Commodore’s Comments

2021 is here and 2020 is left for the history books. The 2020 Board of Governors did a fabulous job leading the organization through a tumultuous year. They navigated us through months of unknown and ever-changing requirements and restrictions, and we were still able to sail and gather in a responsible manner as well as teach hundreds of future sailors about our love of the wind and water.

They left us in a great stable situation, and now we can look forward to 2021 where we hope to have a typical year of sailing, instruction and enjoying one another’s company in friendly competition and social gatherings.

This year we will plan for club sailing, regattas, social gatherings, instruction and promoting the sport we love. If necessary, we will adjust to local, state and national directives.

Currently we sit in the middle of winter in Columbus, looking at snow and ice, dreaming of warm temperatures and gentle winds. Hopefully some have been asked to make plans to sail in mid-winter regattas for their class. American Magic and Patriot gave us some thrilling sailing to watch but unfortunately will not be continuing on to the Prada Cup finals and America’s Cup.

It is my hope as the Commodore this year to lead the club into modernization of some of our administrative systems and updating some of our documentation to reflect our current practices. We’ll do this so we can continue to provide the best place in Columbus for our members to gather and enjoy all the club has to offer.

I look forward to a year when our members can gather and enjoy the clubhouse, grounds, and lake in a safe and open manner. I ask for all of us to work together to keep the club a place that all the members can enjoy. Our volunteer activities and support of the club keep it a great and affordable place for friendly competition, recreational sailing, and enjoying the grounds which have some of the best sunsets around.

Stay warm. Stay safe. And keep dreaming of our time on the water together.

Check out our upcoming Spring events: CLICK HERE.

Important Grounds News

New & Improved Gate

Thanks to the HSC Planning and Projects committee for the new gate.  The gate has been relocated 10 feet back to allow for a longer space to pull into and the best part is that this baby is so easy to slide…it’s a one finger effort!  Really! So, please open and close it gently and cautiously. Too much push/pull and someone could get hurt, or the latch could be damaged.  In fact, it works so smoothly, that in the 30 mph westerly on Monday, a member saw the gate closing on its own! 

Resurfacing West Dry Lot March 29

Do NOT move your boat from storage to the Western Dry Lot (WDL) until Wednesday, March 31 or later! Once the docks are off the WDL, March 29 and 30 our Docks Chairperson, Ted Thomas has arranged for the west dry lot (WDL) to be resurfaced on Monday.  See WDL below. This will allow the compacted gravel to be exposed and level out the low spots.  The work area MUST be clear to proceed.  While it is a bit inconvenient for those who like to migrate boats immediately after Docks In, there is no other time when the WDL can be made clear. 

Additional grounds improvement projects are in the planning stages, including playground improvements, Caley bridge reinforcement, overgrown foliage removed, surplus barrels and tires removed, and more. 

2021 T-shirt Design Contest

We’re looking for a new design for our HSC 2021 t-shirts, that will be available for sale to all members.  Would you like to submit a design?  We’re having a contest and would love to see your idea(s).  You may submit no more than two designs.  Your custom design can be created using any software or method.

Please submit your entry by March 7 to Publicity Chairperson Dave Smith at  The winner will be chosen at the next BOG meeting on March 8.
The Winner will receive a free T-shirt and fame, at least at HSC! The photo is a design from a prior year, designed by Tim Bachman.

Upcoming 2021 Spring Events

Here are a few important upcoming dates to note.  For all HSC happenings check out our online EVENTS calendar at

March 27, Docks In—Details to be announced.

March 30—Tactic and Rules Seminar—Zoom presentation by North U instructor Dave Perry. Dave is the author of the North U Rules and Tactics Seminar Workbook, North U Intro to Match Racing Workbook, Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2020, Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes, and Winning in One-Designs.

April 29—Race Committee Seminar—Currently scheduled for Zoom. Learn how to manage a race even if you are not a PRO. Even in a safety boat, knowing how to set a course and the basic rules for race management helps you to understand what the PRO wants from you. We are hopeful this can be in person with proper distancing and mask-wearing so we can enjoy seeing our friends in person.

May 22—All club members welcome to the Training and Coaching event. Not just for racers, we want everyone who sails at Hoover to have an opportunity to up their game with on-land demonstrations and on-the-water drills and coaching. More details to follow.

May 29—Trailer backing and launching event followed by a cruise to the north bridge.  Would you like to get more comfortable backing up and launching your boat without all the “helpful” advice from impatient bystanders? I sure do.

Covid Notice

Our 2021 social events are currently being scheduled as picnics vs. potlucks until further notice. 

Wanted: Individually wrapped disposable carryout utensils. How many times have you just thrown out the extra supplies you received when getting carryout food? Don’t throw them a-way, throw them r-way!

A Hail from the Rail

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!


