Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Thistle of July!


This past weekend, I sailed the Pymatuning Independence Day Regatta on the Thistle I'm sailing with this summer. It's my friend Brent's boat - a wood hull # 1115 and we're sailing a number of regattas this summer getting ready for Nationals at Cedar Point in August. Our forward Gina is working here at APS for the summer.

We all had a great time at the event. It's a great club on a really beautiful lake in way western Pennsylvania (we actually drove into Ohio briefly because we missed the turn for the club which is only about 1/2 mile east of the border). There were 41 Thistles sailing as well as Lightnings, J22s, Highlanders and Fireballs. Everyone at the Pymatuning Yacht Club was super friendly and helpful.

The conditions were perfect on Saturday and we sailed 3 races. The breeze was about 10-12 kts out of the North which is the right direction on the fairly narrow and long lake. Sunday races were canceled due to a lack of wind. Brent wanted to practice in the light air so we went out and sailed briefly but ended up paddling in.

We struggled in the first race of the regatta because we let ourselves get bounced around the middle too much. After the first race we came in for lunch which was a pleasant bit of relaxation on a beautiful day. We regrouped a little and had a discussion about how sailing up the middle of the course wasn't necessarily the best thing to do on a lake.

After refining our lake racing strategy races 2 and 3 went better for us as we finished 10th and 12th which we were happy with. We were in the top 10 at a couple marks and lost a couple boats each race on some shifts upwind.

We ended up 17th for the regatta - we would have liked to have been in the top 10 but with only 3 races the fleet was pretty close together and every point counted. Brent Barbehenn won with a solid 1, 1, 2 sailing with Jeff & Keven Eiber. I've sailed against Brent a lot and he's fast all the time but seems to get even faster in shifty lake conditions. I don't understand how he does it.


Regatta winners Jeff Eiber, Keven Eiber & Brent Barbehenn (left to right)

We all had a great time at the event. Everyone camped out at the club which was really awesome and there was a great party Saturday night. It was a beautiful place to sail and to hang out so thanks to the Pymatuning Yacht club for having us.

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