19 scows graced the course on Saturday for the 10th running of the Runnie Colie Regatta. This regatta is so special for all of us on the Bay because we sail to honor and smile with our friend Runnie Colie Jr.
While the BBYRA is celebrating our 100th anniversary this summer, we revel in the fact that Runnie, 98 last week, has been a part of 98% of this long history. Who in their sound mind could imagine doing something special in any part of their life and project that it would be so vitally relevant and important to yet ANOTHER generation of cool kids 2-3-20-40-60-80-100 years from now.
Well, I think we Scow sailors are that lucky….. or have unsound minds… or both.
Saturday was a beautiful day with light N- NE breeze and we sailed in the very upper reaches of the Bay, just below Swan Point. With many tricky currents, shallows, clam beds and even a few lingering refrigerators from Sandy, the course was fun and challenging. This happens to be the racecourse for the famous World Duckboat Championships, which might have helped some of the regulars from that important regatta.
Race PRO Ed Vienckowski led us all day with the help of wife Bev, Grace and Bob Hartman , Harriet O’Brien and Jimmy.
Race 1 was off and seemed to set the tone of the day. Up here, we are a driver/ 5 iron from the ocean, so the swing into a SE seabreeze is expected all day. But this is still June and it takes while to warm this world up, so while we had shots of righties, the better lanes of steady pressure up top were from the left. New boat owner Jeff Bonnanni led with Limelight. Following were John Brown, off a strong winter in the Melges 20 class, Russ Lucas in Shimmer, Erik Johnson, Paul Magno and others. Shimmer found a low lane and rounded behind Brown. The next beat helped the leaders as the small tight cove we raced in left few lanes to rip for the middle of the fleet. Shimmer snuck in at the bottom mark and finished their first race in the new boat with a win.
Race two was really exciting. The whole fleet seemed to find speed and pressure and we had a stacked beat, rounding and run. After Shimmer waved a pack by, their jibe out worked and clean air allowed them to pick off an important pack of top boats at the gate. Kyle Rogochanko, youth, college and Olympic trial rock star was head to head with the Blind Squirrels all race. Somehow Kyle let those squirrels find their nut for the day and Brown won race 2. We could all see and feel the muscle memory of Erik Johnson reawaken as his racing speed and style got better and better through out the day. It’s great to have the Johnson Family back in the Fleet. Son Clay and former Nat’s Champion Glen Dickson round out the Showtime team.
Race 3 was all Shimmer after a solid mid line start. They were able to find sweet lanes and hip up past each pack on the first beat to find better pressure. It might have helped that multiple World Duck Champ Lucas has been racing in this cove for 45 years, so some home court advantage was in play.
I think the highlight of the day was at awards when Runnie’s grandson Nathan Wight spoke for the family. His words were so special for our community, sharing recent classic experiences such as chauffering Runnie, as only a grandson could. A favorite was that the skipper instincts are still very much awake in Runnie as Nate drove him around. While he might not remember what was for breakfast, he directed Nate’s driving as well as Gary Jobson led Turner. What a special day to share it on the water with friends and family.
With kindest regards and following the 26 ½ rake, one- step off base settings all day,