Thirty landsailors travelled this past weekend to Loring Air Base in Aroostook County, Maine, for the second landyacht regatta at this amazing venue. Jim Nordhaus, from Madison, Wisconsin, is convinced this is the best landyacht sailing facility east of the Rockies. The size of the runways, quality of asphalt, and generosity of the locals make this a fabulous site. Where else can you get your boat wound up on a broad reach and go pedal to the metal for two miles, and then turn around and go back the other way and do it again?
A fleet of eighteen BloKarts and ten Unlimited class yachts had great winds Thursday for touring, tuning and scratch racing. The entire fleet did the Tour de Base twice in the brisk NW wind. The wind held nicely for racing Friday. Twelve races were run on the short course, and on Saturday three more were squeezed in with light and shifty winds. The puffs would pile in at random times and places; it was great fun to come tearing through a stalled group only to get stalled yourself and then be blown by in turn.
The results are fun. Ace A Skeeter skipper Dan Clapp had his first outing in a BloKart, and just to prove that talent counts, took home third. Grand master Jim Nordhaus, who has never been beaten by Dave Lussier in a race, took second, and his protoge Lussier won the class. NEIYA iceboater Kate Morrone and Steve Madden turned in very respectable results, each winning a race.
The Unlimited class was honored with the appearance of Jeff Kent and Chad Adkins with DN 3535. Jeff showed up last year, but wasn’t happy with his wheel arrangement. This time he was back with a vengeance. Sailing higher and faster than the rest of the boats, mast bent, the only limiting factor was the thought of that rough asphalt passing inches below the butt and how quick a DN can eject it’s captain. Thankfully there was no out of boat experience, but nonetheless, Jeff is working on an enclosed fuselage, DN rig powered, version of the French Standart. He hopes to have some ready in time for the landsailing regatta we are planning for September at Loring.
He didn’t stay for the entire regatta, which opened up opportunities for the rest of us. Milo Flemming in a Mini Skeeter earned third, Rich Henning in his custom pipe boat got second, and Bill Buchholz in a Standart won first. The racing was tight between Jim Turner’s Mini Skeeter, Flemming’s and Henning’s. Sadly Turner had to leave early. Dave Fortier converted one of his orange DN’s to wheels, but had serious steering issues. One can’t underestimate the steering geometry on these land yachts. Jim Gervolino brought his new fixed wing boat, but the winds weren’t ideal. He did learn something, though.
There were a couple of boats that suffered structural failures, but Doug Morrel at SFE Engineering had them both back on the track in no time. He runs a metal fabrication shop on the base specializing in stainless industrial kitchens. Big tip of the helmet, Doug!
The other great nod to hospitality goes to our hosts Tim and Sandy at the Bunker Inn, and Lori and Judy for getting breakfast on the table by seven each morning. Not to mention Neal Haines and Carl Flora of Loring Development Authority, the amazing guys that actually allow us to use the entire flight line. Thanks Gents!
Lastly, but mostly, our race committee did an amazing job of scoring the races, organizing the starts, and keeping track of light and heavy sub-classes within the BloKart fleet. They were seen chasing after those few errant sailors without sail numbers asking who the heck they were! Needless to say, next time sail numbers will be required. Henry Capatasto, Karen Binder, Nina Fleming and Jill Marrone: thanks SO much!
With the poor wind forecast for Sunday and long travel distance for some, the Regatta was called Saturday afternoon. The awards ceremony and banquet were held in the hangar as scattered showers and thunderheads gathered outside. The black flies came in out of the weather and joined the feast. If only they had chosen the chicken instead of us. But between the black flies and the fiddleheads our out-of-state buddies had a fine intro to Maine life. The awards were followed by a terrific grill fest mastered by BB Hredocik with contributions from many hands.
Sunday did, indeed, dawn calm. A few boats pushed around, but t’was all for naught, and most packed up and headed home.
His sail was last seen slowly disappearing over the asphalt horizon.