Commonwealth Yacht Club

A place for members to find & share information about the happenings of the CYC

May 28, Kentucky Lake.  

Many sailors like to win, but some REALLY want to win.  They will spend hours tweaking their boats, no detail too small nor expense too great.  They will search not for friends, but the best crew to help them to victory.

   Others are satisfied just getting better.  As long as they are improving, they are happy.  Toward this end; nothing helps develop  ability more than traversing a course chasing or being chased by other boats around a race course.   

      Still others sailors spend a great deal of time helping others in our favorite passion.  Members of the Kentucky Lake Sail Club have been especially visible helping newcomers to experience the sport of sailing.   This past Saturday, long time KLSC JAM A fleet winner, Lee Bird, could be seen with self described “newbie’s” to racing, Barrett and Betty Owens on their Hunter 27, Sea Zen.  The previous week, KLSC Commodore Craig Rothwell on his Beneteau 265, Relentless, and past Commodore Alan Julian on Mischief, boarded a boat load of University of Southern Indiana students and tacked back and forth on the upwind leg of the CYC course.  Wayne Cassady on his J40, Southern Cross, could be seen on the same mission.   Sailing together in the KLSC Regattas, Commonwealth Cup and the CYC Sailing Series, we are forming a community of sailors, learning, socializing, helping each other and advancing the sport.  This is what is most fun for me and why I look forward to each weekend in the sailing season.

  The May 28th race began with a 14 knot upwind leg to Sledd Creek.  John Hafner’s Oday 26, Blow Hard, started in the lead on port, followed by Psychotic Squirrel and Treasure Chest.  Ten additional boats soon followed in order of their start times, with fast boats having to wait the longest. No Worries, Winddancer, Sea Zen, and Victoria were in the next group.  The little Flying Scot, Blue Moon, and Jim Siebert’s S2 6.7, Dagnabit soon followed.  Hey Jude had to wait an additional minute due to winning the previous weekend.   Dirty Harry and Sails Call II had the longest wait handicap, but first timer Heather Coltharp on her orange Flying Scot was the last to start.

   As the racers approached the first mark, the lead pack of 5 boats was led by Blow Hard followed by Dagnabit, Blue Moon and Hey Jude.  Dirty Harry felt pretty good at this point of the race, having rapidly made up most all of the handicap on the first leg with two favorable legs to go.   Hey Jude, seeing Dirty Harry’s nasty bottom exposed on a port tack hailed, “Hey do you need any more cabbage to go with that!” Blow hard tacked first for the pin and tried to “juke” it but slowed and was passed first by 
Dagnabit then Blue Moon and next by Dirty Harry and Hey Jude.

    Further back, Treasure Chest was being pounded by waves,  so she angled for the western shore, a tactic she later regretted. Bev thought she should have taken advantage of her crews tacking ability to stay more in the center toward the mark.  Wind Dancer and Sea Zen sailed ahead on port toward Sledd Creek.  Psychotic Squirrel passed as well. It looked like Victoria, on port, was adjusting her fairlead to reduce spilling wind out the leach of the jib.   No Worries, John Philippe’s new Catalina 320, was on her shakedown cruise and every tack was providing him and his crew with information as they tried to figure out the new boat.   Sails Call II was making up her handicap on the vessels ahead and behind him, for the second week in a row, a late starting Flying Scot was scooting up the course, sneaking up on the fleet.   Last week it was Mark Schaberg, this week it was Heather Coltharp, with her husband Jason as crew. As would soon be obvious, these little boats can fly.

     Winddancer made the Sledd Creek mark and as Treasure Chest  approached, Bev hailed” Starboard” several times at Sea Zen until she ducked to stern, loosing as little way as possible.  Unfortunately, Sea Zen got in the irons and had to make another go at the first turning mark.

    Back on the second leg in the lead pack, Dagnabit gained maybe 50 yards of separation as Blue Moon footed off to the left in a 2 foot chop. Dirty Harry tried to point and held up higher on the course but something on the boat didn’t feel right as she started to fall behind. They let off the main and that helped some but the speed she felt on the first leg was gone. We started thinking about that “Cabbage” remark from Steve.    Hey Jude and Blow Hard approached to pass to windward when  suddenly on the deck of Dirty Harry, the sound of many sharp pops like hail falling from the skies. A look up at the sky overhead confirmed there couldn't be any hail coming from  that.  Down on the deck,  it wasn’t hail but maybe two dozen small round brownish tan marble like balls bounced around, Ping! Pop! Pop! The boom jerked up, the travel car failed. The brown balls were the bearings continuing to roll all over the deck.   I clutched the flailing,main sheet in one hand with the tiller in the other thought; at least we still have a spinnaker run on the last leg to catch up.   Blow Hard tack over to windward putting out some bad air but Dirty Harry was able to power through.

