Saturday, March 2, 2013

2013 Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter Regatta

Greg Duncan (blue t-shirt) and your diarist (funny looking glasses) pause for the traditional mini cup of Florida grapefruit juice after crossing over the border from Georgia.  It was almost warm enough for me to lose the fleece jacket.  photo credit: John Zseleczky.
The last weekend of February was the date for this year's CMBA Mid-Winter Regatta.  Most of those racing drove at least four hours and many drove 4 or 5 times longer than that to arrive with boats at Gulfport Yacht Club.

One sees many odd sights along the back roads of central Florida.  I assume that the "Warriors" are the local town high school football team but I could be wrong.  Probably just as well to not ask a bunch of dumb questions in a state where a lot of the residents tend to pack heat.

Greg Duncan, John Zseleczky and I convoyed down I-95/ highway 301/I-75 to Ocala, where Merv Wescoat and his daughter Barb generously fed us and put us up for the night.  The next morning we continued the journey to St. Petersburg and finally arrived at Gulfport YC.  For me, one-way is just a whisker over a thousand miles.  Is it worth it?  Ja, you betcha!  Turnout was a bit disappointing this year with only 8 boats, but the weather was warm (daytime high temps in the low 80s) and there was a good breeze (high teens to around 12 knots out of the SSW).  Those of you who stayed home because of a multitude of reasons missed a great event!

Moth Boaters always get a warm welcome from GYC

Gulfport YC's clubhouse. 

We arrived around 11 o'clock and were greeted by sea smoke.  Fog is common here in the mornings due to the temperature differences between the bay and the land.  It usually burns off by noon.

This ex-Scott Sandell Mistral was for sale.

No reasonable offer refused!
Don't know about the "race ready" part.  Looks like the fore deck needs a bit of TLC after being in the hot Florida sun...
Anyway, we unloaded boats and rigged up.  There are condos not far beyond that sea smoke but you can't see them! Photo credit:  Amy Parker.
Some renewed old acquaintances.  Here Larry Suter (white cap) chews the fat with Jeff Linton. Photo credit:  Amy Parker.
Others whiled away the afternoon playing "corn hole" and drinking beer.  Barb Parsons (blue top) watches the opposing team's corn bag drop through the hole.  Note to self:  remember to move your boat before the corn hole games start!  Photo credit:  Amy Linton.

Saturday morning.  Registration and the skipper's meeting were held on the front porch.  Photo credit:  Len Parker.

The race committee used this course and also a windward leeward course.  The modification involved moving the start/finish line from the center of the course to a position below mark Nr 3.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

The first warning signal was at high noon.  Nice pix of the first start.  Where the hell am I?  Photo credit: Len Parker.

Here I am.  I had more bad starts than good ones.  Thankfully I had my sail shape dialed in and had good boat speed and was sailing higher than most of my competitors.  Not only are the condos emerging from the fog but it was clear enough that we didn't need compass bearings to find the marks by the time racing started.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

Another start where I'm late to the line.  I'm always interested in seeing the photos from various peeps with cameras out in the mark boat.  They are usually quite instructive if a little humbling.  Photo credit: Amy Parker.

Another blown start!  You can tell I haven't set foot in a boat since last October.  Photo credit: Amy Linton.

I finally did begin to achieve halfway decent starts as seen here.  Photo credit:  Amy Linton.

One of our better skippers, Mark Saunders, seen to windward of my boat in this pix, paid me a compliment by telling me that my ability to sail higher than his boat was really becoming "annoying"!  Photo credit:  Len Parker.

86 year old Merv Wescoat didn't feel up to racing his Moth Boat but he brought his Harpoon 5.2 down to Gulfport to spectate and get in a little practice with his daughter Barb before the next Harpoon regatta.  Photo credit:  Len Parker.

There were a couple of new sail shapes tried out at this regatta.  This one (Nr 3) is on Larry Suter's Europe.  Photo credit: Amy Linton.

Greg Duncan tried this loose footed sail with full battens. Photo credit: Amy Parker

Right before the start of the fifth race, overall regatta leader Jeff Linton had a problem with his outhaul control.   He capsized on purpose so that he could swim to the end of the boom and fix it.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

Mark Saunders and I made the most of Jeff's misfortune.  Mark came in 1st overall that race and I finished 2nd.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

Mark seemed good with that result.  Ah, Yuengling beer, the pause that refreshes!  The carbon dagger board seen here was almost Mark's undoing.  In true Moth Boat tradition, Mark barely got this boat finished in time for the regatta and when he arrived Friday afternoon he discovered that the blade didn't fit the trunk.  He spent all of Friday evening and most of Saturday morning with a wood block, wet/dry sandpaper and a bucket of water.  Mark did a great job redecking this old glass Europe dinghy hull.  I'll post a few photos of the boat in a separate post in a couple of days.  Photo credit:  Len Parker.

