The excitement began with the Macalpine Downie/Gibbs Regatta at Kerr Lake, Henderson NC.  This regatta (held in honor of the designers of the Buccaneer 18) boatsted 14 Buccaneers on the starting line, one of the largest turnouts of any one design class  I’ve seen this season.  Four teams from Southern Maryland attended the event, Jimmy & Kristi Yurko, Mark Gyorgy & John Durniak, Eric & Eric Smith, and Brian O’Hara & Debbie Wessler.  Buccaneer base camp was set up at the home of local Bucc sailor Tom Wille. There folks enjoyed the BBQ, hot tub, pool side party telling tall tales till the wee hours of the morning put them to bed in their tents. The sailing was extremely exciting, seven races were sailed with fresh breeze both Saturday and Sunday. The regatta included several top competitors from around the country, with boats from as far away as Denver coming to race.  The top SMSA boat was the Jimmy & Kristi Yurko’s “BAMF!”  with a 2nd place overall just two points out of first after seven races.
Western Carolina Sailing Club’s “Hospice” regatta
    For the 2nd week in a row, SMSA sailors traveled out of state to hit the line with a fleet of 14 Buccaneers.  This time on the road were team “Christopher Dragon” with Jim Whited & crew Jen Miller, as well as shore support Rob & Evie Miller.  A few miles behind on the road (but unfortunately several hours behind due to construction on I95 in Richmond) were teams “BAMF!”, Jimmy, Kristi & Annabelle Yurko, and “Dragon Warrior” Eric Smith & Andrea Royer.  Both groups drove the night Thursday to provide plenty of time for rest & prep on Friday, which was needed as WCSC is a 500 mile drive, but a dream destination.  The “Hospice” regatta is sailed on Lake Hartwell, in Anderson, SC which is on the South Carolina/Georgia border.  WCSC’s grounds occupy 17 acres (10 of which is an Island) on the lake.  Local sailors have a big advantage, as the unique landscape & numerous islands in the lake make for very peculiar local weather patterns.  Saturday’s conditions were warm with moderate winds providing close racing in the 14 boat fleet.  “BAMF!” was tied for first in class at the end of Saturday but losing the tiebreaker, by virtue of only having won one race to Rick Scarborough’s “Sanquine” of Alabama’s two wins.  Sunday’s forecast was for ZERO mph winds…the glassy smooth lake at sunrise didn’t make it look good for an SMSA upset.  We prepped the boats & paddled, ooched, sculled our way out to the racecourse looking for opportunity.  Enough wind to race did fill in, and the first race of the day was the turning point.  “BAMF!” got out to an early lead, by taking a port tack approach on a port favored/pin favored line & crossed the entire fleet at the gun.  The two lap windward/leeward race ended with “BAMF!” in first, but more important, “Artful Dodger”, of WCSC, and “Christopher Dragon” (Jim Whited/Jen Miller) in front of “Sanguine” as well.  The 2nd & final race of the day & last for the series ended in a drift, the fleet was just barely making way to the downwind finish.  First place in the race was taken by Artful Dodger, but BAMF! & Sanguine had many lead changes and the fleet was tight, so either boat could win the regatta.  When the two boats approached the finish line a midst a four boat overlap Sanquine was ahead of BAMF!, but only one boat squeezed between them…1st place overall goes to the SMSA team!
    One final interesting piece of information about the Hospice regatta is that it is part of a national Hospice series.  This particular regatta raised $54,000 for the local hospice organization in western South Carolina.  The winners of their respective fleets were placed in a drawing to win a opportunity to race in the national Hospice regatta in spring of 2013 in St. Petersburg Florida.
“Bucctoberfest” at SMSA
Bucctoberfest is an informal regatta we’ve hosted at SMSA for the past three or four years.  This year’s event drew over ten boats, but the cool air and strong breezes left some of the crews ashore, or motivated them to volunteer for RC.  By the time the races started we saw nine boats racing. Originally this event began as a fleet building activity, but has now grown into something that seems to be drawing attention to SMSA on a wider picture.  The spirit of the regatta is pure fun.  The regatta is somewhat traditional in nature, as we do run some conventional racecourses, but we don’t hold to all the conventions….  To give you an idea of what is a little different about this event, we will take a closer look at the how it works.  First of all when sailors cross tacks in this event the rules dictate the boats to shout Arrgh! if crossing, or to shout Quack when ducking.   Also the regatta is scored a little different.  We score the event on a High Point system, the team with the MOST points at the end of the day wins.  You get a point for every boat you beat in a given event, as well as other contests such as who can bring in the most new crew, or who gets to the dock first.  In an effort to level the playing field the regatta is also seeded, and you get the points for your seed, so the 12th seed boat starts with 12 points, and the first seed boat starts with 1 point.  The first race of Bucctoberfest is from the dock, to the starting area.  Sure, we all know that every regatta starts this way, but this regatta awards points to the teams that get there first!  From there we start turning things around a little.  The next race of this year’s Bucctoberfest was a Poker Run.  Coolers, buckets & other marks were placed around the racing area with objects inside for crews to pick up.  Crews could pick up their items in any order, and crews could round the marks in any direction, as well they could cross the start/finish line in any direction…but you had to get to each mark and cross the line twice to be scored….This allowed for a great deal of creativity, as the eventual winners (John & Andrew Herbig) realized there was no reason to wait for the RC to signal go…since there was no way to be OCS!  In addition to the on the water activities we add some shoreside games such as the poker hand.  Once back on shore the teams traded their loot for poker cards, and had a one hand game of stud poker to earn more points.  9 Buccaneers compted in the event, and all had a great time.  The winds were stiff, and the competition was tight.  There were smiles on every boat, on and off the water.  We brought new faces into the game, and into the club.
The next themed event we’re planning on running is the “Freeze Your Bucc Off” regatta in early December.