Written by Attendees at Lake Norman

We have just come back from an enjoyable and relaxing weekend racing Vipers on Lake Norman. Here was a regatta that reminded us why Viper racing is so much fun, This was a rendez vous regattas where the emphasis was less on the “competitive ” results and a little more on camaraderie, good clean racing, sharing boat handling tips etc.

Lake Norman was first and foremost a gathering of friends and then we went out and raced our sailboats. We all tried to tack on the best shifts and find the best pressure and execute lee bows & overlaps, but there was a lack of serious concern about the results, and more emphasis on having a good time with good friends that was refreshing. Put it this way, it left me wanting more.

Congratulations are due to Jackpot who nailed more shifts than anyone else, found a little more pressure than the rest of us and enjoyed a well earned win. But the quality of fun when racing against Brad and Lee was illustrated by the friendly banter to and fro between our boats on the downwind leg. ” i liked it a lot more 5 minutes ago” said Brad with a chuckle as we glided up to a leeward overlap. “Don’t blame us, we’re not doing anything differently” said Lee with a shrug as they glided away again on one of lake Norman’s mystery puffs that could separate boats within 3 feet of each other.
Well, it’s another Lake Norman regatta in the books! This time I raced in the Viper and enjoyed spending time and getting to know the fleet, as well as consuming copious amounts of “nonspicey” rum and goombay smashes.

It was great to see everyone out there who made it down to the lake for one more sail before winter.

Well Friday started at 3am for me, but I was still worrying about whether or not I would make out to the start line in time. I got picked up at the airport by a friendly fellow Viper sailor who took me to his place, jumped on his powerboat and arrived to the docks in time to jump on the boat with Guggs to the start line…only to have the wind completely shut off and an on shore postponement. and we hung out around the docks for some drinks. Dinner was at the usual Mexican restaurant (which I will probably never eat anything but quesdillas again btw).

Saturday turned out to be a nice day with an incredible five races fired off. All two lappers except the last race, which was just one. Race one we sailed a very smart race but the next three races were tough for us, the lake was extremely shifty, but these shifts were quick and oscillating. Rattler put on a most impressive “broach recovery” display when a puff hit them upwind. We sailed on, thinking they were out for a bit. About five boatlengths later, we look over and not only had they recovered, they had actually somehow gained on us and were back in the race!  We ended up winning the last race, which was similar to the first race.

Saturday night the club put on a BBQ dinner and there was plenty of Goombay Smashes provided by the always fun Ultimate 20 fleet. The club was newly renovated since the spring Lake Norman regatta and we thoroughly enjoyed the second floor’s large roaring fireplace. After one too many, it was time to turn in for the drive home. It definitely gets ridiculously cold after the sun goes down, which sets pretty early because of Daylight Savings.

Sunday started out with being in a world of hurt at the Waffle House. I was only able to drink an inch of water. The hangover came quick and left quickly though and I was pretty much fine as we sailed out, except being completely hungry. The first race was pretty light and a complete focus, but we were able to nail a beautiful start because of Guggs and rounded the top mark in first.  The second and last race of the regatta turned out to be an absolute crapshoot, but still pretty fun.  While our crew was getting burned (including myself), I found new creative “spots” on the Viper. The “down below” on the boat, which is really where the kite sits under the foredeck, is a nice cozy spot which was 10 degrees cooler than outside. I also sat on the bow where the kite sits for the last hundred feet of the race, which gives you an idea of how light the scenario was.

Trophies were given and Lake Norman Yacht Club and the local Ultimate 20 fleet were able to deliver another wonderful regatta. A great weekend sailing with fun people and soaking in some warm Carolina sun. It was exactly what I wanted and needed after three straight weekends of cold and rain, clear skies and warm temperatures!