Lake Norman Hosts 44 Boats for Great 48

 Lake Norman Flying Scot Fleet #48 ordered up perfect wind for their annual Great 48 regatta May 5 & 6 and 44 boats participated. This club often has large numbers at their regattas, but this was a great showing even by their standards.

In addition to good wind and lots of boats, the regatta committee arranged for FS boats # 1/First One (owned and sailed by Harry Carpenter) and #2/Dream Weaver #2 (sailed by Tommy Weaver), and two of the newest boats, #6020/Moxie (Bill Ross) and #6022/ Rick’s Café Américain (Midwest District’s own Ryan Malmgren).

On Friday Paul Abdullah (Dieball Sails) offered a sailing clinic and boats #1, #2 and #6020 sailed together for several photo opportunities. The photographer, Doug Collins, had all the regatta participants sign the photograph and on Sunday the sailors on each boat received a signed copy of the photo. Look for a cover shot of this historic event in an upcoming issue of Scots ‘N Water.

After racing Saturday the club hosted the first ever OOH (Overly Outrageous Hat) contest.  Forks and knives, turtles and sailboats, polka dots and parrots all were featured on various hats entered. The MC, Larry Vitez, was highly entertaining and moved the show along with perfect pacing. I only think he should have had his wife, Carla, win a prize for the most gorgeous hat: an aqua blue number by Mr. John she bought for a buck at a yard sale! Chris Czapleski had a great polka dot hat number with a crazy brim. She had brought a second hat—red with all kinds of flowers on it — that she lent Ben to wear.

The racing was great as it always is at Lake Norman. You don’t get 44 boats on the line every day! Wind was generally moderate, though it built a bit for the last race Saturday. Saturday the wind came from the west, northwest and then by Sunday it had clocked all the way to the east and a little east. So over the course of the weekend we sailed upwind in completely opposite directions. That can mess with your head … or at least my head!

On Saturday we knew the wind was predicted to shift from west to north so we wanted to protect the right side of the course. Just at the start, though, the wind shifted left and the pin end was so massively favored it would have been malpractice to start anywhere else. That meant we weren’t on the right, so we just tried to keep the boat moving and sailed the shifts. Finally, by the third race, when we were on the proper (right) side of most of the fleet, the wind shifted to the right as predicted. We felt pleased that we had a plan and executed it!

Sunday was one of those days where it appears that the wind is strong and you get all revved up to hike and haul on sheets and instead the wind is light and has holes but the water surface is choppy enough it’s hard to see the holes or the puffs. It takes a lot to change gears in those conditions and, instead of looking over your shoulder whistling for more wind, to sail the wind you have. That meant that shifting my weight was critical and I had to do it constantly. In, out, straddling the centerboard trunk, on the deck, no too much! down on the seat. And then all over again.

On Sunday we liked the right side of the course before the races. We thought there was more pressure and the possibility of a shore effect off an island. But we went right the first leg and everyone to the left of us made out, so we didn’t do that again! Peter Beam, from Lake Norman was the next boat behind us going into Sunday’s sailing. We had five points on him so we figured we just had to keep an eye on him. But he was untouchable on Sunday. He had an amazing day, getting a 1 and a 2 and finishing third overall. I noticed … only after the racing, that he had gone right every time we went left and that worked well for him. Nothing like 20/20 hindsight!

 A week ago Harry Carpenter also delivered a new boat to Mark and Maria Benner (#6011), whose original boat was totaled by another driver on their way to New Orleans for the Midwinters (which I see I neglected to write about back then…too painful. No one was hurt, though, thank goodness). The Benners also debuted their new boat at the Great 48.

 Anyway, you’d think all those new boats would stay away from one another, but noooo. I heard no details, but apparently#6011 and #6020 …made contact, and not in a friendly, aliens-from-another-universe way! Ah well, no fiberglass was damaged, as far as I understand.