Interlake Interlude

Matt FisherFleet News, Leadline

The Interlake Nationals Regatta was this past July 14-17 at Sandusky Sailing Club.  The Interlake was actually designed for the chop in Sandusky Bay and the Sandusky fleet is fleet #1.  There was a great turnout with 36 boats competing in the event that promised strong wind and tough competition.  

Measuring was simple and the hospitality at SSC was fantastic.    There was a Women’s championship and Junior Championship on Wednesday with Christy Malott winning the Women’s event and HSC’s own Emma Friedhauer winning the Junior Championship.

The breeze Thursday was forecast to be 12-18 and it did not disappoint.   We had 15-25mph out of the Southwest and the traditional area where we start on Sandusky Bay with that direction is in front of Johnson’s Island.  There is big chop and huge puffs in what is a wide-open sailing area. 

Jim Ward won all three races on Thursday and we had 3 seconds.  As it turned out, we were both “Z flagged” in the first race.  The Z flag is actually a seldom-used penalty that tacks on 20% of the fleet size to your score if you are over the line with less than a minute to go and get back to the proper side of the line and start properly.    So for both Jim’s Z flag and ours, our Z flag assumed we got back and restarted properly, not over the line.  So if there were 33 boats in the top fleet (3 in the Challenger) 7 points were added to each of our scores. 

The team that was actually most impressive that day was Scott and Lynn Savage There were puffs actually above 25 and they sailed great to get two 3rds and a 6th the first day.

One could get psyched out that Jim dominated the day.  He had his wife Jayme and Jeff Eiber on the boat and they clearly were faster in the higher end puffs than everyone.  We had my son Stu and Sarah Paisley, who are an outstanding team, but Jim was faster in big breeze.  I will say that I have never steered an Interlake in that much breeze and waves.   We need to work on our technique but when it was on the lighter side — 15-20mph — we were the same speed as Jim.   But, it was important to understand that he was only 3 points ahead of us and in a long series things can change dramatically.

Things did change.    In the first race on the second day, Friday,  Jim was over the line (no Z flag) had to restart and finished 19th in the first race of the day.  We won that race and Scott and Lynn were second.   Jim and Jayme now had to count their first race Z flag which was a 9.  In the next 3 races, we finished 2 -4-3.  Scott finished 8-3-4 and Jim and Jayme finished 1-25 (another Z flag on top of being over the line and needing to restart) – 1.       We finished  Saturday with 14 low points;  Scott had 21 and Jim Ward had 33 with a throw-out.

I am forgetting when the storms came in but I believe that it stormed that Friday night and was still blowing pretty hard on Saturday.   The race committee canceled races for the day by about noon.   We felt fortunate to win, but in my smart-alec way, they count all of the races, good ones and bad ones to get your total score.  I have sailed with Jim multiple times and he is a very aggressive starter.  This can work in your favor but it can backfire.    I have had more regattas where I have won several races and not won the regatta than I have won regattas.  I loved sailing with my son Stu and with Sarah.  They are outstanding sailors and we were able to put together a good series. 

As always Hoover was well represented at Sandusky with 4 of the top 10.   Scott Savage and crew/wife Lynn were 2nd. Steve Aspery was 5th.  Sailing with Steve was HSC junior star Emma Friedauer and new HSC member and outstanding Laser sailor Ed Spengeman. Jamie Jones was awarded the Holtzman award for best fleet participation at Nationals. The Holtzman trophy is awarded to the Interlake fleet that has the most skippers participating at Nationals (not counting the hosting fleet or any fleet less than 20 miles from the hosting fleet).  Hoover has won this award more than any other fleet.

Congratulations to HSC’s skipper Emma Friedauer and crew Nadia Reynolds and Sam Heighway for winning the Junior Nationals Division!

We had a great time and I strongly encourage the Hoover Interlake fleet sailors to try to make it to next year’s Nationals at Mohican.   It is fun to be around a big group of great people and Mohican is crazier to sail at than Hoover. Great camping and a fun group.

It was extra fun for our boat because we are helping my brother Greg get his new sail loft — Evolution Sails — going and we felt very fast in under 28 mph.  Ryan Kyle runs the Evolution loft in Sandusky and helped get the sails to where they are now. 

A big thanks to the Sandusky Sailing Club and the Interlake Class for putting on a great regatta.  People are getting back into the groove after COVID and participation is back up.  Thanks again to Stu and Sarah!

Thanks to Lisa Aspery for the photos.