U20 Timberline Regatta Report‏

On Friday evening, as preparation for a weekend of racing was winding down, our dog Fidget started barking aggressively at something in the front yard. I went to the door to see what had her so riled up and saw a family of Mallards marching single file from under my truck. They crossed the ditch and found the grass greener on the other side of the street. My wife, Patti, walked up behind me to also see what was out there. She said," Ahh, I see you have all your ducks in a row". Now, that would be something worth a bark. For 2013, U20 Fleet 4 has replaced two regattas on the series schedule with club regattas at Lake Dillon.

The Timberline Regatta is a replacement for the Finally Spring Regatta in Pueblo and the Peak Seven Regatta in August will be a replacement for the Fathers Day Regatta at Lake Alcova in Wyoming. When we arrived in Dillon on Saturday morning for setup in the usual spot along W. Lodgepole street, we found that things had change dramatically. About 80% of the space previously commissioned for trailer parking was now replaced with short parking spaces for auto's only to make room for a bike path. Even though there were only a few boats needing a place to rig, Underdog took the last available spot and Juiced! had to venture elsewhere to find parking. I can't imagine what is going to happen at the Dillon Open when numerous boat trailers will need a parking place. Dillon Commodore, Scott Snyder, claims that arrangements are being made to open up other parking areas for the regatta. Despite this, I think an early arrival strategy is in order for the Open. The wind forecast for the regatta was 7 mph, all weekend. I'm happy to report that the forecast was mostly wrong.

Despite having only 3 U20's in attendance, the PRO agreed to give us our own start. This was welcome news, even if it meant being in the 4^th start. In the first race, Underdog winged the windward mark at the first rounding. Marty May on Redline capitalized on this error and won race 1; quack, quack. Before race two could start, storms brewed all around us. Marty and crew decided they didn't want to be on the water when the carnage started and headed for shore. Juiced! and Underdog decided to stick it out. On Underdog, the crew surmised that the two main threats were both moving away from the lake. This observation turned out to be correct. However, those two storms would not depart without sending their greetings to the sailboats on Lake Dillon. Toward the end of the first downwind leg of race 2, a race with wind in the teens, the wind bumped up into the twenties. For the next 20 minutes or so, we had very strong winds with the occasional gust to 30+ knots. Jim decided to roll up the jib, but we kept both wings spread wide. By the end of the next downwind leg, the winds had eased a bit and the strongest wind of the weekend was now behind us. The crew on Underdog was feeling quite plucky with a win in race 2. By the start of race 3 Red Line was back out on the race course and he continued to quack us up by winning the next two races.

On Sunday morning it looked like there would be more storms than on Saturday. Once again, Marty won the first race and once again he headed for shore after the start of race 2 when storms threatened to turn Lake Dillon upside down. There was some lightning in the area and the winds were building. Oh brother, we might need webbed feet to survive this one. Fortunately the winds never reached the level of those that accompanied Saturday's storms and we didn't even get rain. During race 2, the crew on Underdog heard 3 horns and saw the N flag (abandon race) being flown. Jim was leading the race and we continued in a row behind him to the finish line. When Jim passed the RC boat they told him that they had abandoned. One of my crew suggested that we not follow Jim all the way to the finish, rather we should follow some of the other boats in "V" formation and head for the dock. However, I saw the AP flag flying and found it unusual that we would be in postponement if all racing were abandoned. We went through the finish line and RC told us that the race was abandoned and that we were awaiting more racing. Underdog joined a group J22's and Stars that were nested together; hiding from the wind on the leeward side of a nearby hill. Before long, the AP flag came down and the "raft" of boats waddled back to the start line in light wind. We were surprised to find that Juiced! was nowhere in sight. We learned later that they believed racing was abandoned for the day, based upon what they were told by RC. We completed one more, very light air race and arrived at an empty dock. To say that Marty and crew had their ducks in a row is an understatement. They were able to win the regatta by competing in only 4 of 7 races. (one of which was abandoned). All of us learned a lesson about looking for and insisting upon seeing the appropriate feathers being flown rather than relying on what we hear from Race Committee.

The winds this weekend were the best that I've seen at Dillon in years and I think that changing our schedule to this venue for two additional regattas was a wise choice. The Aspen Open is less than two weeks away and the U20 fleet should have a good turnout with at least one out-of-state visitor. Racing will be tight; be sure to have your Anatidae in alignment.

Best regards, Cliff Begnaud Underdog #126