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Tim Dowling Memorial Regatta
Clark Lake YC * Sept 22-23, 2012
Great times at Clark Lake for the lucky few!

Even funnel clouds were in Saturday's cold forecast.

Discouraging weather forecasts, a boat show and even an Interlake wedding all were factors in keeping attendance low at the annual Tim Dowling Memorial Regatta hosted by the Clark Lake YC Sept. 22-23 south of Jackson, Michigan. In the event, Saturday's prognostications looked so threatening that racing was cancelled.

Our Saturday night socializing was made perfect once again by ...

... live music from Tom Spring
(r) and John Griffin.

The non-racing day allowed us to seriously socialize and greatly enjoy the evening's delicious supper and superb live music. And for us Wayfarers, a special treat was in store as our beloved ex-Wayfarers, Gary and Stephanie Hirsch, were visiting with us for the weekend!!

By mid-morning, the sky was a sparkling blue.

We were rewarded for our patience when Sunday brought sunshine and well nigh perfect sailing winds and three fine races, all done by about 1 PM :)

The Metro Beach Boat Show played its part in the Wayfarer Class as as Hartley promo took precedence over sailing for Marc Bennett which in turn caused Uncle Al to switch to Rebels and reduce the Wayfarer fleet to 6 entries. Toronto's Mike Codd and Kirk Iredale continued a late-season hot streak with three straight convincing bullets and an upset win over the favourites, Joe DeBrincat and son, Jeff, from Walled Lake, MI.. Robert Mosher of Lansing teamed up with the visiting Gary Hirsch from St. Joseph, MI and grabbed series 3rd overall when Tony Krauss (Bay Village, OH) had to forego race 3. Tony took this opportunity to introduce two work mates, Ken Miller and Ed Barshaw, to the joys of sailing. Our newest racer, Chip Cunningham came over from Oxford, MI and teamed up with Nick Tanis of Clark Lake who is recovering very nicely from a mid-June stroke. Nick and Chip sailed a very competent series and impressed us all. Our 6th entry was a Lansing SC team, John Kolstoe and Jim Fletcher. Alas, they took one look at Saturday's weather and forecast, turned around and went home :(   We missed you, guys!!

The regatta's largest fleet was the Rebels who got 11 boats out. Less than a week after her mother, Karel, died, Mary Vorel followed her mom's wishes by sailing Clark Lake where Karel and husband, Al, had competed in the Rebel Nationals in early July despite the fact that Karel was needing a walker to get around at the time. Sailing with her grandmother, Pat, as tactician, Mary has won the last two Rebel Nationals, edging out Uncle Al in 2012. The Vorel team was once again in top form and roared back to knock off the local team of Steve Cummings and daughter, Lyndsie. Sailing Fritz Marin's R4144 with its venerable sails, Uncle Al and Shannon Shank just barely eked out a series 3rd with a pair of Clark Lake Rebels snapping at their heels.

One point behind Al was the team of Neil Robb and Evan Dowling while the timeless Woody Woodruff and Bill Locke (above) were one more point back. Not running our races this year was Mike Smith who instead, sailed his Rebel with Chance Winnie. Men of some substance, these two came into their own when the wind picked up in the finale where they lost the 2nd they had held all race long right at the finish.

And speaking of men of substance, Dan Hockenberry, former CLYC Commodore, teamed up with his equally sizable son, Steve, and took 7th, not bad in a light-air series. Unfortunately, this may have been a last sailing hurrah for Dan whose health is making it very hard to move around in his Rebel.

Next in line were Cameron and Allan Dowling, grandsons of the Tim in whose honour the event is named. They sailed Rebel #3, borrowed from Bruce Nowak (above) who was our Race Officer for the weekend. Taking 9th in the 11-boat fleet was Fenton's Jay Topping with Bill Kindt while it was a close battle between brothers? to avoid last place. In the end Ryan Neighbors and Aaron Tenorio edged out
Patrick Neighbors with Meghann Tenorio by a single point.

Actually, the Sunfish had 12 boats registered to be technically the largest fleet, but only nine of them actually sailed. Dan Norton who came 6th of 77 at the 2012 Sunfish NAs, was once more the favourite and lived up to his reputation with three firsts. The battle for runner-up spot was close, though, as Jim Towler beat out Tom Katterheinrich on a tie-breaker. Matt Heywood took a clear series 4th over Andy Zeigler while the ever-present Gail Turluck placed 6th overall. After this, it was series of Clark Lake youngsters: Thomas Smith beat brother, Riley, and Josh Lowry. Not sailing were John Getsen, Dexter Harschbarger and former W2432, Bob Reedy.

Actually, Larry and Julie Lowry seem to have had help from an as yet un-ID'd "ringer" (l).

As if the forecast were not enough, the usually very reliable Interlake Class attendance was decimated by a wedding that siphoned off most of their regulars. This year there was only a trio of Interlakes, two veterans and a newbie In a very close series, points-wise, the Marriott twins, Tom and Tim, who have been coming to Clark Lake even longer than Uncle Al's 25 years, did just enough to take the series victory, one point ahead of the CLYC's new treasures, Larry and Julie Lowry (and their four children - who were not on the Interlake but are definitely part of the treasure!). Another Fall Regatta regular, Ron Gall with Heather Hill, made it close by winning the last race and ended only a point out of 2nd overall.

And speaking of Lowrys, the two-boat Laser fleet was a brotherly Lowry affair as John (15) edged out Justin (14), Al's fine Rebel Nationals crew. Last but not least, there were a pair of Buccaneers and one Mutineer sharing a start. Locals, Larry Schmida and Scott Dowling came back to edge out Tom and Alexandra Grabowski, while Richard Casanova and Ileana Valencia kept a suitable distance behind the "big brothers" in their Mutineer.

Let us hope that more sailors get up off their tushies next year!!