At the end of racing on Saturday Walt Collins, who I never beat unless he beats himself, and I were tied on points with me leading the Generation I group by virtue of the tie-breaker rule.  Photo credit: Len Parker.
Sunday's breeze was less robust than the preceding day.  This spectator doesn't seem to mind.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

However, the morning sea smoke did delay the start of racing for roughly an hour.  Photo credit: Amy Linton.

We started off with light and flukey air, which is not my forte.  Somehow I surprised myself and got a  good start this race. Photo credit:  Amy Parker.

Walt was on my bumper the whole way around the course.  Nervous times!  Photo credit: Amy Parker.

I didn't know if I could hold him off but in the end I did.  In this pix I have my eyes closed and I'm praying that when I reopen them I'll be safely across the finish line!  Photo credit:  Amy Parker.
The next race was a windward/leeward course and both Walt and I got confused by an extra horn during the starting sequence.  We were both over early and had to come back.  Walt made a better job at recovering and beat me by two boats.  Here I'm still going back to the line while the rest of the fleet is racing off in the correct direction!  Photo credit:  Amy Parker.

It's lonely out here in DFL land...  Photo credit: Amy Parker.
Hmmm, maybe it's not as lonely as I thought.  Is that a porpoise fin or a shark???  Whatever it is, it's a biggin'.  Photo credit: Len Parker.

Mike Parsons is seeming to have a good time even if his back gave him enough problems that he dropped out of the racing on Saturday.  He went well on Sunday after rest and prescription strength advil.  Photo credit:  Len Parker.

At the end of the regatta Jeff Linton had won another overall Mid-Winter title and also won in the Generation II division.  Is there no stopping him?! Photo credit:  Len Parker.

In the Generation I division Walt got me by 2 points for 1st place.  I took 2nd over Larry Suter but only because Larry, a very good sailor, missed several races with a rudder gudgeon failure.  Above is a pix of one of the trophies from this year's event, donated by Mast Head Enterprises.  Presenter, Amy Linton tells us these are the perfect size for a cell phone, a $20 dollar bill and a lipstick!  Who knew?
A tip of the cap to my photo crew on the mark boat, without whom we wouldn't have these instructive pix.  Here we have Amy (the good looking one) and Lennie Parker.  Photo credit: Amy Linton.
Last but not least, is Amy Linton, mark boat skipper and shutter bug extraordinaire.  Photo credit:  Len Parker.


  1. Great report with photos. George, as far as Captcha I think that as long as you are logged into your Blogger account, this will allow you to bypass (not sure about this). Try it and let me know.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. Shame you couldn't come on down. Next time it'll probably blow and be cold! I'll wait 'til the next time you post something and I'll comment on it after I'm logged in here and see what happens.

  3. Hej George !
    Fina bilder som lockar men i Sverige är det låångt till vår här ligger
    det fortfarande is här och var. Jämtland hade snökaos i helgen med vindar upp emot 30 m/sek.
    Ha det gott hälsa Elisabeth !

    1. Hej Johannes: Glad att du njuter av Florida bilder även om vintern fortfarande griper Sverige. Hur var din resa till Portland, Oregon? Jag väntar på bilderna från din resa på din blogg.

      Bästa hälsningar,

    2. Hej George !
      Det var den 8/4 som vi åker till Portland och stannar till den 29/4. Jag vill komma bort från Varberg när jag fyller pensionär. Här är det nästan - 10 gr (14 F) nattetid och i onsdags snöade det. Ingen värme den närmaste veckan enligt väderspåmannen.
      Lev väl !

  4. They look like such fun little boats. What's the weight limit for the skipper? I'm sure I'm 100# too heavy.

    1. Baydog: There's no skipper weight limit, min or max, in the class rules, but the reality is that if a guy weighs more than about 180 lb, he's at a distinct disadvantage, particularly on the off wind legs of the course in light air. This can be a positive thing health-wise because if you really want to race and be competitive in this class, then you'll do what it takes to get under 180. Somewhere between 140 and 165 is ideal.

      But one of the advantages of a development class is that there are designs, like the Mistral, which are more skipper weight forgiving than others. The Mistral is also a relatively easy design to build--the hull is stitch and glue. However, the Mistral is a VERY tricky boat to sail, due to her narrow waterlines, and newbie Mistral pilots should count on combining a fair amount of swimming with their Moth Boat racing as they go up the learning curve.

    2. I haven't been under 180 since seventh grade.