A New Racing Season Is Almost Here

To all you wonderful GPYC people,

Oh, what a terrific summer of sailing we had last year, thanks to the enthusiastic GPYC members, the pristine lake upon which we sail, Mother Nature’s generosity with many warm summer days, and the quintessential Maine lake properties that we are blessed to own and share with others.

A big thank you to those who opened your camp properties for our regattas last summer: Pam Cobb and Mark Heuberger at Camp Runoia, Bill and Joan Witkin on the Southern tip of Hoyt’s Island, Sally and Carl Beck on Hemlock Point in Hatch Cove, and of course Lynne Gibbs at Tiki Cove on Hoyt’s Island (she does all the work). Also, a big thank you to Dick and Susan Greenan for hosting the last two annual GPYC meetings at their beautiful home on Long Pond.

Racing Recap

The four races we held last summer were as different to one another as night is to day.

The Witkin Cup planned for Memorial Day at Camp Runoia was postponed due to 49 degree temps combined with driving winds and rain, my first command decision as a rookie Commodore. Call us wimps if you will, but unless you’ve sailed for two hours in that kind of weather….

The rescheduled Witkin Cup race day was beautifully sunny with steady winds in the low teens combined with whitecaps. After the race started, the winds cranked it up a notch, and some of the gusts tickled the 20s while the white caps continued to grow. The weather should have been proclaimed the cup winner after knocking down two of our sloops and almost critically wounding another, taking it out of contention. Let’s see, only two sloops finished unscathed, and the third limped home just happy not to be in the drink with the others.

Steady sailing by Pete McManus won the adjusted time, and Sally Beck crossed the finish first in real time.

The Rasta Race, sailing out of Tiki Cove on Hoyt’s Island, presented the second tough weather-related decision in as many races as the newly elected commodore. An overcast day with light winds of 6 knots plus rain predicted for most of the day, we decided to get tough and hold the race in spite of the forecast. The second command decision of the day was one of the year’s best, which resulted in perhaps the most pragmatic use of Goldie to date. Goldie, the $25,000 Colby marine biology data-gathering buoy, was used as our upwind mark. It was such a privilege to tack around it knowing millions of data bytes were being collected and transmitted to the internet cloud for scientific analysis, most of which is useless to the layman other than wind speeds and water temps updated every 15 minutes and available online.

The only data I needed at that time was that Dick Greenan and Pete McManus in Dick’s Minuet were only 5 feet off my transom when we rounded Goldie, which I quickly corrected by pulling away from them on the downwind leg, but not enough to overcome their adjusted handicap. Meanwhile, Sheldon and Ben sailed their mini El Toros just for kicks and to re-inflame any old knee problems they may have had. You see the El Toros, as fun as they are, are built for kids and require fully grown adults to sit on their ankles with the tiller behind their backs for the entire race — a recently banned CIA interrogation technique.

Dick and Pete won the race, and fortunately all ended well with a party at the Gibbs’ camp complete with food, beverage, conversation, jokes and song.

The Milfoil Regatta held at the Witkins’ place, a camp right out of the Top Ten Best Legacy Camps in Maine, presented a suspiciously calm day with predictions of only 2 to 4 knots of wind. I almost abused my commodore status for the first time by cancelling the race, knowing how poorly my Nomad performs in light winds, but I manned up and towed the Hoyty Toyty down to the southern end of Hoyt’s. Sally Beck sailed all the way from Hatch Cove, unknowingly hurting my feelings; however, it did take her two hours to accomplish that feat, so we delayed the race awaiting her arrival. It was a beautiful summer day, hanging out on Witkins’ sandy beach watching the gentle waves lap the shoreline and the boats that had made their way on to the sand, the scene just begging us to stay there and party the afternoon away.

We continued to push out the start time after hearing that Pam Cobb’s Runoia ringers, her top two sailing crews in their J 15s, were also patiently working the light winds sailing toward Witkin’s. Maybe that’s why they eventually won — they honed their light wind skills on the way to the race. And maybe that’s why I came in last — too many executive decisions and not enough concentration on race preparation. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it — not to mention the winds were about 2 to 3 knots at the start and went to zero at times.

Kudos to the Camp Runoia team: Clara Freeman, Piper Blackburn, and Ali Dahnert for taking the day and showing the older crowd how it’s done.

Our last regatta, the Hurricane Cup, held by our gracious hosts Sally and Carl Beck at their lovely camp on Hemlock Point in Hatch Cove, yielded the best sailing weather of all the races. Sunny, warm weather with steady 8-knot winds allowed us to set a long course and, as usual, one that wouldn’t allow me to use my asymmetrical spinnaker properly, thanks to the course setter who lost his asymmetrical spinnaker in the first race of the season…Ben?

