The 2020 sailing season is over and I am hopeful it is NOT repeated. I hope you got out sailing on your Scot this past season. It was one of the safest activities you could do with the breeze blowing past and the Sect in particular allowing for social distancing between skipper and crew. If you piled the family pod on and went for a cruise, even better.
Speaking of cruising, I am participating in a special committee that FSSA President, Bil Dunham, has organized to discuss cruising activities for Scots. It is not news that many of our FSSA members, incluing Fleet 37, are not racers. When Sandy Douglas designed the Flying Scot he wanted a family boat suitable for both day sailing and racing, and he succeeded brilliantly. It is a “cruising” boat.
A Flying Scot cruise is not crammed with 2000 passengers and an all-night buffet! (Sorry about the buffet part.) It can be an hour, a day or a week. There is a tradition of cruising in the Scot. Some of you may have participated, or at least considered participating in the Fleet 37 excursions to Lake Erie where we spend generally 2 nights at a pleasant hostel and the days sailing on the Lake, sometimes to Put -in -Bay, sometimes to Kelly’s Island and one memorable trip to Middle Bass Island. In recent years the overnight part has been at a rented house at Lakeside Chautauqua during September, spending the days on the Lake and the evenings going to a local restaurant or making a feast at the house followed by long walks and board game. No shortage of “spirits” for those who choose to imbibe. We have also taken camping trips to Kelly’s Island, ferrying a boat across and using it to day sail off the campground.
There are some memorable long term cruising experiences memorialized in old editions of Scots on Water. Graham Hall, a FS legend, famously led a group of 9 Scots on a 5-day trip on the St Lawrence River that started in Canada in 1987. He later led a similar trip to the Thousand Islands in 2004, chronicaled in Scots on Water by the Albani family.
While these kinds of trips are great fun, they do require some considerable time and preparation even to go to Lake Erie for a day or two. Racers who follow regattas are not intimidated by the thought of dropping the mast and preparing the boat and trailer for a road. Others might be but that is the beauty of a fleet and a group event, plenty of help and advice. The hassle is worth it! I do not regret any of those trips to Lake Erie, even the ones where the weather failed to cooperate and we were “forced” to take in the local sights.
My participation on the FSSA committee has provided me with some ideas for cruising events on Hoover. We want to see many Scots in a gaggle sailing and having fun. One such idea is an on the water treasure hunt requiring participants to tag certain locations or features by photo as they cruise by with bonus points for wildlife sightings. Other thoughts include a day on the lake with a coach on the water helping people with sail trim and other tips to make us all better sailors. Any of these opitons end with a party on shore.
So let me know your thoughts about these ideas and others. I will ask the Social Chair and the Race Committee to reserve at least two dates next season for FS cruising activities. We can certainly invite other fleet to join. The point is to get dates on your calendars early!
Email me at email@example.com with your thoughts and ideas for events.
Finally, we have a new tool for mast raising and lowering. We invested in a MasterHelper that makes it possible for pretty much anyone to raise or lower a mast. It is available to anyone to use but it does require simple installation of 2 nylon loops secured under the stemband on each side of the bow 253/3 inch forward of the side stays. I have some extra loops and am happy to order more. They are unobtrusive and do not interfere with anything on the boat. If your boat has eye straps located about 2 feet forward of the side stays you will not need the nylon loops. You also need a mast ring but that is standard on FS masts. Stephanie Bahr and I will be demonstrating the device in the Spring to raise our mast. Hopefully, we can schedule a FS mast raising event in late April or early May.
Here is a video of a similar device in use. Our device has slightly different instructions but works the same way. Excuse the somewhat chauvinist videoJ