Tuesday, March 7, 2017

2017 Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter photo collage

Late February.  Time to crank up the old bus and ahead down highway 95 to FLA.  Winter this year in Maryland has, so far, proven to be quite benign.  That doesn't dampen my (and my extended family's) enthusiasm for this annual outing.  This year my whole fam damnly came down either in the wagon with the boats or separately by air or another car.  I think by next year people who aren't even vaguely related to me will be tagging along...

What follows is a collection of photos, mostly taken by either Lennie Parker or Amy Smith Linton of this year's event.  I did manage to take a couple of pix for the intro and finale and so those two are my fault and not that of my photographers.

L'equipe Albaugh at our traditional rest stop in Ocala.  Son Erik's yacht is on the roof racks.  My glass Euro is on the trailer.  If we get on the road by 4am, we can usually get here by supper time.  Merv Wescoat's (sadly he passed away about this time last year) daughter Barb still takes us in.  Barb has her house on the market so this pleasant tradition may soon be a pleasant memory.

 We had 13 boats in two divisions race at this year's event.  Five in the faster Gen II group and 8 in the more sedate Gen I division.  Erik's boat is provisionally in Gen II but since he struggled to stay on the same page as the faster Mistrals, his boat may get reclassified.  We shall see what the classification committee decides.

The cast of characters is as follows:

Charleston sailor Randall Stoney in his Gen I Europe. Randall also has a Vintage Darby-Ventnor that he's had since a boy.
Charleston fleet Captain Rutledge Young also in a Europe
Woody Kapp, Charleston fleet, Europe
Lewis Hay, Charleston fleet, Europe
Tom Kapp, Charleston fleet, Europe
Frikie Martschinke Chareston fleet, Europe (sail nr 132, seen here briefly leading John Z's Gen II Mistral)
Greg Duncan, Elizabeth City, Europe
And finally, your old diarist (caught doing something right for a change; sail nr 67), Brigantine YC, Europe.  So, the Gen I group was basically a mono-division of 100% Europe dinghies with the only differences being choice of sails (North vs Winters), with or without full length battens, loose footed or bolt rope footed.  No Cates or Shelley design Gen I boats attended this year's Mid-Winter Regatta.  Those guys missed a great weekend.
The Gen II division was almost as homogeneous with three Mistrals, one Mousetrap and Erik's boat which was designed and built by Lane Reeves in Savannah, GA.

My son Erik in nr 43.  Lane Reeves attempted to make the Mistral design a little more user friendly.  He succeeded.  This is a lovely boat, but comfort typically comes at the expense of speed and this example proves that point.  She'll probably be a very competitive Gen I boat if she is reclassified.

Jeff Linton in his Mousetrap design.  Jeff's boat marries the better aspects of the Europe and Mistral.  Jeff is nearly unbeatable in this boat.  Other Gen II sailors are of the opinion that the stock Mistral is actually faster but if so, Jeff's sailing skills more than compensate for any performance difference and as a plus, Jeff rarely spills his beer while racing.  Something most Mistral sailors can only dream about.
And so to the stock, Gen II Mistrals.  Mark Saunders, Charleston.
Mike Parsons, Cooper River
John Zseleczky, Severn Sailing Association
So with our rouge's gallery complete let us see what my photogs captured in between moving marks and altering courses.

GYC's pontoon boat once again served the RC well.  No one could compliant about a lack of wind this year.  We had a nice 10-15 out of the NE to work with on Saturday.  Sunday's breeze started out in the high teens with gusts in the mid twenties which provoked the RC to declare a one hour postponement.  More about Sunday later in this post.

Jeff won 7 of the 11 races which were completed over the two days.  Here we have a bow shot of Jeff rounding the gybe mark with no other boats in the picture. 

To be fair, things were a good bit closer at times
And there are similar photos of John Z.
Mike Parsons
and Mark Saunders in my collection of photographic evidence.
A nice shot of all thirteen boats just after one of the starts.
I kept doing dumb things at the starts like getting the end of my hiking stick trapped under the center traveler bench 20 seconds before the start or managing to brilliantly get squeezed out of the front row during a start.

Occasionally things would go well as in this mark rounding.  But on occasions things would go horribly wrong.  I was involved in a port/starboard incident wherein I was on port tack and neither I nor the starboard tack boat saw each other until the very last seconds.  I put the helm over hard but it was too late, the boats touched, with mercifully just a glancing rub rail to rub rail contact.  I yelled my apologies and set about doing two of the slowest  penalty turns ever executed.  Back on land I sought out my fellow competitor, apologized again and asked if there was any damage to his boat.  Thankfully neither boat was damaged.  I came in DFL that race...

Sunday dawned with significantly higher winds.  The RC looked at weather radar and various wind predictions and announced a one hour postponement.  They felt that after an hour there would be a window of opportunity to get in our four remaining races.  Several competitors wanted to just pack it in but the rest of us having driven 1000 miles wanted to sail if conditions permitted.  The hour came and went and still no decision from the RC.  John Z and Erik decided to put their boats in and go for a test sail.

Erik enjoying the breeze.  Both my photogs zeroed in on the boy, taking roughly the same shots.

Showing fatherly concern, I watched my son (from a safe vantage point).  After it became apparent that he wasn't going to die, I launched my boat.  That forced the rest of the fleet's hand and soon all but three competitors came out to play.  I have to admit, the wind, while sailing out to the starting area was right at my personal comfort level but by the time marks were set and the RC boat was anchored in place, things started to moderate and after the first race the wind was no friskier than the day before.  We got in the remaining four races.  Mark Saunders was an early casualty retiring with a broken hiking stick.

Mindful of the long-ish sail back to the club beach, the RC shortened the last race to the mark closest to home.  The wind was dropping by that point and nobody argued!  Mrs Linton watches Mr. Linton cross the line first at the end of the last race.
The "trophies" were big bottles of booze--always a great trophy!  Here Mike receives the third place Gen II bottle--Mark S. actual won via the tie breaker but Amy L. decided that you had to be present to collect your winnings and since she's the spark plug behind this event she gets to make the rules.
John Z took 2nd in Gen II
The Gen II and overall Mid-Winters Champion:  Jeff Linton.  Another one of Amy rules revolved around which bottle was Jeff's winnings.  It's good to be Queen.

Erik got a wee little bottle for being the "Junior" sailor.
Woody Kapp took 3rd in Gen I
In spite of all the stupid mistakes I somehow staggered home in 2nd for Gen I thus revenging my last year's loss to Rutledge Young by a single point.
Frickie M. (the sailor I fouled during Saturday's port/stbd incident) repeated as a well deserved Gen I champ.  GYC Commodore and Mid-Winters PRO Mike Kasper raises his leg in the classic Capt Morgan stance.

And so at the end of another great Classic Moth Boat Mid-Winter Regatta, L'equipe Albaugh rolls home.  See you next year?   Honestly---how do these things catch my eye???