There once was an air base called Loring Who lay there quiet and snoring.
When along came a land yacht
and ready or not,
Loring woke up roaring.
And so it was on the first couple of days sailing. Between rain squalls on Wednesday the wind really began to fill in, and when the front finally passed it came on strong. Thursday was all that and more. If you didn’t have a storm sail survival was a crap shoot. The BloKarts were out with 2.0 sq. meter sails and having a ball. The range of wind in which these little yachts can sail is astounding. In the lightest air they set a sail nearly as big as a DN but in a very high aspect ratio. The kart itself is about half the weight of a DN.
The wind moderated a bit after lunch just enough to hold the Poker Run. Checkpoints were placed on windward shores to make stopping safer, but it was still a task to find all five. The checkpoints were spaced over the entire flight line so that those who hadn’t yet sailed everywhere had to now. When all but one hand was in, it was clear who the winner would be, with a high two pair and an ace to spare. Finally Dave Fortier ambled in and opened his hand: three 8’s and the one wild card. What a great way to win, and it set the tone for a delightful banquet dinner.
There was a significant increase in the number of Unlimited boats this time. Not only was the quantity up, but so was the quality. The racing in this class has never been so tight in the top half of the fleet. In addition to the fast DN’s, Dan Clapp and Jim Gervolino built new small skeeters with a DN rig. Since they were new boats, Dan and Jim sailed Blokarts on Friday in the big winds, not wanting to test out the new boats quite that thoroughly. But with the moderate breeze on Saturday they showed without a doubt that they will be contenders next time.
One of the bugs was a slack leeward side stay that the tire got a hold of and wrapped right around the plank. This gang is supposed to be fixing it, but it’s unclear from the picture just what’s going on. The guy behind the sail is wondering if its safe to come out yet.
Dan also built a fixed wing for the boat:
Once it got going there was no catching it.
The night sailors were back out. There was no moon this time, but imagine sailing in your DN, lying down as we do, and coming through a tack when the sail pops over. What do you see looking up into the night sky:
Of course the yacht must be properly equipped for sailing at night. In addition to headlights, as above, they had tiny lights in the valve stem caps. At speed it would appear as a ring of light.
And much like the vast night sky with stars down to the horizon, the sailing venue itself is vast. It’s easy to become complacent and take the space for granted while flying around at fifty mph. But only when you stop, or sail into a lull and simply lay there absorbing the silence does the space expand.
By the end of Saturday we had twenty races booked; arms and shoulders were cooked. BB, Mike, Kate and Steve put on another terrific barbecue under the big tent and after dinner the awards were presented. A few sailors wanted to leave early Sunday as the forecast was light and the drive long. Our hard working race committee tabulated the results.
Special kudos to Nick Nelson who’s a new iceboater and fitted out his classic DN with a classy set of wheels. Note the reef points. They made a big difference, but even reefed he managed to put her in a spectacular spin.
Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day with a fine breeze. There were enough leftovers from the cookout, so after a nice gentle tour and a clean-up we had a slow lunch. No one is ever in a rush to leave, but one by one we drifted off until all that remained was the silence. There is a book by Gordon Hempton called “One Square Inch Of Silence”. In it he tries to find, and then establish this square inch deep in the forest of Oregon. The book is a wonderful meditation on the nature of noise and the beauty of silence. As I left the Loring Museum I stopped to listen. In this place where noise ruled for its entire lifetime there was not one man-made made sound. Try as I might, there was nothing but the imaginary whoosh of a passing land yacht. Hempton would have found a couple of square miles of silence right here.
Next regatta in May!