The Greater Richmond Sailing Association and Fleet 155 Host the Capital District Championships


The Greater Richmond Sailing Association and Fleet 155 Host the Capital District Championships

By John Reilly FS 3867

Tropical Storm Andrea was an unwelcome guest as the 2013 Flying Scot Capital District Championships were held June 8th and 9th.  The event was hosted by Fleet 155 as part of the Greater Richmond Sailing Association Invitational on the Swift Creek Reservoir located in Midlothian, Virginia.  The regatta drew a total of 19 Flying Scots with ten traveling from outside of Richmond.  A small Daysailer fleet also competed while GRSA’s formidable Thistle Fleet was away competing in the Central Atlantic Districts up in Baltimore, MD. 

As a steady rain fell, Regatta Chair Pete Cookson and a dedicated committee of volunteers kicked things off on Friday evening under the GRSA Pavilion as racers began to arrive from all over the district.  They included guests from Fishing Bay Yacht Club (Deltaville, VA), Lake of the Woods Sailing Club (Lake of the Woods, VA), Selby Bay Sailing Center (Edgewater, MD) and the West River Sailing Club (Galesville, MD).  Racers checked in and were greeted with warm hospitality including beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks while GRSA members helped racers stage their boats for two days of racing.  While the rain undoubtedly caused several racers to scratch last minute, the Regatta team monitored the weather to determine if it would let up in time to race on Saturday and the members of Fleet 155 took comfort in knowing their reservoir would now be full for several weeks.

Saturday dawned with more rain.  While continental breakfast was served, many racers rigged their boats in their foul weather gear undaunted.  After the briefest skippers meeting many had ever attended, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the racers picked up their boxed lunches and headed out to the course.   Race Committee was drawn from friends at Fishing Bay Yacht Club and included PRO Alex Alvis and a team from both FBYC and GRSA aboard both the committee boat and the mark boat.  

After a light wind sail to the race course, the fleet was becalmed just as crews were trying to get a read on shifts before the first start.  Finally, after a 40 minute wait the wind filled in to a fresh 4 to 10 knots out of the Northwest.  The start of race one was awesome as the 19 Scots jockeyed for position.  The veteran racers casually bided their time with a clear eye to their favored starting positions while some of the rookies had their hands full managing traffic.  As the starting horn sounded, all cleared the line without incident and the race was on.  The pack was tight over the first windward-leeward legs and then spread out over the second lap.  Fishing Bay Yacht Club took the 3 podium spots with Len and Barb Guenther getting the bullet over Rob Whitmore and Kevin Clark.  John and Sharon Wake took third while Regatta Chair Pete Cookson and son Chris took fourth leading GRSA’s Fleet 155.

Just as the horn was sounding to start race two, the wind calmed considerably and those caught off the line would pay dearly as the boats on the front line caught the last gasps of pressure and employed their best light wind tactics to make steady, albeit slow headway to the weather mark.  The group of 5 boats caught behind the line spent close to an hour just to reach the weather mark.  If the racers had any doubt that they were lake sailing those doubts were put to rest.  At one point the lead boats were beginning their second run to windward under spinnaker while the trailing boats had just turned to run down to leeward sailing closehauled.  Yes, up was now down and down was now up.  When the death sail that was race two was over, three boats were declared OCS, two TLE and one DNF. Fishing Bay went one-two as Whittemore and Clark took first followed by the Guenthers. Dave and Beth Gillingham from Selby Bay took third. 

Racing ended for the day and the fleet returned to the dock and enjoyed a wonderful dinner including flank steak while cooling off and enjoying the recently renovated GRSA lakefront. Special thanks to GRSA Social Chairs, Gerri Gallagher and Katy Sullivan, who ensured there was plenty to eat and drink.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and winds were light but steady from 6 to 10 knots and now out of the Southwest.  Race three got under way quickly with the leaders wasting no time in separating from the rest of the field.  At one point, about 7 boats had sailed upwind heading so far right and close to the shore that the back-of-packers who went up the middle dreamed they might steal the show. But dreams die hard when the pressure’s light and the big dogs find wind on the outside.  Those 7 boats held their position and charged right on to the finish.  Fishing Bay again went 1-2-3 as the Wakes took first followed by the Guenthers and then Whittemore and Clark. 

The fourth and final race was not without drama as the regatta leaders knew by their varied finishing positions that the top three spots would be close.  When it was over, Roger and Patricia Schermerhorn of the West River Sailing Club crossed the line first making them the fourth crew to score a bullet.  Fishing Bay took the next two spots with the Gillinghams taking second and the Wakes taking third.

After pulling boats and lunch, the results were in and the team of Rob Whittemore and Kevin Clark took the championship by a single point over Len and Barb Guenther 11 points to 12.  Dave and Beth Gillingham took third with 16 points. 

Regatta Chair Pete Cookson was thrilled with the overall competition, “We really appreciate the opportunity to host the Capital District Championship and compete against some of the most talented Scot sailors in the Mid-Atlantic.  Our Fleet really benefits from sailing against competition from outside of our club as we learn so much from others who are so happy to share their knowledge.  The sharing of knowledge is really a point of difference that separates our class from others. We will be getting more boats on the road this season with trips being planned for Fishing Bay, the NAC’s and the ACC’s.” 

GRSA Commodore Mills Jones  thanked everyone while taking pride in his club, saying “Many thanks to all the racers who traveled to our event, Alex Alvis and his Race Committee team and all our GRSA folks who pulled together to make this a great event.  We enjoyed sharing what we call “the best club ever” and hope everyone will come back next year.”

HERE are the full results.