the Tim Dowling Memorial Regatta
Clark Lake YC * Sept. 21-22, 2019

(191001) This year again, the annual Tim Dowling Memorial Fall Regatta was sailed out of the lovely Clark Lake YC on the third weekend after Labour Day. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the CLYC members and especially the volunteers who give up a quiet, peaceful weekend so that we sailors can enjoy one of the worlds uniquely enjoyable sailing locales.

Those of us who attended were blessed with perfect summer sailing weather: warm sunshine with a few cloudy periods augmented by pleasurable sailing winds augmented by the usual Clark Lake fluctuations. We even had the occasional planing gusts. Who could ask for more? Well, we actually we did get more. Or should I say less? Saturday's scheduled third race was wisely sacrificed to caution when we got (a brief) thunder (squall) (below) just after the RC gave their going out signal.

The mini-squall hits.

Theoretically, we had five classes represented:  one Interlake, two Buccaneers, six Sunfish, nine Rebels and a dozen Wayfarers. The Wayfarer and Rebel fleets were loaded with past national and international champions and the competition was excellent.

For starting purposes, the two Bucs were lumped in with the Sunfish (above). The Bucs were a bit of a disappointment as we only ever saw one of the two out at the same time. The most interesting aspect of the Buc series to me was that I discovered that the Larry Schmida and Scott Dowling (son of Tim) (1-1-DNC-DNC) and
Geoff Moehl with Gene Palmer (DNF-DNC-1-1) tie-breaker went to "who beat whom in the last race" and no longer "who beat whom in the last race in which both competed".

Lansing's Team Bennett dominates hot 12-boat W fleet at Clark Lake

In perfect summery sailing weather Marc Bennett and Julie Seraphinoff dominated a classy 12-boat fleet of Wayfarers with 3-1-1-1 finishes at the 2019 Clark Lake Fall Regatta. Peggy Menzies who had taken a most impressive win in the U.S. Nationals at Tawas two weeks before was among those left in the dust (left in the weeds is more like it, declares Peggy!) as were the freshly crowned all-firsts North American champions, Conestoga SC's Leo and Joanne Van Kampen.

USWA Racing Secretary, Marc Bennett, presents spirit awards to Amelia and dad, Marc.

the 2019 Fall Regatta's
Most Improved Wayfarers, David and Anne Pugh, with PRO, Neil Robb

Distant runners-up in the four-race no-drop series at 11 points from 4-3-3-1 placings were Oakville, Ontario's David and Anne Pugh out of the Mississauga SC. By placing series 2nd, the 5th-seeded Pughs were clearly the Fall Regatta's Most Improved Wayfarer team, but they graciously decided the awards should go to our newest Wayfarers, Marc Meyer and daughter, Amelia (above).

When Peggy's super-crew/daughter, Maggie (above) abandoned ship to attend her Homecoming Dance as a high school senior, and Peggy's usual top quality plan B crew, Kai Dolan, had the nerve to accept a crewing berth with Peggy's dad, Detroit's Peggy Menzies had to make do with a pair of pick-up crews.
Word is that Susanna Tellshow (Sat.) and Mike Moody (Sun.) did a great job - except for the weeds. Did Peggy tell you about the weeds?!?!  Nonetheless, Team Menzies' 6-4-2-4 were just enough to get the Blew By You team onto the "podium" with a one-point edge over defending champions, Al Schonborn (Oakville, ON) and Shannon Donkin (Grand Rapids, MI) who placed 2-7-5-3.

The requirements of shifty winds on the spinnaker runs required Shannon's constant attention while Al often held the mainsheet as shown in order to be able to quickly give the main large, rapid adjustments.

In addition to doing her flawless crew work, Shannon Donkin took hundreds upon hundreds of action shots on both days. Great shots but limited quality due no view finder and low end sensor. I have ordered a "raincoat" for my Nikon DSLR as well as a better, view-findered waterproof camera that I hope to have available in time for Carolina Week. 

A classy group of four boats were next within four points of each other: In 5th place we had the regatta's furthest-travelled team, all the way from Ottawa, Ontario, past Ontario champion, Frank "Wayfarer Man" Goulay with Kim Bergevin. Frank - last seen at Clark Lake sailing a borrowed Rebel with crew John Weakley as the latter belted out Jesus Puts His Money in the Bank of Montreal - and Kim edged out Toronto's Mike Codd and Kirk Iredale in Red Top by a single point.

Mike was successful in his request for redress after his race 2 hopes for a comeback were dashed by the fact that mark 2 at the Beach Bar end of Clark Lake had come adrift and became virtually impossible to round as it nestled up against the shore. The Protest Committee, Neil Robb  and Uncle Al, agreed with Mike's contention that
if the adventure at mark 2 had not held them back while three other unnamed Wayfarers simply rounded a spot that was their best guess at where the mark should have been, he and Kirk might well have moved up in the fleet from their 8th place on the long beat where their crew weight was less of a disadvantage. The fairest solution we could think of for all concerned was to give Mike the same 7th as Uncle Al who had rounded mark 2 before it had drifted significantly.

Bad luck for North American champs, Leo and Joanne Van Kampen, who discovered too late that they had been OCS in the finale, a "finish" that more than doubled the points total they had accumulated from their 3-5-4 in the first three races of the no-drop series. Their 25 points left Leo and Joanne the one point out of series 6th that Mike and Kirk gained from redress?

