Well, I was totally wrong about the guys getting bored on the boats during the final leg up to Tybee Island from Fernandina. I had based my prediction on a faulty weather report and had not factored in the early start or the reasoning behind it. Truth is, it was said by a meteorological expert advising the officials that the early start was vital to avoid that situation from happening. The wind was decidedly there for the teams, even though it varied in strength during the initial part of the trip. Once they were a little over halfway through the hundred-ish mile trip, they were able to heat it up and head North with the kites full and in a fairly challenging chop.
After reaching Fernandina the night before, it finally occurred to Jake (from our Seacats Orange) that if he rigged up a doubler on the spinnaker sheet to reduce the effort needed to work the line that he could save Frank a good deal of effort. After coming onto the beach at Tybee, Frank asked, “Just how long have you known about this?” Honestly though, Jake simply hadn’t thought of that little trick…most likely because it wasn’t his hands that were blown up like crazy balloon animals. As for next year, Frank (the most seasoned veteran of the Tybee 500) is thinking about taking a year off on 2010, while I’m trying to sell him and Jake on the idea of heading out Lee Wicklund’s way and doing the Great Texas.
Team Seacats White were understandably disheartened by having to withdraw from the race but they’re certain that they made the correct decision for the last leg as it was no place to suffer irreparable damage and attempt to be trailered out without anything approaching convenience. In fact, it would be entirely possible that the guys might even have lost their phone signal during any given point from the shore along the longest and last leg of the race. While Chris and their ground crew Bjorn got on up the road, a bunch of us had dinner last night with David and his wife Robyn. David remarked that they’d like to make a run at the race again, but would probably take a year off before doing so, due to work and other considerations. They’ll make the necessary repairs on the I-20 quickly enough and be back on the lakes all over the Cackalacks and in Georgia.
Preliminary overall results can be found by clicking here: Again, I apologize that the boats beat us to the finish line and therefore I have no juicy details; but as I posted late yesterday, there are plenty of other quality options for photos and stories of the results. Chris Titcomb of Accelerated Chaos did tell me that they took honors during a photo finish with Seacats Orange. That would have been cool to see but Lord knows I’ve seen my fair share of thrilling finishes over the years. The close finishes, hot landings, and (I have to admit) the excitement of single hulled, near flippage in the surf are the most entertaining to watch – even while you’re praying that no one gets hurt in the process. Speaking of hot finishes, I heard that Catfever came in like a greased pig with wings yesterday. That was surprising considering how careful Todd Hart is in general with the pristine slickness of his hulls but everyone was well impressed.
The top three overall winners were Whike, Magic Marine, and Microwind. The top three in the F-18 class were identical. This reinforces the general theory that the light air week may have favored the F-18’s, although we’re talking about some seriously talented sailors leading the pack, some of whom could have won on any boat. The top three I-20’s were Royal Yellow, Velocity 1, and Royal Green. A hearty Congratulations from Frank and Jake to all of their friends and fellow competitors who did so well in the race this past week. Seacats Orange came in at a respectible sixth place, eaked out of the top five by Catfever to the tune of a mere six minutes. To this day I am amazed at how these boats can finish so closely together even after a distance of over five hundred miles. As I posted at the outset, this year’s roster included some really great sailors in contention for victory (including past winners of the event), making it almost too close at attempting to place odds on anyone in particular. That said, I’m not especially surprised that Mischa with Eduard and JC with Carrie took the top spots…because they rock.
Now I need to begin a list of Thanks You’s to all of those people without whom both our team and the race in general could not maintain its spirit and structural integrity. First I’ll address the folks from Seacats Orange. Obviously, Frank and Jake are the reason for the season and we wouldn’t even be here without them. They had some great starts, felt good about their performance on the water and – most importantly – had fun during the race. Our team manager, Tim Owens, did a superlative job, as always. A veteran of many Tybee 500’s with Jake and later Jake and Frank together, he anticipates both the boat’s and team members’ needs like no one else could and is always prepared for any scenario. And if something totally unexpected comes up then he starts running to get it done! He even goes out of his way to take care of me, which is totally unnecessary but much appreciated. Our pusher and helper extraordinaire is Daryl Moss. He began as ground crew during the years that Frank was sailing with Mike Ferrara (who is a sweetheart and joined us this year for part of the trip) and then stayed on board with the pairing of Jake and Frank. Not only the sweetest and most helpful guy on the beach (and, in my opinion, the yummiest member of any ground crew), Daryl is an enormous asset to the team and we don’t know what we’d do with his skill set, good natured attitude, and helpfulness towards any and every team in the race.
Seacats White also had a super group this year. Chris and David made a valiant effort during their maiden voyage as sailors rather than ground crew this year. As they will tell you, having now done each job enhanced their ability to empathize for the other one! While the days can be long and arduous as ground crew, the sailors are the ones literally busting their tushies and taxing their brainboxes nonstop for the entire leg. Their team manager, Bjorn Kronquist, did a fabulous job working on the boat, organizing the needs of his team, as well as selflessly assisting other teams on the beach. When Team Zhik had some serious trouble getting through the surf in Daytona (the same day so many teams had rudder breakages), Bjorn was considered the hero of the hour by David Lennard and Mike Krantz for working so hard to get them back out into the race. A native of Sweden, Bjorn is a great guy and was very good company during the trip. He also brought along a super duper camera and caught some really nice moments that he very graciously allowed us to add to the Team Seacats 2009 Tybee 500 photostream on Flickr. David Strickland’s wife Robyn was also a tremendous addition to the Seacats White. Having only attended the finish at Tybee Island in previous years when her husband and our other friends were ground crew members, Robyn did a fantastic job helping out her boys by both taking care of organizational duties but also running errands, acting as team cheerleader, and so much more.
