E Scow National Championships in Oshkosh WI, Day 1

10 September 2009

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Take away the ripples on the water and the flag flying over the Oshkosh Yacht Club and you have an idea of what it was like for most of the first day of the Championships. Boats on the trailers and lifts, and people making a tour of this glorious reconstruction of the original yacht club building. Magnificent.

Blake Middleton, the PRO, kept the sailors informed on the radio about every 15 minutes throughout the day. It could have been a recording. However the plan was clear, they were going to do everything they could to get a race in and that meant pushing back dinner and waiting for the late day breeze to fill in from the east. At 4:30 you could see it start across the lake and the postponement flag came down for a 5:30 warning signal.

The course was a windward leeward 2 1/2 with 1.2 mile legs. An 8 mph breeze from the southeast, 135 degrees, was a blessing compared to the flat water we had been looking at all day long.

The race got off clean with one boat over in the middle, GL-11. The boats grouped up at both ends of the starting line. The windward end, because they liked the extra pressure, and the leeward end because they liked the angle. Brian Porter hit the line at full speed at the committee boat and only had one inch to spare before being over at the start. Then there was Rob Terry (CR-66) at the leeward end heading to the left side where the angles improved and he got a great port tack slant from that side of the course to lead at the weather mark. Iggy Labanauskas, sailing I-17, was second around also from the left side of the course, followed by Jeff Scholesser (J-55). Tom Burton (M-9) played more of the middle of the course and rounded 4th, followed by Commodore Rick Turner (CH-6), and Casey Call (WA-99). Brian Porter was 9th. The story goes that Iggy was supposed to race the I-0 boat belonging to Aaron Roth while Brian would sail the I-17 boat. But Brian convinced people that he should sail the I-0 boat (supposedly faster) so Iggy got the 'slower' I-17 boat. Guess they will re-think that choice!

A couple of big changes the second time around saw Jeff (J-55) drop back to 12th and Brian (I-0) move up to 4th, behind Tom (M-9), Iggy (I-17) and the leader Rob (CR-66). Robby Wilkins moved from 12th to 5th, and Sam Rogers (M-42) moved from 16th to 8th. Lon Schoor (H-7) dropped from 7th to 13th (ouch!) getting caught in the 'soup' that first downwind and passing a few boats on the next upwind. Brian hit the mark during his 4th place rounding - I think he might have caught the anchor line and the mark dragged into him. Jon Scholesser dropped from a 10th at the first mark to 19th  at the second upwind mark.

Positions settled in and the last time around Vincent Porter (I-49) passed three boats, moving from 9th to 6th, Lon (H-7) too got a few boats to finish 10th.