Greg and Diane Kampf, Laura and Roger Sharp, John and Connie Eckart
Harwich Port 2013 – the Race Committee Made the Right Calls
Eighteen boats from four New England fleets signed up to brave the winds at the 2013 New England Districts at Stone Horse Yacht Club in Harwich Port, MA, on August 3rd. Greg and I made our way east at 5:30 AM to Cape Cod, across the Bourne Bridge early enough in the morning to avoid any of that famous Cape traffic and to be sure we were in time for the regatta. We joined our other Fleet 76 buddies from Massapoag Yacht Club in Sharon, MA, Roger, Kate and Laura Sharp and John and Connie Eckart.
It seemed so nice and calm behind the Yacht Club where we rigged and launched the boats. But right around the corner outside the breakwater, the winds were howling, blowing 25 MPH out of the SW, gusting even higher and flags on the yardarm were pointing practically straight up! Did that stop the boats from rigging and launching for the event? Of course not! All the boats were launched and ready to go - these are hardy New Englanders after all!
We had 2 Flying Scot friends who came down from Brewster, former District Governor Randy Williams and Fleet 177 Captain Hank Sykes, who came to visit friends and to see how things were going. Shortly after the two arrived, District Governor Skip Montello and his wife Marianne from Rockport, MA, picked up Randy as a third and Greg and I picked up Hank as our third. Some brave teams were still going out two up, not sure how they could stay upright!
The PRO Peter Sullivan and his Race Committee headed out and a few boats went out past the breakwater. I was pretty sure there would be capsizes and broken parts and not a lot of fun out there, but we were raising the sails, putting on foul weather gear, and were ready to go out. Well, almost ready. With several boats, even some with 3-up, nearly capsizing and deciding to come back in, we waited a bit before making a decision about going out. Within 15 minutes, the Race Committee, after having to convince some extra-hardy souls to retreat, came back in with a postpone flag flying. Less than a half hour later, the Race Committee knew the wind was going to build and not lie down until about 4:00 PM and they made the right call - racing was cancelled for the day. The regatta would be (hopefully) sailed on Sunday August 4th.
We were disappointed at not being able to sail in the regatta because we originally were not going to be able to make it on Sunday because we had race duty back at our club. But thanks to the generosity of our good friend Harvey Davidson who stood in for us, we were able to race on Sunday. I have to mention that Harvey helped us take the boat down and get it ready to travel as he has done many times when we have been on our way out of town for many a regatta. We all put the boats away for the night, caught up with old and new friends for a while, had a barbecue lunch courtesy of the club and headed out to come back the next day. Three of the eighteen boats unfortunately had to leave and could not return on Sunday, but fifteen were still in the game.
Greg and I were lucky enough to spend the evening with the Brewster folks, Hank and Judy Sykes, Randy and Mary Jane Williams and Bob and Karen Williams and we had dinner at a charming little restaurant. As we walked up to the door, we were sure it was closed and it was – but only until 5:30 P.M. The food was worth the wait, and the dessert was to die for. They said it was enough for 2 people, but we had enough for 4 and ate most of it. We had a great time with our friends, told lots of sailing and non-sailing stories and then finally headed home for the evening.
We headed back to Cape Cod this time at a more civilized 6:30 AM since the boat was already rigged and all we needed to do was launch it. As was forecast, we got just the opposite kind of weather on Sunday - light and variable winds 4 to occasionally 8 or 9 and a beautiful, warm, sunny day on the harbor. Despite the conditions, the Race Committee was going to try to get in all 5 scheduled races starting at 10:00 AM. After just a short postponement, thanks to this terrific Race Committee that wasted no time getting races started after each finish, we got to race the whole day. Just when you thought the wind was dying, it would come back and we would start another race. We got in 4 races by 3:00 PM and headed back to shore.
Greg and I took a few chances during the races that paid off, yielding a 1st place, two 2nd places and a 7th in one race where our luck was not as good. In the last race, I was sure we were doomed when 14 boats went right and we went left, and for most of the windward leg we in last or close to it. Greg was sure there would be some wind coming in from the left as had been the case in a previous race and he asked me to please just be patient and work at it. Lo and behold, he was right and we took second in that race. I really have to find out how he does that!
Fleet 76 from Massapoag fared pretty well, with Roger and Laura Sharp taking 1st place, we took 2nd and the Eckarts took 4th. Local skipper Jeff Morgan snuck in there for 3rd place with his crew Chuck Winans. Chuck is in his 50th year in a Flying Scot and at age 84 is still having a blast on the boat. Chuck is a bit of a legend in New England and has made many contributions to the Flying Scot class and to Scots n’ Water over those 50 years! It was an honor being on the water sailing with Chuck.
Thanks so much to Fleet 57 Captain Jack McCowan and the Stone Horse Yacht Club for hosting the event. Next year we beat Roger!