This is why we own Lightnings. Hook up the boat to the car, drive a few hours to an idylic lake, meet the crew that was set up for you, put your sailing skills to the test, eat a great dinner from the grill, keep your throat wet while listening to stories from your fellow sailors, sample the local moonshine, go for a moonlight sail, sleep in a keelboat overnight, wake up just as the sun is rising over the lake, relax with coffee and buttered raisin toast, put your sailing skills to the test some more, say goodbye to your new friends, and drive a few hours to home. All for $90 plus gas. What a great weekend.
9 boats came to the First Annual Moonshine Regatta hosted by the Virginia Inland Sailing Association on Smith Mountain Lake. Charlie Wardwell and Randy Beauchamp and families worked hard to make this a regatta to remember and were as hospitable as anyone can be. The racing featured 7 races on Saturday and 5 on Sunday. Each was one pretty long “sausage” with start/finish in the middle. This gave us plenty of opportunity to try to fix the mistake of the last race.
Trevor Prior with Justin Copeland and Nicole Prior were dominant and walked away with the win. Pat Phelan was more consistent than the rest of us and took second. Charlie capsized and finished last in the 2nd race and missed the 3rd when he went back to check on his 10-year-old nephew, but he roared back to finish 3rd in the regatta (there were no throwouts!). I was in the hunt for 4th and was first to the windward mark in the last and deciding race, but really screwed up the approach to and rounding of the leeward mark and dropped back to 5th which netted me 6th in the regatta. No matter, it was fun trying. Mark Buchanan, who drove in from Tennessee and Charlie’s brother in law, Mark, crewed for me and were great. Everybody got a trophy which was a mason jar on top of a glass pedestal with a sample of moonshine to make it authentic.
Two other boats from Fleet 50 were there: Will Phillippe who grew up sailing on Smith Mountain Lake with Brian Ganjei and Jessica and Ron Buchanan with Jeff and his new wife who had never sailed in a race before.
Here are lots and lots of photos to give you a sense of the regatta.