Sale Creek Marina
3900 Lee Pike
Soddy Daisy, TN 37379
TN River Mile 495
|October 24, 2009
By the look on everyone's face, one would have thought I handed out pop
quizzes to those present at the inaugural skipper's meeting for this year's
Shackleton Series. No, it wasn't a quiz but rather a summary of some basic
sailing rules we should all be familiar with as well as some rules and
guidelines for our winter escapades - sort of a Shackleton
Series Syllabus if you will. Rules, you say? RULES?!? Why start now? Well,
as we enter our 8th season of (yes, this is still strictly voluntary) wintering on the
water, we thought thought it prudent for all captains and crew to be aware that
there actually is some sort of method to the madness we come up with.
Participation seems to be on the upswing with 12 captains and a fairly healthy
crop of crew present today- and to think just a few years ago crew was just a
novel concept, a twinkle in each skipper's eye. And with some new folks present,
it might be a good thing to educate them as to just how things operate around
here. (If you have wiseacre tendencies about you, comments regarding the prior
statement are strictly verboten!)
One thing for certain, we tend to be a little less laid back when sailing
this series. The heat of competition is certainly elevated as seen by Captain
Mike on Beatnik. Maybe it has something to do with trying to stay warm.
Opening days have normally been greeted with mild, sunny, autumn like conditions
- today, not so much. No, we weren't moving in cold point territory but it was
only in the mid 50's and the sun refused to come out - and those dastardly
western winds kept us moving about and hampered any intentions to fire up one's
grill during this race - although Shawn did mention that the bratwurst kept
rolling off the grill during the heeling, a similar fate commonly experienced by Shackleton and his men on the James Caird.
Why things are getting so serious here, we even had an official photographer
instead of seeing lots of skippers veer off course attempting to get that action shot.
( I am still amazed that after all these years there have
been no cameras lost to the depths of this river.) Actually, many of us skippers
were still messing around with our cameras and veering off course, but a friend of the Beatnik
crew, Tyler Menne, motored around the lake with his canine friends and snapped
some very nice action shots throughout the race. This is not meant to discourage
future photography from participating vessels by any means. ALL pictures are
welcome as they are always very good and we do not know how long Mr. Menne will
be providing this service once discovering the average starting salary of your
typical Shackelton Series photographer is not very attractive. This is due to the
fact that once again, even before the series has started, the treasury is
already operating from a deficit.
|Yes indeed, funds are tight but the fleet shall rejoice in knowing that
the race committee is again armed with a proper communication device, having
acquired a handheld VHF in the off season. But now that the VHF void has
been filled, it still does NOT mean everyone can start hailing me again
during the 5 minute countdown and ask me how many minutes before the start!
In fact, those of you who have your list of Shackleton Series Rules beside you (can't
imagine going anywhere without them) get a pen THIS INSTANT and add an
amendment making it a felonious crime to even THINK of hailing me for such
information. Any breech of this measure will result in the lopping of heads. Or
even more severe, a deduction of series' points! See, that is the only problem
once a list of rules are established - someone is always tacking on further regulations
And truth be known, I didn't hear any chatter taking place over the radio waves
this day. Of course this might be due to the fact that my VHF that was tethered
to the backstay had bounced around a little
during the day and upon observation after returning
to the dock, it was now tuned in on channel 74 instead of 72. Oops!
Quickly changing subjects, it is necessary to introduce some new boats and
skippers (and even some old ones returning from extended absences) to this year's series. First, although
having plenty of winter racing experience, this will be the first year that
David Barrow sails his Mariner 36 Moriah. Already this classic looking
ketch rigged boat has proven itself on the race course, taking 2nd Place in this
year's Great River Drop Regatta. Yes, David backed up his tough talk prior
to that race and now only a few broken doohickeys and a couple busted battens
are all that stands in the way of "taking down Chambers." Regardless if David
would be successful in this endeavor or not, one thing for sure is the rest of the
fleet now has a case of flag envy - that thing is huge! But it looks great!
|Speaking of "doohickeys" (better known as sail slugs -
flashback to Race 8 in 2005 for this reference), Anthony West makes his
return to this series as well and is back sailing his Alberg 24. Over the years
Anthony has pulled out many a secret weapon with a creativity and cunningness surpassed perhaps
only by Wile E. Coyote ("sooper" genius) and we can only imagine the tricks up
his sleeve for success in this year's series. Look for the boat parts division
of Acme to have a banner year. We would also like to welcome
Patrick Sweetman sailing his O'Day 25 Stella and Bob Rupe in his S2 24
O'Day 25 is a very nice boat and he has been been getting acquainted with her by
sailing often throughout the summer months. Meanwhile Nightwind has been
docked at the marina for eons but has seen somewhat limited use over the years.
