Final Day - 2009 MC National Championship

Final Day - 2009 MC National Championship Related topics:

20 September 2009

Jeff Annis and I were going back through the years after the final and 7th race today figuring it had been since Augusta in 2002 that we had the full schedule of races for the National Championship. Gil Greenwood and his team put together 7 great races through a variety of wind speeds but generally a consistent wind direction with some small variations over the 3 day event.

For the final race number seven the wind died down to 5-7 mph and shifted slightly to the left coming from the north northwest. This gave a new course we had not seen in the previous windy days. The new wind, new course added to the mix of a drop race coming into play made for an exciting day with lots of possibilities for many on the course to improve big or go the wrong way with their scores.

Right from the start the velocity was coming from the left side of the course. In practice before the race it was there all morning. We had a leeward end favored line which drew a lot of folks right to that area. So lots of excitement and action during this start. EHood, Jeff Annis were about 15 boats back from the pin but about a boat length to weather of everyone with the sag and had great starts. Probably 20 seconds into the start both E and Bugman tacked and escaped quickly going up on the favored tack to the mark with good pressure and clean air. This was the scene for all seven races. You did not have to be in the absolute perfect spot but you had to have speed and clear air and most importantly a solid plan. I tried something new that I had watched for years back in the 90s and in early 2000 done by Greg Gust and that was to sail the boat really flat. Jeremy Pape from Georgia is the only other person I have ever see do this well too. Well I am not sure if it is the pressure of the wind or just great boat speed but I tried it and it really worked well. I had a big lead by the first mark followed by Dr. Jack Kern, Justin Adams from Windycrest our host and Brad Farrar from Okoboji. The four of us worked out along with Scott Tillema in front of the group quickly. I think new board member Scott "Harry" Harestad was with us too. Going up the third beat I got the good ol' split from Tillema going left, Kern going right, me in the middle and Kern ended up with a big lead going into the final run. Adams moved to second, Farrar to third and me in fourth. Going into the final beat Kern did a classic 50-50 with his lead going 50% of the available time on starboard as 2nd place approached the mark, then 50% on port. That put him in good approach position to the ¼ mile beat up to the shortened last leg. I got by Farrar just before the leeward gates. As Adams, myself, Farrar rounded the last mark with a pretty substantial lead over the larger fleet the three of us put the hammer down going left into some pressure and we were all just trying to beat each other. Adams was in second and tacked at the port layline, Hood lee bowed Adams and won that battle then Kern came in from the right without the pressure we had on the left lee bowed Hood but lost that battle. So in the end MC 2505 won the last race.

Now back to the guys who really dominated the week. Greg Gust won the National Championship with 15 points after 7 races and a drop. That is an amazing score. That put Greg in that special club of 3 or more National Championships along with Andy Burdick (cannot count that high) and Justin Hood (3). Way to go Greg and welcome back to the class! Newcomer Andy Fox finished second with a great performance. Andy had 28 points after his drop. Both Greg and Andy were way out in front of the other 49 boats with their low scores. Congratulations to both Greg and Andy along with their crews.

Race winners for the week Annis 2 wins, Gust 2 wins, Fox 2 wins, EHood 1 win.

Other good stories. 3rd place  Noel Neuman sole representative from Minnesota was the top single-hander with an outstanding performance and very consentient scores. Jeff Annis was all over the course and probably got the mileage award for distance sailed. Big fella had two race wins and finished 4th. Local favorite from Windycrest Sailing Club fleet 32 Kenny Baggett had a great event finishing fifth. New board member Mark Tesar from Clear Lake, Iowa had a great series finishing 6th, new board member Dan Fink finished 7th as one of two Wisconsin representatives. Board member Eric Protzman and his wife Nancy had their best national championship ever with an 8th place finish. They were very fast. I got on them for not sailing aggressively downwind the first day and wow, what a change from race 3 on. Watch out Eric Protzman is fast downwind besides being really quick upwind. From the great state of Texas Drew Mize had a very good regatta at 9th. Rush Creek Yacht Club member Jeff Grinnan really sailed well finishing 10th.

Trophy presentation was fun with lots of goodies donated Melges and several others. Lots of ribbing and joking around during this time. Really a nice way to get folks settled in as you get ready for the awards. Danny Ziegler then handed out the awards.

Some other category winners - Top under 50 and Single-Handed goes to Noel Neuman, Top Master - Greg Gust, Top Grand Master - Harvey Baker from Windycrest, Top Mega Master Dr. Jack Kern. No women or juniors this year for skippers (let's fix that for 2010).

So a few good regattas left this year. The Blue Chip is next week at Spring Lake. The big and always fun Halloween Regatta at Augusta is October 10-11 and you can register online now. I think we will have 40 boats for that event. Then the big Southeast Championship kicks of the winter series.

Jeff and I talked for about an hour as he drove to Augusta last night and I was headed up to Lake Lotawana to drop off my new MC2505 to newcomer Mark Killein. We talked about how we need to really get our core groups on board early for the major championships. The Nationals is the biggest and most important regatta in our class followed by the Midwinter Championship. Mark those dates down early and plan ahead. Come with a group so it is a club experience for your group. We were talking about how we want to work with Lake Lanier and fleet 3 to get the NORs up very early like January 1st and give some big incentives to the first groups registering. If we do that we can encourage others as they see the numbers grow. Lake Lanier is one of the best spots you can sail at, especially in early October (which does not interfere with club sailing or any other regattas - no excuses not to come). Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan we need you bigtime to come and be part of our National Championship.

Eric Hood