Tuesday, May 16, 2017

33 Boats at Lake Norman, and Plenty of Wind

Well, there was already a fair amount of coverage of the Great 48, held the first weekend of May, but I figured I’d write a quick log anyway.

We didn’t make it to the lake in time for the clinic that Greg Fisher held on Friday, but it sounded — no surprise! — extremely useful for those who participated. There is a post about it on fssa.com

Also, Eric Bussell, Tyler Andrews and Angie Hunt came to Lake Norman to shoot some publicity photographs and videos for the Class. They got some outstanding footage; Tyler learned fast how to operate the drone and get some awesome sky-high footage.

You can see some of their work on the Flying Scot Facebook page and at fssa.com. And for those of you who don’t read Scuttlebutt or haven’t been on the Flying Scot pages or Facebook, videographer (Angie? Eric?) also happened to get Bruce Kitchen falling out of his boat and, despite crew and spouse Lynn Kitchen’s best efforts, the boat going turtle. Bummer!! A couple other boats also went over but of course once it’s on video, you are an internet sensation! This video, for example, made it to Scuttlebutt and beyond:

Congrats to Eric, Tyler and Angie for a job well done. Imagine driving 12 hours or more to a regatta, but not to sail, even when races are being run, but instead watching and recording everyone else having fun. That’s real dedication to our class and I, for one, thank this fabulous team!

Meanwhile, the racing itself was extremely well run. Kudos to the race committee. The winds were forecast to be on the high side with gusts outside Flying Scot guidelines. The race committee postponed long enough for the worst puffs to leave the neighborhood and then sent us out for two great races. Even so, about 14 boats stayed on shore, showing more wisdom and maturity than the rest of us.

The race committee ran two races four-leg races Saturday and Harry Carpenter and Carrie Carpenter Andrews owned the fleet with two first-place finishes. John Kreidler, Ryan Malmgren and John Aras battled for the next three places. http://www.fssa.com/content/2017-great-48-lake-norman-yacht-club-mooresville-nc

Sunday, to the best of my recollection, was about the same conditions … this is what happens when it takes more than a week to write a blog! The first race we missed because the halyard knot on the spinnaker came undone and we had to go to shore to retrieve the halyard. Grrr! But the next two races we still liked the pressure on the left side. On one of those races (the last one?) the boats on the boat end of the start benefitted from a huge shift and those of us on the left were hung out to dry. Still, even though Harry, for example, was over by us, he recovered for a 5th place finish, maintaining his lead on the rest of the fleet overall.

Following behind him in the standings were

(see what I’m doing here? I’ll just say again that it is extremely disheartening for crew to not be listed in any results. What is with that regatta committees?!)

This is going to turn into a full blown rant sometime soon…..
Anyway, the rest of May is quiet for us. Will some Midwest District sailors join us the first weekend in June at Cowan Lake? It’s always a good time!

After that we have two district events:
June 10 & 11 The Indianapolis Regatta, Eagle Creek
June 17 &18 Egyptian Cup, Carlyle Lake
Then it’s NACs!!!! Sign up now!!!!!

Signing off.

Monday, April 24, 2017

29 Boats at Chattanooga, Though Not Much Wind!

 We had so much fun at the Chattanooga Choo Choo this weekend, even though we did a lot of this:

and not so much of this: note, this photo is from 2016!
Of course, we all know you cannot control the weather!

Ben and I couldn't leave town until 4:30 Friday so we spent the night on the road, and drove from Nashville to Chattanooga Saturday morning in pouring rain. Miraculously, the rain cleared as we arrived in Chattanooga and there even seemed to be some wind. We set up our boat, visiting with a few folks before the skippers' meeting.We caught up on the latest news, which was that Bill Vogler from Carlyle Lake had taken delivery of his brand new boat. We heard rumors of other regular racers getting new boats and Ben and I talked a little bit about the possibility of a new boat...But it's all talk on our part at this point!!

Anyway, 29 is a lot of boats for a regional regatta, and one of the locals had the idea to pair up the out-of-towners with the locals, in a kind of quasi team racing that served also as an ice breaker. They had two pots with names, one with locals, one with visitors and they called out the names in pairs so everyone knew who was paired with who (actually I guess technically that should be "whom"). There were plenty of hoots and hollers about the pairings and it lent a very fun element to the event. There was no actual team racing on the water, but the team with the highest finishes won a special trophy at the end of the regatta. The winner (spoiler alert) was Lynn Bruss and Tyler Andrews. Woot Woot!!

