President's Letter
by David Brawner

The classes are set, the schedule is set, and now all they need is you. Four classes, all native to Region 4: Soling One Meter, Santa Barbara, J, and the East Coast 12 Meter will be holding their respective NCRs at Chicago Race Week. Now is the time to start planning your trip. All the information you need is available on the Chicago MYC website, which is easily accessed using the link on the AMYA Regatta Calendar.

I am honored to be able to announce that Pat Butterworth and Art Hawes are our two new, well deserving members of the AMYA Hall of Fame. You will find profiles of each inductee on page 7. Over the years, the AMYA has had 19,000 members, but only 19 Hall of Fame members. As you can imagine, it takes a special person to join this group. Both Pat and Art fall into this category.

My guess is that by the time you read this, the VO 70 Class will be the next AMYA-sanctioned class. This active, Southern California group is on the verge of having the required number of AMYA member owners. In addition to hosting multiple regattas already, its next big race is in the beginning of February in San Diego.

Congratulations to the Greensboro (N.C.) MYC on the fine job they did hosting the 2013 East Coast 12 Meter NCR. For a relatively new club to host such a huge event is quite impression. The locals, Steve Helander, Ron Small, and Richard Wiley, handled all of the creature comforts, while imports Reichard Kahle, Ricky Gerry, Skip Allen, and Tom Germer took care of the racing activities. Joe Walter continued his fantastic efforts with the website and administrative duties. To say the least, it was a team effort.

Mother Nature gave us a couple of tough days to start the regatta. The wind was sort of sweeping around the corner, with more pressure to the outside and a tough angle to the first mark. The inside may have been favored geometrically, but the breeze was light to nonexistent. There was a lot of scratching and clawing on my part to try to recover from some horrific positions I put myself in. The breeze on day three was straight down the lake, demonstrating why this is a desired sailing location. It is always good to leave on a high note. I look forward to returning to Oak Hollow to sail with the GMYC again.

An event took place at Roger and Rosemary Baldwin's house on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay that was, in a word, incredible. The first annual Fort Stoakes Cannonball River Race consisted of just a single race for RC Lasers, and a party. The race started just off the Baldwin's dock on the Tred Avon River and continued downriver for a mile and a half, yes, a mile and a half to a turning mark and then back home. Each skipper had a chase boat, varying in size from a motorized canoe to a cabin cruiser.

The sailing instructions included rules for both the sailors and the chase-boat operators. Chase boats were required to stay out of the starting area, with engines off during the starting sequence. Planning the pre-start drift of the chase boat was vital. Being able to restart the engine was even more important.

After the start, the boats spread from bank to bank of this not-so-small river. Rig changes done in almost NASCAR pit-stop fashion happened as conditions changed around each bend. As a chase boat driver, I had the chance to look around at all the smiles. Everyone enjoyed this unique race.

The after-regatta party was nothing short of epic. I doubt that this much planning would go into a wedding reception. Roger Baldwin and his partner in crime, Harry Henkel, thought of everything from the crab feast, to the band, to the full-size Laser in the pool, and even to the revolutionary war uniforms. When I jokingly mentioned that fireworks were missing, their quick retort was that they had given that consideration. At that point, I just went back to the ice cream vender for another taste.

Ken Shaw and I were invited to be race directors for the first AMYA RC Laser NCR, held in Oxford, Maryland, being put together by Nick Mortgu. The event was sailed from the docks of the Tred Avon Yacht Club on the Choptank River just off the Chesapeake Bay. On Saturday, the winds quickly kicked into high gear, with such ferocity that even the D rigs were being overpowered. At lunchtime, there was consideration to moving to a safer location. Sunday, the winds were much more manageable, with A and B rigs coming out of the bag. In the end, Jon Elmaleh's victory was not secured until he crossed the line just ahead of Rob Seidelman to win the last race, and the regatta by one point.

Well, I have never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. When Lisa recently asked me how many sailing events I participated in last year, I took it as a test of my memory. It never dawned on me that this might be a trick. Instead of just pleading the fifth, I quickly jotted down two pages of regattas and handed in my assignment, proudly stating that all six regions were covered, as well as many NCRs. After her quick review of the list, and a smile, I realized this wasn't a test or a celebration of achievement but rather, in her case, evidence being built for a trip she wants us to take. Uh-oh...our riverboat cruise will be in April. At least my punishment involves a boat!

I'll see you at the lake sometime soon... except for that week in April.

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