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“Some of it is magic. Some of it is tragic. But I had a good life all the way.” Jimmy Buffet’s philosophy permeated our Fleet Regatta experience throughout the day. By the end of the event, members all left for home feeling their day truly was magic, as we continue to live the good life!

"Mother Mother Ocean I heard you call. Wanted to sail on your water since I was three feet tall." (A Pirate Looks at Fifty)

As always seems to be the case with Regattas, some apprehension builds before the event with regards to weather forecasts. Two days prior to our event the winds were strong and everyone hoped that they would become manageable for a fun Fleet Regatta. And of course, the weather turned out to be ideal for one of the best yet!

The race this year was a “Bang and Back Race”, in which all boats sail the same course, and then at a time selected by the Principal Race Officer, all boats reverse their course and sail the same course back to the finish line, which was previously the start line. (Strategies to note to give one the upper hand in this race: 1. It can be to your advantage to start the race just under the 5minute close out time. 2. Monitor Channel 16 closely, so you know when to turn your boat around.)

Ten boats participated in the race and enjoyed winds as high as 12 knots and as low as 6. Prairie Girl was invited to participate as an observer aboard PYRAT this year with the understanding that she wouldn’t be crewing…(Could she be milking this 'broken ribs' thing just a little too far?)

Don Graham provided Silverwood for the race starts and finishes and for setting the start line. Joe Skipsey was the Principal Race Officer aboard Silverwood.   Everyone remembers Joe’s notoriety over the “Skipsey Knot”, but what you may not know is that we have another infamous knot-maker. That’s right members- Don Graham was towing his dinghy and buoy to mark the start line and wouldn’t you know it, his knot didn’t hold and his buoy and dinghy started drifting. Eric and Dick rescued the drifting flotsam before it kissed the rocks. (He thought he got away with it without anyone noticing, but unfortunately for Don, Prairie Girl happened to hear about it.) Seriously though, the start was well organized without any near collisions and everyone appeared to be on their best behavior.

Prairie Girl can only comment on what was observed on PYRAT during the race, although some stories did circulate later during the celebration at the Golf Club. It seemed the laughs never stopped the entire 3 hours on the water… It was supposed to be a FUN Regatta, after all. Everyone on PYRAT participated in crewing and helming, minus Prairie Girl. There appeared to be a few communication problems between Dick and Yvonne when she insisted on questioning PYRAT’s GPS, as she sought to find her depth, and Dick refused to acknowledge her question, as she was incorrectly referring to PYRAT’s chart plotter… uh oh! (He does have a reputation for being a stickler when it comes to using correct nautical terms and protocols!) Oh yes, and didn’t the crew chuckle when Len noticed that all the other boats had turned around and were heading in the opposite direction? Hmmm, it seems their CAPTAIN had forgotten to set his radio to the correct channel. (Dick blamed this oversight on all the distractive feminine chatter aboard - of course he did!) And finally, when PYRAT squeezed past the Finish Line at EXACTLY 3:00 (or did we?), the crew decided NOT to admit they were included in the helming… Can you guess why? Oops! I think Prairie Girl forgot the pact they made before setting out, “What HAPPENS on PYRAT, STAYS on PYRAT.” Sheesh, do you think perhaps this limits her chance of receiving another invite back aboard PYRAT next year?

After the race, the racers made their way home to change and arrive at the Fairwinds Golf Club Bar in keeping with Jimmy Buffet’s lyrics, “That crazy concoction that keeps us all hanging on…” The vibe in the room was so friendly and welcoming, as people signed in with Randy and Emily Little, and then were greeted by Janette Brown, Alison Chinn, Jo Graham and Ryan Laudien. These events are always such fun because one never knows with whom you will sit at dinner, until you arrive and are randomly placed at tables using the draw a card method. This makes for even more chances to get to know members that are new or whom you have not yet been acquainted. (Just another great idea of our Social Director, Jo Graham who has been outstanding at making our club both inclusive and friendly.)                                                                                                                    

Marianne and Dick Duffley circulated during the social, choosing the three best costumes that interpreted the Parrot Head/Jimmy Buffet theme. The winners announced after dinner included: Joe Straka (Wasn’t his parrot hat amazing?). Jo McIlveen (Every little detail related to the theme!) and Lindsay Wilson (His grass skirt impressed us all!).


Over drinks, before dinner, live music was enjoyed by David Moddle and Friends (David, Lonnie and Michael Moddle, Wally Chin, and Jim Spinelli). This, of course, just added to the party atmosphere.

Peter Howells, our jet lagged MC, did a masterful job of building in Jimmy Buffet quotes and trivia into the program. When dinner was announced, Dick Duffley had Cheeseburgers in Paradise playing as members lined up for their Cheeseburger menu, “lettuce and tomatoes, Heinz 57& French fried potatoes, big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer”. A thank you went out to Fairwinds staff- chef Shawn Sannes and his staff for another tasty meal prepared for our club.

After dinner, the program was such fun, as winners for an array of prizes were announced. The participation of so many SCYC racers in our Fleet Regatta this year, made it an outstanding event. Everyone was appreciative that Pam May-Straka and Richard Hudson planned and coordinated this successful event on the water.

There was a prize for the boat that cruised the greatest overall distance in the last 12 months and this was presented to Tim Rann.

The boat that exhibited the MOST EFFECTIVE START (meaning: The captain had the best strategy- starting later than the others to increase their chance of winning as they would have a shorter distance to travel on the reversed section of the course.) Winner: Paul Orava (Salty Hacker) His time was ONE SECOND shy of the close out time- 4.59 seconds…. Perfect for a Bang and Back Race!

The first boat over the finish line to reverse the fleet went to Georgina Martin (Troublemaker).

The FIRST PLACE OVERALL WINNER who made it first across the finish line went to John Collins (Spud) He received the trophy and a sail bag created by Grace Norman.


DIVISION ONE RESULTS (Cruising fleet, without spinnakers)

FIRST PLACE: Gypsy Soul 2 (Larry Morden) He received a jacket.

SECOND PLACE: Natural High (Bruce Petry) He received beer (to drown his misery at missing First Place- ha!)

THIRD PLACE: Salty Hacker (Paul Orava) He received a toque and Richard figured he was out there long enough to need it, as they came in dead last! (So much for that strategy of the late start!)

DIVISION TWO RESULTS: (Cruising fleet with spinnakers)

FIRST PLACE: FANASEA (Bronwen Young) She received a jacket.

SECOND PLACE: Pyrat (Dick Dufley) He received beer to drown his sorrows for the sorry crew he had aboard…ha!


FIRST PLACE: Spud (John Collins) He received a jacket.

SECOND PLACE: Troublemaker (Georgina Martin) She received beer.

THIRD PLACE: Linden Lea (Andrea Schimmelfennig) She received a tuque.

Parrot Heads and Jimmy Buffet proved to be the ideal theme for our 2019 FUN FLEET REGATTA. Everyone went home feeling content that they had had another successful event, living the good life.

Special thanks goes out to Richard Hudson and Pam May-Straka (stepping in as Fleet Captains) for organizing a brilliant regatta and to Jo Graham (Social Director) for organizing a special Jimmy Buffet theme party.

Party Set-Up: Andy Vallis, Jim Mendria

Advertising of the event by Linda Watson (Communications Director)

Photographs by Jim Mendria, Cathy Carey, and Donna Howells

Article written by Prairie Girl (Mary Laudien) http://www.marylaudien.com