Good thing the weather forecast was all wrong for the day - AGAIN. After a brief postponement to let a small rain cell move through the area, the fleet went out just after 11:00. Today we had another three good fun races.
The wind wasn’t settled yet from the storm cell, still clocking to the right, but the RC was able to get a line set and the first race of the day off at a heading of around 195 degrees in 7-11 MPH of wind. The course was a L6 with .9 mile legs and lasted 52 minutes. The majority of the fleet got onto a port tack early in the leg but there were some shifts and puffs to allow boats from middle right to hang in at the top mark. Peter Strothman I-9 led at every mark except the last lap when Vincent Porter I-2 got by him. Augie Barkow V-37 passed a boat or two each leg to finish third. Lon Schoor H-7 had good downwind legs to move from 11th to 4th at the finish. Scott Young I-1 with his crew of Dave Chapin, John Morran, and Harry Melges IV finished 5th. This is a team from Texas who has had many national racing successes in other classes. Scott has won the Mallory Cup six times - more than anyone else. Scott said racing a scow on Lake Geneva was on his bucket list so he called Harry Melges just last Tuesday. On Wednesday they were making reservations for lodging and plane tickets. Thursday Jim Gluek was setting up a new boat that was just completed. If you have not seen the new boats - you should, they are beautiful racing machines. Scott and team arrived late Thursday and they went for their first ride in a late day thermal that came in from Michigan. They must be liking it - they are talking about finding a way to attend our National Championships in Crystal Lake MI.
The wind speed increased for the second and third races of the day to 14-17 with some puffs to 20 according to the RC. The direction was now at about 220 but moved more to the right during the race. It didn’t seem quite that windy to me but must have been as the regatta leader Vincent Porter tipped over in this race. The second race of the day was another L6 with legs somewhat more than a mile long and it lasted 55 minutes for winner Augie Barkow but not for the rest of us as I think Augie must have had at least a 5 minute lead on the next boat . I actually thought while I was racing that Scott Ripkey I-10, Peter Strothman I-9 and his brother David Strothman M-10 were in first, second and third place after the second downwind mark - as Augie was long gone and out of my sights. Derek Packard, on the second downwind, caught a private puff while splitting from the fleet and passed 6 boats to move into 5th place. Brian Porter I-49 had a great start and was destined to lead this race but his fourth crew fell out of the boat on the first leg - that’s how you go from first to 23rd. However he worked back to 12th at the second upwind mark and put himself in position to finish 6th in an exciting photo finish with Young I-1 and Schoor H-7, finishing 7th and 8th. Vincent Porter I-2 was in 7th place on the first downwind when the team reacted to a puff - too little too late! Things ended badly with the vang on when the boom dragged in the water and rounded them up and over. With no flotation panels they barely avoid going turtle as the boat swung around with the mast into the wind. The wind got under the mainsail and lifted the boat up - rolling Vincent under the water as he was clutching onto the leeward board when the boat came up. That little bit of entertainment for the spectators cost them dearly and by the next upwind mark they were only ahead of three boats. However the I-2 team showed why they are leading the regatta as they worked back into 9th place at the finish.
After a short 30 minute on-the-water break for lunch the third race of the day started at 3:20. It was a W5 course at 255 degrees and the legs were 1.35 nautical miles. It lasted only 58 minutes but to most of us it seemed a lot longer - teams were exhausted, especially those with just three people. The wind forecast was all wrong and while most people thought we’d be having light air races this day - it was just the opposite. It is always fun to report on someones first big success, and we all like to see this - Ben Burgum M-20, new to the E-Scow fleet, lead the last race of the day for most of the way. Although he ended up third it must have been a thrill. He was being chased by seven Geneva sail numbers around the top mark, just a little intimidating while on their home lake. Young I-1, Scott Ripkey I-10, Vincent I-2, Peter Strothman I-9, Steve Lyon I-88, Brian Porter I-49, and Mike Gannon I-22 followed Ben at the first mark. Schoor H-7, Dave Strothman M-10 and Augie Barkow V-37 (over at the start) were in the back half of the fleet and gybed at first upwind mark and caught a nice breeze to move into the top ten at the leeward gate to help salvage their last race of the day. On the last downwind leg Ben was passed by race winner and regatta leader Vincent Porter and also Scott Young who finished second. Ben was third and Scott Ripkey 4th followed by Steve Lyon, Brian Porter, Schoor, David Strothman.
