It was a beautiful weekend to race the Lightning at the 4th Annual Moonshine Regatta hosted by Virginia Inland Sailing Association (VISA) at Smith Mountain Lake. Randy and Lauren Beauchamp, their families, and all of the folks at VISA worked hard to make this a regatta to remember and showed the hospitality that the area is known for. Four fleet 50 boat Lisa-Marie, Bob Gotthardt, Alex Thomson/ Will Phillippe, and Ron Buchanan made it to the regatta and Bruce Heida was sailing with the Kelly’s from SSA. Bianca and Karen were new crew who came for the regatta.
Fleet members Lisa-Marie and Jim Lane and Bob Gotthardt made it down early enough to sail and tune the boats on Friday. They made the local news that captured some great video that you can see here: http://www.wdbj7.com/news/local/racers-practice-for-moonshine-regatta/32312840
My boat left DC Friday midafternoon and other than some occasional rain showers it was a largely uneventful trip out 66 and then down 81. I always enjoy the drive in the spring to see the mountains changing color with the yellows of the forsythias, the fushia of the red bud, and dog woods blooming. We made it early enough to stop for ice cream at the Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, before having dinner at Moosie’s, and then to drop the boat off at VISA.
I woke up early Saturday morning I guess from the anticipation of sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast and had a chance to capture the sunrise over the lake.
Early Saturday Morning at Smith Mountain Lake
Fortunately, the winds filled in and by the time we were ready to race it was blowing 12 to 15 out of the northwest with some occasional puffs. The northwest winds allowed the PRO to set a course to race up and down the main body of the lake. We had 6 windward / leeward races between noon and 3:30 or so with a mix of single lap and twice around. The single lap races really emphasize the importance of a good start because everyone stays close together and there are limited opportunities to recover.
The party on Saturday night was a chance to recap the racing and enjoy Carolina style pork bbq along with all of the sides and fixins. As always, the entire Lightning / VISA crowd was so super friendly and hospitable. My family came for the day and we brought Alex’s wife and they had a great time during the day watching the racing from shore and chatting with people, and were warmly welcomed at the party by the sailing crowd as well.
There wasn’t much wind when we started trickling in to the club on Sunday for a 9:30 first warning signal. The RC postponed ashore while we waited for the wind to fill in. After about 45 mins ashore, the RC headed out and we followed them in a light but building SW breeze. The wind was roughly eight when we started and then dropped during the race several boats were unable to reach the finish before time expired as the wind died. Alex had his best start of the weekend coming up from the committee boat with speed after everyone else went down the line. This allowed us to get clear air and put us close to the layline. Charlie Wardwell skippering the Beauchamp’s Past Due and the Constance Brother’s managed to beat us to the windward mark and achieved some separation on the downwind but we managed to preserve our lead on the rest of the fleet. With little wind to race in the racing was called and we paddled to shore.Hill Billy crystal (mason jars on pedestals) was presented to the winners and we reluctantly hitched the boat up to head home after a relaxing weekend. PRO T.J. Witten in addition to doing a great job managing the racing took plenty of photos that are available here: http://tjwitten.zenfolio.com/p60241689