midgets, fishbowls and salvage rights
Eighteen A-Scows showed up in Madison Wisconsin for the 2010 National Championships. The weather forecast looked good but in the back of my mind I remembered the year we sat onshore for 3 days and completed zero races, there was an ILYA Championship event that we won since then, but somehow, I was having a hard time getting past the no-race regatta. I guess once I conjure up memories from the vast catacombs of my clouded brain, they lock in for a bit.
The forecast was for 7-14 which was close, it piped in a bit more than that but was somewhat steady throughout and it looked like we were going to be fine and at least get a full day of races in. Granted a full day of races in the A scow fleet is 2 races. I used to bitch about this and call it the “old man rule,” but now that the grey hairs are gaining on the brown ones on my dome, I fully back this rule, embrace it, represent it, and love it. The first race was won pin to pin by the I-7 team steered by T-Freytag, with a little help from Kevin Jewett on tactics. They sawed off the boat to windward of them on the line (which was us…ouch!) blasted out to the left and never looked back. We were left with the silver lining of at least knowing we started the race aiming the right way. Rob Evans, Charlie Harrett, Todd Haines, and Chuck Lamphere rounded out the top 5. Race 2 the breeze built a bit but the direction stayed mostly the same with 30-40 degree shifts that we saw in race 1. M-4, Joel Ronning with Western Michigan’s Brett Hatton on main, started in the middle of the line, tacked to port before the fleet and smoked across the lake in front of everybody. The wood we got from rounding in first quickly softened as the I-7 team sailed down the right side of the course, gybed, and was leading again. The battle behind Madcap in the front pack went round and round with lots of huge shifts and gains to be made on both legs of the course. Freytag went bullet-bullet on the day, which in this fleet is no easy task. End of day it was I-7, I-28, M-1, M-21, and Buddy Melges on the I-1 in the top 5.
Off to the Edgewater’s deck for adult beverages, and some vittles for the famished. With that said, I do need to say a bit about the Edgewater’s service. If looking for a “quick” bite, you need not stop here, it seems the wait staff and cooks are permanently stuck on stupid. One can meet up with dead relatives in the afterlife before you get a plate of fries and a cocktail. I will say though, there was a moment where the Melvin and our C IV teams were all sitting giving our orders to the cutest co-ed in the place. She just kept taking the orders from 14 people, never writing anything down. We all thought there wasn’t a chance in hell that this order was coming back completed. With the exception of Dirts 2 Mojitos, everybody got what he or she ordered. Serves him right for ordering chick drinks anyway. Teams hit State Street pretty hard this night, and I am proud to say that certain members of our team found a burlesque show and returned with stories of a midget deep throating a balloon. The stories didn’t leave a lot to the imagination and the video proof was disturbing yet somehow strangely erotic at the same time. Thank god for videophones…I think.
I awoke to see a mirror out my window. Looked like there was gonna be nothing moving on the day, and the forecast wasn’t promising. The teams converged on the starting area and awaited “official” word. The call was to head to shore and wait till 2. Sho nuff, as soon as we were pigeonholed into the 2:00 decision time the breeze filled and everybody sat out the day and watched a lake full of breeze. We’ve all seen that movie, and you can bet every opinionated blowhard second-guessed the PRO’s decision making. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I actually went out with the boys and shot some video of the cats racing. And while the geniuses were onshore bitching, I saw clearly that the breeze was sketchy at best and shifty and spotty the whole time. The cats were struggling in what was available. 2:00 came and we got a race started in about 5 mph of breeze, which was within our class minimum. It was a drag race; well its all relative as our hats and glasses weren’t exactly blowing off our heads. Anyway, it was between the lead boat on both sides, which was the M-4 owning the left and a small pack of 4 or 5 on the right, including M-1, M-2, M-10, and M-8…Minnetonka was representing well in the light breeze that we’ve had all season so far. The right won in the final 3rd of the beat and the lead pack were heading down the pond. 2nd beat had a left to right battle once again, with hero to zero moves abundant. The race ended with M-8 Tom Burton taking the gun, with M-1, M-2, I-7and M-10 at the top 5. Breeze done, day over.
A rooftop party provided plenty of momentum for teams to start the night. I called on a friend of mine to take us to all her college hotspots, where I found myself, feeling really old and eventually holding a fishbowl of alcoholic windshield washer fluid with 10 straws in it…. I may or may not have drank it down…things got blurry there. We then got into a rickshaw bike taxi thing and made dude try to bike 5 of us uphill to the hotel. He ran out of steam basically at the start of the hill. I heckled him at least to the halfway point, then convinced him to bomb down the hill, and shoot the gap in traffic….or at least I thought I did. He wisely opted out of that move, and we walked our sorry asses back to the hotel. Then came the fun part, instead of hanging with the co-eds, I spent the next 3 hours in the storm of the century, salvaging boats off the rocks in front of the hotel. We pulled our boat off the rocks, saved the Melvin from death as it was making headway towards disaster. Then noticed JD’s tender all hugged up on the shore. The motor shaft was between 2 rocks and a very large branch had inserted itself between the handrails on the side of the boat. Once we got that boat off the rocks and dried out it was finally time to mix in a quick nap. I had thought our boat was saved in time, but apparently not.
Tight helmet strapped on firmly we set out to race the final 2 races. First our rib’s engine stopped running, and then on the first beat our owner noticed that there was about a hand size chunk missing from our starboard rudder. I guess a minute or so later that morning and we would have been spectating the final race, or not, as again our tenders engine crapped out on us. Pretty much the tone for us was set there and we struggled. T In the front of the pack the leaders were 2 points separated and set for hand-to-hand combat. Charlie Harrett on the I-28 too race 4, with T Burton in second. The leaders I-7 and M-1 finished out in 6th and 7th. Now 3 points between Freytag and Evans with one race to go. I-7 took it, with Robbie ending up 5th. Big congrats to The Madcap Team, the 2010 NCASA Champion! Good job guys, next up the ILYA Champs in August. Final results here.
-The God Damned Reverend Petey, with pics from Tammy Sawyer.