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Commodores Commands and Comments by Commodore Bob Graves, aka ISUC - May 2015

Bob Graves, SPSC Commodore, 2015


Bob Graves, Commodore
Imperial Supreme Ultimate Commodore (ISUC)

Once again the Great Swami and his Festoons Wind Ceremony produced results for Saturday during the Smith Regatta. Saturday produced winds in the afternoon between 20 and 25, resulting in slalom racing for all. Sunday morning saw a long distance race that ensued in light wind, but was enjoyable. Congratulations to all who raced and supported the racers in their endeavors.

We have lots of good stuff coming up.  The first sailing lessons of the season are the 15th and 30th of this month, just days away.  The summer race series will start on May 30th at 3:30.  There will hopefully be eight races with three throw outs.

The NIMBY in June is in a faraway land called Fort Walton.  There are some different things going on this year that will either throw it all into a tither or make it the coolest one yet, so come out and find out!

The Rum & Rootbeer, this year chaired by Mary and Pam, looks to be something completely different and lots of fun.  Definitely wear your bathing suit because you will get wet!

If you haven’t been to a meeting in a while, get to one.  We miss you.  And, believe it or not, you miss us.  Yea you do.  Last year every board member had been the commodore at some point.  This year, none of the board members have been, so new blood is bringing in new ideas.  Come and meet them.  I realize that since I have become the Supreme Leader, you may feel that your input is not needed, and it’s not, but I like to bask in the glory of your presences and adulation.  After the Overlords junket to the torture museum in San Diego, they have come up with all kinds of ways to encourage your attendance at the next meeting.  Let us ensure it doesn’t get to that.

Bob Graves, Commodore 
Imperial Supreme Ultimate Commodore (ISUC)

42nd Annual Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta

by Merk and Lee

Friday night started out as do most of the Smith Regatta Friday nights at the beer truck, catching up with old friends and just enjoying the camaraderie of fellow sailors. Saturday morning awoke to an overcast sky and gusting winds. The seas seemed to get angrier as the time for the white flag got closer, which made it difficult to get the course marks set offshore. It soon became apparent that the races needed to be off the beach. The committee set a slalom course and got the races underway, longboards first. The second race was short boards and they were enjoyed not only by the racers, but were a thrill for the spectators from the beach, with much cheering heard. Saturday night arrived with “suppa on the ground” at the Apalachee Bay Yacht Club. After a good meal of catfish and grits everyone headed back to the beach to enjoy the music and another visit to the beer truck. The trouble with those noble intentions was that it started to rain and the band disappeared up the road to Tallahassee, not to be heard from again. As soon as the rain stopped, sailors being the hardy bunch that they are, gathered at the beer truck to enjoy another night of camaraderie well into the wee hours. Sunday morning arrived with gentle breezes and sailors anxious to race. We managed to get a long distance race in that seemed to be enjoyed by everyone. After a visit to the beach grill and the beer truck it was time for awards.

2015 “C” (Novice) Fleet Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta

Windsurfing, especially racing, is but one activity in our lives.  For some it is a reflection of their personalities and how they handle situations in general.  Judging by their determination on the course, the lives of Deb Greene and Debbi Baber are to be respected and admired.  Deb, a local windsurfer and Debbi, from the Atlanta area, sailed C Fleet.

The condensed course instructions sounded easy to an experienced sailor-“start line is the same as the finish line, round the mark and come back”-but these were not experienced racers and this was a definite challenge for them. 

That’s the beauty of C fleet.  We chatted strategy and logistics about how to round the mark-yep, would easier to sail downwind, but it results in an exhausting upwind sail to round the mark.  Better to sail upwind of the mark, then sail downdwind a bit, and finally sheet-in for the reach back.  We were all in agreement.  HA! 

Saturday afternoon was beautiful, a steady 12mph gusting to 15 at the first white flag.  Five minutes later, they were off.  Deb rounded the mark but they both struggled with the downwind influence on the reach back to the finish.  They were not discouraged, even as the wind picked up during the second and third heats, they each showed personal improvement. 

At the end of the third heat it was blowing 15mph to 20.  The running of another heat was debatable, but they were hearing none of that.  The conditions would test the limit of their sailing abilities.  Each wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to compete and advance their skills.  After four heats, we called it a day-racing was done by 2:30pm, plenty of time before the other fleets started their on-the-beach-start slalom course.

