Rain stops a NASCAR race about as fast as no wind stops a sailboat regatta, which looked to be the case May 7, until the doldrums lifted and the 39th annual Great 48 Regatta got under way.
Saturday's racing got off to a slow start as the 1 p.m.start was postponed as winds varied between light and non-existent. However, aa power boater brought news that the winds were good at the south end of the lake, and headed north. Sure enough, around 2 p.m. five to 10 knot southerly winds filled in allowing the fleet three races of the five-race series.
Close, competitive racing was the order of the day for most of the fleet. For a few crews that dropped their spinnakers in the water or touched race course marks, it was "I think we need to practice more." Regardless, another thrilling regatta is in the Great 48 history book.
This year's turnout, 33 boats from as far away as Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama was a little below the normal fleet of about 40 boats "due to college graduations, senior high proms and gas prices," according to Carol Claypool, Flying Scot fleet captain. "Considering that Sunday was also Mother's Day, turnout was actually pretty good."
Sunday's races started around 9:30 a.m. with light, variable winds that required the race committee to shorten the course for the fourth race and abandon the fifth race. Regatta results were as follows:
First place: John Aras from Maryland, John Wake from Virginia.
Second place: Paul Abdullah from Florida, Alex Krumdieck from North Carolina.
Third place: Ben Williams from Illinois, Deb Aronson.
Fourth place: Harry Carpenter from Maryland, Adam Keen from North Carolina.
Fifth place: Steve Shaw from North Carolina, Mark Lally from North Carolina.
The Flying Scot, the most popular centerboard sailboat on Lake Norman, was given that name by its designer in honor of his Scottish ancestry and a Scottish theme was very evident this year. Regatta chairman and textile company owner Walter Rothschild supplied material for Scottish kilts to all sailing participants. Festivities included the Highland games of the pole toss, barrel toss and bocce ball.
Saturday night dinner was provided by Lancaster BBQ to 96 sailors and regatta supporters as Pine Lake Preparatory School senior and future NC School of the Arts student Richard Monroe, in full highland kilt dress, provided bagpipe music.
The Flying Scot has a fleet numbering 50 members. North Carolina Community Sailing and Rowing at Blythe Landing has an additional 9 boats for its member programs. The Flying Scot Fleet 48 is based out of Lake Norman Yacht Club. Even though the venerable 19' boat was created in 1956 by racer, designer and boat builder Sandy Douglass, it remains popular due to its stable, rugged design and good performance. In addition to local fleet races, within the Carolinas there are about 200 Flying Scot owners that enjoy traveling and competing in Flying Scot regattas throughout the Southeast. About 110 Flying Scot fleets exist all over the U.S. and Canada.
Established even before Lake Norman was created in 1963 by Duke Energy's Cowans Ford Dam, Lake Norman Yacht Club celebrated its 50th anniversary in April. The club christened a new 25' race committee boat named after its first commodore, J. S. Livingstone.
In October, LNYC will host winners from the eleven regions comprising the U. S. Sailing Association in the prestigious Mallory Cup and Adams Cup National Sailing Championships that determine the best U. S. amateur men's and women's sailor. Eleven new Flying Scots will be used for the women's championship.