Scow Scoop

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.  

Next Steps
            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.  

Scot Spot

It has been a long hard 12 months but some of the brightest spots of the last year for me were the days I spent out on the water in Helga. Against all odds we had a sailing season last year. Hard to believe but we are just weeks away for launching the docks and our boats will soon follow.  You will get the usual information in this newsletter and from Lisa Aspery about Docks In and how we plan to open the club safely. Be on the lookout for that information.

Also be on the lookout for Race Committee information from Scot Stephen, our new FS Race Committee member. Tom Fee, Club Race Chair, held a meeting on Valentine’s Day with Fleet captains and RC representatives to discuss the calendar that will be published in the directory. Flying Scot Race days and volunteer opportunities will arrive from Scot Stephen shortly if they have not already shown up in your mailbox.  Just a reminder, everyone is required to serve on race committee at some point during the season either as a PRO or on a safety boat. You are required to arrange for your own helper and no one under age 16 can drive a safety boat.

Put this date on your calendar for the near future:

May 15 and 16 Buckeye Regatta – we are hoping to be able to host the Buckeye Regatta this year. It is traditionally the first regatta in our district, and it takes the entire fleet to put it on. There is plenty of work planning menu and prizes, shopping and preparing food. We are also hoping we can have the Saturday night dinner and everyone one of you can come and enjoy it even if you don’t choose to race.

Finally, I am looking for a day in April for a Flying Scot Masts Up session. I have the Master Helper (see link below) for raising masts single-handed and without lifting and have ordered several more sets of the loops that have to be installed on your boat (an easy process that does not require anything other than a screwdriver) if you don’t already have eye straps in the appropriate places.  If you prefer to raise your mast the old-fashioned way, still plan to do it with the group so we have plenty of help, not to mention beverage and snacks!

You may be interested in check out Flying Scot Master Helper .

Flying Scot Mast Raising System
The MasterHelper is an innovative mast raising system for the Flying Scot that makes it possible for anyone to step a Flying Scot mast.  Click on the images below for more details.  For more information send an email to

Hope everyone is well. On the day of this writing I am getting my second vaccine shot. Finally, a true benefit of being old, other than not getting old of course! Hoping that all of you get similarly protected very soon.

Putting Some Youth in Your Race Committee

Check out this great article that Jamie Jones wrote for US Sailing, and also to be published in the Great Lakes Scuttlebutt.  He outlines his efforts over the past few years to get youth sailors involved in running races, not just sailing in them.  Jamie’s program really gives kids an appreciation for sailboat racing from the other side.   Traditionally, youth sailors do not have any exposure to the difficulties of setting a good square course and handling starts, finishes and scoring.  They learn that it’s harder than it looks and should increase their respect for RC committees.  It also pays us dividends since we’re building our “PRO muscle” here at HSC.   It’s a great reminder of how lucky we are at HSC to have someone of Jamie’s national standing lead our Sail Instruction and Youth Sailing programs.    

Click here to read US Sailing article : Putting Some Youth in Your Race Committee

Looking Back over the Years

Lisa K asked me to write an article reflecting on some of the more interesting developments in sailing from my 50 years of racing boats at HSC. The photo above was provided by Jay Huling. This is an HSC sunset circa 1969 when members’ boats were moored.

The Cunningham

There was a time when you had to either crank your main up farther or pull your sliding gooseneck down to add tension on the front (luff) of your sail.  You pretty much had to do it at the dock since you couldn’t really adjust it under way.  Then a guy named Briggs Cunningham (also a famous race car driver) who was sailing on America’s Cup boats, thought to add a 2nd grommet above the tack of the main and add a tackle to make that adjustment easier while sailing.   Hence, the Cunningham. 

Barber Haulers

On reaches, the crew had to sit on the deck and hold the jib sheet out toward the rail to get the shape right.  When it was windy, this put the crew’s weight on the wrong/low side of the boat.  Then the Barber Brothers invented a thing on their Lightning with a block and control line that allowed you to pull the lead outboard from the high side.  Hence, the barber hauler. 

Fast Bottom Finishes

In the 60’s conventional wisdom was that the fastest finish was to keep your boat in the water for 3 days before big regattas.  Longer made them mossy, less was not slick enough.  We called it “the 3 day slime.”   Current coatings achieve better finishes without the fuss.

There was a fad in the late 60’s early 70s to apply Joy dishwashing liquid to your boat bottom before regattas.   It was quickly outlawed but for a while after you could still flip the boat, apply the Joy and let it bake in the sun.  It slowly released once you put the boat in the water and I recall bubbles in people’s wake.   Why the Joy brand and not something else, dunno.   The America’s Cup boats even tried adding fittings to the bottom near the bow that slowly released soap.  

