What a fun weekend! I sailed with Nabeel and Steve (a Susquehanna local) in the PA Governors Cup Regatta this past weekend, and we had an absolute blast. The sailing was challenging (but fun!) and the Oktoberfest celebration after the racing was amazing. Thanks to the great folks up in Susquehanna for putting on such a great regatta. If you weren’t there this year, then put it on your calendar for 2014! Keep reading for a full write-up of the regatta as well as links to photos and video from the sailing and the post-race Oktoberfest celebration.
Sixteen boats sailed the regatta, with Ron Buchanan (sailing with Lisa-Marie and a selection of Susquehanna locals) and Nabeel representing Fleet 50. Overall, there was good turnout from across the District, which was nice to see. The conditions were more than tricky on Saturday, with light winds, a ripping current and (literally) tons of debris in the river due to the recent rains — at one point we passed by a *refrigerator* floating downstream…that’s right, a household appliance in the river — and we struggled a bit to find the breeze and the proper side of the course. Our finishes for the day were a bit frustrating, but the celebration afterwards sure made up for it. The folks in Susquehanna put on an incredible Oktoberfest party — beer, brats, sauerkraut, potato salad, “Schapps” (rum & ginger beer from Trevor) and even a Lederhosen-clad accordion player who led us through songs and dances!
We sang a bit of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHjj9o-xqQg And we danced a bit of this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=580080548719320&l=3617239719896301396 And some of this: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=580464642014244&l=6947497428324254948 There was even a great round of the “chicken dance” for all! You can find the photos (more from the party than from the sailing!) here.
Everybody certainly slept soundly after the great party, and we were all set for some sailing on Sunday. The breeze also cooperated, and we headed out in a 8-12 kt northerly for what turned out to be a great, if challenging, day on the water. On Shadowfax we did a much better job of getting the boat off the line (Nabeel had a couple of great pin-end starts) and of tracking the shifts. Despite our best efforts to play the shifts, though, it seemed that the right side of the course generally paid going upwind even if it looked really bad as you tried to get there. We got pushed left a couple of times, so we found ourselves rounding the top mark in the middle of the pack in most races. Going downwind Steve did a great job of finding us streams of pressure to sail in, and we were often able to pass boats (even packs of boats) going downhill. That was rewarding, even if we were still frustrated in trying to find the pressure lanes as we then went back upwind. Overall, though, our finishes were much better in the three races of the day and we felt like we had figured out some small part of the trickiness that is river sailing — whether on the Potomac or the Susquehanna!