     First time on the course, Jim Siebert on Dagnabit, was in the lead but said “Why are you following me? I’m lost. Where is the turning mark?”  We were nearly as lost as he but  knew the mark was probably to the west.  Finally, there it was and all tacked to port to get over.  Hey Jude and Blow Hard held the best line on the red buoy.   Steve had his two nephews, Zander and Elijah, ages 6 and7 as crew and was teaching them the ropes.  Zander was very competitive, shouting “are we winning, are we winning?”  However, Zander didn’t get a sheet released on a tack and put Hey Jude in the irons allowing Blue Moon to pass to leeward.

   Dagnabit rounded the final turn first and headed to the west followed by Blue Moon. Dirty Harry setting her hot pink spinnaker,  took out toward Lighthouse Landing on the east.  Hey Jude and Blow Hard were smart and headed straight to the finish mark two miles ahead.

   Back on the second leg, the Schock 20, Treasure Chest, was feeling good.  Bev’s new crew was really picking up on tacking as they passed Winddancer.  On the next turn however, her crew strongly sheeted in and ripped the jib on the stanchion.  To windward, the orange Flying Scot of Heather quickly passed by, gobbling up earlier starting boats with every tack.  There was no catching her, so they set their sights on Psychotic Squirrel who maybe was within reach.  No Worries, Sails Call II and Sea Zen all made it around the final mark and headed down wind for home.

    In the lead pack, on the west side of the course Dagnabit looked like it had a 200 yard lead over Blue Moon,  its golden Mylar sails making quite a pretty sight.  Dirty Harry decided to heat it up by heading up to gain boat speed.  In the waves it seemed like they were just on the verge of planning.  They were starting to catch up but too far to the east. Dirty Harry jibed back and started to move,   at one point  registering  7.8 knots.  Looking to the west, however, they saw a faster blue streak.

   Just earlier, as Blue Moon was falling farther behind Dagnabit, Dave Casey thought his only chance was to set up the spinnaker.  The trouble was he was the only one who could do it and son Samuel had never helmed before. The wind was gaining strength as the little boat was buffeted by waves. Dave was well aware of the chance of flipping the boat, as had happened in a previous race last year.  However, setting the spinnaker was their only chance. Samuel took the helm as Dave gave him instructions. They initially had a twist but yanked it out and left up the Jib.

   It appeared as though Blue Moon was a jet ski the way they were planning the waves, over taking Dagnabit.  .  Maybe they were going 10 knots.  They just zoomed by and passed to port of the green buoy. Exhilarated by the finish, Dave doused their sails.  100 yards behind, Jimmy on Dagnabit, was yelling at them. What was he saying?   A good sport, Jimmy was yelling “Cross the finish line. Cross the finish line between the green and red buoys!”   Too late, Jimmy tacked across and Dave and Samuel sat still excited by the run.  They turned west to go back to KDM unknowingly crossing the line for the first time and were soon followed by Hey Jude. 

 Meanwhile, Dirty Harry was screaming toward the mark on a beam reach under spinnaker. This was fun despite the tactical mistake of going too far east, across the rhumb line on the course.  As they approached the finish buoy, they realized it was red!  They had been aiming for the least favored side of the finish.  Looking to port, John Hafner, on Blow Hard, dipped across the line, coming from behind to nose them out of fourth.  At the same time, John had just picked up his first victory over the Single Handed Fleet.

     Behind came Heather and Jason Coltharp, passing seven boats after their late start.  They and all the following boats received a two minute head start for the next race.  Sails Call II was again the first big boat to finish followed closely by No Worries.  Psychotic Squirrel, Treasure Chest, Winddancer, Sea Zen and Victoria, all following across the line. 

   Jimmy hated to protest Blue Moon after that great spinnaker run but he and Hey Jude were obligated to do so.  The committee boat awarded Dagnabit the victory and Blue Moon second.  Blue Moon protested the Race Committee for ambiguous wording on the race instructions about “taking the final green buoy to port” for the finish.  The Protest committee voted three to one with two abstaining to leave Dagnabit a winner, but grant Dave redress with one additional series point and also both Dave and Jimmy with a 1 minute longer start time as winning captains.  The starting and finishing line are being more accurately described in the race instruction and Tim Crowell has redrawn that portion on the map.  The revisions will be posted on the / spring sailing series site and sent to the participants.  The finish and start line is more explicitly described above.

      It was a great sail and even in the protest, sportsmanship and good intentions were exhibited by everyone, further evidence that the “community of sailors” was holding fast.   The raft up later that evening can more enjoyably be envisioned by singing to yourself “What do we do with a Drunken Sailor” and making up additional lyrics.  The attendees expressly preferred anonymity.  We do miss Rob Milner and his traveling planetarium. It certainly elevated the discourse for the evening.

Hope to see you sailing Saturday!

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