Without a doubt in anyone's mind, this was a much better day for a little bit of sailing than that of February 11. A sunny day with temps in the upper 50s, no flaky white stuff falling from the sky (well, blowing sideways to be more accurate), and gentler winds (although today's sustained winds were in the low 20s at times) made for a much more preferable setting.


First item on this report's agenda - to get the formalities out of the way. Let me put it this way - I am so NOT looking forward to the annual visit to the local trophy shop to order this year's awards. I can already feel the look I am going to get from the dude behind the counter when he sees the names on the list of plaques we need, and the first name on that list is Maniac - AGAIN! By this point I am just hoping he is at a loss for words for all the grief he has given me over the years for not finding a way to bump the J 29 out of the winner's circle. (Apparently the task of which, to him, rests solely on my shoulders.) So without further delay (like there is really any kind of suspense regarding this announcement) we congratulate Tim, Lynn, and their various crewmembers throughout the season for their 7th Shackleton Series championship! Great sailing as always, guys! Sorry I don't have a nice picture of their boat to accompany this section of the race report - of all the pictures submitted for this race, none were of the J29! So, we will insert a nice picture of True Blue instead! (I just may use it on the trophy, too!) And so much for the excuse, "they almost always win because their skipper isn't distracted by taking a bunch of pictures." Checking out the photo credits in the first three shots in this report shoots that theory down today. We will definitely have to try harder next year... to come up with more and better excuses.


Today was indeed a beautiful day for a race - with the persistent winds and just because we haven't done it in awhile, we opted for a pursuit start for today's contest. And although we looked long and hard at the map of Hiwassee Island, we would settle on the following:



Still a fun course and suitable for the day, but once again, we would go another season without a visit to our favorite island to the north. At the rate we are going, we may never return!


A bit anticlimactic but if you really looked at the course map above you will already have seen the finish order for today. And as is customary, we do not record our finish times in the pursuit races - saves the embarrassment of publishing the fact that in a race that is designed to where all boats are supposed to finish together, one can easily conclude that Maniac must have passed the fleet somewhere near the halfway point. Since there are no official times permanently scribed in the series archives to be dug up later, I can just as easily type here that it was a photo finish amongst the five participants today, with only 5 seconds between 1st and 5th place! By the time this report is published, everyone will have forgotten what happened out there anyway!


Just a few more notes/thoughts about the finale of this season. First, thanks to Mike Burrus for the loaner jib from Beatnik, although I did not quite grasp the concept of the  half open jib window - going to have to read up on this new aerodynamic technology. Actually beggars have no room to complain and this blade, regardless of any apertures, was much more suitable for today's winds than any of the countless 155%s on Luna Teak, any of which looks like they are going to explode into a gazillion pieces the next time they encounter 20 plus knots of wind!


And thanks to David Barrow for crewing with me today, doing a fine job as a helmsman and sheet handler whenever we swapped out on duties. It was actually a learning experience for me sailing with David, learning those quick witted insults and art of trash talking. I was a mere Padawan in the presence of a true master. Still, it didn't win the race! Not even close. Oh, wait... yes it was. I reported earlier that there were only 5 seconds between the 1st and 5th place boats. And since the J24 finished in 3rd position, logic dictates that Luna Teak only lost by 3 seconds. Right? Sounds good to me.


Finally, the "Oh. my!" moment of this race - well actually there are lots of these in every race, but today it was witnessing the first spinnaker takedown on Carol Lynn. I think their spinnaker had reached a mature age, was ready to fly from the nest, and had other ideas about going back into its bag peacefully. At first it tried to take James out for a flight as well, lifting him off the deck as he was trying to wrangle it in. Having to let loose of it, the spinnaker was soon soaring proudly, perfectly perpendicular to the top of Carol Lynn's mast. James and Kristen's next move was a logical one, lower the halyard and the chute will come down then, right? Never try to outsmart a spinnaker! The more halyard that was paid out, the further out the spinnaker kept streaming away from the mast head! Spinnakers are such creatures of free will. But with a bit of lull in the wind, gravity soon did its job and soon the chute was brought back down to earth.


This was another fun year for the Shackleton Series and I would say our mildest temperature wise for sure. Thank you everyone for participating and helping make it what it is. And thank you to Andre for allowing me to commandeer the J 24 and for crewing most of the races. That about wraps up another season. Oh yeah, I still have to deal with the awards. I would be willing to wager that when I submit the details for this year's plaques, Trophy Dude is going to roll his eyes and tell me he already as a stockpile of 1st place plaques with Maniac inscribed on them. Actually, I think I am just going to fax in the order this year and send someone else to pick them up. See everyone next year!

 

FINAL SERIES STANDINGS

 
SKIPPERBOATNAMEPOINTS
Tim ChambersJ 29Maniac54
James DrozdekS2 27Carol Lynn41
Eric AlmlieJ 24Luna Teak39
Chris CyrulWavelength 24Whatta Ride!36
Shawn DouthatRanger 33True Blue16
Michelle CashEricson 29Lady Kiki14
Patrick SweetmanO'Day 25Stella6
David BarrowMariner 36Moriah6
Larry GarnerCatalina 22Tapatai6
David BarrowJ 24Beatnik2
Mike MillerTanzer 22Asylum1
Ellen CobbleO'Day 222Sassafras1