The MC class has been able to keep some regattas going during these crazy COVID times. The class is strong and growing and for the most part, singlehanded, so there are fewer people at regattas. At Lake Eustis Sailing Club, in Eustis, Florida this past January 29, 30, and 31, the requirements of masking, social distancing, and no social events were weighed against getting out on the water and sailing against 55 boats. I (with my wife Lisa as crew), Ted Keller, and former Hoover Sailing club member Surge Vandorhorst, and his son Jack made the trip for the MC Trainwreck Regatta. Our team and Ted Keller actually drove down to Florida 3 days early to practice with several other enthusiastic MC sailors. We practiced starts—long lines and short, boat speed and boat handling. For much of the practice we had Eric Doyle—a former Star World champion—taking notes and making comments. It is always great to have on the water coaching.
The conditions were typical Lake Eustis sailing. We had no races the first day due to lack of wind. On the second day we had two light air races and the last day we had two races in windy conditions that were on the borderline of the class upper limits. I am finding the light conditions at Lake Eustis tough with 1+ mile beats and big shifts. I often find myself in the middle and not able to dive to the side that is becoming favored. Both Ted and I were in about 10th after the first day of racing but trying to learn how to take advantage of long legs with big shifts.
The windy day was a good day for Ted and our boat. We both had good starts and good speed in the breeze. Speed was more critical to getting off the large line and although there were still shifts on the long legs, the shifts were not as impactful to the beat. Getting off the starting line near the favored end and getting on the first lift was what seemed to be working.
Eddie Cox from Melges/Quantum seemed to be in a class by himself both in the light and heavy air. Many of the top sailors in the class were at the regatta and he seemed to be able to get out in front early and often.
As I mentioned a little bit ago, the class is growing and actually going through an exciting time. It is interesting because there is some shuffling in the sail making ranks and it is bringing some top sailors back into the class. Melges has switched to Quantum and we are seeing more of Andy Burdick and Eddie Cox. North is represented by Al Terhune (former Lightning and Thistle National champion and current Star, Etchells, and J70 sailor). Draheim, Mad, and UK all are very competitive and are very active in the class. I normally don’t bring this type of topic up, but having this type of focus from sailmakers leads to great focus and maybe slightly different designs and cloth weights. These types of “ pros” are actually very good for the class. The class is lucky to have people like Ted Keller, Andy Burdick, Bill Draheim, Mike Considine, and Eddie Cox. These guys are walking the parking lot making themselves available to all of the sailors to help them with tune or other ideas. The tune is being discussed more, but I am not sure how much it will change. But all of this activity is great for the class. Soon we will know more about things like spreader length and maybe a tighter rig in heavier air. I don’t know if any of this will make any difference, but there is some experimenting going on and it is fun to observe.
Ted, Surge, Jack, Lisa, and I have all left our boats down in Eustis all winter so the next regatta is the Midwinters the second week of March. I also see that Richard Blake and Clark Wade are signed up so Hoover may have 5 representatives at Eustis this March. We anticipate at least 60 boats again. Lisa and I stay safe down there and try to live in Florida the same way we do up here; we ate every meal in our little apartment and as I said earlier there were no social events. Yes, we stood in the parking lot and drank beer 10’ apart, but that just meant we were breathing. It was fun to sail in the winter and as I write this winter storm Uri is dropping snow and temperatures. Looking forward to driving south.
See you at Docks In on March 27.