SA supervideographer Petey Crawford dropped the video camera this weekend and picked up the tiller. Here’s his report along with some Tammy Sawyer photos.
The 2014 E Scow National Championship concluded Sunday with absolutely glamour conditions. I consider Crystal Lake one of the most beautiful locations in the US, as well as one of the best sailing venues anywhere. Crystal is Michigan’s Lake Garda and it rarely disappoints. In a world of declining participation in fleets around the globe, the E Scow National Class has seemingly flexed its muscles for 2 years in a row by luring 75+ boats to the line (84 and 78 respectively). Unlike another class that is experiencing a good turnout this, week the E scow has been doing it since 1959, and the depth of the talent at every one of these regattas is incomparable. Just look at the names of the champions on this list – Now imagine the names of the others on the podium next to them. This years event was no different. Porter, Melges, Jewett, Rogers, Burton out of the ILYA, East Coast names like Johnson, Hillyer, Lucas and Michigan locals like Price, Hatton, Kimball, Dow and Terry. Each and every one of these names was capable of getting in the mix and winning races and perhaps the whole thing.
Day 1 was bit frustrating as we spent the entire day on the water with only a single race to show for it due to extremely shifty conditions and velocity changes. Day 2 started out with a much better forecast and surely we could get back on track with 3 races. That was what PRO Bruce Golison and his team served us up. Classic Crystal Lake conditions with sunny skies made for a great day of racing, and we finally got to see the Tahiti-clear aqua blue water which is a big part of what makes this place so special. With 4 races completed and 2 more scheduled for Sunday, the stage was set for some great action.
Day 3 looked light to start but Bruce brought us all out so we could get going as soon as the sea breeze filled. With a short postponement we were back at it. Jeff Bonanni made it clear that it was moving day, and won race 5 to climb the ladder into the 3 spot. Harry had a tough 21st, Sammy sailed to a 6th, Chris Jewett got a 19, Burton scored a 9th and Peter Strothman made away with a 15th. So needless to say, the top 5 shuffled around a bit and the 6-10 group inched even closer into the mix. After 5 races completed and with a 6th race allowing a discard it was still wide open and with 78 boats anything could happen.
Jeff Bonanni, clearly liked the leap up the ladder and decided to win yet another race and pretty much showed us all how to close out an event and beat the rush to the crane. Little Harry Melges made his run back at the top with a 3rd, Strothman got a 4th and Burton took 14th. Sammy sailed just well enough to get a 12th. That meant that Sam “Big Daddy/Rasheed” Rogers and his crew of Chrisy Hughes, Tony and Lynn Jewett were the new E National Champions by a single point over Harry Melges IV and his crew of Monroe Melges, Mya Burdick (with Harry Melges III and Andy Burdick as their chaperones). I am so stoked for Sammy and the team to get this Championship, and to have it come down to a single point was even cooler! Having 13 year old Harry Melges kicking our asses already is a clear sign of what’s to come, but I think we all were totally pumped to have him in there, especially with Monroe and Mya!
The E scow class continues to deliver and is filled with some of the best people I have met in my entire life let alone my sailing career. I got back into the driver seat of an E scow this year at Charleston and knew I had to be at Crystal. I found a boat and sails made it happen and although I fell short of my goal for the event, it really didn’t matter; I had a ripping time with close friends and made some new ones. I even dragged a long lost friend out of sailing retirement and made him sail more races in 3 days than he had in the last 3 years, and despite his huffing and puffing and me “encouraging” him around the course we have decided that it’s officially time to get back to racing E scows full time. Our personal hero moment was winning the pin end in race 3 and rounding in 3rd. Despite some mental errors in the race we still mixed it up with some of the best in the country and held on to a 15th, and we will always remember that start.
Big thanks to my crew on the II-1 Team Honor The Box – Chris Eggert, Thorn Turner, Jess Haverstock and Nina McKeough and a huge thanks to Russ Lucas for letting me commandeer his old boat.
Side note – The last time I drove in an E Nationals I had dreadlocks down to the middle of my back and the regatta was hosted by Little Egg Harbor YC. Well, next year it’s at Little Egg again and we will be there, but chances are I wont be rocking the dreads.
-The Rev. Petey