Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rednecks, Maple Bars, A-cats, Leeward Marks, and Blue Suede Shoes

We arrived in Cougar, Washington last night about 10p, after driving up from Portland; it's a short drive from our home to this series of three reservoirs on the Lewis River. The middle lake is named Yale and that's where the regatta was today. There's another Yale, somewhere in Connecticut, if I recall. This place is as far as you can get from Connecticut without being in Newark.

We camped in the Lone Fir RV park in Cougar, which may sound exotic, but if you live in the Great Northwet (sic) you probably recognize this for the call sign of the redneck patch'o'grass that it is.

We were up early and down to the Cougar group campground where the sailors were staying, with our lifejackets and boater safety card in hand. We arrived in time to get our pick of the morning donuts, which is a very important thing if your hair is red and you're six years old. Maybe it's important if you're forty-six, also.

Ted was putting on the show and Tony was his executive officer and they were the guys we were looking for; so, we made our plans, enjoyed a second donut and hauled the whalers down to launch.

The girls and I set the windward and leeward marks and then spent most of our time at one or the other. The 7 y/o went on the start-line boat for a while and helped with flags and horns. After some discussion with the more experienced race committee fellas, and after the fleets made their way around the leeward mark in the second race, the 6 y/o and I hauled up the downwind bobber and moved it about 300m toward the windward mark to shorten the course a smidgen (that's Latin for 600m).

The wind blew great all day and the four A-cats were a blast to watch. They really fly on the reaches. The Lido fleet was the largest and very competitive; they also looked inspiring as they made their downwind runs with whisker poles engaged.

I missed the one bit of naughtiness, but apparently, one of the V-15s got mad at the committee for having the first race go as a two-lapper and then shortening the remaining races to one. He huffed, puffed, demanded a refund, and then left mad for Seattle. Really? A freakin' beautiful day in the Cascades and this is your worry? Not to mention, you were wrong, Sailor John McEnroe.

The one other sort of sailory thing that went on was the protest from another V-15 sailor regarding a competitor's use of a spinnker. The boat in question was a homemade jog and instead of the red and blue V on the sail, there appeared to be a feather of some sort. The protest filed was stated as a class rule violation. I'm not sure how this will turn out, but it seems if you're flying a kite and nobody else in the fleet is, you're probably the one in violation, yeah?

The sailors I spoke to and/or overheard were raving about the day and made positive committee comments, including "they started right on time and then got the next race going within ten minutes of our finish. No waiting around." The glow at the evening BBQ was only partially from the propane fired lava rocks; the brightest lights shined from the tired, sunburnt, happy sailors.

Ted gave us a WSC bag and two pint-glasses for helping out. A great day. I'm ready to come to one of these with our boat and get spanked by the one-designers.

My one regret for the day is not having a camera. The mountains were beautiful and the grey rim of Mt. St. Helens sticking up like an ashy bas-relief behind the green hills was amazing.

I have a picture of this guy who played fifties tunes in the campground, mere yards away from my trailer window, instead.

Yeah, it's a sad substitute.


David said...

With a title like that . . . but, hey, sounds like a great event. Yeah, put your boat on the line next time. You'll like it. There's a Hunter 170 down here that makes it around to most of the lake races. Looks like they enjoy it.

tillerman said...

Awesome post. I'm thinking of running a contest for "best regatta photo of the year" and this one has a very real chance of winning it.

Greg and Kris said...

Sometimes the perspective in a photo says everything.