Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hunterdon Sailing Club

A few of my friends from my old sailing club in New Jersey are aware of this blog. Now I hear that one of them has written an article for the club newsletter drawing all the members' attention to Proper Course.

Yes, that's right. I've been "outed".

I don't think I ever mentioned the name of the club in the blog before... part of my feeble attempt at relative anonymity for myself and the people I sail with. But I guess the least I can do now is to write a post providing any readers from the club a road map to the various stories that I've written here about their club...

I have many fond memories of the years I spent at Hunterdon Sailing Club whose home waters are Spruce Run reservoir near Clinton, NJ. It's not a swanky yacht club with a restaurant and a bar. Just a group of sailing enthusiasts who keep their rescue boats and other gear in a shed at the reservoir; who compete furiously in their racing program -- but don't take themselves too seriously; who are wonderfully welcoming to newcomers; and who do a terrific job of promoting the sport through training programs and other efforts. They, and many other clubs like them, are the grassroots of our sport. And they are damn fine sailors too with a bunch of former national champions (and a few future ones I would dare say) in their membership.

I joined the club originally so that I could take part in their Wednesday night Sunfish racing. It's one of the most competitive high quality one-design club fleets I've ever known.
I wrote about a typical evening in Wednesday Night Sailing. The winds on Wednesday evenings weren't always very reliable, as I described in Idiot Wind, and sometimes Wednesdays were very frustrating for me such as in the story Full of Woe.

I consider myself primarily a Laser sailor, so I used those Wednesday evenings to practice various sailing skills, such as starts in Crossing the Line. I was never very good at the Sunfish but one Wednesday evening I just made a few Tweaks to the boat and sailed like a champ. Sometimes it wasn't even so much about the racing as just being out on the water and savoring Memories of a Moment. Of course we all took our turn on race committee and I wrote about RC work on a bitterly cold, wet Wednesday early in the season in the Perfectionist.

One of the best things about Wednesday nights was beer and pizza after sailing where the conversation got pretty wild at times as in Liars Poker, and other times I actually learned something as in the chat about Sailor's Edge.

A friend and I started a Laser fleet at HSC and in early 2005 I was hassling various local Laser sailors to join us... and dealing with their Excuses. We raced on Sundays with the club's other one design classes. I had a lot of fun sailing my Laser in that fleet such as one heavy air day when I was Feeling Good. It's not always easy to capture why we all enjoy sailing so much but I made an attempt in Sailor's High to describe why I got such a kick out of our Sunday racing in the Laser fleet. At first I was faster than other sailors in the fleet, but it's no fun winning all the time, so I was actually pleased to get beaten occasionally, such as the day I pondered What's Wrong With Being Number Two?

We started an annual Laser regatta and I wrote about the first of these in Regatta Cast and The Regatta. I won the regatta that first year, but didn't do so well in the Second Annual Collander Cup.

There was always a friendly rivalry going between the Laser and Force 5 fleets at the club. I never understood why anyone would prefer a Force 5 but its fans say it's more Comfortable.

I spent many weekends at that club and wrote about a typical (or perhaps not) experience in Lake Weekend. One week a new sailor showed up to sail on Sunday and I wondered, "Who is that guy?" HSC members can probably guess.

There are a couple of regattas at the club where all the classes sail together. One is the Commodore's Cup which is a Portsmouth handicap regatta. I won this a couple of years in a row, so in the third year I felt like a Marked Man and was the object of some Banter from one of my competitors, and this fellow, my Nemesis, did beat me in the regatta.

The other multi-class event is the annual pursuit race every year on July 4th. Triple A Blues is actually a story about why I did not make it to that regatta one year.

The club also hosts an annual regattas for The Juniors in the club and another for new sailors, The Rookies. It was very gratifying being able to help in making both these regattas a success back in 2005.

I helped out with the sailing classes for kids in the summer a couple of times. One of the fun things about working with kids is that they do ask you the strangest things such as "What's A Histogram
." We also had fun in the winter at events like the First Annual Burning of the Socks Day.

Like all passionately competitive sailors, sometimes there was a bit of aggro between the sailors at HSC. A few years ago there were rumblings about suspicions that some sailors were stretching the limits of the Illegal Propulsion Rule. So one winter another sailor and I gave a talk on Rule 42 which we hoped would clear the air. But, even so, the next spring I found myself serving on a protest committee for an alleged Rule 42 violation, No Contest.

I used to be the editor for the HSC newsletter and was rather fond of inserting April Fool Jokes in the April issues. A couple of examples are Race Officer Guidelines and DHMO Scare. But there was another time when I was Fooled myself.

If you live near Spruce Run do go and check out Hunterdon Sailing Club.
But If you sail at Spruce Run be resigned to Learning to Love Light Air. It's a lake dude.

7 comments:

Derek said...

Over the summer Tillerwoman and you should take a vacation to your old stomping ground in NJ. Visit your old house, race with us in the lake across the street, teach the kids during the week and drift around on a Wednesday night at HSC. We have a few extra Sunfish you can borrow.

tillerman said...

Maybe we will. I hope to come down to NJ for the Laser Atlantic Coasts at Brant Beach so maybe we can fit those other ideas in.

Mondale said...

Must be something to do with clubs beginning with the letter'H'. It sounds very similar to the club I grew up in, in Norfolk. Except the light airs bit, 'H'. Broad Sailing Club was right next to the North Sea and had a habit of getting quite fiesty.

tillerman said...

Aaah, the Norfolk Broads. I'd almost forgotten but I think my first attempts at sailing were on the Broads. That's where I first got hooked on the sport, though I had had no instruction and had no clue what I was doing. I'll have to write a post about it one day.

Mondale said...

You write a post about the Broads and I'll follow. This might get you going, from trdowm in 2004

http://trdowm.blogspot.com/2004/12/zest_03.html

A bittersweet tale of my all time favourite boat.

Mondale said...

This might help.

Tim said...

I sailed at Hickling broad a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the experiance. They seemed like a good bunch too.

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