Anyway, we all headed to the course and got ready to sail. The wind had dropped a bit, but there was plenty to race in....Still, 29 boats on the line and you know what happens.  5, 4, 3, 2, 1, START: Toot Toot!! General recall. Okay, try again, this time with the I flag: 5,4,3,2,1 START Toot Toot! Another general recall! Okay, let's see, third time's the charm? Yup! Off we went on the first leg of a four-leg race. The less said about our particular leg the better, but the wind got lighter and lighter and lighter as the race progressed, to the point that, by the time everyone had rounded the windward mark, the race committee had shortened the course to just two legs. The race committee set up for another race, but soon realized there just wasn't enough wind. We happily waited on the water for close to an hour, but by then we began to give up hope. Plus, the beer keg was calling!

On shore we enjoyed margaritas (thank you John Kreidler!) and dark and stormies (Thank you Privateer volunteers!) and then a delicious cook-your-own steak dinner and lots and lots of visiting. We caught up with sailors from Birmingham and Muscle Shoals, Alabama,  Lake Hartwell and Lake Keowee, SC, from Cowan Lake and  Moraine State Park, both in Ohio, Tyler came from Deep Creek, MD,  Ryan and Stacey came from Madison, WI, Bill Vogler, John Cassada and Rachel Bowling from Carlyle Lake, Mark and Michele Taylor came from Sarasota, Florida. And I"m sure I'm forgetting some clubs. It was like the United Nations of Flying Scot sailing!!

Sunday dawned rainy and it just got rainier. When there was a little wind the visibility was so poor the race committee made the call to cancel. We all de-rigged in the rain, but even though we were damp our spirits remained high!!

Next regatta for us, and perhaps other Midwest sailors? Great 48 at Lake Norman first weekend of May. Hope to see you there!

The final results were:
Scott Cline on left, Rob Fowler on right

  1. Rob Fowler and Scott Cline
  2. Mark and Michele Taylor
  3. Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu
  4. Richard Wade and his crew that I don't know
  5. Bruce and Lynn Kitchen

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 Season is Under Way: NOTE: Chattanooga Choo Choo is April 21-23, not 28-30

Well, even though I was not there, the season was kicked off with the 2017 Midwinter Regatta at Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. For some great write ups you can go to fssa.com. Diane Kampf did an awesome job on daily reports.

Meanwhile, Midwest District sailors Ben Williams, Eric Bussell and Ryan Malmgren represented our esteemed district. We had a fine showing, too, with Ryan placing fourth and Ben placing fifth. In addition, our very own Eric Bussell received the extremely prestigious Alan Douglass Memorial Trophy for Sportsmanship in recognition of all the incredible work he has done for the class. His videos are epic!! Congratulations Eric!!!
Here are a few videos from Midwinters for you to sample!

Meanwhile, for those of you planning your season and considering the Chattanooga Choo Choo, remember that this year the event is NOT the last weekend of April, as it usually is, but instead is April 20-22. Although Chattanooga is in the Dixie Lakes District, we often get a great Midwest District showing from Clinton Lake, Carlyle Lake, Eagle Creek in Indianapolis, and even from the Madison, WI, area.
Last year we had a record 29 boats from all over, including several Ohio boats. So if you are thinking of going, here is are the deets:

Monday, February 20, 2017

George Washington Birthday Regatta at Lake Eustis

On Groundhog Day, Florida District Governor Mark Taylor shared the news that the palm tree saw its shadow, indicating those sailors had 12 more months of summer to look forward to.  In addition to Mark's constant trolling of us Northerners, Michael Faugest and Jennifer Ikeda from Ephraim promoted the joys of Florida sailing after spending the last offseason sailing the sunshine circuit after they arrived at the 2016 Midwinters and sailing extremly fast.   We heard similar reviews from our Chatanooga friends Lynn and Bill Bruss at the Choo Choo Regatta who suggested we head south for the winter if at all possible.   I was sold!  

The George Washington Birthday Regatta is hosted by the Lake Eustis Sailing Club on a perfect 7000 acre inland lake.  Fleet Captain Dean Grimes has a strong fleet of 32 Flying Scots and goes all-out to host a great regatta.  There is plenty of camping available for both RV and tents with 24/7 access to showers and bathrooms (important for us campers).   They have plenty of mooring balls to accommodate dock overflow and a water taxi service to get you back and forth from your boat.    Not only does that regatta attract 35-40 Scots on a regular basis, the GWB Regatta hosted a San Juan 21 and Wayfarer fleet on our A course while a small army of youth sailors raced optimists, lasers and 420s on the youth sailing course.  It was an amazing vibe that reminded me of the Glow due to the warm and friendly atmosphere and the sailors camping on site.


