Dead Dogs and Tin Whistles 2015
Well another DDTW is in the books! From a whirlwind to a lull, we had it all!
Friday's Race Around Porjoe looked like it was going to be a cocktail cruise during the skippers' meeting, with light air and sunshine. Then the front moved in, bringing fresh northerlies 14 - 16 kts just before the start of the race! Hunter Riddle coasted in under spinnaker for the win in the Buccaneer fleet, so Captain Morgan went home with him again this year. Matt Dalton of TSS in Fog Dog came in first in the Mutineer fleet, so the Crazy Flamingo went back to TSS again this year. There was some difficulty in the leading edge of the Mutt fleet out at the island. Jim and Margaret Davis were flying THREE sails in an effort to catch Yarda and Marian Solc ahead of them, when a puff hit and over they went! They turtled. When Yarda and Marian realized that they couldn't see them, they turned back and Marian got in the water to help them right the boat. They came back cold and wet, so we dried them off and poured hot whiskey into Marian and Margaret and all was right with their world again. Bob DeRoek went out with Fred Madden and they turned back early due to the plastic guide on the jib car exploding. Luckily I had some spares and donated them to Silly Boy so they could race over the weekend.
Saturday dawned with sunshine, a temp in the low 60s and a nice breeze. By race time, we had a steady 12kts out of the north-northeast. Since the forecast had called for NO WIND on Sunday morning, the fleets decided to try and get five races in on Saturday in case there was no racing on Sunday. And we did! UKSC Race Committee banged out TEN starts and TEN finishes between 11:15 am and 3:30 pm or so! A 90 degree wind shift after the first race had RC scurrying to re-set the marks, which was accomplished pretty quickly and was the only break we had all day! The fleets were pretty close together and the RC gave us no rest in between races. We were all tired and very happy at the end of the day. Ed Plotts and rock star crew John Hammerslough dominated with a streak of bullets except for the first race, where fellow TSS member Matt Dalton and Dan Kresge beat them to the finish line for their only bullet of the day. Bob DeRoek and I alternated on the helm of Little Wing. Being a lightweight crew for the conditions, we strapped everything down as flat as possible, hiked out and feathered a lot going upwind. A series of spinnaker pole breakages and shredded 'chutes left Yarda and Marian the only boat with a working spinnaker. Fred and his crew, new Mutt owner Brad DiMarco, ended up coming in before the fifth race because they had taken on so much water in the cuddy, every time they tacked that extra weight would slew the boat around and they would take on MORE water!
Sunday arrived with the forecast lack of wind. RC posted the AP flag and we all hung around at the beach but then, little trickles of windline started appearing and people launched boats. I had launched Wing very early that morning, trying to identify a possible leak in the bailer, but Bob and I were the last to leave the dock. Just as we were leaving the dock, the wind died to a mere breath of air. It's amazing how Mutineers and Buccaneers can keep moving in what appears to be an absolute dead calm. It probably took us 30 minutes to get to the course, which was only a half mile from shore. We bobbed around for a while but a UKSC club member on his powerboat, out to watch the races, was to the west of us and notified RC that the wind was starting to fill in. The PRO sent his mark boat out, dropped the AP flag and the Bucc sequence started a minute after that. Our PRO obviously had a direct line to the wind gods because it filled in enough to start the buccs and even more afterwards to start the Mutts. We ended up in 7 kts of breeze, sailing the teensiest windward leeward course I've ever been on! Ed and Jim had fixed their spinnaker poles so they were back in business. However, Yarda and Marian snuck up on Ed, coming in from the right side of the course to nab the bullet right out from under Ed & John's nose! After that we sailed - slowly - back to the dock and the usual hubbub of breaking down and packing up boats began.