The Sunday morning pre-race discussion was mostly about the function of the centerboard, its importance when sailing upwind, and how to physically maneuver it while sailing.  Deb rounded the mark textbook-style while Debbie sailed perfectly through the finish line-real progress for both of them.  When I told them that this was the last heat, they told me they were racing one more, so one more it was.  Even with the best of intentions they were both hopelessly downwind of the intended mark.  I signaled them to sail round the next downwind mark.  Both showed excellent form on the way back, with Debbie again steering her way back to the finish line.  Deb, however was bombarded by Hugh Mac Arthur who was trying to waterstart in front of her.  This cost her time and energy, but she finished none the less. (I didn’t see Hugh afterward, nor did I see his written apology on said board-so he has to sign it at the Endless Summer Sailboard Classic this fall!!) 

After six heats, Deb Greene took four bullets and Debbi Baber took two.  To say both women sailed with determination is an understatement-they were both wonderful!!

My thanks to the supporting staff for the fleet; John Gilbert, Perry Morris, Lee Chapin, Bob Graves and the extended family of the Long clan.

Your C Fleet Captain,
Tina Mazanek

Short Boards Sport A-Fleet Kona C-Fleet
1. Chris Voith
2. Chris Graves
3. Perry Morris
1. Bob Andrews
2. Joe Sisson
3. Julea Williams
4. Mike Levine
5. Bill Olsen

1. Dan Oliver
2. Dave Stanger
3. Chris Voigh
3. Chris Graves
4. Mark Powell

1. Dan Burch
2. Jack May
3. Bob Graves
4. Linda Downey
1. Deb Greene
2. Debbi Baber


I Was THE Man Overboard!

by Dotty McPherson (ABYC)

After my 7 years of competitive racing in the Sint Maarten/St. Martin Heineken Regattas*, placing 1, 2, 2, and 3 on 51.5-foot Beneteau’s and, therefore, thinking I am “hot stuff”, I accepted the generous invitation of Huub Weijers, owner and Captain of Watergues, to try it again for the Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

It was to be at most a 19-knot wind to push us to victory in Huub’s AMF 2100. I was sure that, after surviving 24-knot winds in an Apalachee Bay Yacht Club Regatta series 2 weeks before on Carl and Marcia Bjerregaard’s Harmony 22, Harmony, nothing could be worse.

That and three ASA sailboat certification classes (101, 103, 105) completed to Captain up to a 56-foot sailboat; surviving a gale storm my first outing ever in the Caribbean on our own 30.5-foot Comar Comet, Christina; and surviving running aground onto the eastern shore rocks of St. Martin, in total darkness, with two guest non-sailors, my spouse and myself, again on Christina, whereupon I was the only one who could walk the rail knee deep in water over the jagged and barnacle-clad rocks, while the waves washed over us, to release the mainsail so it could be hoisted to get us blown off the rocks --I knew I was prepared for “this” Regatta.

The final Certification Class taught us how to save a man overboard – by doing a Figure 8 and coming to the “imaginary” man overboard. But, during the 2015 Smith Regatta, I was THE man overboard!

At the time, I had not heard of the storm in Alabama that wreaked havoc on its Regatta. Besides, I can float to China; so I didn’t think twice about racing with oncoming bad weather (without lightning), the worst of which was supposed to miss us anyway, nor about going into the water.

When I went overboard, I caught a stanchion and hung on. Being unsure of what was to come, had I not, I could have been in the water a long time. My Captain and crew were busy fighting the wind and waves, so I just “hung on” until they could help me get back onboard. NOT!

We were still in the Channel, headed out to race. Whether they had room in the Channel for a 180 turnabout, I had no clue. How deep the water was, I had no clue. I didn’t even know we were so close to land. The latter didn’t really matter, as I swim 5 miles in a lap pool; but I never look landward -- my face was hugging Watergues.

THEN, I remembered -- “THIS is where I fish! This is where I’ve caught - SHARKS! I’m SHARKBAIT!”

To calm myself and to stop thinking about the strain on my arms and the pain of being thrown into the boat every time we “tacked”, I tried to think of something pleasant – things that make me happy -- my family, my friends, my social calendar for the next week or so: hearing Maestro Darko Butorac at the upcoming Tallahassee Symphony Society (TSS) luncheon, the Symphony, the Asian Interlude Soiree.

“YIKES, if the sharks bite off my legs, I can’t get to the luncheon, nor the Symphony, nor the Soiree. I’ve got to protect my face! I can’t go with a black and blue face. What if it SWELLS!” You’d be amazed at the thoughts that run through your mind when you are in peril...”I’d already PAID for them for Pete’s sake!”

I recall hearing Huub saying something about running aground. He needed to drop the jib before he could help me, while David and Chris managed the boat in the Channel.