Ben Williams and I loaded up the big white van on Thursday after lunch and enjoyed a smooth 15-hour drive (not counting stops).   Leaving after lunch enabled us to just miss the Nashville rush hour and get though Atlanta in the late evening.    All travelers eventually learn the hard way to plan their trip around the horrible Atlanta rush-hour traffic!  Before leaving, my loving wife Nancy joked and asked what sailors talk about on a long drive.  "Have fun talking about masts and ropes," she joked as she wished us safe travels.   Actually, we passed the time with rules discussions and designing a fun handicap racing game for our fleet, but the conversation eventually focused on rigging and tuning.   We realized after about an hour into the rigging conversation that we actually do talk about masts and ropes.  *shrugs*

The goals of the trip were rather simple.   We simply wanted  to have fun and sail fast as this was our first time racing together.    Consistency has been a problem of mine on the starting line and I was hoping to improve on that ahead of Midwinters.  I was also converting from a loose to snug jib for the first time and wanted to work closely with a fast snug rig racer so I could feel confident in my boat setup.   Ben hasn't sailed as crew in a regatta in recent memory so we both expected to shake off some offseason rust and enjoy racing in a most competitive fleet.   We were also hoping to test the new camera rig with wireless lavaliere microphones hooked up so we hoped to bring home some quality action footage from inside the boat.  Last but not least, we wanted to avoid going swimming because of my fear of alligators and Ben's reputation of regularly falling of the boat.   

All of our expectations were exceeded and then some!   We arrived early on Friday and Jeff Linton was there and spent 20 minutes helping us set up the boat exactly like his.  Jeff Linton needs no introduction to many in the sailboat racing community.  He was the 2007 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year is a multi-time FSSA North American Championship winner, among his many other sailing accolades.   Ben and I joked that spending 20 minutes picking Jeff's brain was worth the long drive by itself and we appreciated the help because we were certainly confident in our boat setup.   It was great start to the weekend and it had barely started.  

Friday was very relaxing and fun meeting new friends as the sailboats rolled in.  David Mooring and Ariel Harrington generously offered us a power boat ride around the lake before dinner where we saw a majestic bald eagle in the treetops.    We later met the Scot sailors at the Oster Troff, which we learned is an an important Friday night tradition on Lake Eustis.   The Flying Scot sailors filled the backroom oyster bar area for a perfect evening with great food.   


Our worries about a potential lack of wind were put to rest on Saturday morning as the wind built to 10-12 with steady pressure across the lake.  New concerns emerged as we looked at the radar and saw a scary system to the west bearing down on us.   We hoped we could at least get a couple races in before it hit, but ended up only racing once on Saturday.  When we did race, the conditions were perfect!  The pressure seemed to gradually weaken from about 12 to about 8 from the time we left the dock to the end of the first race, but it made for great sailing.   By the end of the first race, the clouds started to look ominous and the race committee erred on the side of our safety as the conditions grew more flaky.  

The first race was was an amazing experience with 35 boats on the line.   We didn't sail perfect, but we had a solid start and rounded the mark in fourth place just behind Jeff and Amy Linton.   To say we were pleased is an understatement.   We maintained our position on the second leg, but a centerboard knot cost us a bunch of spots at the leeward mark.   We shook it off and maintained our position throughout the race and even passed a few boats on the last upwind leg to finish a respectable 10th in a most competitive fleet.  Check out the onboard footage from Quiksilver from the first leg of the race.   We might have been a little rusty in the first race, but it was very comfortable having two captains in the boat and I felt our chemistry was great.   With the wireless mics, it feels like you're on the boat when you watch the video.  The main sheet line slipped out at the start, but overall I pulled the trigger at the right time and we did well in clean air on the first leg because of the good start.   Having a crew who can contribute with so many helpful observations allowed me to focus more on sailing fast and that's exactly what we did the entire regatta. 

At end of day, we decided to tie up a mooring ball for the night.   As we were being towed in, the driver of the power boat came in too hot and Ben reached for the ball and he ended up falling off the boat because we were moving too fast.   I froze in fear because he fell in very near the boat prop and I was very worried an alligator noticed.   We got him back in the boat and after being relieved that he was okay, we joked that we almost made it a whole day without him falling off the boat.   

