Vintage Pumpkin brings rain and cold but good breezes and tons of fun!
Apart from the rain beating down on the chalet roof so loud I could hardly hear the PRO's words at the Skippers' Meeting, the regatta was off to an enjoyable start - if you didn't count the fact that the day was unseasonably cold. Nonetheless, our 2010 Wayfarer regatta season came to a fine close Oct. 2-3 with the Fanshawe YC's 41st annual Pumpkin Regatta in London, Ontario.
Nine hardy Wayfarer teams, about 15 Lasers, and the usual assortment of cruisers and others in a miscellaneous fleet braved two days of rain and miserable temperatures that struggled to reach 10°C. This was weather that brought to mind the "good old" Pumpkin days when we used to camp at Fanshawe in these conditions and use the washroom hands-dryer to blow-dry or at least warm our sailing boots.
At least it wasn't a snowy Saturday morning like we had in the Blue Jays' World Series years 1992 and 1993. But we did get nice winds of about 8 to 12 knots. Even though they were from the dreaded NE direction, our RC made a very nice best of them by coming out into the wet with us and giving us water-based starts.
Not to be outdone, Natalie and Brian Hurst and their lovely daughter, again provided us with the fantastic turkey dinner that all of us hope will become a tradition. This dinner also came with a bottle of eminently palatable Fanshawe YC / Pumpkin Regatta wine for each table. All this for the ridiculously low price of $7 per person!!! And of course, just to keep them from being bored, the Hursts manned the kitchen for Sunday breakfast and lunches (with Anita Elsworthy and taking charge of the Saturday lunch). Especially this year, those were a life saver for many of us. Thanks a million, Natalie and Brian!
As previously mentioned, we got nicely sailable wind strengths and water-based starts in north-easterly breezes out of Wye Creek (near mark #1 above). Saturday we got three races - one before lunch - with a start line halfway up our beat near #2 and posted courses of buoys to port twice around a 1-B-3 triangle. In nearly continuous rain I expect that none of us had any desire to stay out for more races. And if we thought we had it tough, think of our poor RC volunteers who did not even have the excitement of racing to keep them warm! Thanks a ton, guys! We really appreciate the sacrifices you made for us!
By Sunday morning, nothing had changed - though perhaps the gaps between showers were a bit bigger? Be that as it may, we survived three more races - windward-leewards, from a similarly positioned start line to #1, downwind past the start-finish line to a Pumpkin mark SW of #2 twice-around, before happily hauling out. In the muddy parking lot, Nick Seraphinoff and Steph Romaniuk (Wayfarer sailors from Michigan) saved the day with some nice, cold beer!
It turned out to be one of those days where no one was eager to dawdle over packing up, especially since many of us just stuffed all the wet stuff into the boat for later attention. Our regatta organizers again came up trumps with prizes: Tim Horton's gift cards for all prize winners plus unique Pumpkin Regatta pennants.
Sadly, one of our great Fanshawe YC stalwarts over the past few decades, Len MacDougall, and his wife, Betty, have had their health deteriorate such that they can no longer get out alone... Len and Betty, you have left us with many lovely memories, and I do hope you will be able to still take some smaller joys from your life even without the sailing.
The registration desk was managed by Vera Eames and Ralph Smith. The Saturday lunch was prepared by Anita Elsworthy. The turkey dinner on Saturday evening was prepared by Natalie and Brian Hurst, with help in serving and clean up from Carleen Hone, Jim MacKenzie and Shirley MacKenzie. An unscheduled but welcome breakfast and lunch was prepared by Natalie and Brian Hurst.
A sincere thank you goes out to all the volunteers who enabled this regatta to happen. The safety boats were manned by Paul Chesman, Sjoerd Verhoef, John Bryant, Brian Hurst, Roy Elworthy, Mike Beukeboom, and Hans Schaffner. The Race Committee was comprised of John Kabel (Chair), Mary Watson and Jack Blocker.