This past June 14 &15 The George Fisher Memorial regatta was held at Hoover Sailing Club. 25 boats turned out to a beautiful weekend in Columbus. The wind was shifty and somewhat unpredictable, but the skies were blue and Interlake fleet 24 put on a great regatta. The local Highlander fleet led by Bob and Sue Bauer, were the race committee for the regatta and often had as many challenges as the competitors. They did great work and got 5 races off in efficient fashion.
The forecast for Saturday was 5-10 out of the Northeast. There was more 5 than 10, but there is a picture of Scott and Rick Savage hiking out flat, so it is possible there was at least one bigger puff. The wind also spent as much time out of the Northwest as it did out of the east. In the first race we got a great start near the committee boat and stayed on starboard for the first half of the leg, with several tacks to the right to take advantage of some puffs coming from that side. Craig Tovell sailed a good beat and stayed in 2nd for entire race. Lots of position changes took place up and downwind. Scott and Rick Savage sailed a good race to come back to 3rd. Thane Morgan sailed a nice last lap to finish 4th and the Parkers were 5th.
I am very lucky that my daughter Amanda and her husband Eddie drove down from Chicago so that Amanda and I could sail together for Fathers Day/weekend and my Dad’s memorial regatta. I try to sail with one or both of our kids in this regatta each year; my Dad would have loved that. It is a very special event for our family.
The second race seemed to start similar to the 1st race except that we had a bad start and Steve and Lisa Aspery, the Savages, and Brian and Tiffany Parker were launched well ahead of the rest of us at the first mark. I believe the Parkers were first at the first mark, but it was hard to see because we were 6th or 7th. The race saw the wind die several times and actually pick up from the left, northwest side of the course. Steve and Lisa went left on the second beat and had a good lead at the second weather mark. After seeing that, on the second run we were able to go from 6th to 2nd by staying on that west side of the course. We lost Scott up the last beat, and the finishes were Asperys, Savages,Fishers, Jeff Clark and Tim Cullen and Parkers again in 5th.
The 3rd race saw Craig Tovell get a great start and have a good lead at the weather mark. The fleet was very tight after Craig with Don Wilson, Jeff Clark, and the Parkers in the top part of the fleet. At the leeward mark, the wind died significantly. We all know that when that happens on a small lake (or anywhere) you better start looking for a side for the next puff. 800 yards up the reservoir you could see a puff brewing on the left and the Asperys found it and led by quite a bit at the weather mark. We fortunately bailed from the right and were able to get to second at the mark. Craig could not get away from a big, light, port lift and went back to 8th after sailing a great first lap. The Savages were 3rd, Don Wilson 4th, and team R in 5th.
Saturday evening had a great cocktail party, hordourves, and a brief chalk talk. I don’t know if everyone was looking forward to the chalk talk, because sometimes we start saying the same things. It was a tough light air day. You had to sail towards the puffs, but there wasn’t a rhythm to the wind. Downwind seemed especially hard, and the puffs actually didn’t fill in from behind, but sometimes on the edges way forward. Anyway, we had fun and it was a good way to start Father’s Weekend/day.
Sunday was forecast to blow out of the southeast at 6-10, and that was the direction we were greeted with at the 9:00 start. The tallest trees along Hoover are where the old river used to be on the east side of the reservoir . These trees seem to make exiting the weather mark quite a challenge. The start was on the west side and the first beat was almost directly across the reservoir, heading toward the Sailng Club. The velocity was 6-8 at the start and likely 2-4 at the weather mark.
We were able to get clear of the start again, and rounded the weather mark second behind Jeff Clark. We made what was possibly a risky move and jibed away from Jeff at the offset mark to try to get in the breeze quicker. It worked and we were able to get by Jeff, who was sailing very well. The Asperys also got by and held onto second for the race. They were followed by the Parkers, Mark Presley. and Jeff Clark
We weren’t sure if there would be one more race or two more races. We approached the last race like it was the last. We were basically tied with the Asperys. We had a better throw out, but if the Asperys finished either 1st or were 2nd and we were behind, they would win.
The starting line for the 5th and final race was very leeward favored. Mike Mcclinchie sailing with Bill Smith in 1424, timed his start perfectly and were able to tack at the gun. They sailed an outstanding race and led wire to wire, stretching out to a big lead at the end. I actually love to see people who are putting time in the boat start winning races in regattas. They sailed a smart race. It also is very key to tack to port at the gun when the wind has gone left at the start. We get this a lot in small lakes, where the wind goes left at or near the gun, and it becomes difficult to make the leeward pin on starboard. Some people want to hold the group below them on starboard. For this start the left shift was also a good puff. Mike had a 5 boat length lead 2 minutes after the start because he did not hesitate and tacked at the gun.
We were doing well up the first beat and the Asperys were actually well behind us 3/4 of the way to the weather mark. We crossed the Asperys on what felt like the approach to the weather mark, feeling like we were on a big lift. As the adage goes, sail shifts in heavy air and go for puffs in light air. Steve went further on port, picked up beautiful breeze tacked to starboard and rounded the weather mark 2nd or 3rd, and we were 4th or 5th. Dwight Robertson sailed a great first leg and rounded first. I felt very stupid letting the Asperys pass us after we crossed them before the weather mark. Amanda truly pulled us together downwind and politely told her whining Dad that it was a long race and we could pass them. We got to 3rd at the leeward mark and after a couple tacks we were able to split with the Asperys, and get to their right. Steve and Lisa went to the left, which is closer to the tall trees. We were 5-8 boat lengths below McClinchie , on port, and going the same speed as Mike, but the two of us were going twice the speed as the Aspery’s in great breeze and no trees on the right side. We were able to catch Steve, get second in the race and win the regatta.
There is a little irony in this regatta from a timing standpoint. We were tied with the Asperys going into the last race, beat them by one point, but in 5 races, we never got within 5 boat lengths of them, other than the very last leeward mark. 6 years ago the was actually 3 or 4 days before my Dad passed away, and I was sailing his 1174 for the first time in this regatta what was then called the Interlake Stakes. The regatta was nearly identical in that we were tied with Asperys ( I believe Steve was sailing with his kids, as I was sailing with Amanda and my son Stu ) going into the last race and the only that time we saw Steve and family got us at the very last leeward mark and they won the regatta !
We laughed about it, and it seemed like everyone had a very good time at the George Fisher Memorial regatta. Come next year for a good size fleet and great hospitality.
After five races with one throw out the top five are listed below. Congratulations to Matt Fisher and his daughter Amanda Davis for winning the George Fisher Memorial Regatta 2014.
1) Matt Fisher and Amanda Davis
2) Steve Aspery and Lisa Aspery
3) Scott Savage and Rick Savage
4) Bryan Parker and Tiffany Parker
5) Jeff Clark and Tim Cullenen
Here are the final results
More racing commentary will be added later. Additionally we will posting more pictures so please check back.