The only thing I regret from the week is that I wasn’t able to spend more time socializing with the rest of the gang (as well as other sailors and ground crews), as I always seemed to be typing or gathering information from other people and places. I consider so many of these people to be my good friends and it was so nice to be spending the whole week with them. One special shout out has to go to my John-John, aka John Williams. He worked so hard a race official for this year’s race yet always had time for me whenever I phoned him with a question or for an update on a particular situation. He’s the sweetest and the best guy around, as anyone who knows him will attest.
That brings me to the official Race Committee for the Tybee 500. As per usual, Chuck and Judy Bargeron did an outstanding job organizing the race. A huge Thanks goes out to the two of them for taking time out of their lives to put so much energy into this event. They assembled a first class group to work with them during the race as well. In addition to the aforementioned John Williams, Sean Ferrell returned to act as PRO for the race and Claude Nix did a terrific job on the Tybee 500 web site. I also saw other familiar faces during the week and I apologize for not being able to remember both first and last names of all of them.
Finally, let’s remember to thank our friends and family (and dogs!) for supporting us in this event, whether it be monetarily and/or emotionally. It can be difficult for wives and husbands left to fend for themselves and their children for a week while their signifigant others disappear for an extended romp up the beaches of the East coast. Fortunately, many of the spouses and even children were able to enjoy the week with the teams.
Here are some more photos from the week. Thanks to everyone for reading my little blog here and for your comments and emails. They were much appreciated.
Tim Owens and son Cole
David and Robyn Strickland with Chris Zander
Chris, me, and David
Sorry again that I missed the finish today…of all days. Please check out the coverage of the race at Catsailor for details, as I saw Rick White on the beach following the finish. Also, for some great photos and coverage from Wendy Daunheimer, tune in at Pirates of the Chesapeake. Mike Krantz’s father, Dave, will continue to have excellent coverage from the vantage of what it’s like to watch his son go through this week of racing at ESPN Outdoors. His post from today’s finish may not be up until tomorrow so be sure and check back there then.
All of the boats who left Fernandina today are on the beach save for Mooseburd, who have dismasted and have rigged up their Spinnaker pole to get them back. They contacted the Coast Guard and relayed to them that they did not require assistance and that they plan to finish the race under their own steam. They are thirty miles out and traveling at four knots (if I recall my information correctly) and the race committee will continue to wait on them.
I will be writing more tomorrow about the race, stories overheard, and a long list of Thank You’s to many people. It may not be posted until I get home tomorrow evening but I hope you will check back then. I hope to cover more races in the future. I wish we could attend the Great Texas this year but Jake doesn’t have the vacation days for all of the races in which he’d love to participate. Maybe next year?
Everyone who is on the road or makes it home today and tomorrow are in our thoughts. Drive safe and be proud of your accomplishment this week, both to the sailors and the amazing ground crews.
By this afternoon/evening it will all be over and we’ll finally know for certain who’s walking away with class and overall wins for this year’s Tybee 500. The start this morning at 8am wasn’t filled with the rudder carnage of yesterday’s leg. In favt, the onlt boats that had any kind of prolonged trouble in getting through the surf were Chums, Velocity 2, and Cat in the Cat. Zhik struggles a little but got out just fine as well.
Turns out that many of our immediate and informal extended family had a mini reunion here at Fernandina yesterday evening; many of whom are following us up to Tybee Island. The Zhik wives are here: Rebecca Krantz and Renee Lennard, our team manager’s wife Kristen and little boy Cole were with Kristen’s mom, Kip. Kristen’s dad is Hank Goodman, who is already the team manager for Zhik. And their manager for the whole trip has been Mike’s dad, Dave Krantz. Jake and I were very pleasantly surprised by the arrival of Jake’s parents Jim and Karen, who brought our nine year old twin nieces. My in-laws actually travelled along with us as ground crew in 2005 but this was the first time that the girls had been able to see Uncle Jake come into the beach during a race. I apologize if I’m forgetting anyone else who came to visit both here and along the way. I just wanted to say thanks for all the support from our friends and family throughout the race.
I’ll post more about the day’s race predictions once we get moving in the car.
I’m not yet sure how or when it happened but Seacats White has broken the fiberglass underneath the rear beam and aren’t sure if they can travel onwards or not. The amount of repair required (in the dark, on the beach, no less) would keep them up until the wee hours and may or may not be worth it. They were in at a decent time so if it was broken for awhile then they did quite well, considering the damage. More info as it becomes available.
Eight o’clock start tomorrow kiddies so hit the hay early. I’ll be there in spirit but in bed physically. Just kidding. No, I’m not.
Whike was first to hit the beach with a healthy lead and the kite flying, as did most of the teams that followed. Then it was TCDYC, who had a great day today. Next were Microwind and Velocity 1, followed by father and son on Royals Yellow and Orange duking it out until the end with the former eaking out ahead within thirty seconds.
Royal Green followed their teammates in about two minutes later followed by Seacats Orange. It turns out that Jamie and Leondro’s battery was drained on their transponder so they weren’t on the shore somewhere as I had feared from viewing the live feed on the Tybee site.
Stray Cats were next, then Accelerated Chaos beat Royal White in a near photo finish. Magic Marine were up on the shore at the same time heading slightly North of the flag. After they pulled it across, we could see that Carrie seemed to have some sort of problem with her left arm or shoulder. I don’t know if that was incurred during the landing or something she’d been nursing throughout the leg.
Roughly ten minutes later Chums was just behind Adrenalin and there were two more boats on the horizon. I’m spending time with my family now (Yay!) so I’m off the clock for a bit. Bjorn has got some great photos that I will upload later. You guys at home have a good weekend. I know all of these guys are eagerly awaiting the finish line at Tybee Island tomorrow.