Greetings everyone! First, some business. For those who might not have heard, our Midwest District Championships will NOT be held this weekend (August 12-13) at Neenah Nodaway Sailing Club. Instead they will be held together with the Glow in the Dark regatta at Clinton Lake the last full weekend of September (23-24). Apologies to those who made plans to attend but not enough people pre-registered to make the club confident of having a good event. For those of you who had a conflict for next weekend, you get another chance to compete in the Championships. For those who arranged to compete this coming weekend, we apologize deeply. Please, please spread the word to anyone you hear planning on traveling this coming weekend. I do NOT want someone showing up only to find out the event was cancelled…Now we turn the page on this unhappy turn of events….
We went to Ephraim this past weekend. I know this blog is technically for all of the Midwest District, but I’ve got to give a shout out to the SEVEN boats that came from Fleet 135. We were all very, very proud. It was the first time for a few of our sailors. In another case (Rick and Chris, I’m looking at you!) they decided to come up the day before — AND found a camping site. They live a charmed life I guess.
Speaking of travelers, this year there were two sailors up from Florida, Tom McNally and Charlie (and his wife, Cindy) Clifton, as well as Larry Taggert from New Orleans and Harry Carpenter and Melanie Dunham from Deep Creek Maryland, not to mention Mark and Maria Benner, who traveled at least as far, coming from Pittsburgh. It’s a real testament to the event to attract people from so far away.
Ephraim is an epic event. This year they counted 35 boats. Friday was kind of freaky, however, because the winds were sustained in the high 20s with gusts so strong they blew you backwards. No one could put up their mast because of the wind. And, because the wind was out of the north, the waves at the club were incredible.
Everyone’s wheel chocks just floated away!
|Here is a pile of chocks that were collected as they floated away|
|Participants gathered at the end of the regatta|
Amazing. Still, Harry Carpenter gave an outstanding talk on starting in large fleets that was very well attended. Those kinds of sessions are always worth it — no matter how experienced you are you learn something new.
Anyway, as predicted, the wind completely settled down by Saturday morning and we had three races in increasingly light wind. The water had also settled down though there still was some chop and a few errant waves. We may have hit every one! (Kidding). Saturday’s races were each five legs and each lasted an hour, so it was a real endurance test out there. Stacey Rieu and Ryan Malmgren had an outstanding day with two bullets and a fourth-place finish. Tom McNally (up from Sarasota, Florida) and local crew Liz Gheorghita were in hot pursuit with seven points, as were Jennifer Ikeda and Michael Faugust with nine points.
|Never got to chat with these sailors but admired their one-of-a-kind sails|
|Debbie and To|
m Yeagle from Clinton Lake. Debbie's first time sailing at Ephraim!
The legendary bratfest was legendary, as usual. How could it not be? J
Rain poured down at one point in the evening and everyone crammed in under the one tent area. It was pretty loud, but that’s always the sign of a good time, right?
Sunday was another light wind day. Even when people might have been frustrated about the conditions it was hard to feel upset when you took a minute to appreciate the gorgeous setting and the refreshing temperatures. It was hard to believe it was August, the weather was so mild. Still, the conditions were challenging. The poor mark boat set the mark to the north, then had to dash to the west when the wind shifted about 30 degrees or more. And then, of course, they had to dash back toward the north about 15-20 degrees just before the start. And the start …. was agonizing. There was so little wind that the horn went off and what felt like ten minutes later many boats just crossed the start line. Painful.
Still, there was eventually enough wind that, if you didn’t move much and your skipper had laser-like focus you could get the boat coasting a bit. Thankfully the race committee shortened the race to two legs and then everyone (except the three or four boats that somehow got a tow) struggled to return to the dock under continued light conditions. A tow would have been really nice! Just sayin’ … Instead I tried to practice steering with the spinnaker up. Tried really hard to channel that whole idea of enjoying being in this gorgeous place but finally gave up and handed the tiller back to my skipper with a growl.
Ah well! I’m a work in progress, you could say… We packed up our boats and headed home. But in a few short weeks many of us will re-convene at Clinton Lake for the Glow in the Dark Regatta September 23-24.
Which reminds me, for those of you paying attention, there are already more than 10 people qualified for the travel trophy. For those of you at the Glow you might have envied the qualifying sailors who each received a trophy made from a tire tread (so clever!) with a small plaque on it. I’m not sure if qualifiers will once again receive a trophy or simply a plaque to add to their existing tire tread trophy. I lean toward the later. That way you can just keep adding plaques to your tire tread trophy til you fill it up! Other opinions are welcome, but I don’t think we have set this up for comments so feel free to email me! debaronsonATnasw DOT org