2014 Grits ‘n Haggis Regatta - Keowee Sailing Club, Seneca, SC
Scots move to the line at the Grits 'n Haggis regatta Sandy Eustis leads the fleet
Busy at the leeward mark Spinnakers full
Lake Keowee is about 8 miles west of Clemson, SC at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For 6 years now, Fleet 193 has hosted this regatta on the 3rd weekend in May. It is usually temperatures in the mid 80’s by now, but this weekend was different. As boats came in from other clubs on Friday the gusts were 20+, usually a precursor for no wind the next day. Depending on which website you checked, the weather and wind reports varied wildly. We had light breezes on Saturday morning, but by the noon competitors’ meeting it was a steady 10 to 12. The sun was out, but it felt more like October than May.
At 1300 the first signal went up and we went to windward with Rob Fowler, from the Privateer Yacht club, in 5152 leading the way. Rob went on to win the first race, but somewhere before the 2nd race was underway, his tiller broke. Scott Adams from Lake Lanier Sailing Club had retired, as his crew (son and daughter) were wet and cold, but as a good sport he lent his tiller to Rob Fowler. Dixie Lakes Governor Sandy Eustis from Keowee Sailing Club was the first to finish in the 2nd race.
The wind picked up, gusts increased in strength. The sky turned grey and it was starting to seem like November. The 3rd race of the day saw us racing up the course taking spray over the bow and many boats didn’t bother with the spinnaker on the downwind leg as they were on a plane from mark to mark. Again, Rob Fowler led the fleet and crossed the finish line first. The next 5 places behind Rob varied among John Kreidler from Western Carolina Sailing Club, Tommy Weaver from Lake Murray Sailing Club, Bill Northup from Lake Lanier Sailing Club, Tom Clark from Privateer, and Sandy Eustis and John Sensor from Lake Keowee.
Then, the RC called for a fourth race. It was more of the same, with Rob Fowler giving us a lesson of how they sail in Tennessee, except the gusts were more predictable and we flew spinnakers again. We all went in, some cold and damp, with District Governor Eustis in first place, to a roast pork dinner and beer served by Scottish kitchen wenches in a warm clubhouse.
The next morning, the temperature was 56 degrees and raining. After a breakfast egg casserole and some cheesy grits topped off with a bit of real haggis imported from Scotland, the boats were re-launched. By 9 am the rain had stopped and boats were heading out to the course. The westerly winds of the previous day were gone and we now had wind from just north of East. These winds were more fickle than the previous day, shifty and then some. We got in 2 races with Sandy Eustis taking first in one, Rob Fowler the other and John Kriedler taking 2nd in both, with a junior sailor John Whitehead as crew.
This was a tough fleet from 6 different clubs. Privateer Yacht Club from Chattanooga took 2 trophies, Western Carolina, Lake Murray, and Keowee each had one.
Full results can be found here.