August 11, 2012
Dan Gordon’s beach
Dan Gordon's Beach
The Friday before race day the winds were 25 km per hour, gusting to 35 kph. Most competitors stayed off the water because of the numerous whitecaps rolling endlessly down the lake. But sure enough there was one brave sole willing to pit spirit and determination against that tempest; it was the Davies boar (Gail & Colin) practicing its first entrance as a race competitor. What spirit !
Danny Norton wasn’t on the water that day, but was dreaming of similar winds for his NACRA to hold for the next day, for him and Captain Frazer. Patti Norton on the other hand, who couldn’t find room on the family vessel was planning to race with the Gordon entry, and was quietly contemplating removing the pontoon plugs from Danny’s boat. As for the Curwoods, Eileen and I vowed not to even have the catamaran towed across the lake for annual repairs, lest it sink in transit.
When Saturday came however, it was perfect sailing conditions, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, 15 kph breezes and 20 degrees C.. In fact, it gave us time to patch our leaky pontoons. It’s quite amazing what 20 pounds of patching compound and duct tape can do for an old, weary entry (that’s the boat not me in case you are wondering).
At the sound of the starter’s bell (rung vociferously by Kurtis Norton), the sleek sloops headed for open water, with Doug Still’s boat (aided by first mate Brian) timing their exit perfectly to break from the crowd for open water. most vessels headed in pack style, straight for the first buoy, except for the wily Gordon entry (Captain Dan Gordon & Patti Norton). At first they limped down the right shoreline like a wounded animal (definite chicanery), but then surprised the rest of the fleet by catching great gusts as they beat all competitors to the first buoy to open a commanding lead. It was at that moment as we sat in second place halfway to the second marker that I heard the wind howl and the distinct snap of the NACRA sails. As I turned over my left shoulder I saw the Norton’s speed by us, with first mate Danny hanging on for dear life. At the same time ahead, I could see the Gordon boat stall, as their sails were totally becalmed. Aided by a paddling exhibition from Danny, not witnessed since the London Olympics, the Norton boat rounded the second buoy in a dominating position and headed strongly up the lake to win it. Although the Gordon entry gave a gutsy performance, they couldnot overcome the insurmountable lead amassed by the Norton’s and so finished second. In the mono-hull division, it was a neck in neck battle between the Still’s and the Davies’ crafts, with the Still’s leading most of the way until the second buoy. However, the Davies, using their extra experience from the day before and lighter ballast (Co0lin), took forst place among the mono-hulls. Wow ! What comptetion !
Afterward, over refreshnents I heard two solemn vows. Brian and Doug, thought their extra cargo had something to do with the loss, so promised to each lose ten pounds. I suggested that by running with Marg (Doug’s wife), they would definitely lose the poundage, even if it was only their tonges dragging on the road behind her. The second came from Frazer, who vowed to return next year from his new job, out west, to defend his championship. As for dreams, I have two of my own. The first is to sail the lake on a moonlit night. While the second, is to get every sailboat on the lake involved in next year’s race, to commemorate a decade of regattas on Dickey Lake. Just imagine the beauty and the pageantry of 15 beautiful sailboatd charging down our scenic waterway. Perhaps next year !
As usual, I would like to thank Pat & Dan Gordon for the use of their gorgeous beach, the participants for coming out and to those who assisted in the set up (Dan, Kurtis & Danny).
Eileen & Bruce Curwood