It was an exciting race with several position changes. Sally and Art took some interesting tacks that paid off, and it looked like Ben was in contention until the last leg. While in fifth place, due to taking a penalty tack for hitting a buoy, with three legs to go, my rookie crew Artie Dioli and Bill Shontell took over and did so very smartly. Artie on the helm, Bill flying the spinnaker, and me managing the spinnaker halyard, we accomplished a spinnaker jibe, two spinnaker douses, and two spinnaker-sets moving us from fifth to third place in unadjusted time. We managed to slide by Pete McManus and Liz Tonge a hundred yards from the finish line.  A couple more legs and we would have caught Ben.

Nice win Sally. We hope you are back in full form this summer to give us a few more race lessons.

The Junior Sailing Program

Good news on the Belgrade Lakes Junior Sailing Program. We have contracted with SailMaine and plan to start sailing classes this summer out of the Belgrade Community Center for children ages 8 to 15 from July 22 through August 15. There will be four weeks of classes, two classes per day with six students per class. Check it out on the SailMaine website, it’s pretty cool. This is a program we can all be proud of.

A very big thank you goes out to GPYC’s Youth Sailing Committee for all their hard work in helping to raise the funds to get this started. Thanks to Ben Ford for leading the charge, Barb Ford for supporting his sailing fantasies, Tree and Elaine for hosting a successful wine tasting fundraiser and for continued moral/fiscal support, Lisa and Sheldon Perkins who perform magic with communications media, and to Lynne Gibbs my Commodoress/GPYC Treasurer who is keeping the finances straight for us.

I thank all of you who have generously contributed to this worthy initiative. Your contributions are greatly appreciated, and you will feel even better when you see the joy of those young kids cutting their teeth on sailing and dotting our waters with beautiful little sails scattered along the horizon. The Community Center for All Seasons will surely be a buzz of activity this summer. A special thanks to Valencia Schubert, Recreation Director at the Belgrade Community Center, for her enthusiastic support for this children’s program. It is sure to be a long-term gem in the Belgrade community.

I would like to encourage any of you who have not yet contributed to the youth sailing program to do so. We still need funds to get us over the top before tuition revenues are realized. Any amount would be greatly appreciated starting at $50, so please, please, please do what you can to help us out.

All donations are tax deductible and will be funneled directly to the SailMaine Belgrade Lakes Junior Sailing program. Checks are to be written to SailMaine with GPYC noted on the comment line and mailed to Lynne Gibbs, GPYC Treasurer, 19 Charlotte Road Ipswich, MA 01938. You will receive an acknowledgement letter that can be used for tax purposes from SailMaine. Thanking you in advance for your considerations.

The GPYC Fleet

It’s that time of year to start thinking about getting your boats ready or to buy a sloop of your own. We’re looking to increase the number of sailboats we have in the water at each race. We welcome Scott Finlay back to our fold fresh from a recuperative year off and look forward to seeing those Alerion sails grace the skyline once again on Great Pond. Also we look forward to seeing a new proud Lightning owner in the races, Jonathan Dioli, who we thank for his purchase of our donated sloop. Those proceeds went directly to the Belgrade Lakes Junior Sailing Program. Jonathan, I am only sorry I trained your dad so well last summer now realizing he will be my competitor as your crew. The entire GPYC would like to thank Peter and Marianne Kilby for generously donating their Lightning sloop for this worthy program.

I am very much looking forward to seeing all of you at the lake this year and at the races. We have a great group of people in this club and look forward to adding more members as our activities increase. There will be lots of opportunities to help out in getting the youth sailing program fully up to speed, docks to be built, moorings to be placed, boats to be launched and hauled, etc.

The Annual Meeting

GPYC’s annual meeting will take place April 26, 2014, at Tree and Elaine’s house, 289 Mountain Drive, Rome, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

We have officers to elect, new members to meet, race dates to set, and parties to plan. We also hope to have a SailMaine representative there to discuss the junior sailing program. The annual meeting is a great opportunity to meet other members and get your voice heard on steering the club in meaningful ways.

Officer positions up for election are PRO (Principal Race Officer), Social Director, and Secretary & Membership Director. Please consider running for one of these positions —  join the fun helping to run this wonderful club. Click here to see position responsibilities.

Sail on,

John Gibbs


About Great Pond Yacht Club

Great Pond Yacht Club is for avid sailors as well as those new to the sport on Great Pond in Maine's Belgrade Lakes region. Our goal is to create and foster a culture of sailing, racing, and camaraderie on Great Pond.
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