He gleefully talks about going to Sandusky for a Hobie Nationals many moons ago (How many moons? Picture acid-washed bluejeans and possibly a Members Only jacket) and when it got really windy at that regatta, he and his crew just betook themselves off the beach and into the amusement park. Where they have the world-famous Demon Drop.
But frankly, I didn't credit Mr. Linton's suggestion that if it was too windy for our Flying Scot, we'd just park the boat and go ride the rollercoasters. Not to mention the Demon Drop!
Seriously, we'd been driving for three solid days of rain, listened to five books on CD, and by gum we were in town to sail.
Sailboat racing, for those who don't know, is a sport that seems to skate along a narrow bit of path, weatherwise: too little wind and the boats won't move. Too much and it's actively hazardous. And the various sailing craft have differing performance ranges. Race an Etchells in 20 knots, and it's a lively ride, while on the same day, a Flying Scot will be a squirrelly handful, at least in my experience.
We skipped the practice day, as the conditions were "fresh to frightening," our sails were fresh-from-the-box spanking new, and we were pretty practiced up thanks to our comrades in the Florida District. High winds actually closed rides at Cedar Point; we betook ourselves to the Merry-Go-Round Museum.
The museum was fun, but time will march. Or possibly time will drop like a demon.
In any case, the Flying Scot North American Championship qualifying series started on a Monday in some freshy-freshy breeze. The race committee reminded us that it was an hour or so sail out to the racecourse.
In the hard waves native to the really Great Lakes we have known.
First time ever we chose to go downwind in a race WITHOUT putting up our spinnaker. Bill Draheim would have been proud! (Long story, college chums, first Scot regatta, Tampa Bay in super-agitate cycle, and Jeff remarking about eschewing a kite: "Are you smoking crack?")
Happily, most of the fleet stayed upright and the race committee took pity on –– I mean sent us to shore after two races.
The race committee gave us two races in the more open Sandusky Bay Tuesday, and then two in the more protected East Bay on Wednesday.
Due to the placement of a wind turbine at the windward end of the East Bay, I ended up calling the wind by whirligig on Wednesday.
That is, I kept an eye on the windmill at the top end of the racecourse. When I saw the blades speed up, I'd tell Jeff that we might expect a puff.
Depending on which way the whirligig pointed –– the propellors rotate on a pivot –– I could tell Jeff whether I expected a shift in the breeze from left to right or vice versa.
It was super cool, though by the end of the day, I was perfectly ready for someone to hit the button to stop the whirligig from oscillating. Even though we were in the lead. Even though having a big hint should have made the job easier to figure out downwind tactics. Even still.
On Thursday, another front came tearing in from Canada, bringing an early end to the racing.
Not to sound, you know, disingenuous and all, but we had plenty of good luck, and we didn't make too many dreadful mistakes. Indeed, we did make mistakes, and discouraging words were heard from time to time, but Mr. Linton is a Never-Say-Die kind of guy.
We left Sandusky happy.
We left Sandusky heavily laden with loot.
We left Sandusky a day early, because when given a choice between the Demon Drop or an extra day at The Would-Be Farm, the farm won.
PS. Turns out the the Demon Drop, an "Interim Freefall" ride (be still my heart!), one of the first of its particular kind of thrill-ride, was relocated from Cedar Point to Dorney Farms in 2010...we couldn't have ridden it even if we'd wanted to.