Catalina Racing – The First Seven Weekends of 1999

Catalina Racing – The pace seems to be up this year.

Weekend 1

Beginning January 1st, at Kennedy Point, a one day regatta. I know several plans were made to attend but haven’t heard if anyone actually made it. The second and third there was a regatta at Davis Island that I was determined to attend but did not manage to pull off. A little Tampa Bay cruising was accomplished by the Pivonka, O’Neal, and Pottle party that weekend, and a little casual practice on Lake Monroe for some late sleepers and those of us with good intentions.

Weekend 2

The No Charge Regatta was held the following weekend, with 7 participants, great weather, and good racing. Results were posted in the January Lazy Sheet. Thanks to Jeff Herter for being the race committee. There is nothing like being a one person race committee to help you appreciate what a difficult task committee duty can be.

Weekend 3

The Christmas party was filled with good food and an entertaining gift exchange. Everything from brass candle sticks to marine toilets. New officers were handed the helm and past officers were appreciated. The current slate consists of:

Commodore – Jeff Herter

Vice Commodore – Marty Hatchet

Secretary – Bernice Seibuhr

Reporter – DJ McCabe

Treasurer – Rick Finneran

Fleet Captain – Willie Blevins (an appointed office that how came to be, I have no idea)


Weekend 4

The Fun and Sun Catalina Regatta was hosted by Fleet 38. Plans were made to meet at the rest area south of I drive. It was closed. Cell phones buzzed and the gathering was moved on down the road. In Miami we split tacks and I sailed into a hole, by the time we had clear air, south of Homestead, even those that left Orlando two hours later were ahead of us. The suburban must need new sails, or at least a GPS .

The Family Paradise Island Resort, was a classic (if not too classy) Keys Oasis right on the intracoastal waterway. As someone was heard to say, “it all needs a good dose of Chlorox, and nothing flushes very well.”  Friday night, we all spent time and money at the Tiki Bar. The wind was almost howling but the mosquitoes were as big as wolves and just as hungry. Someone discovered some little disposable towels of repellent that worked very well and smelled very little. Numerous tall tales were exchanged and created under the thatched roof and along the docks.

Saturday the wind was definitely howling, but we came to sail. Eleven boats gathered at the draw bridge and motored North to Barnes Sound. Winds of 20 to 30 knots took their toll on some sails and some of the less fool hardy decided to sight see. Two long almost Olympic triangles with down wind finishes had us worn out but we were sailing well so we sailed the last two races on adrenaline and chutzpah. We were grateful to the race committee for shortening the last two races. It was quite an exercise.  Joe Waters of Waters Sails brought Team Buckwheat from South Carolina and provided some serious competition on the race course and an abundance of third grade humor at the Hotel. Catalina 22 National Commodore, Don Carsten and wife Melinda sailed with Cliff Millikan, providing both more competition and some education. Two or three jibs bit the dust, and at least one Mainsail. But the sailing was great. Our past Commodore Harry Antley joined the Larry T. and Carol H. on Disappear. We had some fun and some great sailing. As best as I can recollect the finishes were as follows.

Gold Fleet

1. Joe Waters

2. Blevins/Burchard

3. O’Neal/Pottle

4. Carsten/Millikan

5. Jepson

6. Millikan

7. Cochran

8. Laguna

9. Pivonka


Silver Fleet



Sunday was rainy and still very windy, a general consensus, agreed to call it a success and make for home early. This was good sailing and great partying, we’ll be ready for next year.

Weekend 6

Spent the entire day Friday preparing the Capri 22 for an overnight excursion after the Chili cook off at Blue Springs and then had my plans changed. We drove, missed the extra long wait endured by Cliff and Joanne, and held down a couple of picnic tables until sailboats started replacing power boats. Nathan Page, Dan Deuel, Marty Hatchet, Jeff Herter, Rick Finneran, Harry Antley, and Stu Samuelson actually went by boat. A record turnout by water,  several Millikans, Penny Potter, Ralph Jones, Blevins and Burchard, and several people that I cannot name at this moment came by land. One boat, a MacGregor 25 named True North manned by Debbie and John Goad got a late start and missed the cook-off but made the journey to Hontoon Island and stayed overnight, missed being run over by a coal barge and had a great time.

I spent the next week in South Carolina. Learned a little about Lake Murray, a little about Charleston, a little bit about how to make S2 7.9 mylar genoas, and a little about Waters Sails. On the way home I learned a little about motor homes.

Weekend 7

Stopped by Teague Middle School to pick up my foredeck crew and his saxophone. Shortly thereafter we were caught in an unbelievably slow line of cars watching some poor lubber getting a ticket from one of Florida’s finest. About 7, we pulled into Tampa Sailing Squadron. Ray Laguna was already there. Darin and Amy arrived shortly thereafter. We rigged and socialized and then called the Ramada to find that there was no room at the Inn. Darin and Amy were most gracious to allow us to invade their abode for the night. Saturday we prepared to race in the Gasparilla Regatta. A fifteen mile star shaped PHRF course lay in waiting for these unsuspecting lake sailors. We observed the first start. There was no hope for barging, the locals new how to take care of that as Al found out in the next start. I opted for a less than favored position but no contact.

Darin opted to start with the next class. Multiply the speed of the wind by three and you get the height of the slop we wish were sailing in. So every time we got a puff up to 2 knots, the seas were 6 ft. (well almost). The second leg was the worst. Several boats lost steerage and were turned completely around by the waves. We managed to get by Al as he was pointed away from the mark by the wake of a big Hatterass. We tried to stay high on the mark and that seemed to help a little, by the time we got around it we were pretty far ahead of the other Catalinas and well behind most of the rest of the fleet. They shortened the course and we managed to roll a couple of big boats  in the last leg but it was a very tough race. I was really surprised that no one turned green. The wind picked up nicely as soon as we finished and we had a great sail in. We corrected out to fourth which was not too bad, and in spite of everything I loved sailing (kind of) in Tampa Bay. Rumors of a practice race in Cocoa enticed us to strike out for the East as soon as possible. I got lost in Lakeland due to the new construction and by the time we managed to get back on I-4, we agreed that maybe we should head home and evaluate our situation after a little rest. Great luck that because our answering machine greeted us with a message that the rumor was canceled. We spent Sunday cleaning the boat and looking for better ways to sail in sloppy seas. Of course we were informed later that every sailboat in Florida was sailing on Lake Monroe Sunday. Sometimes life just gets out of phase.






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