Jacksonville Regatta, Region 7 Championship
The weather for the 2018 Jacksonville regatta could not have been better at our St. Augustine hotel venue. Clear blue skies and a high temp of just 80 degrees greeted the skippers for both days. Winds, however; were not quite as perfect. The forecast on Saturday was for NW at 5-10 mph. What we got was shifting winds from next to nothing to gusts over 12 mph. It proved to be a challenge to set the perfect course. The eastern side of the lake was used for all but one race. A 90 degrees shift made us use the western side of the lake, but the shift did not last long and we were back to the east for the rest of the day.
With 20 boats entered, we set a long start line to go with one fleet, but with the fickle winds, I made the choice to go with the P&R system and two fleets of 12 boats. This proved to be the right choice as the starts were less crazy and the racing was more enjoyable for all.
Alan Perkins got off to a great start with back-to-back wins in the first two races, but he would not win again until the last race of the day. This allowed a number of skippers to keep things interesting. By lunch time, Jon Luscomb was just two points back in second place, with Gerhard Kelter, Jim Kaighin, Dave Linville, Robert Greer, George Balaschak all within striking distance.
With the hotel undergoing renovations, we served sandwiches under the shade trees by the lake. With such a beautiful day on hand, nobody missed sitting inside in the AC. It took some prodding to get people up and back to sailing after lunch.
In the 6th race, Jon Luscomb snagged rigs with Gerhard Kelter right before the bell. Jon withdrew and Gerhard got redress. This switched the two of them in the standings. While that was going on, Chuck Millican was making a run for the lead with a great series of three seconds and a third place to move into 3rd place by the end of the day.
After sailing on Saturday, we usually bring our boats fully rigged inside the hotel. This time with the first floor gutted, boats had to be taken down and carried back to the cars. All that lifting and toting was soon rewarded at the Happy Hour and Annual Meeting in the Greer-Luscomb suite on the 6th floor. We were blessed to have Dee Dudinsky join us this weekend and we all drank a toast to Bobís memory. Perfect Manhattans were served up by Doc Greer. Anyone who has had a drink with Bob Dudinsky knows that was his drink. Calvin Obara stepped up and accepted the position of Vice Chairman of the Florida EC12 Association.
With so much food on hand at the happy hour, several skippers opted out of going to the dinner at Donovanís Irish Pub. Still, a good crowd made it there and enjoyed a good time with Black & Tans and traditional Irish fare.
Sunday was more of the same great weather with a bit more breeze. Alan Perkins started the day again with a bullet and put his claim on the regatta. But, the battle for 2nd and 3rd place was just beginning. Gerhard Kelter and Chuck Millican fought each other along with the rest of the fleet in very close racing. Both skippers got wins on Sunday to finish the day just 1.2 points apart. Chuck Millicanís larger throw-out turned out to be the difference for his second place finish. Jon Luscomb took home the final prize in fourth place.
The racing by the usual top skippers was not the only racing of interest though. Eight different skippers won races of 13 total races sailed (26 heats). Jim Kaighin, Robert Greer, and George Balaschak each won a race and Scott Vernon and Jim Rutherford both won two races. The cheers from the shore were deafening when Jim won his second race and finished the regatta in 9th place over all.
I need to commend all the skippers for their clean sailing and polite discussions of fouls instead of yelling and name-calling. Every protest was handled on the water. US Sailing Judge, Ken Morrison, was never tested in the committee room, but he did answer a lot of rules questions from skippers just looking for clarification.
I need to thank my team who helped put this event on and it started a month or so ago with the building of the two new docks. Martin Gray, Bill Wells, John Bottensek and Tom Phillips did most of the heavy lifting and construction of the docks. Brian Ladouceur supported the effort with a contribution of non-skid tape.
Then came the hard work at the regatta. I need to thank Jim Pardee for running the start line, Brenda Pardee for keeping score, Robbie Susan was on the finish line with me and kept me straight on the sail numbers. Bill Wells came to support with the gear and marks. Baron Bremer was so supportive with just about anything I needed from rescuing boats, setting up courses and handing out clothes pins. Tom Phillips served up breakfast each day, and Frank Ligon took care of the wonderful prizes for the top four. The Greers and Luscombs need to be thanked as well for hosting a great happy hour in their suite and what more can I say about Karen Luscomb who is always there to support the class. Brenda Pardee presented her with a special Thank You from the Florida Association in the awards presentation. And thanks again to Brian Ladouceur for letting Ken stay at his home for the weekend.
All of these people are what make these events special and without them, there would simply be no regatta. Keep that in mind at all the regattas you attend, and from time to time, step up and offer your help and pass on sailing that one weekend. It is worth it.
Now for the scores and the ď3 Wins in OneĒ title above. Alan Perkins won the regatta, the Region 7 Championship and the Florida Championship.
The whole group with all the trophies on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Alan Perkins gets the Florida Championship Plaque from Chairman, George Balaschak.