Hail From the Rail

Tom HubbellFleet News, Hoover Sailing Club, Leadline

“Who Are Those Guys?”

Remember the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when they look at each other and ask, “Who are those guys?”  This was a frequent question in the parking lot, clarified somewhat as sail numbers appeared.  Masked citizens driving familiar vehicles and all towing identical 17-foot canvas-covered boats distantly speckled the parking lot at Hoover on May 30th.   Twenty Thistle teams appeared.  No hugs, no handshakes, just lame but heartfelt waves, and I’m pretty sure those wrinkles around the eyes with a twinkle meant there were smiles behind the masks.  We were all really glad to see each other. 

Thistle Fleet Captain Mike McBride and Steve Lavender, HSC Commodore if you please, invented the Socially Appropriate Distance (SAD) Regatta.  It was a short-handed event, a crew of two.  Certainly, no one objected to some violations of that limit; there were some pint-sized 3rds and 4ths out there.  We were all provided with squirt guns to thwart any inappropriate non-distancing, but the shifty, gusty breeze kept hands full of sheets until we got on shore again.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, day one of a cold front.  The breeze was Northwest at 10 with gusts to 18 and abundant 20-40 degree shifts.  Because of that breeze and the two-crew limit, the RC flew the no-spinnaker flag for the first six races.  Several teams were not feeling fulfilled, so they added swimming to the playbook.  (Our team skipped that event this time.)  Who knew just main and jib could be that good?   Wing and wing?  Haven’t done that in a while.  Race seven was all out and fun to finally get the big sail out there.   The MC Fleet with Mark White as PRO delivered excellent race management.

When the masks came out again at the dock and the scores were tallied, two son and father teams had dominated the day.  The fleet gathered at distance, in a big circle in the parking lot for the awards.  Ben and Bob France won handily; their worst race was a fourth.  Stu and Matt Fisher were almost as hot.  Your designated reporter and his practically-a-brother, John Yingling took home the third place hardware which for this no-frills, no-food, no-free-beer, no-closeness, and no-fee regatta was “paper-ware,” a sketch of boats about to collide. 

This looks like a winning formula for the pandemic year!

18 teams participated. 3 boats were over the 2-person limit, but the extra crew were all youngsters.  We sailed 7 races.  They were all 2-lap windward/leeward courses.  The first 6 were under the “No Spinnaker” flag.  As usual for Hoover, the wind was shifty and the puffs were more often on one side or the other rather than in the middle.  Ben and Bob France were the most consistent with 2 1sts and a 4th as their worst race.  Stu and Matt Fisher also had 2 1sts. to come in 2nd overall.  Other race winners were Tom Hubbell and John Yingling, Steve Lavender and Bob McNitt, and the whole Shedden Family.

Ben FranceBob France4027151
Stu FisherMatt Fisher3990212
Tom HubbellJohn Yingling3890313
Conor RuppenCarrie Patterson3903374
Steve LavenderBob McNitt3893415

By Ann Jones

CONGRATULATIONS TO STEVE LAVENDER for his second-place finish in the June Pursuit Race. As you may know, Thistles have the next-to-last start in this event, so Steve had to fight his way up and pass every boat except one on the race course to finish second. Great racing, Steve, you can really make Thistle #3893 go! 

Thistle Fleet Race Committee Assignments: On June 30, Fleet Captain Mike McBride sent out Thistle race committee assignments for the following dates:

  • July 5, Sun
  • July 15, Wed. PURSUIT
  • August 16, Sun
  • August 30, Sun
  • September 13, Sun

Please check the schedule to find your assigned date. If you cannot report for duty, please find a substitute and notify Captain Mike! Be at our favorite Club by 12:30 pm for Sundays, 5:30 pm for the Pursuit Race, and let’s show them how we professionals do it. Thanks in advance for your good work!

Hoover Sailing Club and our Thistle fleet will be hosting another 1-day regatta Saturday July 18. The Mad Thistle Regatta will follow the format of the previous SAD Regatta, because it will involve More Appropriate Distancing. There is no regatta fee, so just plan to bring your mask for on-shore use and race two-up on the water.

LOOKING AT THE LAKE: It’s ‘Hi Summer’ at Hoover! This is the perfect time do to those capsize drills. The reservoir is so warm that you could take a bath in it (but please don’t do anything socially appropriate because it isn’t chlorinated). There is plenty of water because the rainfall is eight inches above average for the year. Our favorite Club can be your vacation destination this year–SO COME ON OUT AND SAIL WITH US!