas eligible for the Travel Trophy. I will definitely be going to the Wooden Duck, since I now have family in the Minneapolis area. Also, if anyone knows the sailors from Neenah-Nodaway, that's another club I'd love to see become more active on the regatta scene.

Meanwhile, as we were all standing around, Bronson decided to hold the district meeting. That's how it works, remember. Every year we hold a district regatta and at that event we discuss district business, like where will we meet next year, how do we get more people to travel, how to grow membership, where and when are the national, sanctioned events, etc etc.

The most important question is, where will districts be next year? It was decided, a little unfairly, since no one from that club was here, that it was Madison's turn! Now, I will say, we haven't yet checked with the good people in Madison, but I hope that, if we all stand ready to lend a hand in any way we can, that we can make this work. We'll keep you posted on that dream! Another important element to "voting" for Madison is that, like Delavan, it enjoys a relatively central location. We all marveled at how central Delavan is within our far-flung district. Not too far from Ephraim, not too far from Clinton...Carlyle and Eagle Creek a bit far, but you can't have it all. And our friends in Iowa....well...there's always Medicine Lake!

Similarly, Madison not too far from Delavan, might also be pretty well located, which is bound to help attendance.

We also elected Chris Tesdal as Bronson's "lieutenant governor," a position we didn't know was a thing until this weekend. Chris will help Bronson get the word out about all the things listed in that top paragraph. Bill Vogler gave a report about upcoming national events. Nationals, for example, start June 25, 2017, and are being held in Sandusky, OH. It's going to be a great venue, plus there are tons of things your kids and spouses would like to do, like go to Cedar Point Amusement Park. Stay tuned for more details. And speaking of kids, if your kids have spring break March 12-16 consider taking them to New Orleans. While you sail, your family can enjoy the delights of things like the Insectarium, the WWII museum (best museum I've ever been to), fantastic food, delightful waterfront and warm weather. I got up and urged everyone at this event to consider traveling more. You all have heard that spiel enough I won't repeat it here!

How About This?!

Well the wi-fi isn't working right now or I'd put up the photo of the results from Saturday, but I'll just tell you: a FOUR-WAY TIE for first place!! and a tie also for second place!!
Four boats have nine points, Ben and me, Frank and Marianne, Michael and Jennifer and Cain and Gordy. And then Eric Bussell (with Isak Petersen) and Bronson and Rachel Bowling are tied for second.

okay, here's the photo of the results...okay, it's not a great photo, and you'll see that with a tie breaker Eric is, in fact, ahead of Bronson, but still!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Day One of Districts

A quick post, no photos (and still looking for Ephraim photos, btw) before dinner to report on a great day of sailing. I think the fleet has 25 boats from all over the district, including district governor Bronson Bowling from Carlyle, Larry Klick and his crew, Jeff, from Medicine Lake, MN, who I haven't seen in several years, many local Delavan sailors who we don't often see on the circuit, and the Faugusts and Cain Goettleman and Gordy Roberts from Ephraim. We are missing Ryan Malmgren, who went to the Saratoga regatta, and Jay Lott, from Ephraim, and John Cassada from Carlyle, but other than that we have a great turn out!

The predictions were for light wind and on Delavan, which often has tons of motor boat traffic I was anticipating a lot of bouncing and not tons of sailing. But two things happened. First, it was gray and kind of cool, which kept the motor boats away. Second, it did, in fact, blow, so we had some good racing!

Delavan always holds one race in the morning and then breaks for lunch. We had a five-leg windward-leeward run by a highly competent race committee. Competition was tough, but Frank and Marianne Gerry got off the line first and fastest and led the entire race, occasionally being pressured by Cain and Gordy and by the Faugusts.

We took a break for lunch and spent a lot of time worrying about our boats bashing up on the docks (see above, re motor boats). I honestly think it might be worth it next time to pull our boat at lunch. Because we had about an hour and a half break. Everyone enjoyed a delectable lunch and shared stories of their on-the-water escapades. We were all admiring how Cain's boat was managing to not get banged around and just was hanging out, a nice distance from the dock and away from other boats. We wondered, did he have an anchor out? We couldn't see an anchor line. .. and then, gradually we realized the boat was just floating away!! I went to find Cain, who came and stood on the shore scratching his head. Then, next thing we knew, Rick Wojnar, from Fleet 135 (here sailing with Chris Tesdal, and so great to see him here!) and jumped in the water and pulled the boat to safety. Yay Rick! I think there was another young guy, don't know his hame but he's sailing a bright yellow boat, who was disappointed he didn't get a chance to jump in. It's nice to know we have people on hand game to come to the rescue!

