Friday, July 24, 2009

A Three Race Regatta?!

This past weekend, I was the PRO for the Flying Scot Wife Husband Regatta. It’s one of three annual national Flying Scot regattas, but it’s only three races – on purpose – not due to bad weather. Really- just three races scheduled for a two day regatta.

I might disparage the class for being wimpy, but the other two national regattas, the North American Championships and the Midwinters, have eight and seven races respectively. Maybe Jimmy Buffet has it right with “there’s always a woman to blame,” but I didn’t hear the men complaining or asking for more races. It seemed like the folks who raced really liked the format just the way it was – three races. Except for one guy.

This regatta’s that guy complained vigorously when we called the boats in for lunch without having had a race on Saturday morning. I was concerned with the quality of the races and was waiting for the best wind of the day in which to run Saturday’s two allotted races. He got in my face and informed me that he hadn’t come all this way to sail around all morning and not race. He claimed we could have had several races already. He sounded like the local Laser sailors bitchin’ about all the waiting and the small number of races. It warmed the cockles of my heart. I told him how right he was, but it was after all, only a three race regatta.

I sent him to the regatta chair, who reminded him of how long ago it was published that this was a three race regatta. The regatta chair walked him back to me, and then gathered around some of the class brass for a discussion of the situation. It seemed that some other Flying Scot sailors had felt the same way as that guy, and so they hadn’t come. It was also clear that as many or more of the class wouldn’t come unless there were no more than three races. They did show up. Lot’s of them.

Aside: According to the regatta chair, that guy was not a member of the Flying Scot Sailing Association and didn’t even own a Flying Scot.

The concession to that guy was to have an extra race (that would not count) at the end of the day for all those who wanted more racing. I announced our intention to hold this extra race to each of the 34 participating boats as they crossed the finish line in the second race. After all three fleets had finished, we quickly set up a new course (as the wind had shifted). Boats had scattered so it took a couple of minutes for the boats to reassemble – both of them. That guy was joined by some other guy who was sailing single handed after dropping off his wife at the dock. I delegated taking the finishes to one of the other power boats, but it looked for sure that that guy was finally going score a victory after having come in second to last in the previous race.

So….The idea of a three race regatta was overwhelmingly popular with 98% of the participants. Go figure. I don’t see it, but, hey, each to his own. If the group agrees on a way to have fun, then that’s the way it should be done. Even though a three race, two day regatta seems completely daffy to me, our participants were a terrific group of friendly, patient, and appreciative sailors. I had a good time working for them and would do it again any time.

As for that guy, I hope he finds sailing happiness. Maybe when I see him again, he will be sailing a Laser with a big smile on his face.


  1. Every once in a while someone actually reads the NOR and SIs.

    And, as we say,

    There are three kinds of people:

    Those who can count,

    and those who can't.

  2. If you are not a member of the org and don't own a boat, I say go pound salt!

  3. Three long races in a two day regatta used to be normal. Good for the Scots for bringing it back.