|Lake Eustis Team
aces 2017 Midwinters at Eustis
report by Uncle Al
a work just being proof-read! last updated 6 March 2017 at 1128 hrs
(170306) No sooner did Nick Seraphinoff get our long-time Lake Eustis friend, Dave Moring, into a Wayfarer at long last, than Dave and crew, Arial Harrington (above), beat out a hot fleet of 20 Wayfarers to capture the 2017 Wayfarer Midwinters, hosted for the 18th time by our beloved Lake Eustis SC in Florida. Results, all photos in the relevant albums, 7 videos and a few Go-Pro videos here.
The three-day Midwinters were held Feb. 3-5, Friday through Sunday, in conjunction with the MC Scows' annual Train Wreck Regatta. We were blessed with the weather that draws millions to Florida each winter: sunshine and summery temperatures. This year's camping contingent (below) got flawless weather.
The winds, on the other hand, left a bit to be desired (above). On both Friday and Sunday, Ray Laguna's fine Race Committee and the sailors were teased into going out onto the water by the onset of ripples on a glassy lake, but no consistent breeze ever materialized and attempts at racing had to ultimately be abandoned on both Friday and Sunday. This wasted a fine Wayfarer warm-up organized by our North Carolina ladies (below) ...
but did give us lots of time to enjoy the magnificent hospitality of the Lake Eustis SC and its ever so capable volunteers. The traditional free beer provided by the host club (above) and Uncle Al's Dark and Stormies were never more appreciated than on these hot, relatively windless afternoons.
Saturday though, was a different story wind-wise (above): perfect sailing winds, usually about 8 to 12 knots, strong enough to make us sit out on the upwind legs but not so strong as to strike fear into most Wayfarer hearts. With fine foresight, PRO Ray Laguna, pushed us into completing six races, all with windward-leeward configurations, and it was a hungry and well exercised group of sailors that sat down to enjoy the traditional great Saturday night feast and social (below) put on by the host club.
Team North Carolina was in many ways the heart of the 2017 Midwinters, leading the way in both numbers and enthusiasm.
At least one of us, W1389 crew, Sarah, actually worked. She religiously added to the report
she would present to her mom and family back at home in Michigan. Read Sarah's report here.
The event was hotly contested by all 20 boats at every level, with shifty, gusty winds making consistent excellence hard to achieve. And when the metaphorical dust had settled, a Lake Eustis SC team that was sailing their first Wayfarer regatta together surprisingly emerged as our 2017 Midwinter Wayfarer champions in what had turned into perhaps the closest three-way Midwinters series ever. After very impressively discarding a 3rd that the rest of us would gladly have picked out of their dumpster, Dave Moring and Arial Harrington (above and below) counted (3)-1-3-2-3-2 for 11 points to win this year's Callengers trophy as Wayfarer Midwinter champions.
Only one point back in 2nd place were Detroit's Doug Scheibner and Andrew Lockhart (the current Wayfarer North American champion) who scored a pair of firsts and seconds but also a couple of droppables only one of which could be discarded. Their 2-1-(9)-6-2-1 gave them series 2nd with 12 points.
Also winning twice as part of their 1-2-(6)-5-1-4 score were U.S. champions, David Pugh and his wife, Anne the CWA Chair, who were one of only two Canadian entries this year. Their 13 points were easily good enough for Bronze in the Spinnaker Fleet.
N-S Silver went to the Lake Eustis team of Patty Kuntz and Ron Plank (above) who overcame the need for Ron to take the helm after Patty came out on the short end of a run-in with her boom.
Last year's Non-Spi champions (above), Dave Hepting of Lake Eustis SC with Ali Kishbaugh of Charlotte, NC's Catawba YC, took Bronze this year after being well pursued by LESC sailing newcomer, Karlheinz Krüger, who teamed up with LESC Juniors czar, Craig Yates (left below), and ended only one point out of Bronze. Karlheinz proudly sails W2959 to honour the late Mike Murto, a beloved founder of our Midwinters.
