It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year. Old friends and new faces. New boats and old stories. Strong winds and weakening muscles. The 2012 CRAW season is officially underway with a spectacular weekend of sailing on Rock Lake, in Lake Mills.
Is this May in Wisconsin? Sunny and eighties for the entire weekend. SPF 30, plenty of Gatorade and a clip to hold on your hat were the critical equipment, while the drysuits stayed in the trailer. 17 boats made the event, with many arriving on Friday for their shakedown cruises. Good thing, as there were plenty of fubars providing quality entertainment for those still on shore.
The forecast called for stiff breeze throughout the weekend, and the wind gods didn’t disappoint. The offshore direction masked the strength, but all were quickly reminded to be on their games shortly after clearing the tree line.
The Toothdigger led an All-Star Race Committee to rip off 6 races on Saturday, finishing by 4:30 even after a leisurely lunch break. The veterans showed their experience on Day 1, with the usual suspects appearing at the top of the leaderboard. Two of our young gun F18 teams, however—the Hatch brothers and “Team Harken,” Graham Walker and Ben Biddick—demonstrated they’re going to be teams to be reckoned with this season with multiple top 5 finishes and excellent consistency.
Day 2 was a different game. Anytime you see more letters than numbers on the results, it’s a pretty good sign that some type of weather extreme was in play. Many teams chose to stay on shore with sustained winds starting out around 18 mph with gusts above 25, and even more to come. Understandably, the Committee was having a hard time keeping the pontoon boat from drifting, even with weighty anchors and 250’ of line out. This made the start line pretty heavily pin end favored, but a port start wasn’t very practical given a short beat to the shoreline. The author of this little recap thought this would be the perfect time to dip start, only to get a refresher on how shallow anchor lines can be a good distance from the committee boat in such conditions. I’m afraid the “evidence” was captured by a GoPro helmet cam, and will certainly end up in this season’s highlights reel. (Or lowlights reel, depending on your perspective).
It was great to have special guest, Jack Young, from Performance Catamarans, joining us for the event. Jack raced the brand new, and very nice-looking, Nacra F16 in the, assisted by CRAW’s Frankie Hearn. “Dad, Jack is really different on the boat than you. He’s talking all the time, and usually about random stuff,” he reported. They must have been a great pair! Really nice to have the Reese family joining us for beach festivities, also.
By the last flag on Sunday, there were just two boats still willing to race, and both were driven by Selsmeyers. “No one said we was smart,” claimed Guy! One was also crewed by a Selsmeyer, and the other a crew who apparently still doesn’t know better after all these years. It was like an episode of Orange County Choppers. Junior vs. Senior. Without the tattoos and staged family squabbles. I guess the Clay/Alex clashes are actually real. “That’s just how we roll,” Alex says with a smirk.
To those of us who had bailed, it was clear that it was just a matter of who would be going over when, and how many times. Much to everyone’s surprise, the pointy sides stayed up until the last run when in perfect unison, both boats bit it just hundreds of yards from the line. Tauntingly to the junior Selsmeyers—Clay and Alex, the senior (yeah, he gets the AARP discount) Selsmeyer and the Flyboy—JJ Johnson, won the righting contest, and limped across the line first.
It was a great finish to a great weekend. Next up…Petenwell.