Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet Wrap-Up

Our Fleet 50 Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet was this past Saturday, February 9, 2012. A very special thanks to Rose Gentile for hosting all of us in her home for another fantastic potluck dinner.  We enjoyed some great food, good cheer, and a nice celebration of the 2012 racing season.

2012 Fleet Championship
We had an excellent season, with a total of 62 races run. On any given Sunday there were different winners with several skippers earning that elusive first bullet over the course of the season.  As is usual, racing on the Potomac was always exciting, with hard fought starts, crazy shifts, boats in covering duels, and fights for that crucial inside overlap.  This year we were pleased to capture a good deal of the action in photos and in GoPro footage, so make sure to check out our photo & video archive.

Congratulations to Rick Welch, Aaron Boesenecker, Piercarolo Brunino and Lisbet Kugler of Team Sinistra! They were the model of consistency putting Sinistra on the line for the vast majority of our 62 races and finishing with an impressive 1.4 average! Team Ariel (Jeff Storck, Bruce Heida, Rose Gentile) finished second with an average of 3.1. Team Resistance is Futile of Frank Gallagher, Bob Gotthard, Mladen Karcic, and some other assorted crew over the season (including Maryann Gallagher!) placed third with a 3.9 average.  Team String Theory (Chris Kozell, Liz Williams, Nicole Didyk) were forth with an average of 5, and Team Shadowfax (Nabeel Alsalam & assorted crew over the season) placed fifth with a 6.7 average.

Fleet Awards
For each of the crew and skipper awards, I have included the award description here as well as the great things that the nominating individual(s) wrote about our winners.  Take a moment to read through these nomination statements, and make sure to congratulate our 2012 award winners when you next see them!  Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the awards and winners:

Crew Awards:

High Impact Crew: Jonathan Karpatkin
Recipients of the High-impact Crew award must have sailed for one or more Fleet 50 skippers in Fleet 50 racing events.  Winners will be determined based on strength of nominators’ citations, for making a significant difference in the racing performance of the boat or boats, commitment to racing, and support of the fleet.  The winners may not also receive awards for Best New Crew; Most Improved Crew; or Fleet Helper.

Jon had done some sailing with camps prior to this year, but nothing serious.   I found him by posting a notice on our local high school listserv.  He showed up eager and ready to learn.  Little did I know Jonathan is a very quick learner. 

The season started with him falling of the bow of the boat in the cove.  After laughing my xyz off watching him flail around I said, stand up!  He did, the water was a little over his waist….   But Jon is a great sport and really got into the racing.  He manned the front of my boat all year. 

Unfortunately my season was cut short due to my illness.  But the sailing we did do we seemed to place in about 1/2 our races, including some great finishes in the light stuff at the Potomac Cup.  Jonathan is a rock in the front of my boat, and is all signed up for this year.

To measure how far Jon came this year, when we flipped in the early fall, my first capsize in a Lightning since 1980 he was calm, got right on the board, and helped us effect a SELF RESCUE of an old wooden boat.  That should not have been possible, but Jonathan was just a machine with the bucket. 

But the measure of a great new crew is not just on the boat.  When you own boats like mine there is a little extra to do.   So far this winter Jon has helped me sand down Pandora for a repaint, and spent another day helping me replace the trailer bunks on our second Lighting, another 50 year old boat you all will see soon, and I have to say, with Jonathans help will look good and go fast.


Best New Crew: Bob Gotthardt
Recipients of the Best New Crew award must have completed their first season of racing for Fleet 50 skippers in Fleet 50 racing events.  Winners will be determined based on strength of nominators’ citations, for commitment to racing; sailing skill; and support of the Fleet.  The winners may not also receive awards for High-impact Crew; Most Improved Crew; or Fleet Helper.

Bob has been very consistent, fun to have on the boat, and eager to learn.  He is interested in moving up to skipper/boat owner, and just does a great job overall.  He is always up to help on RC and has been sailing Lasers all winter to keep his skills sharp.  What more could we ask for from a crew?


Most Improved Crew: Liz Williams
Recipients of the Most Improved Crew award must have completed their second or subsequent season of racing for Fleet 50 skippers in Fleet 50 racing events.  Winners will be determined based on strength of nominators’ citations, for improved sailing skill, commitment to racing; and support of the Fleet.  The winners may not also receive awards for High-impact Crew; Best New Crew; or Fleet Helper.

Liz has been with the fleet for several years now, sailing mostly on String Theory.  A converted Thistle sailor who took a few years to really understand how the Lightning works, she has become an exceptional sailor.  When we have new crew on board she always explains and teaches them how to do their jobs.  She is there when I cannot be, or when I no longer have the voice to do so!  She knows the ins and outs of the boat, and quickly corrects problems, even before I see them.  Last year she asked to move around the boat to learn more and try new things, and although we capsized once while she was at the helm, she did not panic.  She handled everything in a safe, exceptional manner and was a leader throughout the process.  For years she has improved, but this year was her breakout year!


