Dixie Lakes District Overview by Sandy Eustis FS 5610
The Flying Scot Sailing Association’s newest district is Dixie Lakes–comprised of seven active and two less active fleets, and spread across the northern tiers of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, as well as on both sides of Tennessee. By “active” I mean that the fleet is in good standing with the FSSA and that it has enough energy to host an annual regatta to which off-lake Flying Scot sailors are invited. Although Dixie Lakes is only four years old, we offer Spring and Fall schedules of well-attended regattas – there’s not much wind in the middle of the Summer in this part of the country–plus an annual District Championship regatta that we hold at a different lake every year. This Fall, one of our fleets (Fleet 190 at Muscle Shoals near Florence, Alabama, assisted by Fleet 13 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) hosted the first national event to be held on one of our lakes–the 2012 Wife-Husband Championship. (See story in S ‘n W 2012 Volume 56 Issue 6)
The Dixie Lakes District owes its existence to the hard work of Charlie and Nancy Fowler, who moved to the Atlanta area several years ago. They quickly noticed that there were a number of nearby, mostly newer, “orphaned” Flying Scot fleets–active groups of Flying Scot sailors located on the geographic fringes of the Carolinas or Gulf or Ohio Districts–but closer to one another than to most of the fleets in the districts to which they were assigned. Presto! Charlie and Nancy worked hard to organize the Dixie Lakes District. All of us have been very happy with the result.
Our easternmost active fleet (Flying Scot Fleet 193, with about a dozen members) is located on Lake Keowee, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, way up in the northwest corner of South Carolina. The Keowee Sailing Club is located on the eastern side of this 25-mile-long lake, with a gorgeous view over pine-covered islands to the first range of the Blue Ridge, about 20 miles away. I’ve raced Flying Scots for more than 30 years and have visited many sailing clubs all over the eastern half of the US in doing so, and, although I may be a bit biased (because this is my home club these days), I really do think that the view from our deck is the most beautiful of any sailing club I’ve ever visited.
Just south of Lake Keowee is Lake Hartwell and the Western Carolina Sailing Club, home of Flying Scot Fleet 189 and its eight or ten members. WCSC raised over $40,000 last year at its annual multiclass Hospice Regatta, with Flying Scot stalwart John Kreidler as the primary driving force. (John has already won far too many bottles of good rum from me in our ongoing friendly wagers at regattas on his lake or mine, but I intend to get some of that back in the near future.)
Moving westward, the Lake Lanier Sailing Club, located only 30 minutes northeast of Atlanta, Georgia, is home to Flying Scot Fleet 111. This is a large and historically significant club for several one-design classes, featuring an extensive facility on a large peninsula jutting into Lake Lanier. Their “campus” includes a large wooded camping area, two blocks of summer cottages, several launch ramps, dry storage areas, swimming areas, and a big clubhouse right on the point, looking westward at the sunset. The Scot fleet at Lake Lanier currently has ten members but is growing rapidly under the leadership of Scott and Sharon Adams. Our 2012 Dixie Lakes District Championship Regatta was held at Lake Lanier this year (see story elsewhere in this issue), and it attracted nine of the ten local Scots, plus eight travelers. Good show, Scott and Sharon!
By far the oldest fleet in Dixie Lakes is Flying Scot Fleet 13, with about fifteen active members, located at the Privateer Yacht Club on Chickamauga Reservoir near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Privateer features a clubhouse deck that hangs out of the woods right over the edge of the lake. These guys put on a great Spring regatta under the leadership of Fleet Captain Paul Healy, and Fleet 13’s Rob Fowler is our reigning District Champion.
Dixie Lakes also has three active fleets in Alabama. The newest is Fleet 197, located at the Brown’s Creek Sailing Association on Lake Guntersville in the northeast corner of the state. Although there were only five Flying Scots there at last count, Fleet Captain Greg Bennett has already energized his members to host an annual Spring regatta on a truly beautiful lake tucked into the wooded rolling hills.
Further west is Fleet 118 at the Birmingham Sailing Club on Lake Logan Martin. This is the largest fleet in the district, with over thirty Flying Scots on the lake and an annual Fall regatta that consistently draws over twenty entrants. Over the past four years, Fleet Captain Tim Pack has worked tirelessly to build both that fleet and our district as a whole. His story about re-energizing a large but stagnant fleet appears elsewhere in this issue. (See story in S ‘n W 2012 Volume 56 Issue 6)
The Muscle Shoals Sailing Club on Wilson Lake in the northwestern corner of Alabama is home to Flying Scot Fleet 190. Willson Jenkins is the Fleet Captain there, as well as a founding member of the Flying Scot Foundation, the FSSA’s charitable arm that supports sailing education in Flying Scots all across the country. Small in numbers, with only about ten active members, Fleet 190 nevertheless hosted the 2012 Wife-Husband Championship under Willson’s leadership. (See story in S ‘n W 2012 Volume 56 Issue 6)
The Dixie Lakes District also includes two less active fleets, including Fleet 127 on Percy Priest Lake near Nashville, Tennessee, and Fleet 85 at the Dixie Sailing Club in Montgomery, Alabama. Earlier in 2012, the Dixie Sailing Club lost its lease on their facility on Lake Martin, and its members are currently trying to find a location on that lake where they can relocate and continue as an organized club. Finally, the Flying Scot fleet formerly located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, lost its charter last year–due to the loss of FSSA members after a tornado decimated that city a couple of years ago. However, I’ve recently been in contact with a couple of Flying Scot sailors there who are trying to revive their fleet.
So there you have it: the new kid on the FSSA districts block is definitely alive and well. All of our active fleets have grown in the past year, and our overall regatta attendance is also growing. Now if only I could find a way to beat Rob Fowler in a regatta, and also get at least some of my rum back from John Kreidler, then my sailing life would be just about perfect here in the Dixie Lakes District.