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|2017 Windmill National Championship Regatta at Erie Yacht Club, Pa||August 11 - 13|
|Special Awards (outside top 10)
Old Goat Award (50-59 Years): Colin Browning # 5252
Not to Old to Rock and Roll (60-69 Years): Lon Ethington #5070
Still Kicking It (70+ Years): Allen Chauvenet #5586
Perseverance Award (finished all races): Timothy Weibel #5703
Erie, PA (August 11 through 13th, 2017)
The Windmill Nationals were hosted by Erie Yacht Club (EYC) with 27 competitors from 10 different states with 7 National Champions and 4 runner-ups. Needless to say, it was a competitive event and one for the decades.
Erie Windmill Fleet Capt., Janet Huntly (& Pat) had a 2-year-old newly chartered fleet well-orchestrated with help of the Sponars and support with Larry Christian measuring – completing weighing in, foils and sails by 5pm Thursday. Bravo. EYC’s Race Committee ran square, 45-mintue races 2W,L quickly following one another. Although the lines were square and proper length, the fleet forced recalls. Winds were 12-15 knots and the downwind finishes made sailing on the rhumb line impractical with shifts oscillating to either side. Spotting puffs, jibing timely and smoothly while getting on the correct wave pattern would gain or lose a fist full of boats. The same can be said about the weather legs off the leeward gates on big, open water. After Race Two, the fleet was correctly waived in before a storm blew through. But, we had plenty coming for the next day.
With wind at 15 building to 20 and gusting to 25, Day Two was tough and hairy. Although the top 10 from previous were known quantities many teams thrust themselves into the running especially Alan Taylor and past NA champ Dave Ellis grinding down the smaller teams. Incredible notes were Arthur Anosov and his 12-year-old son Max took it like a day in the park. Larry Christian and Allie Sponar, although 100 pounds less than some teams blew past people downwind like they were in park. By Race Seven (5 for the day), 10 teams retired early by choice or natural law. A modified Gold Cup course (T, W, L) was run in the last two where surfing and planing conditions seemed like the Banzai Pipeline, especially with poles up – and broken poles DOWN.
Final Day Three saw the backside of the heavy air blowout to nothing. Wind of 0-5 caused a postponement before race 8 could be started. With 30 degree shift in maybe 5-10 knots, saw the lead change as the wind shifted across each side of the course and puffs and shifts made it more bewildering. Always calm, Arthur led for the last leg until a pack of running boats went high right getting knocked (a mile) down to the finish for Larry to take a bullet in the last race. Nonetheless, Ethan & Trudy Bixby had the regatta sewn up after Day Two – even allowing a couple mortals to score bullets (1sts). Allen & Christina Chauvenet got into the act when it lightened up.
The National Meeting & Banquet had a lot of really positive developments. The WCA molds for Johannson Boatworks are finished and didn’t impact our bottom line while improving assets and improving the control of the “Windmill” brand. They’re building 4 boats and are considering promoting the Class at the Annapolis Boat Show (wknd October 6-8th). New business involves a 1-year trial with the Gnav (an upside Vang – get it?) to clear the rigging under the boom between crew and daggerboard. And, to keep the mainsail plan, but test an upper full batten for sail longevity. And, simply allow any material for tiller – to be voted on by the membership. Simple and sensible stuff to improve the boat and safety. Sandy had a monster raffle with high-quality gear from APS, Gill, North Sails, the Tackle Shop & Zhik to name a few.
In my opinion the organization, RC, EYC, facilities, launching, restaurant, bar, lodging and fresh open water get five gold stars. Don’t miss next year’s regatta where they host the Midwest Districts. And, be sure to register for the 2018 NAs in Rock Hall, July 23rd
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