Dickerson Sailboat

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WESTERN SHORE ROUNDUP RECAP 2009

A bunch of Dickerson sailors had a great time from end to end in late September. It started with a proper Irish Bar Friday night aboard “Irish Mist”, and ended with the discovery of a missing ship’s cat Monday aboard Fahrmeier’s “Down Home”. In between, we had a boisterous race Saturday followed by the traditional cocktail party at West River Sailing Club and dinner at Pirates Cove. Once again, Joe Slavin won top honors in the race.

We anticipated eight boats racing, but there were casualties. Bill Toth had to drop out Thursday because his Mom had a fall. Soon after the start, Dick Clarke had to drop out as his crew was showing significant signs of flu. Rick and Dottie Woytowich had to drop out with sail problems, and the Fahrmeiers dropped out late in the race due to fatigue and short crew. They had put 20 miles under the keel that day just getting to the racecourse, and it was blowing “pretty good”. Veteran ocean sailor, Bill Burry, showed a reef in his main before the start. A crewmember on “Irish Mist” (that would be me) tried to talk Joe out of raising the Mizzen, but to no avail. We got the race off, but unfortunately, my ineffective instructions and inexperience with the rabbit start of the fleet resulted in everyone except the rabbit getting a poor start. “Irish Mist”, the rabbit, was gone, and there was no catching her. With Barry Creighton and me continually flogging our skipper and ourselves, we amazingly made few mistakes, and we did a horizon job on the fleet. Parker Hallam on “Frigate Connie” was closing on “Irish Mist” on the upwind leg, making Joe a little nervous. Once around the windward mark, the wind began to fall off; which was sure curtains for the followers. We all limped into the West River finish on a very light breeze and light rain.

Results were as follows

Boat Skipper Finish Time Corrected Time
Irish Mist Joe Slavin 3h 24m 2h 47m
Frigate Connie Parker Hallam 3h 43m 3h 15m
Rainbow John Freal 4h 4m 3h 26m
Plover Bill Burry 3h 59m 3h 28m
Imagine Dick Clarke DNF
Belle Rick Woytowich DNF
Down Home Dave Fahmeier DNF

At the Annual meeting of the steering committee of the Western Shore Roundup, it was decided to upgrade the western influence of this event. They hereby abolished the title of “Admiral of the Western Shore” and replaced it with the title of “Sheriff of the Western Shore”. Being from New England where the title of Sheriff is probably synonymous with being a heretical conservative, Joe grumbled a bit at this change, but in the end, he graciously accepted. This steering committee is getting out of control. There was some talk about requiring competitors to wear cowboy boots and hats next year, but fortunately that was tabled.

L-R-- Bill Burry, David Fahmeier, K.Parker Hallam, Eric White, Barry Creighton and Rick Woytowich

The cocktail party went on as scheduled despite more rain. Some nice hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine were provided in the Clubhouse. Additional attendees at the dinner were Eric and Jackie White, Doug Sergeant, and Linsey, and Karen Clarke. My apologies if I missed anyone; I was a little dazed and confused by that time. Thanks to Joe Slavin who did all the publicity for the event, allowed his boat to be the rabbit, and coordinated the dinner. Thanks also to my wife who helped me with logistics and to the West River Sailing Club who allowed us to use their facilities. It is a nice Club, you should consider joining. They also have a great cruising calendar.

Randy Bruns

I like to include comments from some of the competitors each year.

Joe Slavin

Thanks, Randy and Barb, for your leadership in organizing the Annual Western Shore Round Up Race and Dinner Event. We had a great time at the 3rd Round Up in Galesville. Being the Rabbit start boat in winds of 15-25 knots was challenging—but I could not do it without the enthusiastic and skillful crew of Randy and Barry Creighton. Some said, that with three Dickerson Captains, mutiny was sure to happen. Boy, did we fool them. The smooth advice of Barry saying “keep your eyes on the tell tales Joe”, and Randy guiding us to the next mark was what did it! As Barry said, “ Joe, you have to give the diver that cleaned your bottom before the race a raise”.

Being from New England and having raced town class sloops as a boy in Marblehead, I just can’t understand how a regatta winner gets to be a Sheriff. All I can think is that Randy must have some hidden frustrated western genes.

Barry Creighton

Who Wouda Thunk?”

Karen Clarke raised an interesting question in Galesville on 26 September. Who would ever have thought that you could put three “type A”, competitive skippers on the same boat and successfully race as a crew? Visions of different strategies, different observations of winds and conditions, different assessments of competitors--leading to disagreement, words, shouting, wrestling for the helm, pouting, mutiny, flying belaying pins, hangings from the spreaders, men overboard and lost at sea—are the grist of great sea novels.

Well, that’s the crew that sailed “Irish Mist” to victory on that very day. Oh, I left out one common attribute – all three were Dickerson skippers. Ah yes, there is the “secret sauce”, because we all know that the only things better than a Dickerson yacht are those people who sail on them.

It all started when Randy and Barb Bruns volunteered to again host the 3rd annual Dickerson Western Shore Roundup. Randy meticulously drew up the race instructions with full intentions of officiating from “Rhythms in Blue”, but alas---a nasty day on the Bay left her dismasted and out of commission. So Randy was without vessel. Way down the Bay at Fort Monroe, VA, Barry Creighton eagerly wanted to participate, but couldn’t be away from work long enough to make the voyage to and from the West River in “Crew Rest”. Finally, Joe Slavin was focused on one thing, and it wasn’t necessarily winning the race----it was beating the “Brothers Freal” on “Rainbow”--and Joe needed crew.

So the drama was about to unfold--Randy and Joe sailed “Irish Mist” up to the West River from Deale on Friday, and Barry drove up from Virginia Beach for a rendezvous breakfast on the morning of the race. Randy and Barry immediately saw the fire in Joe’s eyes, and there was no doubt--HE was in charge. And that set the tone for the entire 3 hours and 43 minutes of bliss on the Chesapeake. Joe slid on his knee brace, and everyone knew it was “show time”. Suddenly, Randy’s bum back, and Barry’s gimpy leg seemed to work “good enough”.

With her freshly scrubbed bottom, “Irish Mist” temporarily forgot her age. She leapt with the anticipation of not viewing anyone else’s stern all day. Three sets of old, tired eyes struggled to make out the upcoming marks---but it didn’t matter---we were making great time to ---somewhere. The breeze was fresh—some may have thought reef?—not us! The ole gal liked having her rail in the water. Barry was unaccustomed to sailing a ketch dead downwind—wing a wing a wing?— whatever—it didn’t matter, the day was ours. While at the helm, Joe occasionally asked, “Where are they---are they gaining?” He got a consistent answer, “It doesn’t matter, just keep sailing….fast!” Then the rain came—we didn’t even notice except to think, “all those boats behind us are really going to get wet”. Yes, it was magic.

So how did three “type A”, competitive skippers on the same boat make it work? It’s quite simple---

---One of the crew---