Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Thistle Fleet News, October, 2007 - Giant Economy Size Edition

WHOA! Be careful of what you ask for -- my “roving reporters” were so efficient this week that I have an overload of Thistly news to share, way too much for our share of the Scuttlebutt. So I’m turning the Unabridged Version over to Dale to let fly over the internet, while the censored account will go into the Scuttlebutt as usual. (Nancy’s word count unfettered? WOW -- I must be dreaming!) And by the way, a pre-read thanks to my reporters Dale, Robert and Bryce, whose accounts I have here and there happily plagiarized. Dale has added random pics from fall season regatta to help provide a taste of the action.

Bob McCormack

Team Dryden

Bryce demonstrating a perfect roll tack

Buddy and Rene Wainwright, looking very fast

Jim and Amy Roberts leading the fleet!

Bob McCormack rounding the leward mark

The news starts with a very active regatta season, the first not yet reported of which was Milledgeville back in September. Though there were only fourteen boats, we represented six of them -- Jim Roberts, Dale Newnham, Robert Mitchell, John Hoyt, Bob McCormack and Jim Smither. The weather was beautiful, the wind on Saturday going from just okay, to a raft up, and back to pretty good for the third race. The good news/bad news for John Hoyt was discovering that he had arrived without a rudder, but good sport Kelly earned kudos by driving all the way back to Atlanta to get it while John found himself a crew berth to salvage the day. On Sunday the lake was a sheet of glass, leaving all to wait around anxiously, but finally a pretty good breeze came up, allowing for two nice races to cap off the weekend. Wish I could fill in the results, but all I can confirm was a fourth place by Jim Roberts with Bryce crewing. Reliable sources, however, did come through on the recent Milledgeville tradition of Saturday night roller skating. Robert Mitchell took four teenagers to the hot spot Milledgeville Roller Rink, only to discover that he was the only one who knew how to skate. (When Lauren McLean went splat, a ten-year-old smarty quipped, “Who taught you how to skate?” -- and then, as luck would have it -- promptly fell. HA!) All night long the DJ announced songs dedicated to the beautiful people from Marietta. (They should see us at the jibe mark.)

Bob showing off his varnish

Team Roberts, again looking very fast!

Next came the Old Salty, in early October. Despite light wiinds, seventeen boats managed to get in four races. Dale sailed with Eleanor, Elliot crewed for Jack Mahaney, and Gavin McCormack had Robert Gregory aboard. Kingpin, however, was Mike Ross, who must really like going back to his home court to take the first-place trophy. Judy came along but stayed ashore in the light air, leaving Mike to two-man it with Clayton Dixon, who has become a regular and plans to not only finish the fall circuit with Mike but also campaign for Mid-Winters and Nationals next year. I wonder if Judy will cycle from Acworth to St. Pete??

Team Mitchell

The Molitors!!

The Great Pumpkin according to Mitchell: “Wow, what a beautiful place and beautiful weather. Great place to camp, with the fog rising off the lake in the morning. . .” Of 34 boats, seven were from AYC. Winds were extremely variable, and as Robert puts it, “there was a lot of connecting the dots from one patch of wind to the next.” On Saturday night Mike Ross was in third and Jim Roberts, sailing with Amy and Laurie Remter, in fourth. But on Sunday “variable” became an understatement. Roberts had a tough race but still came out with an eighth, a finish to be proud of in this competitive fleet, and right behind him in ninth was new fleet member Buddy Wainwright. Mike held on to his third, giving our guys three of the top ten. Rounding out the fleet were Bob and Gavin McCormack, Dale Newnham and, of course, my invaluable scribe Robert Mitchell. . .

Speaking of whom, here’s a point of interest further back in the standings: the ongoing battle between the Mitchells and the Newnhams. If you have been around these two in a fleet race, you will notice they give you plenty of room while they take each other to the beach (although indeed the beach is much closer than it used to be). The Old Goat, Wild Turkey and Great Pumpkin each showed the Mitchells and the Newnhams separated by only one boat at the end of Day One. As a result, each Sunday became a match race -- a classic wood vs. aluminum contest. The final results from the Old Goat saw the Mitchells ahead by two points; in the Wild Turkey it was the Newnhams by two points. After Day One at the Pumpkin the Newnhams were in 20th, two points ahead of the Mitchells in 21st. But alas! the Two-Point Spell was broken on Sunday, and while I don’t have statistics to back me up I have it on good faith that he Newnhams are looking for a comeback at the Bloody Mary.

By the time you read this you will already know the next installment, as the Bloody Mary and Jubilee will both be behind us. But you won’t give a rip by February, so I’d better tell you what I can now, which is that in addition to the two intrepids above the Bloody Mary will see (among others I am sure) Team Ross, Jim and Amy Roberts with Anna Lee Bradley aboard, Troy and Ashley Davis, who are taking Jim Smither’s newer boat, and Scott McCormack with his new boat AND even newer regatta-mobile (more about that later). McCormacks are also going to the Jubilee on November 10-11, as is Mike Ross, and for a change of pace Jim Roberts will be crewing for Scott Griffin and Bryce Dryden for brother Blair, who’s coming down south from Kansas City.

