Woo hoo! Yep! Plenty of reason to be ecstatic and happy about this upcoming
day on the water, as seen here on the foredeck of Moriah - or perhaps
now it should be called The Boat Formerly Known as Moriah. (More on
that later.) No doubt that it was another beautiful
and sunny autumn day in Tennessee...but I was just kidding about the Ticker
thing, although that would be another cool item to have to go along with the
giant NASA type countdown clock on the upstream point and surveillance
chopper that have been mentioned in the past. By the way, whatever happened
to those things? Anyway, expect to see me walking the
docks with a tin can soon collecting those entry fees to afford this next
Meanwhile, sailors who are pessimistic in nature and have been around
long enough to know how things can go on the water, especially if it
involves a sailboat race, knew exactly what was going
to happen. The weather from the outer fringes of Sandy that was responsible
for our prosperous wind conditions as of late had abated and we were now in
between systems. And it certainly was not long between weather systems as
the subsequent day's winds turned out to be southerly 10-15 plus (sigh). It
has become such a common lament over the years that the Autotext feature in
our word processing software inevitably inserts the text at some
point in the race report: "At least it was a pretty and mild day,
making the lack of wind a bit more bearable."
Yes, it was a beautiful looking day along with a beautiful looking fleet
with quite the variation of boats. First, we had some of our regulars from
the marina - defending champs Maniac, along with True Blue,
and myself sailing solo in Luna Teak. No changes from last season for
these three vessels, other than perhaps various crew additions, subtractions,
and rotations. Long time Shack veterans James and Kristen Drozdek are no
longer sailing their S2 27 Carol Lynn, but rather, a BEAUTIFUL Tayana
37 named Tatiana. And although the boat and captain are both
familiar in the Sale Creek family, another boat will be making its Shackleton debut, skippered by
Chuck Alexander. Yes, you read that correct. THE Chuck Alexander for which
our 4th place trophy is better known - if you follow Sale Creek racing you
know that one does not "finish 4th" but rather, "finishes Chuck." Oh, and
there really isn't a physical trophy (yet). In lieu of that, at the annual
trophy presentation banquet, Chuck will be glad to shake your hand and say,
"nice effort, better luck next time." Anyway, he and Amy were piloting
Camille, another BEAUTIFUL yacht from the fleet, a Cheoy Lee 41
sloop. And as mentioned earlier there is a name change to Moriah -
but we are not quite sure how to pronounce it - well, actually we are and
Captain David has reminded us many times. Does anyone remember when
recording and performing artist Prince changed his name to that weird
What in the world was THAT all about? Oh yeah - must be that artsy,
eccentric, and avant-garde mindset. Puh-leeze! Changing your boat name to a
symbol, though? Now THAT is innovative and cutting edge!
But what is it? Three pink vertical lines? Actually, although somewhat
abstract to my untrained and crude artistic eye, this is a representation
for a commonly utilized hand gesture - no doubt often on seen on race
courses everywhere throughout the country (except for here, or course!). And
no, it is NOT sign language for "We're Number One!" That said, however, it
is quite often the general response salute TO those that are waving
the victory sign FROM those who were less successful on the day and did not
triumph. I have yet to figure out what I am going to call the Mariner 36 in
these race reports but figure I have a paragraph or two to come up with
something. Which means, at the speed I have been writing and publishing
these recaps, I will have something by the time we start Race 4.
Another boat making it's winter racing debut and new addition to the Sale
Creek fleet is Eric and Christine Davidson's speedy little SR 21, PDQ│.
This is a nifty, low profile boat that I have a
feeling requires the same placard as the one mounted in Maniac's cockpit:
It is going to be interesting seeing The SR up on a plane in three foot
swells. But Eric and Christine have plenty of winter sailing experience as crew, have
been learning their new boat extensively since launching it, and are well
equipped with proper attire to help keep them warm and dry.
Although it has taken several years, our infectious sport of winter
sailing has finally begun to spread outward and it does indeed prove that if
you build it, they will come... if they are crazy enough. Of course we have
had crews from nearby Privateer Yacht Club sail for the past several years.
This year is no exception as we once again welcome Chris Cyrul and crew back
sailing the blue masted Wavelength 24, Whatta Ride! (Ha! I remembered
the exclamation point at the end.) Also, we would like to welcome from
downriver Harbor Lights Marina, Chris Edwards sailing his cleverly
named Hunter 340, Knot On Call. Chris reportedly recruited crew
members telling them about the racing up here while taking them out sailing
recently on a nice, breezy day. Brilliant approach! NEVER try to draft
deckhands on a windless or rainy day! Finally, completing today's fleet was
a sharp, well appointed Catalina 22 from Weiss Lake and The Rome Sailing
Club. Ginger Noble and her husband and crew trailered their Catalina 22
Mother Ship (what a cool name - with shirts to match!) a good distance just to participate in
our series. Some fine folks, indeed! And that "crazy enough" remark above?
