Sporty Sailing & Man Overboard at C Worlds on Delavan Lake
The 2018 C Worlds, a one design series for C Scows, were held the first weekend in October on Delavan Lake in Southeastern Wisconsin. It’s a regatta that’s been held at Delavan Lake Yacht Club upwards of 20 years. The C Scow was the first class of scows built by Harry Melges Sr way back in 1945. Some propose that the classes on inland lakes stay so strong because they don’t splinter when the latest new, hot design shows up on the scene. They sail what they have, with family and friends for crew and do it wickedly well. Though it looks like a Butterfly on steroids, the C Scow is definitely not your grandfather’s dingy. They’re light, quick, and incredibly physical boats to sail. I’m still finding bruises and my hands burned for three days afterward. I can see that I’m going to have to do some core workouts over the winter to be ready for some serious, full on hiking next season!
The Silver Assassin
The weather conditions were blustery and raining, and also amazing for racing these 20ft surfboards! We sailed a new-to-us, 2007 boat that came out of White Bear Lake MN (W-11) just before the regatta and was exceedingly well cared for, plus sporting all new gel coat. On her new home lake she will be sailed under D-61 and called Silver Assassin, a name that stems from ice hockey and international travel. A story best told while hoisting a few beers at the iconic Inn Between where, depending on the season, soft water and hard water boaters gather. It’s not Heaven, it’s not Hell, it’s a little Inn Between.
Saturday’s Sail: Two Against The Elements
The skipper, Johnny Mac, had not sailed a C since about the time Ted Turner lost the America’s Cup bid to Dennis Conner and I had never sailed one. That said, off we went to sail among the very best. No pressure there (eye roll). Cs are meant to be sailed by a crew of two in light to moderate air and three in heavier breeze. The wind velocity was seesawing between moderate and heavy on Saturday, right on the edge of needing a third crew. We had two, so two it was. We were pretty overpowered most of the time, with me trying to figure out the delicate dance of the vang, traveler, cunningham, and boards all while simultaneously hiking and trying to stay on the boat and John working on remembering how to sail a C fast after a nearly forty year hiatus. Our boat seemed to end up on the wrong side of every shift and we made a boatload of rookie mistakes along the way. Though we didn’t end up DFL, we were pretty close to the basement for Day One’s four races.
Cut to the fish boil. DLYC knows how to throw a party! A delish dinner, rehashing of the day’s adventures and a wonderful band were just what this bunch needed after a long day of sporty conditions and physical sailing. One of the bazillion reasons I love the sailing community is that competitors are so willing to share knowledge with one another. Helping the competition sail faster may seem counterintuitive, but actually it makes for more competitive racing. It’s just what we do. While I spent time tripping the light fantastic with Brian B, PRO extraordinaire, John circulated the room gleaning valuable information for Sunday’s racing. Armed with amazing tips and tricks, we had hope we could climb up the standings on Sunday.
Climbing The Standings With A Third Crew Member
And climb we did. With a firm grasp on the proper sail inventory; jack stay tension; and vang, traveler, mainsheet synchronization, we headed out on the lake with our newly garnered third crew member, Dave E. Dave was noted watching the races on Saturday through the long eyes from shore and we drafted him as the winds were predicted to be similar on Sunday. Dave, an amazing octogenarian E Scow skipper, though he hadn’t sailed a C since the 1950s, was an outstanding coach and tactician. In the E fleet, there are few who can catch him on the downwind run. Though Dave did note that there’s a big difference being in the front of a C than at the helm of an E. He felt he was starting to wear out near the end of race two, after working the boards all day. At 81, imagine that?! He’s my idol. I was mentally taking Ibuprofen in a hot tub about five minutes into the first race.
The scariest moment came as we crossed the finish line on the last race of the day. Crewman number three lost his balance and fell overboard in full foulies and boots. He started out partly overboard, being dragged with his head underwater, with me trying to pull him back onboard. When he went completely overboard and flipped over, I was able to grab the front of his life jacket and get his head out of the water, while John left the helm and hurried to our aid. Between the two of us, we were able to manhandle him back onto the boat. He was, luckily, none the worse for his waterboarding, with only a scraped lip and bruised pride. If I live to be one hundred, I’ll never forget the experience of seeing him stare up at me from under the water. Always, always, always wear a life jacket please…
With the experience of a day working the kinks out, the new cocktail party tricks and Dave’s quiet encouragement, John brought team Silver Assassin solidly up into the middle of the pack and the realm of the competitive. No one got seriously injured, nothing broke, much was learned and everyone had fun. I’m all ears if anyone has C Scow wisdom to impart. I can’t wait until next season!
If you’ve enjoyed this nautical adventure, please click here for more tales of boating delights. Interested in receiving a copy of my newsletter, the Periodical, in your Inbox? Sign up below!
Special shout out and super big thank you to Larry Kmiecik Imagery for providing the fantastic images for this sea story! Thank you Larry!