After surviving the day, we had a great time hanging out with the Scot sailors on shore where John Kreidler was serving up premium margaritas as a gourmet food truck served up dinner.   If you look closely, you might notice Larry Klick in the light blue shirt while standing in line at the food truck.  He was helping on the safety boat and it was great seeing another long-time Midwest District racer.   We were also very excited for Michael and Jennifer as they were sailing fast and finished in second on the day.   

Day 2 of racing was much like the day before.  The wind looked promising as we left dock but it continued to gradually weaken.   The race committee tried like hell to get three races in, but there just wasn't enough wind left to race a third.   Ben and I had another solid day on the water.  We had solid starts and rounded the windward mark in the top five in both races.   We finished 8th in the second race and 16th in the third after another line issue inside the boat cost us a bunch of spots.   We were very pleased with an 11th place finish in that fleet and the few mistakes we did make will certainly not be repeated at Midwinters.

Here is a link to final scoring: Regatta Results - Click Here

Congrats to Michael and Jennifer on a great 4th place finish!  She also had an impressive photo bomb (see below).  They sailed great and if you get the chance, ask them about that righty that allowed them to pass six boats in the last 500 yards of the last race.   We certainly noticed it because we were one of the boats they passed.   That shift cost us a Top 10, but it secured a regatta trophy for them so overall it was a favorable shift for the Midwest District.   Also note Lynn and Bill Bruss from Chattanooga who finished 5th and are continuing to improve and sail consistently fast, especially downwind.   Well done Lynn and Bill!  All in all, us Northerners represented rather well. 

Wow!  We were told Lake Eustis is the place to be and it did not disappoint.  It is clear to me why Eustis is a very popular stop on the Florida circuit and this regatta is definitely one you want to plan for if at all possible.  Thank you to Fleet Captain Dean Grimes and all the volunteers for hosting such a stellar event.   I'm already looking forward to going back. 

Photo Credit: John Cole
Photo Credit: John Cole
Photo Credit: John Cole

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chicago Strictly Sail Show a Chance to Catch up with Fellow Sailors

Ben and I had such a fun weekend in Chicago at the boat show. It's always a chance to catch up with Harry and Karen, and this year also Tyler, Carrie and baby William (I got to meet baby William!!!). But there were so many Flying Scot sailors it was like a reunion. Somehow we all showed up on Saturday without planning anything.
Can you see little William?
From left in front Cathy, Deb and Janet
Second row, Jim, Mike Harry, Karen, Williams, Tyler, Carrie, Ben, Jack Greg and Linda

From Delavan there were Jim and Cathy Walsh and Jack and Janet Markwick. Bronson and Rachel Bowling and Greg and Linda Vitt made the 5 or 6 hour trek from Carlyle despite ice storms. Dale Counihan came from Neenah Nodaway, which is where our Midwest Districts will be in August, so it was fun to see him. Debbie and Tom Yeagle and Bryan and Angie Hunt helped us represent Clinton Lake Sailing Association. Plus Mike Faugust was there, picking up his new boat!! Woot Woot! His was the one the Carpenters were displaying. I'm sure Mike was thrilled to have the boat delivered, even if he was a little nervous when people crowded around. He didn't want any dings in that pristine gel coat, and who can blame him?!

Ben and I don't always go to the boat show but we were especially excited to support Tyler and Carrie when they gave a seminar on "Sailing with Your Spouse" this year.
Tyler and Carrie were very well prepared and did a good job!

You can see a bunch of us in the front two rows here. Also, notice how crowded the room is!

We hung out at the boat show until dinner time, grabbed some pizza at Connie's in McCormick Place. We met up there with several (not necessarily Scot) sailors from Clinton Lake, which made it extra fun.

After pizza a group of us headed to First Draft, a pub that Bryan and Angie Hunt had found last year. Boy was it fun! There was one page of food and about 10 pages of beers to choose from.
We also did an experiment to determine how many people you can fit around a "four-top." We squeezed in 10!!  Ben ended up in a "Debby/Debbie sandwich" here with me and our Clinton Lake friend Debbie Yeagle, who, if you've come to the Glow, you will recognize!

The next day Ben and I, having socialized to our fullest extent, spent a more quiet day touring the Field Museum. We saw a very cool exhibit on the various traditions surrounding tattooing and another on ancient Chinese history. Then we were ready to go home. It was such a fun weekend. Full of camaraderie, laughs and beer (or whiskey for some!).

Can't wait to be on the water, but this weekend will help sustain me over the next few months!