That is until Bob purchased her a little over a year ago and got her in good sailing
form. Both boats are a definite welcome addition to our fleet.
It certainly was no surprise seeing the all girl sailing team back in action.
Ellen, Brandi, Amy, and Michelle are always competitive and exhibit the true
spirit of what this winter series is all about. What was a bit of a surprise (to
me anyway - perhaps others were in the loop) was that we did not see the
familiar Sassafras out on the water but rather, Brandi's Seafarer 22
Athena. This is another boat that has been moored at the Sale Creek
docks for a long time that Brandi acquired earlier this year - it is great
seeing her back on the race course again as well.
|The remaining participants should all be familiar if you have followed this
series - once again we will be attempting to gun down Maniac, last year's
champ. We will also be watching Carol Lynn closely, as James and Kristen
are getting better and better with each race. The crew on Beatnik is
fired up as always as are the crews on True Blue and Smoke on the Water. And
rounding things off, Andre chose to sail Dutchess which left Hasta La
Vista up for grabs - so I grabbed it!
It was a record turnout for opening day and all of us sailed with crew with
the exception of Andre and Bob who both decided to single hand in this one. Chances were
though that we were not going to do much tacking with the westerly winds. And
sure enough, I can't really offer a "tack by tack" report here since that
there really weren't that many tacks and jibes. In fact, I think Hasta La
Vista (and several other boats) made only two tacks and one jibe all race long. To
say it was a race of reaching would perhaps be an understatement. And if you
recall from races past, Maniac is most vulnerable in these types of winds
and we were all anxious to get our licks in! Of course right from the get go,
any outsiders might make the keen observation of, "okay, if Maniac is so
vulnerable, explain why they are way up there and the rest of the fleet is back
here!" Well, it just goes to show you that you can't always believe what you see
(plus I know how to work the numbers in the end!)
|As the starting horns blasted, it appeared that a good number of us (self NOT
included) have been working on our starts during the offseason. It was a good
beginning for many boats as we took the short downwind ride to Grasshopper Creek
(new season, old habits) before turning slightly to make our way down to Opossum
Creek. For being of the western variety, the winds were fairly consistent. Yes,
some shiftiness and puffs were experienced but nothing that was unexpected or
overpowering. Still, we all worked those sheets hard this day as they were
constantly being adjusted.
although this was indeed a very fun race, it was rather uneventful. The water
was only a fraction down to winter pool, so we have no gory (and hilarious)
groundings to mention. All marks were rounded properly. No one lost their
doohickeys. There WAS a brief altercation between True Blue and
Beatnik - something about both wanting to stake claim to the exact same
patch of water. We remind everyone that sailing is NOT a contact sport and body
checking is forbidden - add this to your list of rules. Actually it was just a
little side-to-side bump and no protests were filed.
There were a few ambitious spinnaker flights this day on the return from
Opossum Creek. Chutes can be difficult to tame with west winds but there was a
portion of the course where the winds clocked a little more from the south. Of
course you know everyone who did not fly a spinnaker was screaming, "no fair!"
at this point. Not so much because the wind shifted a little but more
because of envy - we can't stand to see someone fly a chute when ours is still
stuffed in its bag. Unfortunately for the spinnaker clad boats, the southerlies
would fade and everyone eventually sailed into a rest area - otherwise known as
a dead patch of air. When the wind did return it was WNW and those spinnakers
had to dump them quickly.
Making our way to the finish line, some boats had better wind then others as
we tended to arrive in groups - sailors are such social creatures. Yes, indeed
Maniac is very vulnerable on days that feature a lot of reaching. And
indeed, battens and doohickeys would not be the answer as the Chambers took Race
1. Congrats to them again! Sailing very quietly but consistently is Carol
Lynn and James and Kristen would take 2nd. Nice job by them as well.
Although True Blue would cross the finish line next, it would be a couple
of those pesky smaller boats that would correct out in front of the Ranger 33 -
Hasta La Vista would take 3rd while Edge and Chuck would finish 4th in
Smoke on the Water. Nice job by everyone today! It was a fun race but we
must add one more rule, which is now the most important since we couldn't take
them down in their "weakened state". And that rule is to bury Maniac at
all costs! Race 2 will be here very soon!
(More pictures below!)
RACE 1 RESULTS
||San Juan 24
||Hasta La Vista
||Smoke on the Water
|Race report written by Eric Almlie. ęCopyright 2009. All rights reserved.
||The relaxed but confident skipper on Moriah during a
puff of wind.
||Thanks to Tyler and his crew for all the pics he took during
||True Blue eases over the finish line.
||Athena screaming along!