Here is a regatta report as I saw it, but I was busy racing so please chip in with your own perspectives.
Saturday night was…:zbeer: well you had to be there
Sunday morning and I arrived at Wood Lake at 8.30 to set up. A couple of keen guys were already watching the wind which was blowing pretty hard NNE around the east side of our tree covered island. I set up registration and measuring inside the Woodlake Mall foyer and started working through the process as skippers and boats arrived. Our man Mark Klarkowski arrived with the bouy set and his Vac-U-Tug so we proceeded to set the course. With the number of guys at the pond side watching this turned out to be an event in itself. There is something satisfying about a model tug boat actually working, no puttering past idly looking pretty for this tug, he’s a hard working course laying tug.
Racing started after a skippers meeting and an extra ten minutes water time. By this time the wind was still strong but well below what might be considered ‘Footy B rig’ conditions. The forecast was for 13mph dropping to 11mph later. This proved to be much more than the reality of the day but did make those of us with extra rigs go for a mid sized ‘A’.
The morning was dominated by Tony Johnson with his V-12 (modified sloop rig) taking five straight wins. Don Reimer, Bill Hagerup and myself were swapping second, third and fourth places up until lunch. Throughout the morning the wind was quite strong but flukey around the island. The direction held so we had a pretty true beat from the start line to the windward mark. A run turned to a broad reach as we sailed to leeward of the island followed by a shorter run down to the leeward bouy. Finally a short but tricky beat needing at least one tack to the finish line.
Lunch was over a 45 minute break at Quizno’s subs which I think satisfied the hungry fleet. It was a good chance to sit down and discuss tactics too. Over lunch the wind dropped to zero for a while.
When we re-started the wind was very light from the same direction. Bigger rig conditions without a doubt but we were sailing this regatta to the Footy rules so a couple of requests to allow rig changes had to be denied. Still Tony showed his prowess at finding puffs which the rest of us missed and managed another win and a couple of second places in the light air. Skippers were now walking the wings of the course with extra determination, it was time to take the fight back to Tony! During this quiet wind spell we had some light rain showers too which wasn’t unpleasant and even looked rather attractive splashing on the calm lake. We sailed through the showers with I suspect varying degrees of pleasure.
After the rain the wind picked up again but swung round to the west. A brief discussion ensued and we decided that we would leave the course as it was. This meant a start on a very broad reach or occasional run but the second leg was now a long beat with an interesting lift around the island. The last three or four races were run like this. We could have completely reversed the course direction but that would have given us a very short beat to a starboard rounding which could have been troublesome. By now we had 15 races in the book and although we were still 15 minutes short of the NOR last race time we all agreed to call it a regatta.
We held the prize giving in the mall foyer with Jan presenting the top three trophies. Then all too soon it was time for those last conversations and goodbyes before a lot of weary skippers made their way home.
My particular thanks must go to my wife Jan for her hard work on Saturday in preperation for the brat fry we held Saturday evening. Also to Don and his wife Nancy who provided the pot of home made beans and added to the beverage supply as did Paul Taylor and Toby. On Sunday Jan, Jim Slapikes and Jim Vetting ran the races and kept the score tirelessly. Thanks to Mark Klarkowski for providing the bouys and lauching tug etc. Also for seeing that the course was set and taken out again. My thanks also to ‘The Shops at Woodlake’ for allowing us the use of their excellent facitities. Paula Williams who is my contact at the mall takes great interest in our sailing and is a pleasure to work with, thank you Paula. Finally our little club would like to thank everyone who attended. Making long journeys in the current economic climate is no easy decision and without you all the day would have been just another club sail. We had skippers from Florida, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, all for the sake of a footy!
I am putting a full score sheet together which I am sure will make interesting reading.