Jacksonville Regatta Report
By Joe Walter
In 13 heats, this skipper scored six bullets, one 2nd, four 3rds, a 5th and a 7th, which he threw out. Sounds like Reichard Kahle, doesn’t it? Well, it was Ed Gelina who won the B-fleet by a wide margin. I guess when you have waited a year and a half to get your new boat, you are ready for some sailing. Ed took delivery of his new Kahle built boat just minutes before the skipper’s meeting on Saturday. You sure couldn’t tell that Ed had not even sailed one lap of the course before he had to start the first heat of the day. Now I am sure someone will say it was all boat, but we know that is never the case. A well-built boat can make a difference, but it really comes down to the skipper and Ed had a very good weekend.
Over in the A-fleet, Reichard Kahle was not to be out done. After a slow start of 5th, 9th, 1st, and 6th in the first four heats, it was all firsts, seconds, and thirds for the rest of the regatta for Reichard. Through the first 6 heats of 12 sailed, the lead changed hands between Baron Bremer, Bob Greer, Joe Walter, and Reichard, with Bob Dudinsky and Harry Strunk hanging around in third and fourth. Doug Bowe, Jack Wubbe, and Tom Germer had each put in some good heats to keep everyone on their toes. Eight heats were sailed in light to moderate breeze before a brief rainstorm delayed the final heat of the day on Saturday. The 9th heat was a drifter and it served to shuffle the standings again with Joe Walter falling out of 2nd place and Brett Biwer scoring his only bullet of the regatta.
The action in B-fleet was just as interesting, but it seemed they got the lighter winds more often. While Ed was the clear favorite, Dick Reinke gave it his all by scoring five bullets including three in a row. The two Buds (Bud Elder and Bud Cassidy) each got one of the two remaining bullets for the weekend. Good performances from Phil Ehlinger, Dave Mains, Tom Phillips, Dick and the two Buds kept the racing close for most of the sailing on Saturday.
The venue for this year’s Jacksonville regatta was the lake at the Comfort Suites Hotel just across the Interstate from the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida. Two days of rain prior to the regatta made the ground a little soggy and prevented the lawn from being cut, but it was hardly a reason to complain. The boomerang shaped lake allowed for the racecourse to be bent around to follow the wind changes. And change it did. We had everything from dead calm to 9 knots and from the SW all the way around to ENE. John Bottensek did a great job of keeping the course challenging.
After 19 combined heats on Saturday, the skippers packed up and walked the few steps to their rooms to get cleaned up for dinner. Everyone gathered in the hotel bar for happy-hour before heading over to the Murray Brother’s Caddy Shack restaurant for dinner in the private room.
Drifting conditions greeting the skippers Sunday morning. The A-fleet would sail first this time and Harry Strunk made it clear he wanted a trophy with a win followed up with a 3rd and 2nd to end the day in second place overall. Baron Bremer hung tight to take home third place while Joe slipped out of the trophies in the final heat of the day. The B-fleet saw Ed hold fast to his commanding lead while Dick Reinke, Bud Cassidy, and Dave Mains were separated by just two points. Unfortunately, Phil Ehlinger who was in the hunt, was not able to return Sunday. So, second and third places went to Dick and Bud Cassiday, with Dave Mains just getting edged out for fourth. But not before Bud Elder, Tom Phillips, and John Egizi made life hard on them with some very good finishes right before the oncoming rains would end sailing early.
Everyone packed up their gear in their cars and gathered in the hotel bar for the trophy presentations. While the bar was not open yet, the air conditioning was a welcome relief as John B called out the scores and handed out half-hull model plaques to the top three in each fleet. The “Heat Wave” regatta was a success. The venue was great and we are sure to return next year.
Thanks go to John B and John Garver for RDing and a huge thank you to Angie Bottensek for doing a wonderful job as scorekeeper. I also want to thank Tom Germer, Tom Phillips, and Brett Biwer for the help they provided in setting up the event.