By Dave Brawner

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There is no surprise that Jarl Wathne won the event.  However, the manner in which he won his second National Championship was impressive on different levels.  During his first six heats, which included both seeding races, a total of one boat finished ahead of him.  Yes, five bullets and a second.  By the end of day one of heat racing, he had a ten-point lead.


Mid-day racing on day two put a chink in his armor when he took a trip to the blue fleet and earned a couple double-digit scores.  Ouch!  In championship form, Jarl kept his cool, at least outwardly kept his cool and sailed on to a come from behind 17 point victory.


While Jarl did end up with what looks like a comfortable margin, his position was far from solidified on Saturday morning.  We started the day with just a 7-point spread on raw score between first and fourth.  Jarl had the highest throwouts going into Saturday but that left no room for any more hiccups.  Itís tough enough to have just one person closely chasing you, but imagine having three within seven points.  Now, imagine those three are Reichard Kahle, Dave Ramos and John Bottensek. 


John Bottensek sailed a terrific regatta but hit a rough spot on Saturday, which kept him in the fourth position.  Dave Ramos and Reichard Kahle battled all day and all regatta for that matter.  In the end, Reichard got the upper hand to finish in second with Dave taking his highest finish in the EC12 Nationals in 3rd.


Joe Walter made a big run to try to catch John Bottensek.  He closed a 40 point gap to just four by the end of the regatta to finish in 5th.  Sorry Joe, even with your bullet in the 18th race, the Florida bragging rights go to John.  Bruce Walton finally got his boat out of his fatherís hands and made a big statement with his 6th place finish, which included a win in race 9.


Al Sellers usual finish is one spot out of the hardware.  Not this time!  Al made a big comeback from the midpoint of the regatta to move back into a trophy position.  He took nothing but A fleet scores after an up and down start.  Chuck Luscomb is figuring out the EC12.  The start to his regatta may have surprised him as he won the first heat and continued with A fleet scores for all but two heats.  Nice Job.


Rick Gerry sailed a very competitive regatta unfortunately the last three races dropped him from 5th to 9th.  An incident in race16 put him in the B fleet, which unfortunately is where he stayed.  He deserved better.


In a 32 boat fleet, there are many levels of accomplishment.  Some people that didnít get a trophy did get bulletsÖGerry Cobley, Rick Gerry and Skip Allen.  How about Dennis McInerney going from the C fleet to the A fleet in one race and getting 4th place.  Also Al Dion and Doug Wotring came fromB fleet to end up with a second place.  Papa Dick Gerry made the big move from C fleet to end up with a 5th place finish.


The weather was varied and for the most part cooperative.  Wednesday, seeding race day, had the breeze coming out of the NW, which is the ideal condition for a long course on our pond.  For those of you that have been here, itís the breeze that comes off the parking lot.  The course, a two lap windward/leeward, was both fair and challenging.  Thursday was pretty much the same thing.  The breeze was anywhere from almost B rig to almost enough.


Friday was a bit tough as the wind moved way to the left, closer to SE, leaving us with a difficult course for the skippers.   The length was either a 1.5 or 2.5 W/L depending on the strength of the breeze.  The bad part was the boats were sailing a straight line while the skippers had to walk the great circle route. 


Thankfully, the breeze came back a little to the right for Saturday to give the skippers a little less walking and more sailing.  By this time, all of skippers were getting tired.  Mother Natureís cooperation was much appreciated.


Some notes about this regatta: Courses were kept long on purpose.  We used a committee boat start, which doesnít necessarily limit barging, it just eliminates the benefit of barging.  Hitting rounding marks was allowed.  Traditionalists will cringe at that but it worked.  There was a brief period when a pit area was used to keep the skippers from walking farther then they could recover from.  This was eliminated after the breeze shifted too much to make this beneficial.  Later in the regatta, we called the overlaps at the leeward mark.  This is not a perfect solution but it is far better than having two skippers with different opinions arguing their way into a raftup. 


Itís a daunting task for a small club to host the Nationals.  However, every member of Mid-Atlantic MYC came to help.  The list to thank is long but please read the names.  All of these volunteers are who made this regatta flow.  The race committee was Mark Rinehart and Ivor Walton.  They both demanded to help at the very start of the process.  Ivor is the man to thank for all of the pre-race documentation and the website.  Our scorekeepers were Sara Lettler and June Pendino.  Our mark judges were Joe Cole, Bob McCarthy, Jack Kendra and Ed Chappell.  Thanks to Don Schwering for taking photos.  Also last but not least our all-round superstar, Bob Kjellberg made trophies for all of skippers, watched marks, helped score, moved marks, set up lunches and put up with me.  Thanks to all of our club members for a job well done.


Skip Allen of Robin Yachts gave us a hull and rudder to give away in any fashion.  This unsolicited donation is typical of Skipís generosity and always appreciated.  The hull was awarded to Ed Chappell for going way past his tour of duty.  His original job was to come by on day one to see if we needed any help.  He showed up early and stayed all four days.  He was a bit shocked when the hull was awarded at the banquet.  The smile hasnít come off his face yet.


The 32 boats sailing at Laurel Acres was certainly a colorful spectacle.   The skippers, as expected, all behaved well.  Yes, there are conflicts on the course but the skippers handled them in a reasonable way without screaming matches.  The whole event made me proud of our club, our park and mostly our class.  I canít wait for Charleston in 2007.

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