A Hail from the Rail

Ann JonesFleet News, Hoover Sailing Club, Leadline

OH, NO—Not Again!
This is the story of the almost unbelievable sequence of events that led up to my mast almost falling down on the last Sunday of racing last fall. Thistles have a “forestay tension lever” that we push down to tighten our boat rigs. That lever is attached inside our bows by four screws. For some reason, my forestay lever became very hard to push down near the end of the season. Various people tried to help me, and finally Fleet Captain Mike McBride figured that I had several screws loose (you may laugh here if you wish)! And so we managed to race on the last day with several screws loose. Now keep in mind that former builder Doug Laber says that things always happen for a reason!

The saga continues with how good son Jeff Jones dragged that boat up to Great Midwest Yacht Company for me; how that mast is now attached (rather precariously) to good son Jamie Jones’ Interlake; how Doug Laber suggested that a bad repair was responsible for the tacky attachment situation; how I questioned to what repair he was referring; how he showed me a repair about which I knew nothing; how I remembered that I had loaned my Thistle for the Champ of Champs tournament in Cleveland a few years ago; how I tracked down the regatta chairman for the Champ of Champs (who first denied all knowledge and then checked his records), and then how we all finally discovered how that shoddy repair was made on the water to prevent the mast from falling down! And it is my firm belief that when I collided with the break-wall at a North Cape Nationals and broke my mast above the boom that attachment point was compromised, that was the start of the whole, sickening syndrome. This just goes to prove that Doug Laber was right, as usual, and stuff really does happen for a reason.

A Snowy Tour of HSC
On the afternoon of February 25, this reporter took a walk on the wild side, lookin’ for the lake. And she almost found it! Come with me and we can explore together! There was something that resembled an ice cube in the spot usually occupied by Hoover Reservoir. It was a few feet low, but the rest of the snowmelt might almost fill it–we can always hope!  I just decided to go for a stroll in the sunshine and wonderful 38-degree weather. And it was indeed wonderful, except for the snow and mud. Mucked up a perfectly good pair of sneakers at the entrance because the gate had been moved back from the street.

And I alit from my adorable (to me) little red convertible into a mud puddle! Could barely squeeze thru the new gate set-up (good job, Matt Fisher). Walked the muddy, slushy grounds to the boat launch ramp first, then up the hill to the upper parking lot, around the Clubhouse, back via Caley’s Crossing Bridge, and finally around the upper dry sail lot and back to that infamous entrance gate. Rest assured, the whole area is intact, and we didn’t miss anything except some Laser sailing last winter!

Avoiding the mud on the way out, I jumped the fence, forded the puddle, placed those mud-covered sneakers on a back floor mat of my beautiful (to me) little red car, and sped home in my socks. Quaffed a tall one (Guinness Extra Stout) accompanied by string cheese while seated on my front porch in the sun waiting for the aforesaid sneakers to dry, and sat down to share this fun-filled experience with all of my best friends at Hoover Sailing Club. I wish you could have been there with me, but in a way it seemed like you were!