It really does not start applying until you are out drifting around in a
freezing rain and fog just to get an extra point or two. For it was, as you
"... a pretty and mild day, making the lack of wind a bit
At this year's inaugural skipper's meeting a new motion had been put
forth to add a separate fleet in our series - (sheesh, here we go again).
This in addition to the already proposed Full Keel Class, which would
consist of Tatiana and Moriah - er, Moriah III perhaps?
Or maybe Moriah iIi would be more accurate, visually speaking? I
don't know - call it a work in progress, and look for a different name for
the Mariner 36 until I figure something out or am told by the skipper
otherwise. But yes, there is a push for a Cruising Class within the fleet -
the only catch is you have to cook a meal on board during the race...in an
oven. This motion was made by Chuck on Camille and actually seconded by Rodger from
Food Acres fame... the day after the first race when he heard about this
proposal - look for the S2 35 to make a return to the Shackleton Series in
the near future! I did mention at the skipper's meeting that the Race
Committee would actually consider recognizing this fleet... but all meals
cooked aboard MUST be shared with the RC and finish times will be determined
by the tastiest meal and so on. And although presentation does count towards
one's grade, large portions given to the judge(s) can certainly overcome a
plate that fails to be garnished with some decorative parsley or something.
Oddly enough, no one took me up on this and I went home after this race with
my stomach still growling.
Speaking of race, yes there was one - not that you would know it by
reading this report so far. Honestly, not really that much to report about.
A short simple course sailing upstream for a couple miles and back was
plotted out - we even put off the start a little bit to allow for the light
southerlies to arrive that were promised. What we got was the furthest thing from southerly 5-10. We had a northeasterly
breeze around 5 or so to start the race that kind of diminished and became a
little more variable direction-wise as things
went on turning it into a classic drifter.
Along with the "at least it was a pretty and mild day... blah, blah,
blah," cliche, there is another phrase that the word processor automatically
inserts randomly throughout these types of documents - "DNF". We already
knew there would be one DNF at the skipper's meeting - that would be Shawn
and Brandi on True Blue. It was mentioned then that Shawn would
have to motor over to Camille at 2:00 to pick up Amy so her and
Brandi could return to the marina to attend a prior engagement on time.
Meanwhile, Shawn would continue the race with Chuck on Camille while
True Blue retired, thus meeting the rule that a boat has to finish
with the same number of crew they start with. Or is the rule just the "same"
crew they start with? Regardless, that is one rule that is kind of ambiguous
in The Shackleton Series, so we will let it slide either way. Sometime
thereafter though, we heard a broadcast over Shack Radio (VHF Channel 72)
that stated, "The race is over! The race is over!" At first I checked to see
if Maniac or Whatta Ride! had finished and were boasting about
it - to ready myself to make the proper hand signal. But no, their chutes
were still flying - well, hoisted to be more accurate (not enough wind at
the moment for anything to fly). Turned out it was Captain Chris on Knot
on Call. I replied that the race is NEVER over. He responded, "it is for
us. My wife just said so." Actually they had a couple hour ride back to
Harbor Lights, so that was understandable - especially if they wanted to
make it before dark!
Speaking of spinnakers, there were a few of those out today - some on
boats that based on their course position should not have physically been
able to fly (fly - again being used generously) a spinnaker the way the wind
(also a generous term) was blowing. It simply appeared that the Full Keel
Class simply wanted to show off every sail in their inventory. And between
these two boats and Camille - we are surprised there is not a world
wide Dacron shortage! These boats carry a lot of cloth! Regardless, it was
interesting to see four boats headed in opposite directions flying
Above photo - from left to right - Tatiana, The Pink Bird, Whatta
Ride!, and Maniac.
So I was apparently in error when I told David that he could not fly a
spinnaker like a jib. It seemed to assist him okay as he was able to close
in a little on Tatiana - that is until, James and Kristen hoisted
theirs. We give an "A" for effort but alas, neither of the Full Keel Class
boats would finish this race either. Just not a good day for the heavier
boats. The exception here though would be Camille, which drifts
rather well for a 22,000 pound vessel. She sails even better in actual wind!
In the end it was really a two boat race for the right to proudly flaunt
the "we're number one!" signal. Whatta Ride! actually lead
boat-for-boat for the majority... of the upwind leg. Maniac would get
the upper hand, though and emerge victorious in Race 1. Congrats to them and
thanks to everyone for toughing it out on what really was a beautiful day.
Unfortunately, as we wind up another entry into the Shackleton Diaries it
appears that the forecast for Race 2 is a repeat of Race 1. But at least it
will be a "pretty and mild day, making the lack of wind a bit more
bearable," I say ignoring the flock of hand gestures directed at me right
now. See you next time!