One of the best things about Mutineers and Buccaneers is how much we all help each other with everything from boat parts to tools to advice. Buccaneer Frank Patch's rudder snapped in the first race and they had to be towed in. Buccaneer Jimmy Yurko had a spare rudder that he gave to Frank and Leeann so they could race on Sunday. Jimmy gave me some guy hooks for Wing, I gave Fred new jib cars & cleats, and there are probably a lot of other "donations" that happened that I'm unaware of! I'm sure Fred has a list of things to fix on his boat, I know I sure do! Bob DeRoek was very much in demand over the entire weekend as both Mutineer and Buccaneer sailors picked his brain about fixes and upgrades for their boats! Thanks Bob for coming down and sailing with me. I have a SERIOUS checklist to work on before Nationals!
Results are below:
Ed Plotts & John Hammerschlough: (2), 1, 1, 1, 1, 2 - net 6
Matt Dalton & Dan Kresge: 1, 4, (5), 2, 2, 5 - net 14
Ginette Hughes & Bob DeRoek: 3, 3, 2, 3, 3, (4) - net 14 (lost the tiebreaker!)
Jim & Margaret Davis: (4), 2, 3, 4, 4, 3 net 16
Yarda & Marian Solc: (5), 5, 4, 5, 5, 1 net 20
Fred Madden & Brad DiMarco: 6,6,6,(7 DNF), 7 RET, 6 net 31
Pictures will be posted on the UKSC Facebook Page shortly!
Ginette Hughes, Wing 1789
Although only six boats were on the line this weekend, we had eight current Mutt skippers present. Brad DeMarco brought his family to DDTW, and was a great sport to crew with Fred for the weekend. Mark Beiley came down on Saturday afternoon to join us for the event dinner and to check out all the Mutt teams and boats. The hog roast and all the fixins prepared by UKSC teams was awesome. And the homemade Key Lime pie....mmm good!
At dinner “Fleet 18” Mutineer caps were presented to the latest group of skippers joining Fleet 18. Currently we have twelve skippers and one non-sailing Mutt supporter (Gordon, I need your mailing address).
TSS has some very skilled skippers and crew as evident by the 1st and 2nd place boats. I am sure they will have even more presence at next year’s DDTW.
Ginette didn't mention in her great DDTW report that the daytime temps were in the 70's for the weekend. The water temp wasn't bad either until you got back in your boat (but that's another story)!
Just about all the issues on our boats were tactical or other than major equipment breakdowns. OK so one-piece spin poles, one-piece spinnakers, and tiller extensions are major equipment!
The majority of the six boats were spinnaker equipped which was not the case a few years ago at DDTW, so boat skills level is growing within the Mutt fleet. I know we all came away from DDTW with learning experiences to improve ourselves and crew.
Thanks to MCA commodore Bob DeRoark for flying down the east coast to support DDTW and lend a lot of technical help and coaching in and out of the boats. A nd a big thanks to Upper Keys Sailing Club for their hospitality and for an awesome race committee as always!
And finally the Corinthian spirit lives at DDTW and within Fleet 18! On Friday afternoon Yarda and Marian had a good run to and around Porjoe Key and had a great lead on us. After Margaret and I rounded Porjoe Key and set the spinnaker, we were settling in for the long ride back to the finish, but we broached unbelievable quick on a shift. And neither moved quick enough to climb over and get on the board. The 14-16 winds and waves pretty much kept enough pressure on the hull to drive the mast under fairly quickly. With both of us on the centerboard we almost got it up once then lost it, then could not get it up. Since we were on the windward side of the boat, Yarda and Marian could not see us from their position downwind, and they turned back to lend us an assist. Marian was offered up to jump in and give us the extra pressure we needed on the centerboard to get righted. They deserved their special recognition at the awards presentation for giving up their probable winning position, and turn back to help us. And Margaret and I were grateful for it.
We’re looking forward to good Mutt turnout at the upcoming Spring regatta events in central Florida, a Mutt Meet-n-Greet event to even further Fleet 18 growth at TSS, and MNC 2015 preparations.