2014 Glow in the Dark - Clinton Lake Sailing Club, IL
2014 Gl ow in the Dark Regatta by Deb Aronson - results are here.
The eighth annual Glow in the Dark regatta hosted the largest crowd yet, with 25 boats on the line, only 8 of which were local club members (our previous record was 21 boats). Travelers from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Indiana joined us at our beautiful lake to camp and sail.
I do think that, aside from our record numbers, the other most newsworthy event was that….Harry Carpenter CAMPED! Carrie said it was the first time he’d ever done that and let me tell you that is a testament to the Glow and the appeal of camping at this regatta. This year we had so many tents there is some talk of clearing some more land for next year’s event.
We had a great weekend, though I will say the wind was paltry. Some years, last year included, we have had a bit too much wind, which is probably because we constantly worried about wind conditions. This year we didn’t worry, since we had such a good track record and, wouldn’t you know, hardly any wind.
Nevertheless, the PRO, Nick Schneider, used every scrap of wind that existed on Saturday. The start was scheduled for 11 and he postponed on shore for an hour, at which point he thought conditions were picking up and he sent us out. We floated around for about 45 minutes or more as the wind tried to decide what to do.
Nick had the 3-leg, windward-leeward course set up for the northeast breeze, at which point the wind blew Nick a raspberry and shifted hard to the east, making the flags fly perpendicular to the committee boat. Nick was not intimidated by that move. He looked that darn wind straight in the eye and began a start sequence, almost daring it to keep blowing from that direction.
Every skipper was wondering how the start was going to work and hoping Nick would abort it. But no, 4 minutes to go, 3 minutes, the wind was still from the east. Finally, 30 seconds to go we heard, “beep beep” and the postpone flag went up. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Still, Nick had the wind’s number and looked positively brilliant when five minutes later the breeze filled in and his northeast course was spot on!
So the sequence started again and this time we had a nice smooth start on a nice long line and the regatta had begun! We had a few puffs and may have even used the vang a bit that first race, which was at least an hour long, but the wind was pretty flukey. The top four boats (Cain Goettleman, Harry Carpenter, Frank Gerry and Ben Williams) stretched out a commanding lead from the pack and by the leeward mark were a good 30 boat lengths ahead. But as we sailed to the finish, which was up by the windward mark, things began to get quite squirrely, especially in the middle of the course. Meanwhile, several boats in the pack (Mark Benner, Randy Adolphs) went up the left side of the course and found some wind that enabled them to catch and pass several of the leaders.
Harry and Carrie Carpenter, performing miracles as usual, held onto their lead, Cain and Gordy held on for second, Mark and Maria Benner finished third, Frank Gerry and Luther Torgerson were fourth, Randy Adolphs and Kari Reskoke were fifth and Bill Vogler and Greg Florian finished sixth. (complete results are here)
The wind continued puffy out of the northeast for the second race, and the pressure dropped a bit, so that by the downwind leg many spinnakers were hanging limp…that is never a pretty sight! Still, some sailors found patches of wind, with Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu taking an early lead and holding on to it for 85% of the race. At the top of the course, near the finish is where the trouble seemed to occur for everyone…except Harry and Carrie, who neatly sailed by Ryan and the rest of the leaders and took first again. Ryan and Stacey held on for second, and Frank and Luther finished third. Ben and Deb finished fourth and Bill and Greg nabbed fifth, but by then the water and once again turned to glass. The rest of the fleet managed to ghost to the finish and then we were out of wind for the day.
Back on shore the beer flowed and everyone traded stories of getting stuck in holes and watching everyone sail past them. But most everyone was at least still smiling! The first was started and steaks began cooking about 5:30. The Glow tradition is that we have a grill meister, this year ably handled by our club’s own Erin Bauer, who did a masterful job. The grill meister oversees the cooking of the steaks but each guest is responsible for keeping an eye on their own steak and calling for it to be flipped or taken off the heat, etc.
The bonfire was burning nicely and many sailors gathered around it as we gave out a few door prizes, provided by Flying Scot Inc (Harry and Karen Carpenter), Mad Sails (Ryan Malmgren) and Angie Hunt (Clinton Lake Club Member). Then a local musician plugged in his amp and provided some nice guitar music for the group. The fire is always such a magnet, but so is the beer cooler, and several other groups of sailors stayed up by the pavilion to drink and talk about the day’s racing.
Ryan Malmgren explained something that happened to us a lot on the course and I got so excited I can’t wait to apply it when we get those conditions again: There were many times when we were going along fine and then suddenly our jib would luff, in what we thought was a wind shift, so we tacked, only to find that that tack was way, way headed. Ryan said what we experienced was not a wind shift, but a hole in the wind. When that happens it seems like your jib is luffing because of a shift but it is really just luffing because your velocity dropped (at least that’s how I understood it. Ryan if I’ve garbled this let me know!). He said the solution is not to tack, and not even to foot off, but to heel the boat even more to leeward to minimize the jib’s luffing and keep the faith. You should, of course, be looking at your wind indicator and making sure the wind hasn’t shifted, but in these light flukey conditions he said that is often what is going on. That was cool to learn.
The last sailor retired about midnight and Ben and I were up at dawn to start the coffee. We were met by Ken Johnson and Chris Tesdal who prepared their amazing hot breakfast. The menu is potatoes and eggs friend in lard (don’t groan it’s yummy!). We also cut up many steaks to add into the mix. I really think this year that, not only did we have many more boats, but more people than ever camped, because the line for breakfast stretched pretty far. When Ken ran out of steam, Erin stepped up and cooked for about a dozen more people. Huge success!
And that was the most excitement we had Sunday because the wind never did show up. By 10:30 Nick had called it (since we couldn’t start a race after 12 noon) and people began breaking down tents and packing up boats. By 11 we were eating again, as Eric Bussell grilled hamburgers and we ate what few leftovers we had from Saturday dinner.
We gave out a few more door prizes and then had the awards. Marianne Gerry, Frank’s life mate and regular crew, made all the trophies and the lovely Glow tshirts. She couldn’t be at the regatta because she was helping their daughter, who had just had a baby. But she was there in spirit!