Thistles Thistle Midwinters East: Triathlon on Tampa Bay
Forty-one Thistle Sailors competed in the 63rd Thistle Midwinters East Championships, held March 2-6 at St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Tampa Bay. As you will see, HSC was well represented.
Day one came with too much wind, so the Coach-TCA program launched with a thoughtful presentation with pictures by National Champion Greg Griffin. The whole fleet is always invited to these seven days of talks and this year we asked each boat for a $30 donation to our Growth Fund.
Sunday morning, 18 boats got a briefing and spent Sunday afternoon team racing on Tampa Bay. We intended this to be just for fun, as all Corinthian sailing should be. Teams were assigned arbitrarily ahead of time. The math: 18 boats, 3 boats on a team, 2 teams race each other at one time, and it takes five races to complete the round robin grid. There were six boats racing each heat. Each team wore the team color in solid color shirts over their required PFDs. Each race took fifteen to twenty minutes. Spinnakers were not allowed.
The weather was perfect, 8-10 mph from the NE, small waves, 70 degrees, and sunshine. We found teams calling out to teammates in other boats to “sit on those guys” or whatever. There were a lot of smiles during the debrief.
Least important was the score. The math for winning: with six boats in a race the total score of all boats is 21, [6+5+4+3+2+1] So, the team with 10 or fewer points in a race is the winner of that race. After 5 races, Team Purple carried the day taking home fabulous (surplus) regatta clothing from Coral Reef. Your correspondent was, sadly, not on the Team Purple.
Monday the “real” racing started with the 41 Thistles. Two nice long windy races on a beautiful lumpy bay brought the fleet home all happy. But, before we raced, Mike Ingham delivered coaching on ‘planning for a race day.’ He helped us deconstruct the races afterwards with the assistance of the day’s two winning skippers, our own Matt Fisher and Mike McBride.
Tuesday, Ingham briefed us on ‘adjusting the game plan.’ Then it was a replay of wind and waves but with, count like the Count: One, Two, Three, eh-eh-eh, Races. Some tired cookies after that.
Wednesday, first Mike talked, then 2 windy southerly races. Team Fisher won another race. In his post-race commentary, Mike talked about ‘sail shape and mast bend.’
Thursday, it was blowing dogs-off-chains – so after Mike’s warm-up, we went to a boat in the parking lot as Carrie Patterson gave a demo on crewing the Thistle.
Friday, we had the Morning Show with Mike, then one race in shifty and gusty northwest wind during which your correspondent botched a gybe and found the water was really quite nice. Betsy saved the day by hanging on to the wee bit of centerboard sticking up. With that, Betsy & John Yingling and I ended in 22nd place overall. With no firsts but 5 seconds, Team Ingham won over Matt Fisher, Sara Paisley, and Wayne Pignolet in second place. Team McBride with Kat Mahaney and Larry Liggett finished 16th. Ohio teams won six of the eight races!
Thanks to St. Petersburg Yacht Club and John Duckworth for the photos.
Post Script from Ann Jones
First, I appreciate Jeff Jones’ email calling this article to my attention–Thanks, good son! And Jeff wants to borrow my leaf blower to tidy up the Club grounds.
Then I want to wish Jamie Jones a very happy very happy birthday–He’s a good son too! And Jamie mowed my yard (I offered him beer, but he declined.
Last, I heard on NOAA weather radio last night that Lake Erie water temperatures are in the mid-40’s. Higher at Toledo (shallower) and lower at Cleveland.
Welcome home, Clyde & Diane Findley! On April 5, Diane and Clyde returned to Westerville, fleeing the COVID-19 pandemic. Their winter was pretty eventful, according to Clyde. Ask him about it next time you see him at the club.
Here are some photos from our recent Pi Party at the Lavenders’ home. Will Miller took them.