the Old Brown Dog Regatta: Wayfarers
Catawba YC * Nov. 1-3, 2019

updated: 19 Nov 2019 at 1854 hrs
Gorgeous Weather Blesses
2019 North American Wayfarer Finale
at Charlotte's Catawba YC

Jack Young captures one of the few seconds that solo Al was able to fly his chute in the series.

Glorious warm and sunny weather blessed the North American Wayfarers' final event of 2019, Charlotte's Old Brown Dog Regatta again hosted by the Catawba YC for us and the MC Scows. Special thanks and gratitude to our twin regatta Chairs, Ron Wright (MCs) and Jim Cook (Wayfarers) who put in a ton of hard work so that we cook enjoy a fantastic weekend.

The regatta provided a fairy-tale ending for Uncle Al whose antique Pamco trailer had finally broken down, a mere 44 years after he had bought it used from Gene Smyers of Avon Sailboats in Michigan. Al had had to abandon boat and trailer beside the highway, an hour short of his intended first destination, Lake Townsend.

When I reached my home away from home at Trish and Scott's house, Scott leapt into action with his trusty cell phone, and
a tow to and repair by Bryant's Truck and Trailer Repair had soon been arranged. After doing his promised seminar with the HOT Regatta sailors, and crewing with Jim Cook in that regatta, Al was royally hosted by Trish and Scott and cat, Nicky, for most of a week. Friday afternoon my trailer saviours completed the replacement of both springs just barely in time for me to get to Catawba YC early Friday evening.

By the time I arrived, my crew had justifiably given up on me and signed with another helm. But there was good news: Lauren, a young lady with considerable sailing experience was looking to crew, albeit unsure if her duties as a real estate agent would allow her to sail.

Saturday morning arrived cold enough to bring steam off the much warmer water.

When it turned out that Lauren could not sail due to a crucial appointment, Al had to sail solo. He then turned his lack of crew into an advantage as the winds remained mostly light, and lack of crew weight became a good thing. Rediscovering some of his old-time light-air magic, Uncle Al (above) placed in the top three of 11 boats in all six races of the no-drop series to score an impressive win. Complete Wayfarer results here.

Lake Wylie winds were up to their usual tricks again this year but our Race Committee, PRO Doug Conley (red jacket above) with Phil Keenan and Sheree Enfinger, were again up to the challenge. And they once more used Uncle Al's favourite course configuration: windward-leeward with the start/finish line about a third of the way up the beat. Except to boats starting or finishing, that line was out of bounds. This not only made life less complicated for the RC but also added the enjoyable tactical challenge of deciding whether to leave the line/obstruction to port or to starboard.


Judging course length to a nicety, our committee gave us three challenging races on each day yet also left us plenty of time and energy for socializing.

Karaoke at its finest? A big thank-you to Jim Higgins who made it all work out.

PRO, Doug Conley, took some lovely photos of the Sunday action.

An early 9 AM start on Sunday morning was rewarded by a better breeze than Saturday's, and three more Wayfarer races were squeezed in before the deadline. With an 11-boat fleet and no drop, the racing was exciting until the very end of the racing.

Even Uncle Al, whose Saturday 2-1-2 had left him four points up on the nearest competitors, sailed in continuous fear of the dead spot guillotine until he finally sealed the deal with a win in the finale after a pair of 3rds earlier in the day. This gave the 5th-seeded Al his first regatta win of 2019 and some much needed fuel for the fire of his enthusiasm for racing.

Former Catawba YC members and founders of this regatta, Richard Johnson and his wife, Michele Parish, now retired to Oriental on the North Carolina coast, got off to an unpromising start with their new Banks sails from England: 5-8. But after that, they hit their stride with sparkling 3-1-2-2 finishes that left them with the Silver for the event.

The Johnsons' part-time Neuse River neighbours, Uwe Heine and his wife, Nancy Collins, who sail out the Lake Townsend YC but have a cottage on the Neuse, had a pretty fancy 1-4-4-4-4 record and series 2nd by two points going into the finale, but an ill-timed final-race 7th dropped them into the Bronze position when all was said and done.

Jim and Linda had done so well in their composite Wayfarer (2458 a.k.a. 1086 above) at the HOT the week before
that they sailed it instead of their legendary wooden Wayfaerer 611.

Also out of LTYC, the Heffernans, Jim and Linda, scored 4-3-5-6-5-3 to grab series 4th, just two points back of Uwe and Nancy, and two points up on another two teams.

Taking series 5th on a tie-breaker with their race 3 win, were LTYC's Phil Leonard and wife, Cathy, who edged out
top-seeded Jim and Alicia Cook (below) of the host Catawba YC.

A sub-par series 7th for LTYC's AnnMarie Covington and Ali Kishbaugh who got only one glimpse of glory with their runaway win (above) in Sunday's second race.

Lake Townsend's Mike Sigmund teamed up with Logan Williams (above) to sail Jim Heffernan's treasured W611 Dawn Treader. After two forgettable races, Mike and Logan were just hitting their stride with a fine 4th when time ran out and left them in series 8th, having scored 10-11-8-7-7-4.

Sailing the venerable wooden 449 were Ken Butler with Gail Walters (above), also out of Lake Townsend, who entered the finale tied with the W1066 Fanfare team of Pete Thorn and Jeannie Allamby (below), whom they beat out in the finale to take series 9th by one point.

The oldest Wayfarer in the event, W276, featured the only male crew in this year's event as Lake Townsend's Annette Grefe, our least experienced racer, teamed up with George Enell for a lovely learning experience on two beautiful days.

See you at Catawba in 2020!!