Friday, August 10, 2018

2018 M-Scow North Americans Wrap-Up

    I’ve seen some regatta trophies from the ILYA that would list that there was “no wind” for say 1958 as the regatta winner.  I remember once playing a lot of whiffle ball at Lake Chatawqua for an E-Scow regatta a little over 20 years ago. But have not run into anything like this since.  

    This year, I brought my son, Tim, to crew for me, and maybe get some some really good food traveling through Chicago.  He’s going to the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY in the fall, so I had to make sure we would get some good food into the trip.  We had two problems. Towing an M-Scow , parking would be an issue, and we’re not deep dish pizza fans. So the goal became getting through Chicago very late on a Thursday night.  Tim came up with a list of places to go, and it appeared that Minneapolis could keep up with the restaurants in Chicago, and be a better value!

   When we got there on Friday, Defending Champ, Joe Schroeder, was there to greet us.  He helped out with Jen O’Brien with Regatta Chair duties AND grilling up the bratwursts for the Friday night picnic held at Beards Plaisance (about a half mile away from Lake Harriet YC).  We sat down Dave Klein and his wife for dinner but left a little early to get some appetizers and a gazpacho at Harriet Brasserie. The food was wonderful and the restaurant was busy. The crazy part was that food arrived so quickly that I was thinking about calling it fast food.  Best service I received since my first visit to Donkeys Place in Camden, NJ.

   In all, we had fifteen boats registered.  Seven boats from Lake Harriet YC, three boats from Pigeon Lake YC, two from Lavallette YC, and then one boat each from Bald Eagle YC, Manasquan YC, and Wayzata YC.  We were told that the forecast was for 5-10 mph of wind, but that may have been wishful thinking. If we saw 5 mph of wind, it was a miracle. Saturday morning, Tim and I decided to miss the very good breakfast spread at the Club, and went into Patisserie 46 (on 46th Street).  We had coffee and shared a blueberry muffin, and chocolate croissant, and a blueberry, cheesecake, almond croissant. The third qualifies as the best pastry I’ve had of any kind. Jennifer O’Brien told us that the place across the street serves the best burgers in town.

   Race # 1 featured a pin favored start with Ted Jewett building a huge lead over the fleet.  There were substantial holes all over the coarse. We gained at least 6 boats on the first downwind leg by sailing further right.  I’m pretty sure we lost about 6 boats sailing into a hole on the second upwind leg. One boat that avoided all of the holes, was Bill Collburn.  He kept his boat moving, sailed through the 180 degree windshifts, and was pretty aggressive with hitting the corners. By the end of the race, he passed Ted Jewett for the win.  Defending Champ, Joe Schroeder was right behind them to take third. Half way through the last Windward leg, I was right behind Joe Schroeder in fourth. That was until we sailed into a hole with about 150 yards to go.  I watched Mike Burton-Davies sail around me for fourth, and then Dave Klein sail around me from the other side for fifth! Tough Conditions!

   Race # 2 featured another pin favored start, except the pin was literally upwind of the committee boat!  You would think that whoever started at the pin would dominate. Not necessarily, because the committee boat end of the line had more wind up the course. Curt Morton had a great start, and increased his lead, with Bill Colburn in pursuit.  There would be more holes, and more 180 degree windshifts, but everybody was getting used to this flukey light breeze. The race committee even moved the leeward mark pretty substantially, but the big windshifts kept coming. It looked like Curt Morton was going to win the race when it was abandoned.  The breeze was dying throughout the day. We went in for a lunch of three different kinds of Chipotle burritos.

   The afternoon brought more challenging conditions with no wind on a half to two thirds of the lake, gusts to 2 mph and 30 to 180 degree shifts.  Pretty tough to set a course. No races in the afternoon. We pulled the boats out and headed over to the Seymour’s house for the Saturday night catered by Divine Swine.  The barbecue was as good as it gets. We had our class meeting. We discussed our plans to have next year’s regatta out East, and heard from the Canadiens that they might bring four boats!  I’m impressed! I was pleased to hear that fleets are moving forward, with a one boat at a time game plan. Ted Jewett was pretty thrilled with their performance. I told him that I would be talking about that race for a long time, and he agreed.

   Sailing on Sunday Morning featured even less wind.  The race course was set, but the problem was that both the Windward and leeward marks had wind coming from its respective shore.  Sailing from mark to mark was a reach. We could keep the boats ghosting along, but a fair course could not be set. I stood in my boat, with the back of my leg steering to save my back.  So the regatta would be decided on one race.

   Defending Champ, Joe Schroeder sailed very consistently to take third.  Ted Jewett earned second place and Bill Collburn won the first race and the regatta.  Herb Garcia had recently parted from an ‘86 Johnson that had severe hull damage from a storm.  I was able to pick up a very nice boom and some rudders. Curt Morton picked up a dead straight Johnson mast, and LaurieAnne Cooper bought a freshwater Melges M which she brought home.  So even the people who had to travel the furthest got something out of this Regatta.

   We packed up our boats and headed out to lunch.  Tim had heard that there was a pizzeria that is ranked 18th in the world about a mile and a half down the road.  I’ve been to Frank Pepe’s (perennially ranked #1) in Connecticut, and have always thought that Papa’s Tomato Pies  in Robbinsville, NJ was better. We went into Pizzeria Lola on Xerxes Street in Minneapolis. Tim ordered a Korean BBQ pizza and I ordered a pizza with sausage and pepperoni.  They were smaller, but right on the same level in taste as Papa’s!

   We then drove to Ohio to visit with my brother.  The pizza sucks in Ohio, but that’s another story.  My brother heard of all of these culinary delights that we had enjoyed and asked  Tim what he liked the most in Minnesota. Tim said, “That’s easy, the chocolate cake at the barbecue Saturday night.  It was so good I had three pieces!”

There are another 2-300 photos on the Lake Harriet YC website. Check back for a better link soon!

Tom Welsch

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