Then Huub came to me and reached out his arm and told me to grab it. Ain’t no way, Baby! I was NOT letting go of the stanchion. He again instructed me. I told him I could not let go with my left hand, because it is my strong arm. How do I know that? I’m RIGHT-handed. I just knew that is how it “felt” at the moment.

Realizing it was now or never, or maybe he told me to let go and swim to shore (which I still had not located due to HANGING ON for life! And, besides, I was NOT swimming with SHARKS! I learned somewhere that Sharks...maybe alligators...go to splashing waters. If I swam, “I” would be in the splashing waters and they would come EAT me!), I let go and he grabbed my arm. He pulled me to the stern where I grabbed another stanchion.

I remember at some point Huub attached a halyard to the loop in my life vest. He tried to hoist me, but I didn’t know how to help and I’m too heavy, so that did not work. I believe it was about that time that I heard a high-pitched sound and Phsssssss. It was my PFD inflating. It pooched out my cheeks and I could no longer curl my shoulders forward, causing my arms to stick out. I felt I looked something like a cross between those little Cherub Angels with fat cheeks and the Pillsbury Doughboy with my arms stretched out from my sides.

Aside from the appearance, I lost mobility. Had the vest not inflated, I might have been able to pull myself up over the stern, as I have done many times after water-skiing. You have to sink underwater and then pull yourself up to get leverage on the stern. Perhaps that would have worked, but the PFD kept me above water and created 50-inch boobs, so I could not get my arms together, nor hug onto the stern, particularly with the boat still pitching in the rough water.

Then Huub dropped a ladder. NO, not a “ladder” ladder. A rope ladder. NEVER SAW ONE OF THOSE. Surely, never climbed one. I put my feet on the rung and both feet went skyward. I realized I had to turn it to the bottom and stand “on” it. but, that did not work, because my 50-inch boobs STILL kept me too far from the stern.

By then, a Game and Fish boat appeared. Huub instructed me to climb aboard that boat and I could transfer back onto Watergues. Well, the Game and Fish boat had NO ladder. Having let go of Watergues, there I was afloat and no way to get into either boat.

The Game and Fish Officer asked my name, which I promptly told him -- He IS law enforcement. I thought he was being polite or trying to help me relax. Instead, he added insult to injury! He announced MY NAME back to HQ over the RADIO. Now, EVERYBODY knew I went OVERBOARD!!!

By then, Watergues was about to or had run aground on the south side of the Channel. Huub told me I could touch bottom. But I was hesitant. Trusting my Captain, I finally put my feet down and stood up. The water was a little above waist deep. Did I feel foolish? No. I felt grateful, because I was not any longer in the Channel where the fish swim in and out and the SHARKS go after them.

Then Huub instructed me to walk to shore so I could get on the Game and Fish boat and be returned to Watergues, which order I obeyed. But, as I stepped, I sank into the mud. After a few difficult steps, I fell onto my back and did the backstroke to shore where the Game and Fish boat picked me up.

He returned me to Watergues, where I gave my Captain the option of taking me onboard or sending me back to shore. I did not want to hold them up any longer, as I was afraid they would miss the start of the race. Besides, after hanging onto the stanchion for so long, I had lost all strength in my arms and I was shaking all over. I would have been useless as crew.

Then Huub said I was not “agile” enough and should go to shore, I was crushed. I did not know what he meant. I work out at Gold’s. I bench press 120 pounds (I know that is not much, but for me it is – at my age.) I do yoga. I climb 50-foot ladders and trees and onto my roof. What did he mean? Maybe he meant I can’t think fast enough. Maybe I should read more than I already do. Maybe I should do Crossword Puzzles. What?

When I fell off the boat, I had just moved forward. We had a new crew member who had never sailed on this size boat, who was young and probably fearless, and probably loved to heel to the rail, because he DID, a LOT. He was at the helm. He had to tack often, and when he tacked, he TACKED.

I guess I’m accustomed to sailing with older folk and am accustomed to tacking with regard for the old farts who don’t move so fast....who are not “agile”. I also recall being taught that one does not heel beyond a certain point or the sails lose wind and, thereby, effectiveness. Of course, this may depend on the size boat.

Anyway, we had four of us stepping all over each other as we moved from port to starboard during tacks and vice versa. Realizing that it could be worse in the Bay, I volunteered to be Rail Meat for the race until my Captain specifically ordered me to do otherwise. He agreed. But even then, I was passing through the cockpit. After a couple times, Huub ordered me forward and instructed me to cross over forward of the Mast.

I had heard David tell Chris that we would need to tack soon, because the Channel was narrowing at a point ahead, due to silt buildup. Knowing only big boats, I was contemplating how to cross over without being hit in the face and knocked overboard by the jib. I lifted my legs and it was at that very moment that the helmsman tacked and I went overboard anyway.

