2011 MC Master National Championship
17 October 2011
They call this area the Low Country. When you here someone say ICW that means Inter Coastal Waterway, salt water, current and more. Miles and miles of marshland, rivers and islands. Absolutely beautiful scenery everywhere you look. Beaufort is not to many miles from the Atlantic, just a little north of Hilton Head and is the venue for this year’s event.
The volunteer network far surpasses anything I have seen in years. Frank Pontious had led an incredible network of volunteers all season long getting ready for this event. When I checked into registration I was handed something like what you would see at a World Championship. It was a complete “log book” for each competitor with everything totally detailed for all the racing, currents, tides, restaurants, parties, sites to see and more. Very well done for sure. The network of volunteers include water boats, medic boats, huge spectator boats, tons of rescue and mark boats. All well identified with a cool flag system.
The second really cool highlight from this event was a party held at Guy McSweeny’s house on Spanish Point. Guy along with his wife hosted a great party that included a full Harvest moon rise over the ICW looking to the east. Some folks think guy arranged for the fly-over as we had some very low jets going into Parris Island and Guy flew F80s in Korea. Lots of pilots at this regatta. Navy tailhooker Mike Keenan and Phil Ecklund who flew AT33s in Korea and also still holds the fastest Pacific crossing record as pilot of a 747. There are several other pilots here. Seeing all those guys get together was cool.
Friday nights Oyster Roast and Pig Pickin’ was a special feature for us also.
Great job team!!!!
A new mix of racing in big current, some medium and really smokin’ heavy breeze (almost a Dallas 15 which we all know is 22 and legal) for the first four races. Race 5 and the last race on Saturday is predicted to be very nice at around 10-12 with sun and yes big current during this full moon week.
Well this is a short story and some local hotshots put it on the inland boys. Understand and know the current plus get to the shallow water – PERIOD.
Day one and first two races was a drag race to the shallows and shoreline. Premium day one and first two races was one knowing this and two starting well. Being in the first group of five to get to the beach was the whole story. Day two for race three and four in the big breeze was same story but opposite direction. Race a short distance on starboard and then short tack up the marsh/beach never getting more than 75 yards offshore. If you were not in the first five boats you had a long day. Again, starting was a big play for race three and four. However, good boat handling in the huge gusts coming over the beach that you could not tell was coming. I mean sometimes you are paralleling the beach and only 40-50’ off the beach. It was a challenge. 5 boats clearly did well all four races and the rest of the group had some challenges somewhere in their first four race experience.
So after four races. Class newcomer John Potter and local favorite is tied with Tommy Harken as they were after day one. Exciting to watch these two South Carolina legends go at it. They each have 7 points. This is a no throw-out event. We have good medium winds predicted for the final race 5 tomorrow. Should be exciting. Tied for third is another South Carolina legend Bill Rembold (Clemson Sailing) and he is tied with class officer Bob Cole of Keuka, New York with 21 pts. In fifth is Tim Fredman with 23 points from Pine Lake, Wisconsin. Former national champ Byron Beasley from Clear Lake is 6th, Jeff Annis from Augusta is 7th, Jeff Grinnan from the rejuvenated Rush Creek fleet is 8th, EHood from Lake Geneva and Lake Eustis is 9th, David Helmick from Lake Eustis is 10th.
Race Winners include 2 wins for John Potter and 2 wins for Tommy Harken.
Performance of the regatta though in my mind was in a good medium breeze yesterday seeing 83 year old Guy McSweeney sailing with the big dogs for 90% of race 2 only to catch one bad break that sent him to 18th. He was top 5-6-7 the whole race. So cool to see focused sailors of any age still able to bring it to the big dance.
More to come and some final thoughts after our last race 5 on Saturday.
Melges Performance Sailboats