In case there weren’t enough fall Thistle regattas for the die-hards, we have had a few class-hoppers on Pond Allatoona this month. Dale sailed the Beers with Eleanor as crew, and Elliot with Zoe Austin. Dale reports that “it was a lot of fun, but the wind was light, and sitting on the low side of a Y, sailing at a heel, made hiking on a Thistle rail seem like a comfortable armchair.” (Hmmm, come again?) As for the Snipe Halloween, Robert and Paul Mitchell took third in the Goblin fleet, and Elliot Newnham sailed with Tarasa Davis in the Spooks, finishing in fifth. A bigger chunk of Thistlers was to be found on Race Committee, headed up by Mike Ross and fleshed out by Dale, Bryce, Jim Roberts, Dave Shively, Ed and Britt-Marie Holben, Freddie Cleveland, Reiner Gerdes, and Steve Guebert. Now that’s service!

Thanks to our ever on-top-of-it scorekeeper Bryce, we have enough fleet race statistics this year to hold our own against the Red Sox. Of 73 races scheduled, we actually sailed 54, and of those the greatest number sailed was 31(!) by Jim Smither. We had 35 “unique skippers” (individuals who sailed at least one race) -- isn’t that downright awesome??? -- with a maximum of eleven on the line and an average of six boats per race. Coolest of all is that the top three boats finished the entire season within four points of each other! Bill Tumlin leap-frogged Johnny Sinclair in the very last race to claim the season championship by two measly points, and Jim Smither, in third place, was just two points behind Johnny. It says a lot for our level of competition to have sailed the whole season and come down to four points separation for these three. Congratulations, guys! And an extra kudo or two to Jim for his third place in the Club Championship. In a windy series, Jim and Bryce were the only two-man team that took home booty (staying upright helped!). More details in the Scuttlebutt, I’m sure.

We are still in a bull market for acquiring new fleet members! Meet Richard Little, his wife Felton and teenage son Jordan, new owners of Orie Wade’s boat (not his newer one, but the lighter blue one). Introduced to the Club by Greg Padgett, Rich has a lengthy sailing resume in both big and small boats, and his family is looking forward to jumping into AYC life both off shore and on. Also new are Glenn and Sharon McAlpine and their kids Elizabeth and Harry, whom you read about in the last Scuttlebutt, though not (yet) in the Thistle column. That was before Dale took them out sailing in Kay Redmond’s “Star Wars,” hoping they wouldn’t be able to resist. (Since Glenn is of Scottish heritage, if Star Wars doesn’t do it, Dale is banking on the lure of a kilt.) In the meantime, Billl and Daphne Lisenby (last issue, remember?) have now made application to the Club, so we’d like to get to know all these folks over the winter in hopes of getting them out on the line next spring.

But the scene-stealer in new rigs has got to be Scott McCormack, who had his brand new #4008, white with teak trim, out on the lake with Charlie and Buck Clark last weekend for an inaugural sail to “loosen up” the rigging before the Bloody Mary. Bryce describes the scene as a“plethora of people hanging out around his boat giving him advice.” But even the shiny new boat pales beside the rig he bought to haul it, a bright red “Sports Mobile” with black trim (pure Georgia Bulldog colors). Rumor has it that Scott made the owner an offer he didn’t think would fly, but the guy took it and Scott was suddenly the proud owner. Now Crissie and the boys will be able to join Scott on the regatta road in over-the-top luxury -- a 4-wheel-drive pickup truck complete with shower, top-notch stero system and refrigerator behind the driver’s seat, that looks like a Hummer “VAN,” or maybe a monster truck. It is actually a Ford van converted, big in California but rare on the east coast (until leading-edge Scott of course) -- eat your heart out, Craig Wagner! Jim Roberts said he could handle just being able to sleep underneath it -- that is how high this thing rides off the ground. Needless to say it generated more talk than Doug Laber did this weekend! But it’s still a nice boat.

With luck this will reach you before our fleet’s annual Chili Fest at Mike and Judy Ross’s, now set for November 17. Your very busy Scuttlebutt editor has good reason to get the issue out early this month, before she, Darryl and -- yes, Beth! -- depart for Africa for three weeks. Gorillas in Rwanda, a Safari in Tanzania, and then a week for just Tracy and Darryl on the beach in Zanzibar -- just your sortof ho-hum, everyday trip, you know? WOW! We all wish you safe travel and mega fun.

Won’t be long till the holidays set in, so save space on your calendar for the highlight of your Christmas social calendar, the McCormacks’ Merry Madhouse. Till then, see you at -- or not at -- the lake!

Nancy Mol