Friday December 7, 2012 01:12PMon
This past weekend The Rudder Club in Jacksonville, FL hosted the annual Gator Bowl Regatta. The Florida Flying Scot fleets have organized an extremely successful series of events over the winter to determine their District Champion every year. The Gator Bowl was the second stop of the Florida District Series. Unique to the Gator Bowl is the Wally Trophy (literally a gator’s head mounted on a plaque) that is awarded to the district with the best overall performance.
I left Richmond with 5566 in tow on Thursday at noon. After making a stop in South Carolina to pick up my crew for this event, Bill Wiggins, we rolled into the hotel in Jacksonville at 9pm. An uneventful trip!
We planned to spend the day on Friday on the water practicing and getting dialed in. After waiting for the wind to fill in, we headed out after lunch in a light northerly which continued to build through the afternoon. We had a great tuning session with Steve Shaw and crew from Lake Norman Yacht Club. Turned out this would be the best wind of the entire weekend.
Saturday morning was very cloudy. We arrived at the boat to a nice 10 – 12 knot breeze, but as we sailed out to the course for the 11:00 start the wind shut off and the rain moved in. So much for sunny Florida! We drifted around for a while in the rain. The race committee attempted to get a race off in extremely light air with no success. We were sent back to shore where everyone retired to the club bar to watch some football and enjoy some cold beverages before dinner.
Sunday the sun was shining and the question everyone was asking was how quick the sea breeze would fill in (not soon enough). We got two very light air races in on Sunday. Compounding the difficulty of the light air was the strong tide. We had a tough day on the water which resulted in some disappointing scores. After a 7th (lost three boats in the last 100 yards of the race) in race one and an 8th (finished overlapped with two other boats) in race two, we ended up tied for 6th place (of course we lost the tiebreaker).
Final Results: http://www.rudderclub.com/GatorBowl2012OnedesignResults.pdf
Even though the weather was not the best, we had a great time and are looking forward to improving on our results at the next event in January. The Rudder Club really put on a great event and we enjoyed meeting some of the top Florida
teams that we have been hearing so much about, including two-time NA champ Jeff and Amy Linton who won the event. Wally remained safe and warmer weather for another year as the Florida District Team finished in 1st, 3rd, and 4th place winning Wally the Gator. Hopefully two more teams from the Capital District will join us next year and we can take Wally home with us!
Remaining Florida District Events:
- Port Charlotte (north of Ft. Meyers) January 12-13
- Eustis (north west of Orlando) February 16-17
- Davis Island (Midwinters Warm-up March 9-10
- Then the midwinters March 11-15
Start making your plans to join us and other travelling Flying Scots on the travel circuit. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape from cold, grey Richmond this winter to Florida for a weekend of sailing!! The racing is great and everyone is great at sharing information and helping everyone improve. If you have any questions about travelling please feel free to call Rob Whittemore or John Wake. We would be glad to help get you and your boat on the circuit. Remember the North American’s are at Lake Norman this year. Now is the time to start getting ready!