August 17, 2013
Dan Gordon’s beach
Dan Gordon's Beach
Saturday August 17th was a beautiful day for the 10th Annual Dickey Lake regatta. Clear blue skies and 25 degrees Celsius, what could be better ? In fact, most of the regular entrants were there (the Davies, Gordons and Curwoods), along with some new competitors, Zoey (10 years of age) and Jack (12) representing the Warden family in their 11 foot Pico (a monohull). Indeed there were representatives of every age decade, between 10 and 90, participating in this historic event. It brought back fond memories of that inaugural race won by Scott Walton (14 at the time) and his grandfather Hewrb. In fact after a two year hiatus both Walton’s were back (Scott now a brawny young man and Herb as sharp as ever at 81) to dethrone the Nortons NACRA.
There is little doubt that the NACRA is the fastest sailing vessel on the lake, but it often takes more than a fast boat to win this championship race. In fact, when looking at the past 9 cup winners, no boat has won more than twice and never in succession (no back-to-back wins). Wind, planning, preparation, stamina and sometimes luck all come into play. Knowing this, Danny Norton, a wily veteran and a somewhat religious man, had his son, Adam (a twenty five year old triathlete) and Yves (very close to the biblical Eve – you remember Adam and Eve), at the helm of his sloop and prayed for a win.
There was just one problem: at start time there was no wind ! It’s not that there were never light winds, as the lake was as smooth as glass and looked like a mirror. Perhaps Danny Norton should have prayed for wind not a win. But the spirited contestants were determined to compete nonetheless, so the paddling race began. All boats took off, like a heard of turtles, at the sound of Curtis’ cowbell, with the Curwoods followed closely by the rest of the fleet. Although they all jostled for position the boat sequence never seemed to change. The Curwoods won the multi-hull division, with the Gordons a close second, while the Davies (Gail & Dillon) once again lead the mono-hull division, with a squeaker over the Wardens. Needless to say none of the winners took a victory (paddle) lap.
When later asked how the older, multi-hull captain’s won an endurance race, handily over their much younger and stronger competition, Dan Gordon was quick to reply “we might be old, but we’re not stupid. It’s all about light ballast and limiting drag. My first mate Arthur weights only 50 pounds and Eileen on the Curwood entry isn’t much heavier. We all sit forward in our boats, distributing our weight so the pontoons ride higher in the water and keep the rudders up to reduce drag. In short, experience sometimes pays off”. That said, young Jack Warden seemed to know more about Hobie Cat’s than most, so even veterans can learn a thing or two from youth.
Later at the post race festivities, everyone had a great time discussing the day’s events over a cold beverage (sailor’s grog) and a light lunch. The highlight of the day was seeing Zoey and Jack win the trophy for the most gentlemanly sailors. It’s fun to see more youth in the race and older men become young once again. Perhaps next year, we’ll see more competition, and with luck and a prayer, some wind.