Back in the Spi Fleet, seven-time Mids champion, Marc Bennett, and his wife, Julie Seraphinoff, the pride of East Lansing and Michigan State (above), finished 4th overall while uncharacteristically scoring nothing better than a 3rd, albeit they did score three of those. Perhaps Julie's mind was understandably on distractions such as "little" Spencer (her son) (below with girlfriend) about to arrive at the club from Orlando and news that her second grandchild is on the way via daughter, Mallory, who once crewed with Uncle Al in a U.S. Nationals victory at Tawas Bay, Michigan.
Taking 5th overall were Lake Townsend's Uwe Heine and Nancy Collins, who ended up at the head of a very evenly matched group of five North Carolina boats. Uwe and Nancy were regularly near the top and hit their series peak in race 4 which they won very efficiently.
A tie for series 6th was broken in favour Lake Townsend franchise players, Jim and Linda Heffernan, who got the nod due to sailing the venerable composite W2458 to a fine 2nd in race 3. The Heffernans' clubmate, AnnMarie Covington, also counted 30 points, teaming up with Detroit's Nick Seraphinoff, (below) and ending up 7th overall.
The close racing continued as only three points separated series 8th from 10th. Newly moved to New Bern and the Blackbeard SC from Charlotte, NC and the Catawba YC, Richard Johnson and the freshly retired pediatrician, Michele Parish, (above) scored a decent series 8th ahead of another Catawba helm, Jim Cook, who again teamed up with Mike Taylor (below). These two teams placed 3-4 overall last year so it appears that Wayfarer competition is getting hotter each year.
Rounding out the top ten was the other Oakville, Ontario helm, Al Schonborn who got fine crew work from Ava Moring (the 14-year-old daughter of our new Midwinters champion). Uncle Al, winner of eight previous Wayfarer Midwinters, was pleased with Ava's crew work, with the boat speed of SHADES a.k.a. Glory Days and her new main and genoa, thrilled with his and Ava's starts all of which he rated between very good and superb, but in retrospect is less than thrilled with his strategic thinking which on this day at least, seemed to wrest defeat from the jaws of victory with disappointing regularity. We shall see.
Series 12th went to Lake Townsend newcomers, Evan and Mary Trudeau, wedged in the overall standings between the top and 2-3-4 Non-Spinnaker boats who have already been mentioned.
A pair of Lake Townsend Wayfarer helms (above) teamed up for a learning experience in W449, beautifully restored by Ken Butler who sailed with Trish McDermott, his more-or-less neighbour, and made a quite respectable showing by placing 16th overall while finishing only four of the six races. Why? Trish explains: "We bailed because we lost the spinnaker and it took forever to retrieve."
Tied with Ken and Trish at 80 points was Mike Tighe (above) of the host club who was scheduled to sail with his wife, Mary, but her sailing days - Friday and Sunday - never got any races in. And on Saturday, Mike pressed his son-in-law, Jason Palosaari, into action, making it through the day without notable incidents.
A popular favourite was the Michigan team of Dave McCreedy and his daughter, Sarah (10), (above). It was lovely to see Sarah smiling all day long, and helming whenever dear old Dad flew the spinnaker. Our future is in good hands!!
North Carolina's Jack Davidson (above) got a surprise request to sail with Izak Kielmovitch on the Saturday as solo sailing became a less attractive option in ever more gusty winds. This pair coped very nicely until their mainsheet block broke and they had to sit out races 5 and 6.
Also foregoing solo sailing as the winds increased on Saturday was Jim Burns who picked up Flying Scot sailor, Randy Boekema (above right). The ad hoc local team did fine until they went for a swim in the 4th race and called it a day after that.
A good time was had by all.
Special thanks to the many volunteers who worked so hard and well to make our regatta and memorably enjoyable event it was:
(l to r) Dotty Murto, Mary Seraphinoff, Andrew Lockhart, Sarah McCreedy (up past her bedtime?), Jeannie Allamby