Skipper Awards:

Team Spirit Skipper: Mark Ewing
The recipient of the Team Spirit Skipper award will be the skipper that makes racing/regattas a fun experience and does a great job fostering a team spirit on board, improving skills, encouraging participation. This has to do with competitive spirit but also patience on board and ability to make it a pleasant rather than stressful learning experience for the team as a whole, regularly attending races/going out there and doing their best regardless of performance.

It has been fantastic to have Mark as part of the fleet!  He is always friendly, always competing, always having fun, and always out with different crew from his kids to his wife to those crazy guys Greg & Rolf.  His virtual “colonization” of Leesylvania State Park with a massive tent and incredible hospitality is still the subject of stories around the fleet.  He is joy to have around and we’re sorry to see Mark and his family leave as his next assignment takes him away from DC!


Congeniality Award: Nicole Didyk
The recipient of the Congeniality Award will be the Fleet 50 skipper who always seems ready to share a smile, some advice over a beer, makes people feel especially welcomed in the fleet, at the marina, and on their boat – and even better if they provide great lunches/refreshments/beer for their crew, or something to share on the grill after racing.

Nicole is always friendly with everybody in the fleet.  She stirs up competition on and off the water and makes racing fun.  She is always around before and after the races to share great stories, rib one another, and help out when she can.  Many times she also brings us together with DC Sail as well.  A joy to race against and sail with.

We would also like to recognize Nicole for what she has done to help build the relationship with DC Sail.  The Cantina Cup this year was awesome, and we’re looking forward to more fun in 2013!


Skipper of the Year: Bobby Astrove
The recipient of the Skipper of the Year award will be a Fleet 50 skipper who has demonstrated exceptional instances of support of the fleet, bravery, good judgment, and commitment to racing.  The nomination has no correlation to how good of a skipper they are.  This has to do w/ personality, fun, skill — basically a popularity vote. In addition to the appropriate merchandise award, there is a perpetual trophy of a wood-framed mirror.

A leader and a true “skipper” in all respects – on his boat, racing, training new crew, working with others, and even battling through an illness that, quite literally, may well have gotten the better of anybody else.  Bobby’s outstanding competitive spirit stood out each and every time he was on the water,even though his season was cut short by illness.  In addition, he stepped up to do an amazing job in managing the Dixie Districts Regatta, forgoing the racing to ensure a smooth event and even bringing us to within $0.53 of breaking even on the regatta!.  With the help of some excellent crew, he even managed to self-rescue his wooden boat when they capsized in a gust this past fall!  In my view, Bobby is the embodiment of this award for the 2012 season.


Bungle Bucket: John Kircher & Chessie
The recipient of the Bungle Bucket award will be the Fleet 50 skipper who has demonstrated exceptional instances of lapses of sailing judgment that resulted in humorous or entertaining outcomes.

During fall series #3 I looked over to see Chessie in the water, in the channel, surrounded by a blue blob, which was their spinnaker, fully wrapped around the centerboard and engulfing the boat from below.  Tom Apker was tasked as the swimmer to clear the mess, which I understand took a bit of doing, and was the subject of much discussion and laughter during the BBQ afterwards.


Most Improved Skipper: Chris Kozel
The recipient of the Most Improved Skipper award will be the skipper who has improved their cumulative score in the Championship Series from the prior year by the largest number of positions.

It has been fantastic to watch Chris compete, win starts, win races, and really step up his game on String Theory this year.  Earning 4th in the Championship Series in just his second season racing the boat was very impressive!


Fleet 50 Helper Award: Lindsay Bach
Awarded to a fleet member who helps the fleet in various ways not captured by the above awards.

In just his first season with the Fleet Lindsay did a fantastic job with the food at the Districts, pulling more than his fair share of the work to ensure a great event.  He has also brought brats and homemade salads to the fleet BBQs on Sundays and is consistently willing to lend a hand in matters small and large whenever asked.  A real asset to the fleet — thanks Lindsay!


It is no surprise that Rick Welch earned the Iron Skipper award for the Fleet 50 skipper with the most race days on the water (local and travel).  At the time of writing, some final calculations need to be made to determine whether Aaron Boesenecker or Lisbet Kugler earned the All Weather Sailor award for the Fleet 50 crew with the most days on the water.  As Frank put it, though, it is pretty impressive when the most consistent racers all come from one team…and that makes Rick one luck skipper!

Nabeel Alsalam won the Bloody Rudder for competing in the most qualifying Dixie District travel regattas.

Finally, I’d like to recognize both Nabeel and Bobby for serving as the Regatta Chairs for our two major regattas this year (Potomac Cup and Dixie Districts, respectively).  Thank you for your time and service!


2013 Fleet 50 Executive Board
Fleet Captain: Aaron Boesenecker
Treasurer: Bobby Astrove
Lieutenant for Racing: Chris Kozel
Scorer: Jeff Storck
Secretary: Will Phillippe
Webmaster: TBD (vacant)
Special Olympics Coordinator: Joe Warren
Training Coordinator: TBD (vacant)

We are seeking volunteers serve as a regatta chair for the Potomac Cup.  The Dixie District is also seeking a District Secretary and a District Treasurer.  Please contact Aaron if you are interested in any of these positions.

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