Besides being beaten up from banging into the side of the boat every time we tacked, my pride was pretty much shattered. So, when the Game and Fish Officer dropped me off on the shore, I walked through Joanne’s garage, over to my car at the Hankins, drove to the ABYC clubhouse, showered and dressed, and went to pick up Auction Items for the SCSMR Auction on Sunday. Thank goodness I was Auction Chair so I could forget all that disappointment and embarrassment, and concentrate on something I’m good at.

When I walked into the Clubhouse for my shower, the first words I heard were, “Dotty, you went overboard?!” I responded for the rest of the evening and thereafter, thanks to the Game and Fish RADIO, “I did a Man Overboard Drill and I was THE Man Overboard!”

*Kriter V (2002), Christina (2003), Boudoux (2004 – 1st), Christina (2005), Roam (2006 – 2008 – 2nd, 2nd, 3rd).

Postscript: If you did not enjoy reading this, hopefully, you learned that we all need to, not only learn how to save a Man Overboard, we need to know what to do when we ARE the Man Overboard.


Club Officers and At-Large Board Members 2015

Commodore: Bob Graves
Vice Commodore: Chris Graves
Scribe: Bill Olson
Purser: Wright Finney
At Large Members:
Laurie Levine
Deb Green
Mary Rolling
Adam Bennet
Past Commodore: Mark Powell
Board is also known as the Guardians of the Windy Sea!

Club Meeting April 2015

Promptly at 7:30 NBT, the music dies and ISUC starts the proceedings. We have extra med. And large Wind Ceremony t-shirts. Bob then realizes that almost none of the members have made it into the meeting room and in his magnanimity, he pauses to await the arrival of his minions. Once the throng assembles we have 31 members present, minus the purser who will probably be ousted by a palace coup if he doesn’t arrive on time. Cops of the Wind Ceremony recording were provided to all present to provide a reminder of the humble generosity of The Commodore.

Minutes of the previous club meeting were approved acclamation.

Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta
Early registration ends on Friday, there is not a fee for PayPal so register why don’t you?
Posey’s will provide the dinner
Good times are guaranteed.
In the regatta ad in Tallahassee Woman on page 56 our own Julea Williams graces the page.
SUP demos and board rentals will support the SCS Fund and will provide beach activities for all to watch.
Leigh Fountain will provide an open yoga workshop before the skippers meeting.
Two people are pre-enrolled for the SUP races, ISUC and Mark Powell.
Possible Kona fleet for scoring, talk to Sandy Point about charters, a critical mass of rentals is required.

Lee Chapin presents the new 5 Minute starting sequences proposed for the upcoming regatta, which will bring the rest of the sail racing world in line with how things are done at Shell Point dammit!

Pursers Report
The Purser arrived. We have money in our checking account, expenses for Wind Ceremony still to hit. The new gear includes 2 Kona Hula boards and 3.5 and 4.2 m rigs will arrive in May at the earliest.

Our memberships for 2015 now stand at 58, two new at the Wind Ceremony.

Expenses will be stable until NIMBY, which leads directly into….

June 19-21 in Fort Walton Beach. Difficult to find a perfect event site there. We will sail from Beasly Park in the sound, we will have to drive to rig and launch, but we will be close to restaurants, bars shops etc. There will be a Friday boating trip.

Rum n Rootbeer
Nothing new at this time, August 2nd (a Sunday) theme TBA

Endless Summer Sailboard Classic – talk to your sponsors NOW

New gear will get here when it gets here. May 16th is a return engagement with the Venturing Scouts. Next lessons start April 30th and is full, other classes filling up fast. The SPSC Summer Series will commence at 3:30 on each lessons day.

General Discussion
Bob the luminous points out that the Festoons band members have to pony up for rehearsal space in addition to the required club membership and event registration fee for the Wind Ceremony. Bob gently suggested that free or cheaper rehearsal space would be welcome or that the club could lend support to maintain this cultural icon.

An event will happen at Juana’s in September.

Accolades from all to Paul Hansard for his amusing little articles.
Shell Point Beach Stickers will be sold with proceeds to the SCSMR.
Beach Access ID cards will be provided by WCF at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be May 1th at Beef O Bradys.

At NBT, Baaaaab Andrews made the motion to adjourn, which was seconded by Adam Bennett (who seems to want these things to end every time), Linda Downey tried to say something about the Smith and was drowned out by the acclamation approval (which really means I can’t figure out what I wrote down when she spoke).

Humbly recorded for the majesty of Bob.

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