Welcome to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!
The Steele Cup/Twin Towers Regatta was held Saturday September 17th 2022 at Rancho Seco. In the past the Steele Cup has been scheduled in mid-August. After last years regatta we had many comments about the excessive heat so we decided to try mid-September. Of course the big question was what would the winds be like at that time of year? They were predicted to be stronger than normal, but at the Skippers meeting we were a bit surprised to see the wind coming from the South west. This would mean downwind starts or reverse courses. Oh, and at the gate we were warned that there was no swimming, not even SUP due to high levels of bacteria.
This year we also hosted the Katherine Eavenson Memorial Regatta (KEMR), an all women crewed regatta. We had done this many years ago here at Rancho Seco with the women crewing Banshees, some even doublehanded. This year we had two Lido 14s for the women to race. Yauni Smith skippered John Poimiroo’s Lido with Joyce Johnson as crew. And Elizabeth Davies skippered her son Peter’s Lido with Stacy Werder crewing. We started the ladies first as the wind was predicted to get stronger in the afternoon. The plan was to run 3 races for the women before running 5 for the guys.
At the first start the wind was probably around 5MPH and RC gave them a half A, just to mark 1 and back. Even though this was her first time skippering a Lido, Yauni won the first race. By the 2nd race the wind had built a little with gusts to 10+, and a bit shifty. RC called for a REVERSE A. Yauni and Joyce missed the “reverse” so they sailed the wrong course giving Elizabeth the win. By this time the winds were stronger and even more shifty giving the ladies more trouble than they were expecting so both skippers mutually agreed to retire.
With the building wind, and no one to race against, Peter decided to hang out on the Werder’s Dewitt instead of struggling with the Lido (good call). There were only four Banshees, Jeff Nelson, Gary Preston, Rob Cram and myself. The Banshees did get in 5 races but the wind just kept building. And with the puffs and shifts we were in survival mode (hence the Mr. Toad reference). In the fourth race, Rob, Gary and I were neck and neck following Jeff as we were approaching mark 2. I capsized while jibing and of course the first thing I thought of going over was keep your mouth shut when I hit the water. I got back up and finished last, spitting every now and then to get rid of the imaginary lake water that might have touched my lips.
After four races, Jeff was ahead with four bullets and we had a three-way tie for 2nd with 12 points each. Before the 5th race, I decided I had had enough, but I planned to start and take a DNF. Then I saw Gary retire and with 20 seconds to go, both Jeff and Rob were way off the start line. I also noticed the wind had calmed a bit. So after starting, I half-heartedly sheeted in and grabbed my course sheet to double check. Yep, 1-3-Finish, so I decided to keep racing! I held off Jeff and Rob to win the last race and take Second overall.
The quote of the day was from Rob. As he and I were sailing downwind to mark 2 in the third race, each passing the other only to give it back, I yelled “we’ve got quite the drag race here.” He yelled back “yeah, it’s like Huntington except instead of worrying about hyperthermia we have worry about catching a virus!”
A big thank you goes to Karen Preston for taking on Race Committee, pretty much single handed! Everyone had a great time at the awards/BBQ. Elizabeth Davies won the tiebreaker to take the KEMR and Jeff Nelson won the Steele Cup. Congratulations to you both!
Steele Cup: 1 - Jeff Nelson, 2 - Kerry Johnson, 3 - Rob Cram, 4 - Gary Preston
KEMR: 1 - Elizabeth Davies, 2 - Yauni Smith