2015 Wawasee Open - Report by Lon Schoor
I can’t say enough about the hospitality provided by all the members of the Wawasee Yacht Club. This regatta is consistently one of the most enjoyable of the summer.
Friday evening is the welcoming party after most have set up their boats. A few who had to work on Friday drift in later in the evening. Within walking distance is the Sleepy Owl bar/restaurant where many of the boats ended their day to catch-up with old friends and tales of winter vacations.
The forecast for Saturday was pretty dismal with winds in the under 5 range. Thankfully it was more in the 5-8 mph range. The first race, W5, started an hour late because of unsettled winds that were moving steadily to the right and finally settled in from the SSE. There were puffs with big shifts but most boats picked a side with the right side getting a slight advantage at the first mark. Rob Terry (CR-66) and Pete Price (CR-11) got around in a nice puff and extended to a big lead on the first downwind. Lon Schoor (H-7) followed along with Chris Eggert (SL-18) , Tom Munroe (WH-77), Casey Call (WA-99), and Bob Herdrich (WA-47). Chris Eggert is a new addition to the E-Fleet, having bought Brett Hatton’s boat. Brett was crewing with Chris at this regatta while he waits delivery of a new boat this summer.
Charles Hallett (TO-11), another new skipper to the E-Fleet, is now racing his dad’s boat and he had a good downwind leg moving into 7th at the bottom mark while Andrew Fox (I-17) passed 5 boats to move into 10th. Lon and Tom began to reel in Rob on the next upwind and downwind. The wind on the last upwind was dying and for a while Schoor led but then lost to Rob and Pete as the wind went a little left. Schoor tacked away and caught the next right shift and puff near the finish line to win the race followed by Rob, Pete and then Tom.
For the second race, the wind filled back in, this time a little more right and the race got off at 1:17. Again the fleet split right and left. However Schoor had the good fortune to be buried at his starboard end start and ducked many port tack boats to end up in the middle of the course and found two nice shifts and puffs to round the first windward mark in first place followed by Tom Munroe who pretty much kept to the right all day. Chris Eggert and Rob Terry followed him. The windward mark was pretty close to shore, causing some squirrelly winds and boats from the right and left ended up rafting together after their rendition of a square dance do-si-doe. The leaders got away big time as the mess at the windward mark got untangled. Rob Terry was putting on the pressure while Tom Munroe began to fade some. Chris Eggert got by Munroe at the second upwind mark and finished 3rd. Kevin Watrous (TO-181) worked his way to the head of the second pack of boats and finished 5th, followed by Casey Call (WA-99) and Dan Wilhelm (GL-17) who came all the way from Grand Lake CO.
The wind picked up to 9-13 mph for the third race and the course direction was just a little more right of the previous race. Schoor had a favorable shift and clean lane from the right to round first and then a puff at the mark provided enough acceleration to open up some separation on the second boat around, Rightside Munroe – yes, Tom seemed allergic to the left side of the race course for the entire weekend. Bubbles, aka Andrew Fox (I-17), Mike Dow (CR-7), Kevin Watrous (TO-181), Dan Wilhelm (GL-17), and Paul Wickland (SL-22) followed them. Rob Terry (CR66) was over at the start and rounded the first mark in 22nd place – not to delay the suspense, the CR-66 team had a terrific comeback to finish 5th in the race! They were just picking off boats on every leg with his biggest move on the last leg to the finish passing 7 boats. Rightside Munroe passed Schoor on the last leg. It was a persistent shift on that leg (the first of the day) and Rightside took a port tack knock away from the leeward mark that put him on a track to get hooked up to the finish line, just crossing ahead of Schoor eating a now even bigger port tack knock to the finish line - Ouch! Chris Eggert (SL-18) bounced around in the top 9 positions but finished in third, his best place of the race. Fourth place was Watrous, then Terry, Dow, and JB VanMeter (WA-8) in seventh place after passing 5 boats on the last leg.
After the first day of racing the top 5 were: Schoor (5 pts), Terry (8), Munroe (9), Eggert (11), and Watrous (17).
Day two was a little windier with the wind about the same direction, maybe a little more right. The heavy early morning rain stopped before everyone had to get their boat ready for the first race. Boats took on fourth crew members, which helped more in the second race of the day than the first as the winds continued to build. Schoor just needed a couple of solid races to win the regatta but “stupid is as stupid does” was over the line in the first race of the second day. I know I was in 30th place at the windward mark – oh, did I mention there were 30 boats at the regatta. I can’t tell you what happened with the lead boats, but it appears from the results that Eggert, Terry, and Rightside were 1, 2, 3. Bob Herdrich had his best finish of the regatta coming in 4th, followed by Casey Call (WA-99) , Andrew Fox (I-17) and Schoor (H-7). That lucky 7th place comeback kept me in contention. The standings after 4 races were: Terry (10 pts), and then at 12 points each it was Schoor, Munroe, and Eggert.
In the last race the wind was steadier since it had picked up in speed to the 15+ range, but still with some good strong puffs. Schoor was at the committee boat for the start and had a jump on the fleet. Terry was further down the line playing the left side while Munroe didn’t get off the line clean. Approaching the first mark it was Schoor, Eggert, Terry, Mike Beesley (WA-49) his best position of the regatta, followed by Pete Price (CR-11), Bob Herdrich (WA-47), Bill Knape (SL-73), and then Tom Munroe in 8th place. Schoor and Terry got into a little tacking battle on the next upwind but still rounded 1 and 2 at the top mark while Eggert slipped to 6th and Munroe moved up to 5th. On the last downwind leg, Terry caught a puff that put him low and inside on Schoor and at the gybe Terry rolled Schoor to take the lead. [I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the asymmetrical just because of this situation – sometimes leading can be so hard to defend, but when you’re behind it’s glorious to roll that lead boat on the gybe.] Rob Terry covered Lon Schoor to the finish for the well-deserved regatta win. Schoor was second in the regatta by staying ahead of Tom Munroe and Chris Eggert who ended up 3rd and 4th for the regatta. Pete price was 5th overall.
Wawasee also has a Silver Fleet designation and this year it was a tight contest. Mike Beesley (WA-49) held off and Mike Rian (WA-13) winning by just 1 point. Third was Brad Hursh (WA-21) only a few points back.
Congratulations to all the 30 boats that attended the Wawasee regatta – we all came away winners! Thank you Wawasee YC.
Oh, did I mention that Munroe liked the rightside. :-)