We were all feeling pretty darn snoozy when the race committee sent us back out, but I imagine we all got into race mode in time for the next race. We had two more five leg races. Each moment we thought the wind would die, but it never did. It came up and down a lot and shifted a lot, but it never left us entirely. I will say, not to toot our own horn, but Ben and I did have a fun race, the first one after lunch. Somehow we rounded first at the mark and then got slingshotted out ahead of the fleet. Eric said after we rounded that first mark the wind died. In any case we led the whole fleet by almost a leg for about three of the five legs. That was fun, I admit it!!

Anyway, as soon as I can I'll post standings, but now it's time for dinner!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Districts at Delavan

The weather prediction is looking great for our districts this weekend at Delavan! Moderate winds and moderate temperatures will guarantee an awesome weekend. Remember to pay your FSSA membership before you come, if you haven't already re-joined, and bring your party shoes! There are some links to hotels, etc, at the Delavan Yacht Club website, if you need help finding housing.

See you there!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lots of Boats, Not Much Wind, But Tons of Great Racing and Fun

This Ephraim regatta was remarkable for its decidedly light winds (from the north) mixed with lots of waves.  But PRO Dan Goldberg managed to use every bit of wind we had.

Meanwhile, Ben and I had what Linda Vitt later described to me as the “cloud of doom” over our heads Saturday morning as everything we did kind of went to sh**. First we managed to drop the pin that holds the rudder on the gudgeon into the water at the dock. Plunk! Buh-BYE … Happily, Ben was able to buy another one since Karen Carpenter had traveled with Harry and was manning the parts truck!  Later that day we lost the white plastic top of our boom crutch when it fell in the water and sunk like a stone. Not to mention, my brain felt so discombobulated I forgot about three things I usually bring on the boat, including my shoes! At least now I know this syndrome has a name. Thanks Linda!

With 37 boats, the largest turnout of an Ephraim regatta that wasn’t a district event, the starting line was very crowded. Dan set a good, long line, but that didn’t prevent several general recalls caused by too many sailors who lost sight of where the line actually was. Dan was patient with us, but put up the “I” flag on Saturday (can’t be over the line one minute before the start and if you are, go around the ends) and the “Z” flag on Sunday (same as “I” plus a 20% penalty if you are over early) when it became clear we needed some extra encouragement to stay on the proper side of the line.

We were on the water for about five hours Saturday and managed only two full races, though not for lack of trying. After a general recall, the first race got started just as the wind died. The course was so long that no boat made it to the first mark in the 40-minute time limit. I think that might be the first time I’ve ever been in a race that exceeded the time limit, but Ben and I were very relieved because we could not get the boat moving no matter what we tried! We even heard of people drifting backwards! Without wind but with waves, I can see how that might happen. We were not the only boat that, when we saw what was happening, shifted our compass from tactical mode to timer mode and breathed a sigh of relief when the abandon horn sounded.

Still, who can complain about being on the water in Ephraim? The skies were bright blue, the air was crisp (though toasty by the end of the day) and the water was refreshing (I jumped in between races).  It helped that, soon afterwards the abandoned race, the wind really filled in just fine and we had two good 50-minute-long, three-leg races. I think we even hiked some. 

As I mentioned, 37 boats participated this year in the event, the 111th running of the Ephraim regatta. It was notable for the geographic range of sailors, which besides including almost 10 boats from other clubs in the Midwest district, also included two boats from Ohio (Benners and Kitchens), one from Chattanooga, TN (Rob Fowler and Linda Lind), Maryland (Harry Carpenter and his crew Melanie Dunham), Louisiana (Larry Taggart and Carrie Berger), and Tom McNally, all the way from Florida. Tom had business in the area and managed to time it just right so he could join us at Ephraim. Organizer Jennifer Ikeda even found him a boat owner who was looking for a skipper! The stars aligned, which is always nice when it happens. But in addition to the travelers, my understanding is that every single Ephraim boat, including two that were kind of in storage of site, were used.

And yet, due to some amazing organizing, there was space for every single boat except one at the Ephraim pier. Only one boat was at the public dock, and, believe me, I think they were thrilled to have a little peace and quiet!! (Looking at you, Frank and Marianne!).

Sunday’s predictions looked really light — as in winds of one mph with gusts to three  — and we were not feeling too optimistic as we joined Stacey and Ryan and the Benners and the Kitchens at the local coffee shop for breakfast. But, surprisingly, when we got to the club the wind was pretty steady. We didn’t really trust that it would hold, but we still saddled up, got the boat in the water and headed out to the racecourse. Where we had, much to our surprise and delight, two very good, long races before the 12:30 deadline. Four total races in a very light wind weekend is the mark of a very successful regatta, if you ask me.

