US Sailing Rejects Bert’s New Starting Sequence
Despite confusion, races run smoothly
“Only” 11 boats registered for the July 13 regatta after last month’s 17 boat bonanza. John Ensminger, who took his boat out of the water for “a few days work on the hull” 3 months ago, promised everyone his was ready to go but was not able to get his Catalina on the line. Also registering but not finishing a race was B. Whisanhunt, whom I’ve never met but I heard he’s a nice guy. Among the missing was Lenny Wells, who was seen by witnesses Poodle shopping in Shelby, and Tom Cannon, last seen retiring after winning his last race.
Forecast was for winds from the southeast at 5-10 kt; actual winds were from the southeast at 2-7 kt, which made for some fluky sailing at times. Principal Race Officer Bert Eskridge was looking to break the mold a bit by starting races without starting flags, horns (or any sound for that matter), and random updates on time to the start (e.g. “4:43 to the Start! 2:12 to the start! 34.554 seconds to the start!”). Fortunately the fleet was able to start without the normal aids and the first race was off.
The fleet was composed of mostly regulars. Hennon with crew Trombetta nailed the start and managed to work out a nice little lead up the first leg. In pursuit, surprisingly, was Tim and Jane Alderson – surprising because many thought they would be at home in front of the telly waiting for the royal baby to be born. The Titus’ dumped their children off at a babysitter somewhere on the way to the lake in a desperate attempt to raise their game. Unfortunately, Jamie’s white Al Capone hat quickly eviscerated any respect they may have gained. Also low on respect was Barney Sokol, who failed to uphold his reputation by failing to T-bone anyone prior to the start.
As expected, Team Alderson had baby on the brain and forgot the course soon after the start, so they began querying the fleet as to where to go. Hennon wasn’t sure either, so he decided to wait and see which mark Alderson went for and then go for the other one, hoping the fleet would follow. His plan worked perfectly as Alderson sailed halfway to I-26 before turning around. The second leg was a beautiful beat to the wires mark in the day’s best wind. Richard Hansen finally realized he couldn’t live without Duke in the cockpit – his expert tactician was on his game and the FS was back in the mix. Also lingering close by was Bill Winkler – anytime a Widgeon is close by, you know the fleet is in time trouble. Although Hansen passed everyone and finished first on the course, Hennon and Trombetta hung on for the win on time.
But Team Jet-14 was a complete non-factor in race 2 after a bad start and a failed windward spinnaker attempt. Hansen, now full of confidence, kicked Duke off the boat to “sail light and fast”. It seemed to pay off as he once again cruised in for his second consecutive 2nd place finish. Alderson also had enough and followed the puffs perfectly for a convincing victory. The dangerous Doug Carroll had the fastest boat out on the entire lake and would have won the last 3 races if his handicap wasn’t -34.4, but third place on time was a good sign of things to come.
I don’t remember much about race 3 except that practically the entire fleet sailed by me like I was anchored. And something about how I couldn’t believe a Widgeon was staying with me on the first leg.
Eskridge inquired about running a 4th race and lucky for Hennon, most of the fleet agreed except for Barney, who had a date with Megarette in the RC closet. As in the first 3 races it was a struggle finding wind, especially since Carroll was using most of it to lap the field. Repeating their Race 3 performance, Team Alderson once again powered by our poor Jet-14 on the final leg back to the club, but it wasn’t enough in the end. The final result came down to mere seconds in the last race, as the first through fifth place boats were separated by only 5 points. Each of those boats also had at least one second place finish in a race – very good to see the level of competition heating up.
I will be RC on July 28, and there will be flags.