|Good Day to All,
Ralph and I wanted to say Thank-you to our friends in the Florida district and Clearwater Community Sailing Center for putting on another top notch Mid-Winters regatta. We had a great time and highly recommend everyone to make plans to attend next years event. Kudo's to everyone who drove or flew down from the frozen North and snow storm "Saturn" and brought or chartered boats. Our plans for a "Day in the Wild" at Tampa's Bush Gardens park riding roller coasters had to be canceled due to plane delays from the storm. But, hopefully next year we can have Mid-Winters on one weekend and Sarsatoa regatta the following weekend and Bush Gardens and the Beautiful Beaches in the middle. The Florida weather was slightly chilly in the 60's. But it was great to see the blue green water and bright sunshine. Many of us were happy to wear our red badges of Sunburn on our winter weary bodies. I saw lots of sea birds and the dolphins also made a quick appearance on the race course.
The 19 boat Windmill fleet was a wonderful site to see, competition was tough with 4 past National Champions in attendance. The short starting line was a race unto it's ownself. Many of the best starting strategies plans were quickly changed along with the outcome of the races. Our short windward, reaching and running courses kept everyone close and positions changed often in the varying wind conditions from light to medium (4 - 12 kts) air on Saturday and heavy air on Sunday (6 - 14 gust to 20kts).
Ethan and Trudy were amazingly fast, they had a great regatta and our Saturday evening snacks and de-briefing he told us his secrets. You will just have to go next year to hear them.... John Jennings and Susan Wallace also had great boat speed and sailed their boat fast and flat. When we were close, I was watching him like a hawk to learn his downwind moves. Boy was that a lot of fun reaching in the heavy air. Craig and his son Collin Tovell also had a great regatta they were always in the mix and a force to be watched. Dede and Beau Plessner were tough competitors, Wimpy they were not and really got some fantastic starts. Lon Ethington and Meg Gimmi also got some great starts and stayed in the upper mix of boats. Allen and Christina Chauvenet sailed their beautiful newly painted red boat Beauty and the Beast. Christina's fiancee Chris was introduced and Best of Wishes are sent their way on their upcomming wedding in England. Lin Robson and Erin McKie, Colin Browing and Nicky Valentini and Ralph and Sandy Sponar were in the middle of pack and had their own mini regatta. Roy Sherman and Lea Sterflinger decided to spend some extra time with his boat "Rose" on Sunday bailing for treasure near one tree island. "Elvis" is alive and was sighted on the race course. A newly acquired boat by Lisa Fath and crewed by Caroline Denton found her rightful place near the leaders. Good luck and may the King continue to reign. Eric and Emily Francois came down from NY and chartered the class boat Chunky Monkey doing well. Tapp Rinne and son "BG" sailed well and challenged the next group with Alan Taylor crew Mark Payne and Ken Friedman and Ritch Riddle, Cam Carlin and Bailey Dixon. Matt Sponar crew Allie Coleman chartered a Sea Scout boat and was in the mix with Allison Martin crew Alex Brown from the Sea Scouts. A returning Windmill sailor Hal Wood sailed a wooden boat with wood mast and boom and was awarded the Windmill Classic Trophy. We had a wonderful time and can't wait to see everyone throughout the year.
I would also like to mention of our growning youth movement skippering and crewing during our Windmill Mid Winters. Skippers consisting of Allison Martin and Matt Sponar, crewing Collin Tovell, Erin McKie, Emily Francois, "BG", Bailey Dixon, Allie Coleman and Alex Martin. We are very proud of each and everyone, sailing can be fun and sometimes hard like Sunday. But the best learning is done on the water and each of the leaders started the very same way you are doing. Good Luck.
Safe Journey to All,
Sandy and Ralph Sponar