Lightning Fleet 266             
                              Mid Continent Regatta            
        4 Races in series.   0 Races needed to qualify.   4 Races scored.
                        15 Boats participated in series

 Sail  Skipper                                   5/  5/  5/  5/    Place Score
  #    Crew, Crew                                / 1 / 1 / 1 / 1

 14834 Matt Burridge                              3   1   1   1       1    6.00
       Mike Murphy/John Huh, Jen Aljets           ^   ^   ^   ^
 15010 Dave Young                                 2   3   2   4       2   11.00
       Bruce Richards, Dennis Colby               ^   ^   ^   ^
 14636 Dan Moriarty                               1   9   3   2       3   15.00
       Tobi Moriarty, Nick Beckmann               ^   ^   ^   ^
 15081 Jim Gagnon                                 6   5   4   5       4   20.00
       Maureen Gagnon, Steve Adamski              ^   ^   ^   ^
 14901 Ian Schillebeeckx                          7   6   6   3       5   22.00
       Marc Schillebeeckx, Roselyne Schillebeec   ^   ^   ^   ^
 14766 Terry Burke                                5   2   5 DNF       6   28.00
       Edd Burke, Erik Beier                      ^   ^   ^   ^
 14798 Rick Bernstein                             4   4   7 DNS       7   32.00
       Gerry Paoli, Mike Tribuno                  ^   ^   ^   ^
 14012 Bob Ohlson                                11   7  11   6       8   35.00
       Doug Walker, Ryan Stoa                     ^   ^   ^   ^
 14920 James Chapin                              10 DNS   9   7       9   43.00
       Erin Morgan, Glen Robertson                ^   ^   ^   ^
 14193 Brian Phelan                               9   8  10 DNS      10   44.00
       Gary Lever, Christina Leiterman            ^   ^   ^   ^
 13872 Doug Olson                                 8 DNF   8 DNF      11   48.00
       Kendal Kissel, Barb Strutz                 ^   ^   ^   ^
 14718 Mark Paoli                                12 DNS DNS DNS      12   63.00
       Erin Morgan, Glen Robertson                ^   ^   ^   ^
 14324 Ben Williams                              13 DNS DNF DNS      13   63.00
       Deb Aronson, Claire Williams               ^   ^   ^   ^
 14260 John Folwell                             DNF DNS DNS DNS      14   67.00
       Rick Allard, crew2                         ^   ^   ^   ^
 14089 Arthur Merdinian                         DNS DNS DNS DNS      15   68.00
       Riley Merdinian, Murat Merdinian           ^   ^   ^   ^

Number of boats
       in each race                              15  10  12   9

Explaination:  DNF - Did Not Finish  DNC - Did Not Start  DSQ - Disqualified
                      ^ - Race counted

The Dark Side of the Force


The Force that gives us sustenance is the Water park condition at Lake Carlyle , that warm steady 20 knot southwest breeze that only raises half a foot chop and makes the sailing playground of Fleet 266. However the Force has a dark side, as we learned at the 2004 Mid Continent Regatta, it is an overcast northern 20 knot unstable breeze with rain and 50 degree temperatures.


Interestingly this breeze also brings curious wave conditions that resemble Lake Erie off Rocky River , Ohio in a kind of sort of a washing machine like steep, irregular chop that is impossible to anticipate. Our lake is 10 miles long to the northeast but waves from this direction are largely unknown to us. If you are expecting the smooth swimming pool conditions with a strong NE breeze, you are in for a surprise.


14 boats contested this event from Decatur Illinois , Green Bay and Nashville joining the local suspects as they raced for the inaugural Augie Paoli Traveling Trophy in this scheduled 6 race event.


The first race saw Dan Moriarty and Dave Young from Nashville jump out of the blocks and lead the race in 15 knots. During this race, the puffs were becoming more variable as a passing cold front prevented the temperature from rising after 10:00am and increased the cloud cover during the day. The puffs increased and made for some interesting passing lanes downwind. Matt Burridge with his reunion tour team of Mike Murphy and Jen Aljets gybed aggressively and found a way to foul Dan and Tobi just while trying to gain an overlap at the final downwind gate. A 720 put Burridge in his place with Moriarty taking the gun, Young 2nd, Burridge 3rd and defending Champ Rick Bernstein 4th.


