|District 12 Regatta Report|| |
Fri Jul 9th, 2004 through Sun Jul 11th, 2004
| The Stars were back in Hamilton Ontario racing for 3 days. The weather gods smiled upon us and the weekend was wonderful. A little bit of everything in the wind department made for an interesting weekend on the water with the wind cycling between 5 to 12 knots.
Larry Scott did a fine job of organizing the regatta with a tremendous amount of help from his family and club volunteers. Susie Scott, the original lunch lady, was back in fine form baking cookies and muffins for the fleet and the RHYC staff put out some great meals. As usual the RHYC volunteers did a great job on and off the water, running two regattas during the weekend while sharing the harbour with another keelboat regatta.
The Blue Star was won by Steve Haarstick for the third time - the last time was 33 years ago. Bill Nutzell from Lake Hopatcong won his Green Star with a little help from his crew Rick Burgess and congratulations to both.|
Report by the winner Steve Haarstick
I have only sailed in one District’s since I competed on a regular basis in the mid seventies. While I won the districts twice before, (1969 - Ithaca, 1971 - Greenwood Lake) those were literally a lifetime ago. Having spent absolutely no time in the boat since this past February, I didn’t have high hopes. If I had to trade off the LYRA course races! in Minute Hand in order to sail in the Star Districts, so be it. I have enjoyed sailing my Star over the past few years, more than any other sailing I have done, as it has renewed my burn for racing against some of the best sailors around, and, just as important, it has renewed old friendships from years past. It is amazing to see how many Star sailors from the seventies and eighties have never left the Star, and are still out there racing today.
As I setup my Star Thursday evening, my regatta expectations began to fade, when I realized that I had put the new jib I made for the Masters in Miami in the wrong bag. In it’s place, was the other “experimental” (slow) jib in the “new sail” bag. This left me with a two year old version of the Master’s jib. At least I managed to bring my still fast four year old Dacron/Pentex Triradial Main! Starting a big regatta with old sails, in a class that regularly puts on brand new sails for big regattas is not a good omen.
It got worse. On Friday, the first day of racing, the wind was out of the northwest, a direction that “never happens here”. How many times have you heard that at regattas? This forced the committee to set a course across the harbor, which helped make the variable wind even more unpredictable, especially near the shore at the weather mark. At the first start, we lost track of the time and found ourselves in the coffin’s corner above the committee boat at the gun, and made contact with Larry and Ted who also had no where to go. As the fleet left the starting area, we were doing our 720 behind the line. After sailing the rest of the race in the cheap seats, we finished 20th out of 26 boats.
The 2nd race of the day started better, as we got a clean start and “lead”, smartly tacking up the middle on the shifts, looking good for ¾’s of the 1st beat! But two minutes later, 15 boats came out of the right side on a big puff near the weather mark and put us back in the cheap seats again! On the final run to the finish, we stayed low, real low of the mob scene of 10 boats clumped to weather, and passed them all to finish just in front of them in 7th. However, those 10 boats in the mob crossed the line at once, with two of them tangled up on the pin, creating a real mess. When we checked the board Saturday morning, we had been bumped back to 10th, with 3 boats ahead of us on redress.
Even with a drop race, a 20th and a 10th doesn’t bode well for a good regatta in a 26 boat fleet. On the plus side, there’s no pressure now! When we went out to the start the wind had changed direction, and was filling in from the east, becoming very steady, in the 8 –10 knot range. This is my best condition!! Clean start, great speed off the line, tacked and crossed the fleet, no problem!! In the lead!! Only we didn’t check the course flag. As we reached off towards the “weather” mark, Brian Cramer suggested that we would do much better if we rounded the weather mark before rounding the reach mark!! What an idiot I was!! This bonehead move put us back in 4th for the remainder of the 3rd race.
Finally, we got off clean for the start of the 4th race, and, having checked the course flag this time, sailed to the correct weather mark, rounded second, and finished 2nd. Not a bad day, but certainly not a threat for an overall finish in the top 4 or 5. There were lot’s of boats ahead of us.
Sunday morning, the wind was east again, and had filled in earlier than yesterday. Pumped up, we left the dock early and sailed to the course area to check out the wind. Today, we were not picking up the shift off the shore, as we did the day before, and the wind seemed stronger in the middle of the course. This pre-race observation paid off, as most of the regatta leaders went to the shore on the first beat, while we sailed up the middle. We rounded the weather mark first with John Finch in close pursuit, while they came in deep. We covered John for the rest of the race, but on the last run to the finish, let a boat slip ahead of us both, and we took another 2nd. Still, it was our best race of the regatta. It felt good to end up on a positive note.
However, it got better! As I was packing up my Star, Rick Burgess came over to congratulate me on our beating him by one point for the championship. Unbelievable!! After 33 years, I actually won my third 12th Star District Championship with a 10, 4, 2, 2 and an 18 low point score in a 26 boat fleet! I can’t think of any other regatta where that has happened. What a rush!! Have to thank my crew Dan for a great job up front, and the club for a terrific regatta.
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