the Old Brown Dog Regatta
Catawba YC * Nov. 5-6, 2016
report by Uncle Al
last updated: 20 November 2016 at 0855 hrs
Wayfarer 2016 racing season ends beautifully with most enjoyable Old Brown Dog regatta

Friday afternoon's practice races provided the weekend's best winds.  (l to r) Jim Cook in his Laser,
Bear Owings in his "wooden shark", Ron Wright
, Nick Seraphinoff with AnnMarie Covington in his Osprey
(161119) In summer-like weather but light, challenging winds, eight Wayfarers and a like number of MC Scows brought our 2016 sailing season to a close November 4-6 at the 5th annual Old Brown Dog regatta. The event was flawlessly hosted by Lake Wylie's Catawba YC near Charlotte, North Carolina. Locals, Jim Cook and his wife, Alicia, sailed W7372, Rob Wierdsma's old Abbott mark I, to the narrowest of victories, as they won a tie-breaker over Jim and Linda Heffernan, while Uncle Al and pick-up crew, Laura Bruck, ended up a mere point behind the two leaders in the five-race Wayfarer series (more details below).  In the MC Scow series of seven races, it was Ivan Lopatin who prevailed by two points over Fred Herr who in turn edged out Catawba's Tom Martin by a couple of points as well.

MC winner, Ivan Lopatin

Wayfarer winners:
(l to r) Alicia, Nora and Jim Cook with the ubiquitous Ron

Doug points out that the dark clouds (rum) have to be regularly replenish after every few sips to maintain the proper stormy look.

We were very well fed and "watered" all weekend long with extra treats courtesy of Doug Conley who brought a huge bottle of that Dark and Stormy staple, Gosling's Black Seal Bermuda Rum supplemented by a team effort of ginger beer contributions. Doug also did a seminar on how to create a real D&S (above)  the order being, I believe, ginger beer > ice cubes > rum. Again providing the social highlight were Ron Wright (did I not say he was ubiquitous??!!  omni-present) and Jim Higgins who played great songs - many of them sing-along - for a couple of hours after supper on Saturday night (below) .

Playing up a storm: Ron Wright and Jim Higgins

Thanks a million to the many capable and hard-working volunteers
who made the Old Brown Dog 2016 a joyful reality:

Regatta Chair: Ron Wright, Ali Kishbaugh (Wayfarers, Friday picnic, Saturday dinner, Ron's right hand)
Race Committee: Phil Keenan (PRO), Doug Conley, Max Treece, Sheree Enfinger, Dylan Keenan, Jeremy Kishbaugh, Charles Wood
Hospitality & Breakfasts: Tom and Susan Martin
Dinner: JoAnne Shields
Music & Logistics: Jim Higgins, Ron Wright
The Racing:

The rushin' Russian comes back to win!

After scoring 2-2-1  (5 pts) in the no-drop series, Catawba's Tom Martin seemed well on his way to victory with his two main challengers, Fred Herr and Ivan Lopatin sitting on 8 and 10 points respectively (4-1-3) and (1-5-4). But in the flukey winds of race 4, Tom placed DFL while Ivan was scoring the first of two more wins that left Ivan at 12 points after Saturday's five races. Still easily within striking distance were Tom (2-2-1-7-2: 14 points) and Fred Herr (4-1-3-2-4: 14 points). At 18 points (3-6-2-4-3), Montreal's Will Herdershot stilll had a decent shot at the top three overall.

Start of MC race #2:  A huge knock just seconds before the start, left the line uncrossable on starboard tack.

In a pair of Sunday morning races, Ivan and Fred traded 1-3 finishes and ended their series 1-2 overall. Each scoring a 2nd and a 4th were Tom and Will who thus placed 3-4 in their series. Will did win something though: He was the top-placed Grand Master.
Suffering the standard fate of regatta organizers who also race (not doing well in the event they are in charge of) was Ron Wright who ended up series 5th, ahead of his band-mate, Jim Higgins, who came 6th overall, and John Holmes (series 7th) both of whom packed it in after sailing four frustrating races. Sailing only the two Sunday races was Brett Agar.

Top MC Grand Master: Will Hendershot

Jim and Alicia Cook win in Wayfarers

Conventional wisdom is that learning how to handle light, flukey airs is the hardest sailboat racing skill to master - mdium, steady windy being the easiest to sail, followed by heavy air racing. This was underscored as the five most experienced helms ended up bunched within four points at the top of the Wayfarer pack overall. After four light-air, flukey races, 4th-seeded Jim and Linda Heffernan of the Lake Townsend YC were in the lead, having scored a very symmetrical 4-3-2-1 for 10 points in our no-drop series. Uncle Al, visiting from Oakville, Ontario, got fine work from pick-up crew, Laura Bruck, who learned small boat stuff on the job and helped Al to 3-6-1-2 and 12 points at Saturday's end. This had Al and Laura one point up on regatta founders, Richard Johnson and his wife, Michele, now sailing out of New Bern, NC. The Johnsons who won the event last year in a tie-breaker over Uncle Al who had sailed solo, were counting 5-1-3-4 for 13 points as were Jim Cook and his wife, Alicia, who had sailed the venerable old Abbott Mark 1, W7372, to 1-4-5-3 placings. Lake Townsend's AnnMarie Covington with Nick Seraphinoff of NP Boats as crew had been leading after scoring 8 points from the first three races but came dead-last in the day's finale. A disappointing end to their day but their 15 points still had them withing striking distance of  a "podium" position. None of the other three boats cracked the top five with any regularity.

The start of Saturday's 4th and final Wayfarer race. Ali Kishbaugh and Keith Gunder look to be heading into more wind.

Sunday saw Team Cook score a runaway win which left the final standings totally up in the air. Totally unaware of the situation, Al rounded the leeward mark a couple of lengths behind 2nd-place AnnMarie. When the latter delayed her tack towards the layable finish line, the last 200 yards or so to the finish became a foot race with Al's bow slightly ahead of AnnMarie's. If Al could hold 2nd while the Heffernans stayed in 4th, there would be a three-way tie for series first - at 14 points. Both Al and AnnMarie had the same light zephyr all the way to the finish, and AnnMarie slowly but surely sailed past Al and Laura. With Nick as her crew, they had to weigh nearly as much as Al with Laura. And yet ... she totally destroyed us. It was not until the way in that I realized that AnnMarie was sailing solo. That explained a lot and made me feel much better.

In the end, it was a two-way first-place tie between the Cooks and the Heffernans which was broken in favour of the Cooks and their two first-place finishes. One point back, in series 3rd, were Al and Laura. Thanks for your fine, hard work, Laura. Her 2nd in the finale vaulted AnnMarie past Richard and Michele into series 4th, The boats in the second half of our fleet were generally closely matched with a pair of Lake Townsend Wayfarers, Phil Leonard with wife, Cathy, and Ken Butler sailing solo, placing 6-7. Living up to the regatta organizer curse was last-place Ali Kishbaugh who sailed Saturday with new sailor, Keith Gunder, and Sunday with 11-year-old Nora Cook.

Top three series finishers won dry bags donated by Adventure Lion and six-packs of delicious beer.
Series 3rd: Laura Bruck and Uncle Al

Wayfarer 2nd: Linda and Jim Heffernan

Winners of the theoretical Golden Doggy Bowl for Wayfarer first: Alicia, Nora and Jim Cook

The last of the 2016 Hans Gottschling bags - dare we say
Doggy Bag???
Presented to the top solo sailor, Ken Butler.