Wayfarer Midwinters
Lake Eustis SC * February 3-5, 2023
Uncle Al's Report

updated: 19 Feb 2023 at 1143 hrs
Clean Sweep for Catawba's Jim Cook and Mike Taylor

The way it was throughout the 2023 Midwinters: We were blessed with fine winds in all six races as Charlotte, NC's Jim Cook and Mike Taylor
sailing out of the Catawba YC in
Black Skimmer (W10873) outdistanced everyone in the 21-boat fleet with relative ease. (John Cole photo)

(2023.02.13) The 2023 Wayfarer Midwinters attracted a very nicely matched fleet of 21 Wayfarers to Florida's Lake Eustis SC February 3-5.  Two races were completed on each of the three days which were largely sunny and nicely warm after cool mornings. Congratulations to our 2023 Midwinter champions,  North Carolinians Jim Cook and Mike Taylor who emphatically defended the title they won at the last Midwinters in 2021. The top-seeded Cook-Taylor team indeed managed the first unbeaten Midwinters series since Irishman, Trevor Fisher, borrowed Richard Watterson and his W10862 Bubbles in the 2012 Midwinters. In those days, the Mids were a no-drop series, so Jim and Mike (left and right below) this year became the first Midwinters team to "shamelessly" discard a first-place finish. In the seven boat Non-Spinnaker Fleet, locals Jim Burns and Jim the Elder McIntyre, were victorious in a closely contested series.

A fine team of Lake Eustis SC volunteers again helped Regatta Chair, Pat Kuntz, and PRO, David Leather, give us a most enjoyable event - from Thursday's coaching and practice session (below) to the Sunday afternoon awards. This was a worthy successor to last year's Wayfarer Worlds, one that left us eagerly awaiting 2024 and the 25th Wayfarer Midwinters event hosted by this fine organization.

Thursday's highlight for Uncle Al was to be dinner at the Bavarian Haus in Mount Dora which a sizeable group enjoyed but not Al and his Midwinters minder, Mike Codd. I should have given VRBO Mike as our rental's contact, given my lack of technology that would access the  info needed to enter our rental. By the time Mike and a couple of nice young ladies had telephonically straightened out the mess, we arrived too late - 7 p.m. - to be served at the Haus.  Luckily, Pat who lives in Mt. Dora, was able to direct us across the road to a nice downstairs pub with plenty of good food and beer.

Friday, as forecast, began with lots of off-shore wind and warm rain as a cold front and strengthening winds began to roll through. Friday was definitely one day on which the early birds did not get the worm: Both of our all-female teams were among the first to go out to test the day's winds, only to capsize in vicious gusts in the weedy waters near the club's shore. Both teams needed rescuing when their masts stuck in the weeds. LESC Youth Foundation sailors, Bea Newland and Grace Moring, were quickly brought back to the warmth of the clubhouse as was W10864, but LESC Commodore, Pat Kuntz, W11342 (above) and June Howell had issues when June began to get hypothermic.  Fortunately, Dr. Michele Parish was available to take charge until June could be taken to the local hospital by the EMS providers and firemen (below).

June (above centre) was kept in the hospital for observation for the day before returning safe and recovered to warm applause and a loving hug from her helm, Pat. Two races were completed before the lunch break, as our committee awaited meteorological developments. These ended up being as nasty as forecast, and no one was disappointed when further Friday racing was called off.

The Friday evening of the Midwinters was deemed the ideal time to award three CWA annual trophies that were won this year by USWA sailors. The CWA's annual Red Herring Award for best exemplifying the Wayfarer spirit in 2022 went to the Wayfarers who gave up their Mark 4's to overseas competitors whose chartered boats could not be delivered in time for the 2022 Worlds. Since we were unable to locate the Red Herring, we used the CWA's Most Improved Wayfarer racer trophy as a stand-in for the Red Herring, and inserted the latter into its photo (above).

Ali Kishbaugh who holds the stand-in trophy here, was in fact the Most Improved Wayfarer of 2022 along with her crew, Mike Sigmund. But Uncle Al overlooked this little matter, despite having gone to some effort getting Ali's name onto the trophy as the 2022 winner in time for the Mids. The due ceremony has been tentatively postponed until Al's next North Carolina visit in spring.

The Ted Davis Memorial Trophy - the year's best cruise log - was won by Paul Miller (and wife, Dawn?) for the Millers' account of their 2022 Chesapeake Cruise.

Saturday arrived lovely but chilly with the lake looking deceptively calm from our location on the windward shore (above). Al and Mike had been on the water for about half and hour when Al's get-up-and-go got up and went. Al begged off sailing race 3 in cold, gusty winds and Mike agreed without even a glimmer of complaint. As we neared the dock I suddenly burst out to Mike, "Of course you could sail, Mike."

And as if pre-ordained, Pat Kuntz was awaiting us on the dock, having been left crewless and eager to sail (aboveI. Congratulations to Mike and Pat who arrived on the course in time for race 4 in which they placed a fine 4th before the lunch break. Again, the winds continued to pick up, and ultimately further Saturday racing was abandoned, leaving us with nothing to do but relax and await the delicious BBQ preparations for which were already well underway to the strains of country music - note the flag reflecting the breezy conditions.

Sunday (above) arrived cool and misty with promises of more relaxing winds. Freshly enthused, Al and Mike did a half-hour of pre-race tacking practice which helped a lot. Better tacks however, could not overcome Al's poor strategic choices. Still as can be seen below, conditions were enjoyable.

As a lead-in to the 2023 Midwinters awards, Phil Leonard presented lovely jewelry boxes created by AnnMarie Covington
to the top three finishers in the Lake Townsend YC Wayfarer fleet (#15) 2022 Regatta Series. 3rd went to Uwe Heine and Nancy Collins.

Phil Leonard presents the runner-up award to Catawba YC's Jim Cook.

And the 2022 series winner was AnnMarie Covington.

2023 Midwinters Non-Spinnaker 3rd overall: Frans van Zeeland (with Mark Grinder)

Non-Spinnaker runners-up:  Lloyd Weed with his ever-cheerful daughter, Shannon Campbell       

Non-Spinnaker winners: Jim Burns (with Jim McIntyre)

Spin Fleet 3rd overall: Paul and Dawn Miller

2nd overall: Peggy Menzies with Chris McGrane

Midwinter Wayfarer champions again in 2023: Jim Cook and Mike Taylor