Sugar Bowl Intersectional Regatta Report

(12.30.03 - 12.31.03) Tulane University - Southern Yacht Club
The TAMUG Sail Team rounded up 12 sailors to send to the Sugar Bowl regatta in New Orleans. Housing was graciously provided by Kellan Lewis’ Aunt and Uncle.

Quite a few teams showed up from around the country, as this was the place to be during the winter break with most schools being iced over. The winds looked promising on the first morning with NE 12 mph with lots of chop. The wind slowly died as the front from the previous day pushed through.

Day 1: First set of A division races; Derek Whalen unfortunately stepped on a rusty nail while carrying a boat to the water. The nail went through his boot and foot at the arch. Luckily, Katie Cullen (Acting Team Manager “Regatta Mama”) was available to transport young Derek to the Hospital. Richard Phillips then became all-time crew in A Div for both A skippers, Bill Self and Hugh Haggerty.

The first race looked to be a great one with the pin favored by at least 5 degrees. A decent setup for Bill and Richard quickly went down the tube when the tiller extension broke off at 15 seconds. An unintentional jibe put the boat heading towards the boat on the second row. Bill and Richard ducked the fleet and headed right with just a tiller, no extension. Redress was not filed.

Andrew McInnes and Mike Schneider sailed the first B Division set as the wind slowly died. The wind was exceptionally shifty and the chop was the biggest factor in determining the winner of the race. Loose vangs and centralized weight placement were key factors in boat speed. Andrew made a few improvements in understanding light air boat handling.

Hugh and Richard took the next A Div set as the wind was getting lighter and the chop even meaner. Their boat speed was great upwind, rounding in the top third of the 14 boat fleet each time. Downwind legs were tricky for everyone as the chop made it difficult to actually ride any waves. Day 1 was done with the wind dying completely and the potential of less wind the following day.

The night was upon us as the team was greeted back at the Aunt and Uncle’s house with homemade gumbo and spaghetti/meatballs. Half the team loaded up to go see Bourbon St. A night to remember, I’m sure. Hand Grenades were bought and a place called the “Blues Club” was the place of choice for us. We listened to a big lady in blue sing the Mississippi Delta style Blues. New Orleans is a cool place.

Day 2: The rotation got pretty confusing, but it was time for A Division to finish the set they did complete from the day before. Bill and Richard went in to finish the set with some good finishes. The final races of day were in B division due to the lack of breeze that made it extremely difficult to read the breeze and get through the chop. Kellan and Mike took the final set of races and did their best keep the boat speed up.

The women sailors, (Robin, Carley, Cate, and Jill), made several impressive and notable moves in the light air as both divisions made several mark roundings in the top third. Apparently, Robin was fouled a couple of times on the water by the same person, and she is going to work on being more assertive in protesting when needed.

It was a very tough regatta with the conditions, but it was an extremely fun regatta with everyone getting a chance to practice in the “patient demanding” breeze and hanging out in New Orleans for New Year’s Eve. Results have not been sent out by Joe Quick yet, but they will be added to this posting asap. The actually scoring of the regatta should be looked at as a learning experience. I feel that everyone is at least slightly and/or extremely disappointed in our performance, but we all came away learning something about sailing in light air and chop. Let this be our motivation to not let this happen again during the real Spring season.

A huge thanks to Kellan’s Aunt and Uncle for letting us stay at their house for a couple of days. Also, Joe Quick did a great job of running the regatta basically by himself. He made sure our team was well taken care of throughout the regatta.

New Year’s Eve: Derek’s car broke down literally right in front of the party hosted by Tulane. We didn’t realize that we had found the house until some guys across the street from where we broke down offered us a beer. Hugh was generous enough to donate his efforts in towing Derek’s Toyota back to Houston on New Years Day. Thanks Hugh.

Katie and Hugh are going to share the award for “Most Helpful” throughout the regatta.

By 10pm on New Year’s Eve, the Team was back at the house drinking, playing cards, and watching all the fireworks going off on the street. It was a blast.