Ben and I had planned to leave right after the regatta, but once the boats were put away, one protest was heard and the awards were given out (congratulations to Ryan and Stacey who won, and to Bruce and Lynn Kitchen, who on their anniversary weekend opted to come to Ephraim for the first time and caught every boat except Ryan and Stacey), we decided to stay one more night. Ryan and Stacey very generously shared their family home with many sailors this weekend, including us. We were having so much fun we decided to stretch our weekend a bit longer.  And, as often happens at Flying Scot events, one thing led to another Sunday evening and their house soon filled with almost 20 sailors, making and drinking mixed beverages and snacks, admiring the sunset on the water, eating pizza and retelling sailing stories from the memories we made this weekend, plus from many many other weekends.

And, in the end, isn’t that why we do what we do?

Photos to follow. Results are at

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Clinic, Fish Boil

Driving up to meet the Benners and the Kitchens in Milwaukee  on Thursday night, a huge storm was on our left side from about Paw Paw,where we ate dinner,  til Milwaukee.  The lightning was like something I've never seen. It was so bright it hurt my eyes and these huge strikes would hit four times at the same spot. It made it look like a single strike lasted 10 seconds.

We made it to the pre arranged meeting spot about 9:30, a few minutes ahead of the Kitchens. had a drink together in the nicely decorated lobby.

The next day we caravanned up to Ephraim, which was fun. Something very celebratory about being part of even a three-boat parade!

That afternoon Harry, Ryan and Larry gave a fantastic seminar. These on land clinics with the boat on the trailer are invaluable. Then a bunch of boats went out, many with experienced skippers on board to help, which was awesome! And finally, Harry had videoed each boat and played those back with commentary when they got off the water. Unbelievably helpful!!

The crowd at Ephraim was very interested in everything Harry, Ryan and Larry had to say

Look at this! Tom McNally up from Florida!!

This is just half the crowd. There are others on the right side also absorbing everything Harry was saying.

Later we went to a fish boil, which I'd never done before. Here's what it looks like at the end!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ephraim this Weekend, Districts at Delavan the Following Weekend

Well, to everything there is a season, and this is sailing season! So, after a week in Newport last month, which I'm beginning to recovery from, we've got two district events this month as well.

Ben and I leave shortly for Ephraim, the longest running Flying Scot regatta in the country. This year there are more than 30 boats registered. This lines up with my observations at other regional regattas: that participation in those is growing while participation in national events is stagnant. Does anyone have any theories to explain this?

Fleet 135 has a bonanza of participants this year, including several people who are going in large part because of the seminar offered by Harry Carpenter tomorrow starting at 1 pm. It's going to be a very very tough event this year. Not only will Harry be racing, but my understanding is that Larry Taggart, from New Orleans Southern Yacht Club, will be pulling his boat up for the event. Not to mention the locals Mike and Jennifer Faugust, who trophied at this year's Midwinters, Ryan Malmgren, who trophied at the North Americans, District Governor Bronson Bowling (and Rachel, his crew/wife), Bruce and Lynn Kitchen and Mark and Maria Benner, both from the Ohio District. Any many others I'm sure I've overlooked!

I'll try to write a post after Harry's session tomorrow in case there is some wisdom I can pass on to those who have had to miss the regatta. But, remember, there's always next year. It's possible we'll get two more boats from Clinton Lake taking part next year. In fact, it's pretty cool this year how many new "road warriors" we've developed. First it was Heather and Trent Johnson (see post on Egyptian Cup) and now Bryan and Angie Hunt, Tom and Debbie Yeagle and Lisa Harschbarger - a new member!- are joining us at Ephraim. Lisa, who has never sailed in a regatta before, will crew for John Cassada from Carlyle. I love this DISTRICT!!!!

Ephraim is a long drive even for other clubs in the Midwest District, but it's worth it. There's no doubt that, no matter the conditions, we'll all have a great time.

Speaking of the Midwest District I've been a bit remiss communicating about a couple other regattas in our district that fell through the cracks. Sadly, they are both past, but hopefully next year they'll get on the schedule a little better. The weekend of July 30-31 was not only the Sheridan Shores Race Weekend event but also good old Medicine Lake, Minneapolis, held its Muddy Duck regatta. Little publicity was sent out about these events, but hopefully next year that will change.

Okay, time to hit the road

Who Will Be The District Champ?

As you are planning the rest of your sailing season, please don't forget the District regatta at Delavan Yacht Club August 13-14. This is it, the show down! If you travel to no other district regatta this season, make it a point to come here. Join other sailors to go head to head and see who will take home the trophy!

Delavan is a centrally located club for our spread-out district and they have offered to host the event even though they don't hold an annual regatta. Most often the Districts piggybacks on a regularly scheduled regatta, but not in this case. That means this is one more regatta that can be included in the Annual Midwest District Travel Trophy as well.

The registration and notice of race are posted at the website, so go there, print out the form, and send it to Delavan pronto!