2007 October Boys (SAYRA ODC)

10 boats competed in the Isotope SAYRA 2007 One-Design Championship in conjunction with the fleet’s traditional “October Boys” end of year competition, October 20, 21. The event was hosted by the Carolina Sailing Club at Vista Point, Jordan Lake just south of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Three boats sailed with a 2-up handicap, with one of those having actually three people on the boat, representing the North Carolina Special Olympics Sailing Team. With a mixture of long time Isotope Skippers, first time Isotope Skippers, father & daughter, brother and sister, husband and wife racing together or against each other, ranging from the age of 12 to 79, the fleet diversity showed with pride.

Isotope racing is a lot about the people. But it is also very much about the wind, the water, and the boat. The winds went from 6 to 11 knots, and shifted 90 degrees between the first and second race. In the middle of the second race, Eric Rasmussen lost a jib car track, and sailed the next two races with the barber outhaul, furling the jib upwind when the winds were too heavy for the barber outhaul. Walter Brier discovered that he had a leak in one of his hulls, and was sailing a bit too slow to be competitive. Being Bradford Hunter’s first time out in the heavier wind, Bradford found it difficult to tack to port in the chop, shifty, gusty wind, and elected to jibe a time or two instead. Then, during the first upwind leg of the second race, was dismasted as a pin came out of his starboard shroud. A different boat finished first in each of three races, and Saturday ended with the top three boats separated by two points, at 5 (Chobot), 6 (Rasmussen), and 7 (Wolfe) points.

On Sunday, the day started off with no wind. The first start was abandoned after about five minutes as most boats went nowhere. The second attempt had better results as the afternoon winds came in, and in between the first and second race, the winds had picked up to 8 knots, though steady knots they were NOT. Twice the fleet found themselves in lulls, again with all boats going nowhere. Fortunately both times the wind truly lulled, it filled back in from the direction of the lead boat, so there was never true catch up wind. As the winds ranged from 8 knots to no knots, rather randomly, there was also the ever so loved inland lake wind shifts, and at one point the wind shifted 180 degrees As the fleet headed to shore after the second race, the winds were dying, and the fleet appreciated race committee’s timing.

The rest of the story;

The challenges of the weekend were not limited to just the wind and equipment issues. It also included a few major mistakes on the part of the sailors themselves. On the fifth race of the day, Alan Wolf took a port gamble at the weather mark, and lost to starboard boat Rasmussen. Alan hit the mark, and took his penalty. On the down wind leg, Alan took a second gamble, and went to the opposite side of the course. Alan placed 5th in that race. Alan was not the only one to make a mistake. At the last mark rounding to finishg, the lead boat was passed . Caught off guard on being passed, and working to regain his lead, Eric Rasmussen focused so much on his boat heforgot that it was a one lap race and followed the new leader, Peter Hamilton, past the finish line heading upwind for a 2nd lap. Steve Chobot and Joe David, who had been noticably last to cross the starting line (reason unknown), were first to finish. Eric, having noticed that RC had pulled the windward mark, realized his mistakeand sailed back to finish 2nd, managing to eek out a first place in the regatta with 9 points to Steve Chobot’s 10 pts. Eric is third time SARYRA ODC Champion, having won in 2003, 2004, and regaining the title in 2007.

2003 Eric Rasmussen
2004 Alan Wolfe (1-up); Eric & Joleen Rasmussen (2-up; husband & wife)
2005 JP Ayers (1-up); Kemp & Jackson Harris (2-up; father & son)
2006 Frank Meldau II
2007 Eric Rasmussen

The Isotope fleet extends its sincere appreciation to SAYRA for sponsoring the competition and really, really likes the trophies. For the Isotope Fleet, the SAYRA ODC represented the diverse challenges of sailing an Isotope on the Inland Lakes. As frustrating as it is, we truly love it!

Left to Right: Steve Chobot, Peter Hamilton, Kirk Owen, Howard Alexander, Adam Zehand, Jordan Owen, Eric Rasmussen, Joleen Rasmussen, Sarah Hunter, Frank Meldau, Joe David, Bradford Hunter, Alan Wolfe, Walter Brier.
Missing from the group photo is Rhoda Meldau, wife of the boat designer and builder, who was taking the picture. When asked to hold the sign, Jordan Owen looked at it, and said “But I’m not a Boy?” I replied, “That is OK, neither am I.” In the eight years I’ve been racing the Isotope, I was the only “non-boy”. With four of us this past year, perhaps I need to think of another name for the event…..

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e-mail address - isotope2001@juno.com