Western Hemisphere Championship Report
By Barbara Beigel Vosbury
Jun 8, 2011, 11:50
Photos by Fried Elliott
Practice Day: Small lake, Big Time!
Lake Springfield is a beautiful small lake in the Capital of the State of Illinois. It is beautiful but we're told not to eat the fish out of it! Joe and Tom Londrigan with Michael Pick and a host of wonderful people have put together a great regatta. We haven't even started racing yet and the feeling here is that this is one of the best events in a while. The whole of the Lake Springfield Star Fleet are here working hard to be sure we are welcomed properly and the Club members the same. There are almost too many to name specifically but we'll try to sneak a couple in here and there......like Lynda Preckwinkle--pretty sure we would all have passed out from the heat if not for Lynda and her tray of water! It's been between 90 and 96 degrees F here everyday! Betsy Londrigan stood over the hot grill and cooked up brats, dogs and hamburgers for lunch during measurement. She then went home and prepared for a dinner she and Tom were hosting that night.
Today was the practice race and opening ceremony. We had good breeze and Mark Reynolds, sailing Joe Londrigans boat, won the practice race. President Bill Allen thanked the fleet and club members for welcoming us with open arms from the time we hit the parking lot. After the ceremony we went by boat and trolley across the lake to the Arentzens beautiful home for cocktails and hors doerves.
One of the really neat things about this regatta is family! Not just our great Star family, but there are 12 boats here (out of 34) that are family. The VanderMolens (Jon, Tom and Jimmer), The Londrigans (Joe, Tom Jr, Tom Sr, and Pat), Carl Arentzen sailing with his daughter Clare as well as Mike Neumeister sailing with his daughter Evyn, Gene and Glenn McCarthy of course are here as well as Alan Cullen and his son Rob from Vancouver and last but not least Barbara Beigel Vosbury sailing with her niece Laura. Pretty cool, huh?
We're trying for seven races in three days. It's a tight schedule but certainly doable. PRO Sharon Hadsell, deputy Jeff Maier and the Race Committee have their work cut out for them! Good luck to everyone tomorrow!
The regatta started off on a good foot! Three races on day one, WOO HOO we're now a little ahead of schedule. I really can't report more than what you seen in the scores because we were busy sailing from the back to the front and ending in the middle again! Really. We spent a little time around Tom Londrigan Jr., who won the day, in each race but somewhere along the lake he disappeared! That's lake sailing! After racing Kattack has screens set up in the dining room so that we can watch all of our gains and losses on TV, the videographer has the days video going in loop and the beer truck is open. Lynda is still busy passing out water and gatorade and everyone has a smile on their face. This is great fun.
The evening program was at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Impressive. The show, which is a must see, is all about the library and why it is so important to keep our history in tact. It is done with holograms and I'm not sure but there may have been a person in there also......hard to tell. The museum has a replica (including trees, stumps and birds) of Lincoln's cabin in the main room. Go through the cabin and you have entered a hall of exhibits all about Abraham Lincoln, his life, his family and how they lived in the cabin and in the White House. Wander over to the facade of the White House and you are greeted by the beautiful gowns of Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Stephen Douglas and several others. The exhibit winds thought hallways of smaller exhibits depicting the politics of the time and ending with a recreation of Lincoln lying in state. Oh my is this impressive.
The food was delicious from pasta to steamship round of beef the perfect amount to get us ready for the next day of racing.
We arrive at the club and there is good breeze on the lake but, you guessed it, it is from the wrong direction and the locals are betting on when it will change! It did change to a northerly direction and Sharon and Jeff and the RC did their best to get a race off quickly. Big shift to the right and a course change at the leeward mark. After we have all rounded another shift to the right and the committees options are getting less and less as the wind direction does not allow for the course length. Prudently they abandoned the race and promptly the breeze died. Little zephyrs here and there but it's gone. One by one the fleet heads to the dock leaving the committee alone on the lake. Derek DeCouteau bet his crew, Dave Martin, that he could not swim faster than the Star was ghosting along. Dave swam up to Derek, grabbed the mainsheet and proceeded to pull Derek backwards!! There is not much breeze.
