Boy, talk about ups and downs.... I really don't know if I should celebrate, or send out "Get Well Soon" cards.
First off, I do not want to take anything away from Peter Jeal in USA 113, on his 6th Season Championship. Peter lead from the beginning, and held a dominate position on the fleet the entire year. Congrats to Peter, Suzy and the entire USA 113 crew......
Now for the rest of the story...........Our season didn't start out the way that we wanted. A couple of 7's isn't anything to celebrate. We came out, raced and got beat up by the best of them. Then follow that performance with a DNF in race 3, followed by a 4th. Bad start I tell you. I mean, come on using 3 of your 5 throw outs in the first 4 races is never a good start to anything.
My season didn't really start to turn around until the beginning of June. The StFYC Woodies Invitational Regatta. This was the best showing that we have had to date. Ending the regatta tied for 2nd with Mike Goebel in USA 109, with 19 points each. Mike won the tie breaker and we took 3rd. It's hard to win the tie breaker with a guy that won 3 of the the 5 races. June 12th brought a new aspect to the race course. We showed up to the boat with winds in the 30's straight out of the North. Now the question was raised; do we go out there and beat up the boat, or take a couple of DNC's? Well, we choose to keep the boat in one peice and take the DNC's. (Along with many others in the fleet) Turns out that may have been an unwise decision. The report after the race was that it couldn't have been any nicer. Great, now we have used up all 5 throw outs.
Next up was the SF NOOD Regatta. On paper we had a full fleet of participants, on the course we had far below our average. Crew issues, prior commitments and numerous other issues plagued us. Eric Kaiser in USA 122 dominated this regatta with 5 bullets, while Peter and I duked it out for 2nd. Once again we placed 3rd, only 1 point behind. It was a great way to end the first half of our season. We were sitting in a strong 5th, and only had hopes of catching up to Chris Herrman in 4th. Goebel was pretty much out for the season with prior commitments, and the top 3 were quite aways ahead.
That seemed to all change as we started the second half of the season late in August. David Wilson was off in Denmark racing the Gold Cup and was getting average points for the weekend, while the rest of us had to go out and beat each other up. (Yeah, like David was on vacation, not racing against the best in the world) I had talked Fred and Hilary into crewing for me, since my crew had other things to do. They graciously accepted and we ended up having a great weekend, ending tied with Peter once again for 2nd. The following weekend was scheduled as a 2 race day at Knox, which only 1 race was completed due to increasing winds. We ended up 3rd for that weekend.
The beginning of September brought us yet another 4 race regatta; SFYC Fall Classic. We were still sitting in a strong 5th position for the season, but as a surprise, David Wilson and Eric Kaiser both ended up not able to compete. Eric had an issue with a knee injury, while David needed shoulder surgery. Now the game has changed a little. Chris was still ahead of us by a little bit. The new game plan was to stay ahead of Chris, and gain as many points on David and Eric as possible. Chris had a bit of a misunderstanding with the race instructions, and RAF'd the first 2 races of the regatta, and we showed strong. Peter taking 3 bullets for the regatta, and us only 1 left us 2nd overall for the regatta, and amazingly 2nd place for the season. We weren't planning on that one. After doing the math, Chris was in 3rd only 3 points behind, David was in 4th only 4.4 points behind and Eric was in a solid 5th, with only 2 races remaining.
Stress has always been a huge deal breaker for me, and the following two weeks was full of it. I had heard rumors that Eric was out, and that David was in a sling, unable to race. Now we just needed to beat Chris. Usually easier said then done. There was a 3 way tie for first, and this time we were on the top side of the flip, taking first for the weekend and 2nd for the season.
Now the mixed emotions part........My crew and I raced our hearts out all season long, Chris and I were the only two boats that gained much from Wilson and Kaiser's injuries, so we had stayed close enough. However, like the old saying goes about "a one legged man in an ass kicking contest"; there is still genuine guilt sailing past David, racing with his arm in a sling. I will let my crew celebrate their hard work and dedication, but I will always know this was the one handed to us on a silver platter. I look forward to racing against everyone again next year, and hopefully we will all be in tip top shape. Still on the calender is the Encinal weekend; which is a milestone for our fleet with the lipstick and single handed races, and the newly added masters race. I'm looking forward to it, and hope that I have some good news to post after...........
Congratulations once again to Peter and Chris on a season well done........