| the Old Brown Dog
Catawba YC * Nov. 2-4, 2018
updated: 23 Nov 2018 at 2054 hrs
Rookie crew shines as SHADES a.k.a. Glory Days takes Old Brown Dog Regatta and Storer Trophy
(181122) Patchy breezes, a very antsy skipper and a lack of spinnaker experience all became surmountable problems for Charlotte's Keith Gunder (W439), as the rookie crew and Oakville's Uncle Al (above) teamed up to take top honours in the 7th annual Old Brown Dog Regatta hosted by Charlotte's Catawba YC Nov. 2-4, 2018. As can be seen above, the weather on Lake Wylie, part of the border between North and South Carolina near Charlotte, was largely perfect with middle-of-the-road winds and temperatures.
On Saturday, PRO, Doug Conley, and his committee, Phil Keenan and Sheree Enfinger, provided us with four windward-leeward races that made life more fun by having the start/finish line about a third of the way up the beat. That day belonged to Al and Keith as, after a first-race 3rd, the found the best wind, and motored to three straight wins, ending their Saturday with a sizeable lead, 10 points up on 2nd-place Jim and Alicia Cook in this no-drop series.
Friday afternoon's weather looked less than promising for a while.
The Gunder family put in a Saturday post-race appearance.
And Tom Martin's grandkids were not quite ready to let go of Hallowe'en just yet.
On the cool, crisp Sunday morning (above), Al promptly opened the door to misfortune, as he dug himself into a deep hole when he and Ken Butler got caught barging at the race 5 start (below):
Veteran that he is, however, Al did not fall apart and despite the shortness of the race, he and Keith managed to rescue a very valuable 5th to hold onto much of their lead over the two Jims, Heffernan and Cook who placed 1-2 in that race.
(l to r) Al, Richard (doing turns by now), Uwe
More excitement in the once-around 6th and final race: Nearing the leeward mark, Richard (10873), Al (3854) and Uwe were overlapped on port-tack on a broad reach fighting over third place behind the two Jims once again. A hundred yards or so from the mark, Uwe began to converge with Al to windward of him and called on Al to keep clear. The latter found himself himself with little time to respond and so luffed up and pulled his boom in by hand in order to stay clear of Uwe while hailing Richard who was a boatwidth or so to windward of Al. As it happened, Richard did not manage to keep clear and Uwe then collided with Al. In order not to be left holding the bag in case of an Uwe protest, Al yelled "Protest" to Richard. Richard ended up doing turns and after the race, bitterly lectured Al about selective rules observance, etc.
Respecting Richard very much as I do, I will try my best to remove that perceived flaw from my racing henceforth. In the interests of learning from experience, I would however point this out - in hindsight and as an educational opportunity:
How Richard could have pro-actively avoided this incident: Unlike myself who was concentrating on my novice crew's spinnaker flying in addition to the other duties, Richard had both himself and the very experienced and capable crew, Michele, available to keep an eye on developments. With his more experienced crew, Richard and Michele could have pre-empted the luff and avoided their problems by gybing to starboard, thus making Uwe the give-way boat. For what it's worth.
In considerably less excitement, Jim Cook (above) and wife, Alicia, the only Catawba YC Wayfarer left, locked up series 2nd with a win in the finale, while Lake Townsend's Jim and Linda Heffernan (below) discovered to their surprise that their 2nd in that race had been easily enough to give them the series "bronze". Their 2-7-8-3-1-2 scores left them with 23 points, well ahead of the four teams in a close fight over series 4th.
LTYC's Phil Leonard and wife, Cathy (above), ended up at the top of a four-boat cluster in series 4th with 31 points from 4-2-10-4-6-5 finishes, as their final-race 5th was just enough to let them edge out three other teams. As the 9th seeds, Phil and Cathy's 4th overall was easily good enough to give them Most Improved status for the event.
Tied at 32 points were Oriental's Richard Johnson with wife, Michele (above) (1-3-6-9-3-10), and their cottage neighbours, Uwe Heine with wife, Nancy (below) (7-5-4-6-4-6), with Richard and Michele taking the tie-breaker on the first level (most firsts, most 2nds, etc).
Just one more point further back (6-4-7-5-7-4: 33 pts) was Lake Townsend's AnnMarie Covington with Jason Reiner (above), who, like Uwe, sailed a very consistent series, but not one that was up to the usual higher standards expected from AnnMarie.
Another evenly matched group were the threesome of Nova Scotia's Iain and Lesley Tulloch, Lake Townsend's Ken Butler with Jeannie Allamby, and Catawba YC "grad" Ali Kishbaugh who teamed up with her daughter, Emily. In the end it was a fine 2nd-place finish in race 3 (above left) that lifted Ken and Jeannie above the other two into series 8th. That same race, number 3, saw Ali and Emily (below) who really need a new mainsail, hit their series peak with a fine 5th-place finish.
Iain and Lesley cruise along on Sunday under their CL-16 mainsail.
By the same token, a 2nd-race DNF essentially condemned the Tullochs to 10th overall and they had to console themselves with the fact that their Sawdust was best in show (above). And lastly, sailing the nicely re-built W439 that was close to best in show and borrowed from Keith, were Lake Townsend's Mike Sigmund and Ellie Haywood (below). These two had to spend much of the regatta getting the kinks out of their wooden beauty, but they did appear to enjoy their sailing.
(l to r) Keith Gunder, Ellie Haywood, Mike Sigmund
Special thanks to Regatta Chairs, Jim Cook (W's) and Ron Wright (MC's) and to Jim Higgins (above) who was forced into the Saturday night musical spotlight by the absence of Ron Wright, and gave us a lovely evening of music - deven lovelier when the ladies got up to join Jim on stage (below):
See you at Catawba in 2019 - I hope!!