We waited a the the club for awhile, the snack bar brimming with hungry sailors. Finally a small but relatively steady breeze came up and we're off to try again. This time the breeze was a little more spotty but showed some promise of filling in so we're set to start with a course of 185 degrees. On the weather legs the right seemed to pay off on the first leg and then the left on the third leg. The downwind legs were challenging and places were mixed up all day long. This is lake sailing! Jack Rickard used his old age and and treachery one more time to smoke us all and drift around the gate first on leg four. We all sat, drifted, gybed, tacked, laughed and tried everything we could to get there. Several boats rounded and the breeze shut of completely again. The committee was watching the radar and breezes and the next breeze was to be a 180 degree shift so they abandoned the race. Of course there are always mixed feelings about abandoning and mostly they depend on where you are on the course at the time! Now we will have to use the reserve day to try and complete the schedule. Good the forecast for day three is more promising.
The party was at the Hilton on the 30th floor overlooking all of Springfield! What a view! Once again, great food and good people make for a wonderful time had by all!
The breeze looked promising this morning, but of course it was from the wrong direction. So out we went to give it a try. The Race Committee was all set up for start but, alas, had to postpone as the wind had become unstable. It was early in the day so everyone stayed out on the water in anticipation of the breeze coming. This was not to happen for awhile and certainly not from the direction expected. A lot of the boats went to the shore for a break. This was not a decision made lightly--we were not postponed ashore, so when the race committee signaled we all had to be on the ready. Sure enough we watched a southerly start to fill and the RC move from in front of the club up to the northern end of the lake. We were all on the ready and out we went for try number two!
We were able to get two good races off in puffy southwesterly breezes that eventually went around to the west. The RC was on top of all the changes and got the courses squared up in record time. We now have a drop race and two to go!
Several of the competitors had to leave for family obligations and they surely missed another great dinner, this time at Island Bay Yacht Club. Beef, scalloped potatoes and asparagus and desserts that would satiate any sweet tooth. Outstanding!
Daily trophies today went to leaders as of today Grand Master Larry Whipple with Bill Holowesko, Master Brian Cramer with Cam Lymburner and Junior Tomas Hornos sailing with Kip Gardner! For the day the winners were Tom Londrigan, Jr with Steve Cutting in First, Jon VanderMolen and Caj Flynn in Second and Derek DeCouteau with Dave Martin in Third!
I would like to say how much we appreciate the amount of effort the club has done for us. They basically closed the club for the whole week we were here. The pool was still open as well as the bars but the evening activities for members were not held so we could have reign. Manager Bob and his staff could not have been nicer and more accommodating! A big thank you to Island Bay Yacht Club from the competitors and the Star Class!
Once again, Island Bay Yacht Club turned on the hospitality and charm last night at the regatta dinner. The food was as delicious as the company was special. Sitting down to a fabulous dinner with really good friends—Priceless!
This morning the clouds were dark and looming-will the storms finally get here? What breeze will the lake deliver today? Here we go!
The breeze was out of the WSW which is not the best direction but better than due west. The RC sent us on a Course two—triangle, windward/leeward, triangle. Reaching in a Star when it is not blowing hard uses another skill set and a lot of patience. Most times the reaches turn into “follow the leader” legs instead of tactical legs which is why most championships do not use them. I have to say it was a nice change of pace and because the Class attracts good skilled sailors I believe there were several turnovers on the reaches. The breeze was shifty and felt as though it was tending right all day. Dave Watt and Brett Wilson stayed focused throughout Race 6 and won followed closely by Brian Cramer with Cam Lymburner and Tomas Hornos with Kip Gardner.
I must mention Kattack here. We all had trackers on our boats and you could follow in real time (I think). This was a great feature for the event and many people followed the action. On our boat we actually gybed on the first reach of race 6 and we could just imagine Laura's dad grabbing the computer screen and yelling at it "what in the world are they doing now??!!!". We did chuckle at that thought! Thanks to Kattack for that added extra.
In race 7 the breeze did go right several times. We raced course 3 and the first weather mark was 240, the second 270 and the finish was 290! The Race Committee did a great job of keeping up with the shifts (I think they had a harder job than we did!). Dave and Brett won again but only after duking it out with Gil Cole and Lou Dixon in 7097! Never underestimate the speed of an old Star and the wits of a long time Star sailor! Joe Londrigan and Matt Pederson kept the pressure on to take third.
Back at the dock, the beer truck was chilled and waiting, Lynda Preckwinkle had the water/Gatorade tray going and a good group of spectators were on hand to greet us. I have been remiss in mentioning the group of youngsters that, with sponges at the ready, were on deck each day to wash down our boats as they came out of the water! A big THANK YOU to them all! I am sure they all had a blast—who would not have?
Awards were under the deck and the champagne was flowing!
Many, many thanks and kudos to the Lake Springfield Star Fleet for organizing a spectacular event! It takes many hours to organize something of this caliber and the LS fleet members never lost sight of their goal to show everyone a great time!
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