Two points behind the Van Kampens in series 8th were the pride of Wamplers Lake, Dave McCreedy and Angela Brazil, of the Michigan Sailing Club. These two look better each time out. Don't forget that Dave will host the WoW (Wayfarers on Wamplers) Regatta on October 19-20.

Much appreciated new blood, knowledge and enthusiasm appeared in the form of Marc Meyer and his daughter, Amelia who brought their venerable W2413 glass mark 1 that has been lovingly refinished. Both Marc Meyer and Julie Seraphinoff grew up in Rochester, Michigan where Marc now resides, and they had fun comparing notes and fleets on Saturday night.

Good competition between the #10 and 11 teams who use ancient sails and gear, and in the end the Lansing team of Robert Mosher with Tom Rich scored a 9th in the finale that gained them a tie and a tie-breaker edge over Ann Arbor's Mike Austerberry with his grown-up son, Robin, whom we last saw as a little "munchkin". Sounds like the next time we see Team Austerberry, they may well be flying a spinnaker. Fingers crossed.

It was not the best of weekends for Dave Wilpula W453 Woodwind of the Michigan SC. First he couldn't find a crew but decided he could sail solo. Then, at the rather treacherous, slippery launch ramp, Dave took a nasty fall and seriously bruised his thigh. Still undaunted, Dave went out to race 1 but explains:
"Bruised thigh. Looking better now. The initial swelling made it hard move about in the cockpit, let alone keep the boat flat so I turned back before the first start."


Jim Richter repeats as Fall Regatta Sunfish champion

In a close battle that saw the two series leaders, Tom Katterheinrich and Jim Richter, tied at 5 points going into the final race, defending champion, Jim Richter, won the finale to edge Tom by a single point. Series 3rd went to Don Fritz who beat out my personal favourite, Richard O'Boyle, who provided me with a room upstairs.

Rushing back from the 2019 Sunfish Worlds in Aruba where she placed 3rd in the Grand Masters division, class stalwart, Gail Turluck, got off the plane home just in time to sail with us on the Sunday. She placed 4-3 in those two races.

A new convert and sailing a club Sunfish, Christy Bennett, sailed with us (above) but did not feel confident enough to race as yet.

Kevin Nickels and Steve Middlebrook Outclass Hot Rebel Fleet

a Rebel start

La crème de la cr
ème, you might say, as Lake Fenton's Kevin Nickels beat out his dad, Dave, and at least two more past national champions as he and crew Steve Middlebrook dominated the nine-boat Rebel fleet with 3-1-1-1 finishes.

A distant series second, so distant in fact that "runner-up" might more accurately read "walker-up", was Kevin's dad, Dave, for years the "gold standard of excellence" in the Rebel class. With 6-2-3-4 placings, Dave and crew, Karolina Carmona, were at the top of a five-boat pile that ended up within three points. Not least of Dave and Karolina's endearing qualities in this series was the fact that Karolina got and provided us with dozens of fine action shots of Saturday's racing - see sample below.

With the jib winged, poled and cleated, Karmona turns the attention of Dave's water-proof camera
to the horde of Wayfarer spinnakers bringing the wind from astern.

Defending Rebel champs, Tom Marriott and Natalie Hill, again borrowed a Rebel when no other Interlakes showed up. Sailing Neil Robb's fine R4162, Tom and Natalie scored 4-4-5-2 for 15 points like Dave but lost the tie-breaker at the most 3rds stage.

Only one point out of series 2nd in 4th overall were the promising new Rebel  additions, Steve Councell and Ben Clark,
who in turn edged out Clark Lake's Steve Cummings and daughter, Lyndsie, who, like Uncle Al and Shannon, had one of their rare Clark Lake "miss the podium" years.

Grand Bend's past national champion, Mary Reif (née Vorel) and husband, Aaron, scored a run-away win in the opener but never hit the heights again and ended up a point behind the Cummings in series 6th. Also from Grand Bend and placing series 7th were Scott Wright, the Rebels' contribution to the stage and the art of the Dark'n'Stormy and partner, Ann Markaity.

A couple of points further back were a "new" pair of Nowaks, Brent and Brian, who presumably stood in for the Rebels' Nowak flagship, Bruce, who was called away tp grand-child birthday duty. Brent and Brian have taken over Rebel 4069 which had been the Dowling family Rebel.

Curiosity, in this instance, did not kill the cat. Instead, Wikipedia confirms that, not unexpectedly, the pennant in the background is the Storm Warning flag:  In US maritime warning flag systems, a red square flag with a black square taking up the middle ninth of the flag is used to indicate a storm warning (the use of two such flags denotes a hurricane force wind warning or a hurricane warning).  More here.

Once more lending their effervescent presence to the Rebel group were Fenton's Jay Topping and wife, Pat, who continue to upgrade their sailing skills despite what their race scores might suggest. Be that as it may, Jay made Al's weekend before it even officially started by presenting him with an official Dark'n'Stormy burgee (above) prior to the Competitors' Briefing. We flew it Sunday using our telltale virgin wool for a flag halyard (below) but Shannon informs me that the current system tangles with the spinnaker gear, so more fine tuning is planned during Carolina Week.