|The Windmills were invited to sail this annual Father's Day Regatta with the El Toro fleet. The Day Sailer and Lido 14 fleets were also invited to round out the regatta. Clear Lake is located in Northern California and it is definitely not "clear". A relatively shallow lake with constant spring inflow, it is known for three things: algae, algae, and algae. It's also has the largest shoreline distance and the winds can be very consistent. This year, the winds were calm, then full, then blustery. The shifts were very subtle and easy to miss, so those who were on the correct phase could make out like a bandit.
In the first race, Michael Johnson was learning about his new procurement (#3066), so upwind speed was a learning process. By the last final leg he had the boat driving and through a miracle, managed to climb over Scott & Jenny by pointing higher and making the finish line in one tack. This made his daughter, Olivia, quite excited, winning her first sailboat race. Michael & Olivia won the 2nd race when he hit a great lift and moved from 10 boats behind Scott & Jenny to 15 boats ahead - all in one shift. Elizabeth & Gracie were sailing very well in the 2nd race but fell behind on the run to Darrell & MaryLou. In the 3rd race, Scott & Jenny led from start to finish, shifting into high gear as the winds built to 15-18 mph. By the 4th race on Saturday, the winds were 18-20 mph and Michael & Olivia decided to plane back to the resort and sit it out. Scott decided to coach Elizabeth upwind, making suggestions as he sailed behind the pink Windmill. Darrell was beginning to get back in the race when he managed to lose crew MaryLou on a tack. The RC crash boat plucked her out of the water and Darrell retired, sailing back to the ramp under jib only. The lake is very warm so hypothermia is not a factor in the summer. Things were going well for Elizabeth & Gracie until they decided to round the inside weather mark, set for the El Toros. Scott & Jenny were beating to the outer weather mark when he spotted Elizabeth's wild jibe and subsequent capsize. While Elizabeth bailed, Gracie hung on the boat until she realized she could not climb back in. The RC ended up rescuing Gracie and now there were two Mills with no crews. Scott & Jenny went back to assist Elizabeth, sailing around her to make sure she could bail out the boat. Scott decided to loan Jenny to Elizabeth to help sail her boat back to the dock, but during the crew transfer, he managed to capsize right next to Elizabeth. Eventually, Elizabeth sailed back to the dock under jib, Scott & Jenny bailed the boat on some screaming reaches, and Michael was smiling while watching the fire drill from the shore.
Sunday was a beautiful Father's Day but quite windy. RC set the course very close to shore to get out of the heavy winds in the middle of the lake, but only the El Toros and one Windmill (Scott & Jenny) braved the conditions. One race was started for the sole Mill, but Scott sailed it twice around because he was overtaking the El Toros in less than 5 minutes. Afterwards, Scott and Jenny went beating across the lake, hitting puffs that easily exceeded 25 mph (maybe 30 since the boat would literally shake like a wet dog when the gail blew through). The point of beating across the lake was to be able plane back on a screaming broad reach, surfing down the wind-driven waves and being hosed by emerald green spray.
The success of the regatta was attracting a competitive skipper (Michael Johnson) into the fleet. Michael has sailed Flying Dutchman's and 5-0-5's in a previous life, so he was happy to climb back into a high-performance, low-tech dinghy that he and his 9-year daughter can sail together. Olivia was agile, fearless, and smiling the entire time - so I think we have a new father-daughter team, following the trend of Scott-Jessica-Jenny.
Darrell has a summer series scheduled at Lake Yosemite throughout the summer. The next big traveling regatta will be the Big Lagoon Regatta, north of Arcata, over the Labor Day weekend. Sailed on an inland lagoon separated from the Pacific Ocean by a major sand spit, this regatta has redwoods, fog, and a unique sailing experience. It's a long drive for just about everyone, so having Labor Day to drive home is a savior.