Baerwitz Crowned 2014 Melges MC Scow Midwinter Champion!

16 March 2014

Our 2014 sailing season for the MC Scow is now officially on with our first sanctioned major event in the books and complete. For many of the northern folks it was great to see 60s and 70s while we watched many of the locals apparently very cold with the two 60 degree days we had. All the major weather services were spot on with with wind directions, velocities and changes during the four days of the Midwinter Championship.

Basically a barn burner was predicted for the practice day on Wednesday. Then a nice 10-18 mph day 1, 7-10 mph morning for day 2 with diminishing winds in the afternoon. Then nothing for day 3. Wednesday we started from the West and it just kept rotating right until we landed on final racing day with a southeast. Seventy-four teams made it to the season opener this year at Lake Eustis Sailing Club just northwest of Orlando.

Earlier in the week two other very fun events were held. The 18th Annual Zenda University with instructors/class leaders Andy Burdick, Eric Hood, Jim Gluek and Ted Keller leading 22 now successfully graduated students through the two day intensive training event. Also, the first Annual Team Racing Midwinter Championship was held with a rock solid group attending that event. More on the Team Racing event will be posted by Secretary Bob Wynkoop soon.

So for the racing we had some challenges that popped up each of the three days that were all different in nature, unusual in nature and that cost us three great opportunities to have some solid mid-wind range races. Those challenges will all be digested by class officers, LESC officers and probably at Melges too so we can avoid missed racing opportunities in the future. What did occur was three very difficult races where both luck and some quick thinking was the only way to survive and then we did have one pretty good race on day 2. Here are the challenges that we certainly as a class need to define more for our race officers who volunteer or are paid (for accountability) in the future. We had some cold temps to deal with that made some uncomfortable with going out on day 1 with great 15-17 mph winds. We had a wind condition and angle of viewing from the club that made it appear to some that it was blowing 20 mph plus on the lake when in fact the winds were only about 15mph in the race course area at the time of scheduled racing. Then we had fantastic winds on day two and could not get a starting line set to accommodate the big right hand shift that the weather services clearly had predicted. Also on day two we started a “Crazy Ivan” race in under 5mph and let it run its course with 90 degree wind shifts, glassy zero spots and basically an unfair race that should have never been held . For day three just no wind. Lessons learned here and not just for major championships but good club regattas too would be to have some standards in place and stick to them. Minimum winds, maximum winds all defined in the class rules – use them. Safety boats for challenging cool days or windy days should be a topic for the class and our class officers to discuss together in the future. Probably the toughest lesson learned was postponing a second race on day two when the wind was at its absolute best for the regatta and sending in 74 boats for lunch and a two hour break during which the wind went away completely as we tried to restart later in the day. Lots of GRACE for the great volunteers who worked so hard on trying to give us a great regatta but this was one for the books where some key learnings , fixes can only make our great class stronger for future major events. So thank you to everyone at LESC for the HUGE efforts and we will all learn and get better from the learnings we share in the days ahead.

On to the racing. Wow, lots of new faces mostly from Florida and the Southeast which is fantastic !!!!!! Local favorites survived the squirrely races and took the top three spots. Dallas brought a good group, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Canada, Michigan (wolf pack present), Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin (lots of cheese heads), South Carolina and Canada (you know the gold medal hockey guys) were represented. Lots of crews flew in for this event which was great to see.

Here are some results. Secretary Bob Wynkoop will have the full results up soon on www.mcscow.org

Top Ten Overall (and Division Winners)
Ron Baerwitz – LESC, FL 29 pts (also top Master)
Rob Seidelmann – no club 31 pts
David Moring – LESC , FL 33pts
Kenny Wolfe – Rush Creek, TX, 34 pts
James Gluek – Pewaukee , WI, 34 pts
Michael Considine- Chicago, IL 36 pts
Scott Tillema – Missouri Yacht Club, 37 pts
Will Hendershot – Canada 54 pts
Ted Keller – Torch Lake, MI 54 pts
Al Haeger – Lake Beulah, WI 55 pts (also top Grand Master)
Tim Fredman – Pine Lake , WI (Top Mega Master)
Amy Larkin – Lake Lanier, GA (Top Woman)

Parties and food were all very good. Sunsets were off the charts as usual at LESC. Camp grounds were full with tents, campers, Rvs big and small. Many were spotted having dinner on some nights over at the very cool Mt. Dora old downtown area where the Midwinters originally was sailed for many years. It was a great time and lots of new friends. Some of these new skippers are hotshots too which can only help our fleets get better.

Watch for all the great regattas coming up this year. Make sure you consider at least one major class event on your racing calendar as it is a great year. Masters at Rush Creek in June, Westerns at White Lake early August, followed by ILYA championships a couple of days later at Pewaukee, Team Championships, then the big Nationals at Augusta in September.

Congratulations to all the new boat owners at this years MC Midwinter Championship. Also, all those who freshened up their horsepower program with new sails. Remember a high value for building fleets is to keep those used boats in your fleet when new boats are purchased. A fantastic model to follow is what Jack Kern has done in Texas.

See you all at the regattas. Give us a shout for all your MC Scow needs we are standing by to serve.

Eric, Andy, Jim, Ted, Matt, Harry Team Melges