Jim Bowers, with Lydia Brown as crew, eeked out the team of Ted Ferrarone and Meredith Killion by 2 points to once again claim the season finale of the Interclub frostbite season. Not far behind was Bill Rothwell / Linda Epstein in third, followed by Simon Strauss / Annie Paton who came on strong on Sunday to get by the top local tandem of Doug Kaukeinen / Adam Gesner to round out the top five. Conditions were light on Saturday under cloudy skies with crews only able to sit on the (windward) rail in parts of the final races on Sunday. One redeeming factor was that the fleet had all of the well-protected Irondequoit Bay to themselves all day Saturday and with a few exceptions Sunday so the only waves were from the busy-as-beavers mark boats who set meticulous courses – both long and short – both days under the discerning eye of PRO Robert Mendenhall and his RC team.
Led by regatta chair Ralph Simpson, the seemingly bottomless cast of support volunteers of the Rochester Canoe Club pulled out all the hospitality stops to welcome the small but energetic group of 12 teams. Food and sailing beverages flowed from morning to night time. I think I can speak for all those who attended that everyone went home, tired-yet-energized, nourished and entertained.
Back to the sailing, two highlights come to mind. One was watching the slug-fest of the two front-runners all weekend which was fun to watch from not far behind (don’t tell my skipper Jennifer I was watching it all). Back and forth Jim / Lydia and Ted / Meredith went, sometimes leading the other wire to wire but mostly playing close-quarters leapfrog in each race. Then there was the Bill / Linda pair, who were always close and in the fray, looking to sprint past the leaders like a horse on the stretch at the Derby as the front-runners beat each other up.
The other highlight was watching the local fleet improve over the course of the regatta. Remember that the Rochester Fleet sails IC’s single-handedly the rest of the year so you could see the rusticles of how to play the double-handed game flake off with each race. Signs of skippers standing up on downwind legs (a typical technique for single-handing these high-performance boats) early in the series gave way to more traditional positions. And the pack got tighter as the weekend progressed.
As has been the custom for over a dozen years, the Wharf Rat trophy was awarded to the team with the highest finishes in a series of pre-selected regattas including the Nationals. This year it was Ted Ferrarone who took home the trophy by barely a 2% margin of total points over Simon Strauss.
–Report by Art Rousmaniere