Another perfect racing day - sunny and about 10 mph from the west, right down the lake. This will be the 7th and last race of the regatta and given the forecast just three-four days ago - we were very fortunate to have seven races.
Going into the last race Vincent Porter I-2 had an 8 point lead over Augie Barkow V-37 and he had a very comfortable 20 point lead over Brian Porter I-49. This was a no-throw-out regatta. Derek Packard M-87 needed to put a couple of boats between him and Brian to move up a place. The next five places (Scott Young, Lon Schoor, Scott Ripkey, Peter Maas and Peter Strothman) were 9 points apart and there was opportunity for some movement.
The port end of the starting line was favored, but it was also not too far off shore, probably why there wasn’t a pack of boats there. Scott Young I-1 was at the pin and sailed a long lifted starboard tack up the south shore, after a short hitch to port to get out from being to close too shore. Young crossed the top of the lake on the port lay line - it was a perfect plan since they rounded in first place. It appeared Vincent Porter I-2 came from the North shore, but I’m not certain, and was second around. They were followed by Schoor H-7, Peter Strothman I-9, Brian Porter I-49, John Wicks M-5, Augie Barkow V-37, and Hugh Sugar H-8. Packard had a bad start and trailed in 20th place at the first mark which meant he’d have to have an all-star comeback to hold his regatta position.
Brian got on top of Strothman and Schoor during the close first mark rounding. The lead boats stayed on starboard tack to the south shore and then gybed for the leeward mark with Vincent gybing right in front of the yacht club. Strothman gybed first and further out in the lake and that cost him a couple of positions. Brian and Schoor waited to gybe near the shore also but Brian held the inside position to round third after Young, followed by Schoor, Wicks, Barkow, and Peter Strothman. Brian got by Young on the upwind mark with Vincent leading and Schoor in 5th after being passed by Wicks. 6-8th was Barkow, Peter Strothman and Maas. This kept Mass ahead of Strothman for the regatta if he could keep boats from getting between them by the finish. New E-Scow owners/partners from Mendota, Phil Morley, Brendan Boylan, and Andrew Fox (H-3) were sailing well and moved from 15th to 9th behind Maas by the second upwind rounding. By far their best finish after their mast came down in race 4 when their forestay broke. Another boat on the move was Scott Ripkey I-10 going from 19th to 11th - and wasn’t done as he passed a couple more boats to finish 8th and hold on to his 7th place overall for the regatta.
On the second downwind Schoor got past Wicks, who had gybed away while Schoor headed for the south shore. The downwind created a gap between 4th and 5th positions. At the start of the last upwind leg it was Vincent, Brian, Young, and Schoor. Brian began working on Vincent. Young headed for the north shore saying he just “didn’t have anything to tack back on” when Schoor started heading more toward the south shore. About half way up it looked like Young would win big as he was coming off the North side on a great slant. Brian was gaining on Vincent and Schoor was watching a good race going on ahead with Peter Strothman a comfortable margin behind. Young’s lift faded big near the top and the two Porters were now on the favored port tack lift and would cross Young. Vincent and Brian had a couple of tacks near the finish. As they approached the finish line Brian was on port tack but could not cross Vincent - Brian ducked him 2 boat lengths from the finish and with a little extra speed and a slight favor at the starboard end, he luffed up and nipped Vincent at the finish. Young was a boat length back followed by Schoor, Strothman, Wicks, Barkow, and Ripkey.
A big thank you PRO Charlie McNider and crew for a great job and getting in all seven races and provided us with some great race courses. It takes a lot of people to host a regatta, thank you Rod Rieger, regatta chairperson, and all the members at the Lake Geneva Yacht club that put on such a good regatta. Also to Michael Moore, club manager, and Julie Navin.