Third Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser Regatta

Cool but dry conditions greeted sailors for the Third Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser Regatta on Sunday September 24, 2023 in Strafford, NH. Winds were 3-6 mph from the East, except when they were North, or Northeast or even Southeast sometimes. The regatta was originally scheduled for a couple weeks earlier, but the weather forecast was lousy; therefore the 2-week postponement. Some people who were registered for the original date could not make the new date, but some new boats did come. I know that Lindalee was especially sad to miss what would have been her first RC Laser regatta. 12 sailors ended up participating and everyone had a great time.

Bow Lake is the 11th largest lake in New Hampshire – about 1100 acres. Fresh water with no weeds (!) makes for great sailing. We race close to shore, and sailors sit or stand on one of the boats at the dock, on the dock or on the deck. It keeps everyone close together and adds to the comradery. It was a chilly day so not too many human spectators out on the lake, but a couple of loons kept a watchful eye from out beyond the windward mark.

We set a once around windward-leeward course with the start/finish line in the middle of the course. There was wind coming from two directions which met in the middle of our course and sometimes caused big shifts, sometimes created big holes, and sometimes had some great puffs. At the start of the day, it was a mixture of A and B sails; by the end of the day almost everyone was using an A sail. We even saw a couple of nose dives downwind! But nothing that could compete with Glenn’s nosedive in Sarasota this past winter, a photo of which was featured on the Junior trophies.

Tim Wright and Paul McBride came down from Wolfeboro, NH to sail. Paul sailed 623 borrowed from Don Cundy again and got better as the day went on and he got more used to the RC Laser, while Tim sailed 94 that he bought this past winter. Glenn Chalder 42 got the longest drive award, coming from about 3 hours away in CT, while Fred Skeels 38 was second longest drive coming from Vermont. A veteran RC sailor, Fred is new to RC Lasers.

Kate Homet, who sails Lightnings on Bow Lake and elsewhere, sailed an RC boat (borrowed #71 from Michael Hoydis) for the first time ever. And we were thrilled to have three kids 13 and under racing with us in borrowed boats. Christian Baker is 13 years old; Grant Baker and Tripp Grant are 8. Grant and Tripp worked as a team, sharing a borrowed boat 00, while Christian sailed borrowed 57, later in the day switching to A-sail 80. The kids are siblings and cousins; parents Stephanie, James and Lindsey were on hand to help them out as needed. I predict next year the parents will be sailing their own boats and the kids will be helping them! Local regulars Michael Hoydis 82, Bob Shapiro 17, Nathaniel Hendrickson B (yeah, his 2-digit sail number was B, later A-sail 72) and Rob Donle 96 (later A-sail 11) rounded out the fleet.

All told we had 5 sailors under 30, one woman sailor, 5 borrowed boats and a bunch of borrowed A-sails. In a switch from a typical RC regatta, 8 of the 12 sailors were NOT retired! That bodes well for the future. Great to see diversity in the fleet. Sailors came from throughout AMYA Region 1- from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine, great representation.

After some food and drink, a skippers meeting and marks being set, it was time for some racing. Bob Shapiro started out hot, winning the first race and staying in first place thru 11 races. But later in the day Tim Wright fired off a string of bullets to win the regatta, while Michael Hoydis took some bullets and had all good finishes, to squeeze into second place overall, 1 point ahead of Bob in third place. Apparently, Bob needed a chocolate bar or something to wake him up late in the day – or less chili – as he had 4 sixth place finishes in the last 6 races to fade fast. As in the fable, the hare did not win. Glenn Chalder was very consistent and sneaky good to end up 4th overall. And Nate Hendrickson finished strong to take 5th place overall. At the end of 17 races, Tim had won 7 races, Michael 4 and Bob, Glenn and Nate 2 each.

Nate Hendrickson showed up late after the skippers meeting and just in time for the first race. Sometime in the afternoon he learned that it was OK to hit the windward and leeward marks. Oops, he had been giving them wide berths. That will teach you to miss the Skippers Meeting! After that, and a switch to an A-sail, he got two firsts and a second in the last 6 races for a great comeback which snuck him into 5th place, the final podium position. Fred missed out on the podium by 3 points, having sailed very consistently except for the first couple and last couple of races.