Jen Aljets was so frustrated at the turn of events that she spoke up. It was made clear that Matt had let her down on her 28th birthday she made us we swear to improve.  This extra motivation was all it took to tighten the lowers, re-block the mast and set the traveler up for the port tack directly into the chop,  thereby creating good luck. Race #2 was a boat handling challenge as conditions deteriorated and Burridge “caught the bus as it left the station” on the first run, eventually building a 3 minute plus margin. It is amazing what you can do to keep the birthday girl happy!  Part of this separation was due to bad luck for the Dan, Tobi and Nick Beckmann team who suffered a broken jib halyard wire and still sailed on for two more laps to a 9th place. This would prove to be pivotal in the final standings.


The lunch lull almost convinced us that the conditions were moderating but then things got a bit wild. Race #3 had a rainsquall and steadily increasing breeze. The leeward gate appeared skewed and some fancy last minute boat handling allowed Burridge to sneak inside of Dan Young while Moriarty who had led the whole race chose the unfavored gate. Burridge and Young worked left into the storm and finished 1, 2. The rain brought with it a 15 degree shift that left Moriarty on the outside of this pack where he finished a heartbreaking 3rd while Jim Gagnon from Green Bay put on his own charge to close on the group and finish 4th.  The long port tack into the waves was becoming more like a white water rafting journey as cross-waves were intersecting with double peaks and deeper troughs on a regular basis. This was getting fun and these races were all 40 minutes or less to cover the 1.2 miles per leg on the 2x WL course.


While all of this was going on a newcomer to the class, James Chapin was racing in his boat for the first time. He only had his brother on board and was flying the chute in this race. Later at the rum party he said they went fastest “just before the capsize and by the way where do you buy new mast partner blocks?” What a welcome to Lightning-dom!


The last race saw an aggressive prestart and “go left show” that rewarded boat handling as some boats were taking knock downs upwind due to the confused seas and increasingly unstable, blasting puffs with near auto tacks. On the first downwind one aggressive gybe to port was met with a 45 degree header that shifted the apparent wind forward almost to the beam with the top boats all on high plane aiming at the gate. Although this only lasted for 1 minute it paid a huge reward to those who had positioned themselves well and left a “you hadda be there” aura with those who experienced it. Sailing upwind was a gear-shifting chore to keep the boats on their feet. We resorted to easing the jib out to the speader tip and opening the bailer to keep moving!


Ian Schillebeeckx had been listening to his dad, Marc, talk about his days sailing on the North Sea in Belgium in huge seas, obviously the pep talk helped as they 3rd just ahead of Young and behind Moriarty. Someone told me later that the temperature during the last race fell to 49 F, but frankly, we were working so hard we never got cold. The dark side of the water park force is not so bad after all.


The evening’s entertainment was a hot, hearty, lasagna meal and surprise 50th birthday Mount Gay Rum bash (remember the one at the ’99 NAs?) for Terry Burke. Terry was truly surprised and many limes lost their lives in the ensuing slaughter!


The standings were interesting with Burridge owning a 3-1-1-1 record, Young from Nashville with a very solid 2-3-2-4, Moriarty with a jib wire damaged 1-9-3-2, Green Bay ’s Jim Gagnon with a solid 6-5-4-5 and Team Belgacom (Schillebeeckx) with an improving 7-6-6-3. The forecast for the next day was for a frontal passage and less wind However, the dawn brought fog, calm and many cold, wet clothes and the racing was called off.


Team Yeti’s goal  (Burridge, Murphy and Aljets) was to honor our friend, fellow competitor and grand master of Lightning racing for so many years, Augie Paoli. We are delighted that we could have a strong performance with his sons Gerry, Mark and Tom Paoli all present. The Schillebeeckx family organized a tremendous event and PRO John Woodworth and his team made it all look easy with perfect race management and minimal waiting (which helped us all stay warm). We very much appreciate our out of town guests from Green Bay bringing the warm weather with them (they didn’t complain one bit! But we promise to deliver warmer weather next year.


Matt Burridge

14834 - Yeti