Saturday started off like it was going to be a great day!
The forecast winds were my personal ideal conditions at 12 miles per hour, gusting 15 mph from the west. The sky was cloudy with a forecast of rain, which equates to fewer motorboats. As I walked in I thought if the thunderstorms could withstand it would be a fabulous day cruising Deep Creek Lake.
On the committee boat were Joan / Lee Coraor and Spencer Deakin. On patrol were Rob Gerlach and Michael / Karen Smith, and I want to thank them for this fun first run. Sarah Buffington and Quoc Tran sailed with me in the first race which was a double windward / downwind turn at the usual spot.
Sarah and I were in practice mode for the next women’s national race next weekend. Quoc served as ârail meatâ due to the high winds as the combined weight and size of Sarah and I would not be enough to have a pleasant ride due to the strong wind. The start line was near Poland Run, and the windward mark was near Holy Cross.
Before the race, we had time to train. We raised the spinnaker and the boat moved at breakneck speed, and as we lowered the spinnaker our beautiful new spinnaker went under the boat. I was like, ‘Yeah, do we really want to haul that spinnaker up? “
We got off to a good start. We approached the windward buoy in second position, but our lead faltered as Meredith Hillyer with her four-person boat sped like a rocket in front of us. How does she do it?
Meredith’s boat consisted of three children: Miriam (6), Caelyn (10) and Chris (43). We were in the same upwind air as their boat was pointing higher and spinning just ahead of us. I consulted with an expert at lunch (Anne Graham) who informed me that having the tallest, heaviest person up front allows you to flatten the boat and point higher.
I have to re-evaluate my ârail meatâ because obviously the Hillyer / Drury team had better quality. They got the better of us and had more weight to keep their boat flat.
We took third place by passing the windward buoy. We hoisted the spinnaker and kept our place around the leeward buoy without incident. I then noticed that the fourth boat made up of experienced sailing instructors Connor Lothrop / Will Vance / Ian Dhar behind us had not raised its spinnaker, and our lead did not increase that much.
When we passed the second buoy upwind, I chose not to raise the spinnaker because as long as we were sailing clean – no spinnaker problem, bad tack, etc. – we had to keep our third place.
In second place were David Meehan / Bruce Lothrop / Jeff Luther, three grown men, made up of a lot of rail meat. Catching them up on the last downwind run to the finish line would be impossible as they had the weight and size to keep the boat flat during strong winds.
After a short lunch break, we left for the second race. As we rounded Turkey Neck Point towards the start line, we noticed that the wind had eased a lot with lots of windless areas on the lake.
“Quoc, do you want to go downstairs?” I asked. Two seconds later, we pulled up to a friend’s dock and dropped him off. Quoc had to walk back to pick up his return vehicle, but that’s the benefit of cruising Deep Creek Lake. If we were in the ocean or in the bay, there wouldn’t be a quick place to drop the ârail meatâ.
The wind really picked up and changed direction so the boats could barely cross the starboard start line. We all quickly turned to port and chose a lane to try and keep the boat moving. We were successful in this light wind.
I remember Ray Gauthier’s advice from last weekend in my head. When the wind blows from the west, the Turkey Neck side is favored 85% of the time. However, I have always stubbornly gone to the Deer Haven side. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt our ranking too much.
On the first upwind leg, we were third around the windward buoy but at times we felt like we were in the lead. At the leeward buoy, we managed to catch up with a boat and rounded in second position. Then I was frustrated with the extremely light breeze that seemed to stop our boat and veered on the wrong side of the slot again. I had left in the hope that the breeze would fill on the unexpected side and I would take the lead.
Twenty minutes after we drifted to the wrong side, the patroller came and told us the course was shortened. At least the misery would be over sooner. Connor Lothrop / Ian Dhar / Will Vance – the boat we passed downwind – skidded over the finish line in first place, which was a half boat ahead of Ray Gauthier / Ralph Kemp and a boat length in front of Stephanie Mahan / Bruce Lothrop. Great job, Connor / Ian / Will!
On Sunday the committee boat was Ed / Beth Halley / David Kleuter, and on patrol was Emma Halley / Cole Watson. The course was twice to windward / leeward past the Turkey Neck Yacht Club with a windward mark south of Blakeslee. Thank you all again for another great day of sailing.
The wind was light, but unlike Saturday’s second race, at least it still seemed to be windy. Sarah Buffington sailed with me and we had a really bad start. We were the last boat to pass the first upwind buoy, but we managed to catch two boats before we finished.
Melanie / Bill Dunham won the race. Hopefully Melanie will win several races next weekend. Sunday we also finally had three lasers competing at the same time.
The 2021 laser invitation is scheduled for July 10-11. All laser sailors need to get out and run.
Next weekend is the North American Women’s Championship for the Flying Scots, which will be held at Deep Creek Lake. Sailors will come from all over the country.
A maximum of five races per division is foreseen while up to three races can be completed each day. So far, 24 all-female boats have registered for the event. It should be a spectacular weekend, with competitive sailing.
Race results [skipper/crew(s)]
Laser Open: 1 Anne Graham, 2 Charles Graham
Flying Scot Gold: Race 1: 1 Meredith Hillyer / Chris / Caelyn / Miriam Drury, 2 David Meehan / Bruce Lothrop / Jeff Luther, 3 Ellen / Quoc Tran / Sarah Buffington
Race 2: 1 Connor Lothrop / Ian Dhar / Will Vance, 2 Ray Gauthier / Ralph Kemp, 3 Stephanie Mahan / Bruce Lothrop
Flying Scot Silver: Race 1: 1 Jacob / William Feisley / John Meredith / Bryce Nill, 2 David Tuel / Sara Plunkett / Emily Jabbour, 3 Ed / Emma Halley
Race 2: 1 Jacob / William Feisley / John Meredith, 2 Greg / Cheryl Shafer, 3 Karen / David Meehan
Laser Open: 1 Tom Johnson, 2 Nabeel Alsalam, 3 Quoc Tran
Flying Scot Gold: 1 Melanie / Bill Dunham, 2 Stephanie / Bruce Lothrop, 3 Charles Buffington / Chris Czapleski
Flying Scot Silver: 1 Karen / David Meehan, 2 Bryce Nill / John Meredith / Jacob Feisley, 3 Anne / Charles Graham
Flying Scot Masters: 1 Ed Peters / Sue Case, 2 Alice / Ed Kemp, 3 Albert / Marlene Riebel
Open Laser: 1 Nabeel Alsalam
Flying Scot Gold: 1 Ray Gauthier / various crews, 2 Joan / Lee Coraor, 3 Stephanie Mahan / Bruce Lothrop
Flying Scot Silver: 1 Greg / Cheryl Shafer, 2 Karen / David Meehan, 3 Ed / Beth Halley
Flying Scot Masters: 1 Bruce Spinnenweber / Sue Wolffe, 2 Alice / Ed Kemp, 2 Alan / Lyn Silverman