Rob Donle and Kate Homet, who sail together on a Lightning battled back and forth all day. Rob had a bunch of thirds and fourths which got him into 7th place. Kate (remember, never touched an RC boat of any kind before this regatta) learned quickly and grabbed a third and a fourth and also grabbed the nickname of Port Tack Kate. 17 races and she started (well, tried to) them all on port tack at the pin; she absolutely nailed a couple of the starts, putting her in 8th place overall. And folks, she sailed a boat borrowed from Michael Hoydis in this one, but I suspect she will have her own by the time we get to the next regatta (or by next week), she is hooked!

Paul McBride sailed with the B-sail all day; that may have held him back during some of the lighter winds. As soon as Paul gets more practice in the RC Laser and an A-sail, he will be a force!

Christian Baker has been borrowing a boat from Ned Hinds for the last few weeks, is totally pumped and has been practicing every chance he gets. And darn was he good! He had to leave after 11 races and surely if he could have stayed would have finished ahead of one or two of the adults. I have a feeling that he is asking Santa for something with 2 servos and a keel that will not fit in his Xmas stocking.

Eight year old cousins Grant Baker and Tripp Grant formed a team and did a great job sharing a boat borrowed from Glen and Tara Bailey. Their best finish was 6th place, middle of the fleet, which was amazing! They had to leave after 7 races, but we know they will be back next year. I cannot tell you how great it was to hear the excitement coming from these kids! Trophies were presented to the top three Junior sailors. Special thanks to Glenn for posing for the picture on the kids trophies.

In the end, the top 3 finishers were the same as last year. New to the regatta Glenn kept Nate from repeating his last years 4th place finish, pushing him down one spot. Top 5 finishers all received embroidered tote bags while the top 3 also received AMYA green chevrons.

Huge thanks to all who helped; embroidered tote bags for all! BB All Business Wright was Score Keeper for the second year in a row. Margo Magic Chef Krukonis cooked up a storm with short rib chili, cornbread, chocolate chip cookies, apple strudel and more on the lunch menu, and played Hostess-With-The-Mostest all day long. Race Director Ryan Rules Gershuny ran a tight regatta managing to get in 17 races, calling the finish, calling over-earlies, deciding to abandon one race when the wind died to nothing right after the start, calling for bio breaks when the wind took a breather and keeping everything humming along. Alan Math Whiz Estees did real time score aggregation with detail scores always available on the big wooden scoreboard, while also updating the Leader Board after every couple of races. Marisol Media Maven Shapiro took video of all the race starts and photos during the races, and earned high school community service hours for doing that. And Lisa Long Lens Shurtleff stopped by for a few hours for the second year in a row to take closeup photos of the action, thank you Lisa!

Final results after 17 races with 3 throw-outs: (Note: As is often the case, throw-outs did not change any positions in the regatta)

Sail Number(s) – Sailor – Total Points – Net Points after Three Throw-outs
1. 94 Tim Wright 35 points, 23 net
2. 82 Michael Hoydis 48/34
3. 17 Bob Shapiro 53/35
4. 42 Glenn Chalder 66/46
5. B / 72 Nathaniel Hendrickson 105/76
6. 38 Fred Skeels 108/79
7. 96 / 11 Rob Donle 114/81
8. 71 Kate Homet 130/98
9. 623 Paul McBride 146/115
10. 57 / 80 Christian Baker 154 / 118
11. 00 Grant Baker / Tripp Grant 190 / 154
Link above shows an album of 321 photos, and 17 videos of the starts. It’s a ton of media not curated but there are lots of great pics and videos. There are 4 pages of media in this album so do not miss clicking thru the pages to see them all. Credit for most videos goes to Media Maven Marisol Shapiro; photos from Margo Krukonis, Paul McBride and B.B. Wright.
The above link goes to an album with 85 high quality photos from galleried local photographer Lisa Shurtleff. She took over 500 photos so if you would like a missing one, let us know.

Please join us September 8, 2024 for the Fourth Annual Bow Lake Sailing RC Laser regatta. It will also be the AMYA Region 1 RC Laser Championship regatta, red chevrons.