Sail Gimmicks

I had a mainsail on my Thistle with a zipper along the foot that you could open up when going downwind to add a bunch more draft to the sail.  The sails were HUGE!  Unfortunately, it often jammed when you tried to re-zip it at the leeward mark which was exciting, to say the least in heavy air.   This design eventually led to our current “lens foot” designs that achieve the same shapes without the need for a zipper.

Sail Cloth

I had a very old wooden Lightning so of course, we had cotton sails.  Since they molded easily if you put them away wet, everyone pulled their sails off the boat at the end of the day, took out the battens, spread them out on the lawn, then folded them into squares, put them in bags and took them home.  (I think that’s one reason we have a no dogs allowed policy).  This habit of drying sails persisted well into the time of Dacron sails until someone figured out that if they were reasonably dry, you could just roll them and leave them on the boat.   Sure was a nice excuse to sit around and drink beer while they dried, however. 


Back in the day innovations in sailing spread like wildfire vs. today where improvements are more incremental and most of us race our boats stock from the factory.  It was not uncommon for someone to show up at a regatta with some kind of new sail cut or gear and really have the jump on the competition.   Look in your class’s rulebook (aka scantlings) some time and see all of the crazy restrictions, e.g. no rotating masts, decks must be strong enough to support a person, you can’t wedge something in the centerboard slot to “tack” the board.   Why?  Because someone tried it.   I believe this evolution has helped make our classes more “one-design” than ever before.

Learn to Sail

2021 Learn to Sail season has officially kicked off with our enrollment forms having gone “live” on our website on January 15. In five short weeks, we’ve already seen tremendous returns with early sign ups over 300% from normal! That doesn’t mean we’re going to be overrun with kids and adults this summer, we’re still capping enrollment numbers at a reduced rate. However, that means we’ll fill our classes earlier than normal, so if you’re on the fence or waiting to enroll your kids, don’t wait too long! And if you’re thinking about a great way to get your boat on the water, many members sign up for our “sail your boat” courses in the evenings where we help you out in your boat!

We have a bunch of fun things planned this summer with a great group of instructors coming back, lead by Nick Byerly and Nadia Reynolds as our co-head instructors. We’ve made improvements to our fleet of Optis this winter as well, bringing 6 new boats into the fleet! We’ll also kick off our instructional season with our spring High School Sailing program in March with a full season of “normal” events scheduled! Our kids are excited to get back on the water and we look forward to seeing you there too.

For more information about all of our HSC Learn to Sail programs please visit:
or contact Jamie Jones, Program Director at:

2021 Junior Race Team

Hello all, I am Nate Ireland, the new Junior Racing Team (JRT) Chair for 2021. I’m taking over for Scott Savage, who did an admirable job implementing a Covid plan while maneuvering our JRT through a difficult year. The 2020 team was not able to compete in a typical traveling season, but was resourceful enough to have a successful experience none-the-less. The schedule for 2021 looks to return to the traveling season of old with 11 regattas on the books. The kids will get to experience venues with different sailing conditions ranging from inland lakes at our own Hoover regatta, Buckeye Lake, and Cowan, to big water racing on Lake Erie at North Cape Yacht Club in Michigan, Cleveland, Vermillion, Mentor, and Erie, PA as well as Championships at Put-In-Bay and Sandusky. We will also have the opportunity to attend the always educational USA Junior Olympics Sailing Festival featuring high level coaching and a fun atmosphere for all skill levels.

Juniors are ages 8 through18 who have some sailing experience. They race single-handed boats, both Optis and Lasers, double-handed 420’s, and three-person sloop racing in Thistles. In addition to competition, JRT is also about camaraderie, athletic skills, leadership, and sportsmanship. We have a great group of experienced coaches all lined up who look forward to helping our juniors develop a lifelong interest in sailing and racing. The JRT applications were just sent out to last year’s group and a few others that have expressed interest to me already.  If you know of a junior sailor feel free to send me an email or feel free to contact me with any questions about JRT.

2021 HSC Board of Governors

On November 1, 2020, the following were elected to serve as the 2021 Hoover Sailing Club Board of Governors.

Officers2021 Board
CommodoreCharlie Vasulka
Vice CommodoreChad Headlee
Rear CommodoreDave Smith
Membership SecretaryLisa Aspery
SecretarySarah Lynn
TreasurerMark White
Fleet CaptainAppointed by Commodore
Past CommodoreSteve Lavender
Committee Chairs
HouseChad Headlee
GroundsTed Thomas
DocksPeter Rothman & Dave Stetson (assist)
JRTNate Ireland
Leadline EditorLisa Kreischer
PublicityDave Smith
RacingAppointed by Commodore
SafetyChris Fogle
Sail InstructionJamie Jones
SocialJoyce Lohner
Planning & ProjectsJay Huling
Planning & ProjectsMatt Fisher