Everyone (except me) is outside setting up boats. There’s a lovely vista but it’s hawt and I prefer not to melt…or burst into fire (I’m a fan of True Blood and may have taken it too seriously). Since the teams are suffering from poached brains and set-up preoccupation, I’ll postpone my recon until the Team Seacats Cruzan Rum party this evening. I figure I’ll get more brutally honest goss from booze loosened tongues anyway. Incidentally, there’s a wedding tent set up out in the beachfront courtyard of the resort. I hope the bride is planning to wear a white bikini (and I’m sure our guys do as well) as I can’t imagine wearing a traditional dress in this heat. I also hope the wedding doesn’t coincide with our general rowdiness. I do plan to go out here in a bit and take some photos that I will upload to our Flickr photostream.
I wanted to take a moment to post all of the other participants’ and sponsors’ blogrolls so readers can get a more complete picture of the race, as one blogger will invariably hear something that one or all of the others have missed. Of course, I hope you tune in here every day, but it’s only fair to give readers a complete list of their options. In that spirit of openness, I would appreciate the reciprocity of a shout out from the other blogs covering the race.
First, there’s news from the official Tybee 500 site itself. My special buddy from way back, John Williams, will be covering the facts and results of the legs of the race. Naturally, I’m sure that John-John will bring his own inimitable style to these reports. Many of you will remember his on-camera talent during previous Tybee 500’s when he worked with Brian Karr from Adventure Onine TV to produce hysterical film clips from the event. You can still see footage from previous Tybee 500’s there. Second, the Velocity Syndicate has two blogs going on: the official Velocity site, updated by Jennifer Lemkes and Team Velocity 2 sailor Tad Pecorak’s wife, Kate. Team Velocity 6 – Pirates of the Chesapeake has a separate blog. Team Adrenalin has a blog as well as Team Chums/Corpus. There will also be coverage of the race by Sailing Anarchy, who always have great articles on their home page. Last, but certainly not least, is the big kahuna of catamaran sailing, Rick White from Catsailor. His coverage and photos are always superlative. It’s all about options, in my opinion, and things have certainly blown up in cyber-coverage of the Tybee 500 since I first started posting when my husband began sailing the race in 2004. If I’ve missed anyone, please comment after this post to get your name out there for all the friends, fans, family, and followers of the sport, the teams, and the fun that is the Tybee 500.
Oh, and I’m using a hotel Bible as a mousepad. I figure I’m earning leniency for my many sins by osmosis plus getting some good mojo for the race participants. Either that or else being completely blasphemous. I prefer the former. So if I type your name, you’ll automatically get a little extra boost from the Man upstairs…or at least The Gideons.
Here’s a rundown on this year’s Tybee 500 participants, written to the best of my current information both gleaned from the official Tybee 500 website and what I’ve heard around and about. I apologize for any mistakes in advance as it’s difficult to keep track of so many people, their past races, etc.; particularly when you see some of them only once a year and, in some cases, have never met them at all.
I’ll tell you now: Go grab a Mountain Dew ‘cos this is a long list and you don’t want to fall asleep on your keyboard! Looking at the roster, there are more than several teams that I could easily predict as placing this year. It will definitely be a tight race and technical difficulties are the only thing that could keep a fair number of these teams from the podium, as it were.
In alphabetical order, Chris Titcomb brings Accelerated Chaos back for another year. This year his crew is Chris Burd although he’s sailed with Tripp Burd in the past. Maybe he couldn’t tell them apart? Spoiler alert and to allay confusion: there are three (3) Burd boys sailing this year. It must be in the genes. Chris Titcomb has come fourth and fifth in the past two years, respectively. He’s a very talented sailor and a strong contender to place this year and will definitely be sweating the frontrunners, in any case. Chris also has an adorable dog named Layla.
Cat in the Hat are also returning to the Tybee family for the fourth consecutive year. These guys have continued to improve in their performance over the years. Skipper Larry Ferber and crew Jackson Smith have so much heart and perseverance that it’s an inspiration to everyone. Their longtime manager is Larry’s wife Pam Panetti. I do have to add that the disturbingly flesh colored boat has been repainted and is now…wait for it…disturbingly flesh colored. I’m wondering if the boat received further special features, like studs or ribbing.
Hurricane Racing finds Mike Easton at the helm with Tripp Burd as crew. Tripp has sailed with Accelerated Chaos’ Chris Titcomb in the past. Their team managment is Anna Martin.
Managed and sponsored by Kirk Newkirk, there is the late entry of a Key Sailing team featuring Stan Schreyer and Jonathan Farrar, both incredibly talented sailors best known for their performance in the Volvo 40 race and wiping the floor with everyone at this past Midwinters. These guys are going to be hot, hot, hot, unless I miss my guess.
A Florida based team, Stray Cats is made up of Karl Langefeld and Bryan Paine. Karl, who has raced with Jake Kohl at Spring Fever for the past few years and a Tybee veteren, is excited about joining forces with Bryan and I wish them the best of luck. Their manager is Karl Langefeld, Sr.
We’re glad to see the return of TCDYC (Texas City Dike Yacht Club) with Chris Green and Aaron McCulley. These guys are super nice, as is their Team Manager Jose Cerdas.
Team Adrenalin is from Rhode Island and comprised of Todd Riccardi and Brendan Scanlon. If I’m not mistaken, they are both new participants in the Tybee 500. Their team manager is Bret Sullivan.
Team Cat Fever is Todd Hart and Jeff LoSapio. Managed by Kevin Lineberger, the team is from the North Carolina Outer Banks area. You can read more about them in an earlier post. They are experienced long distance sailors and great guys to boot. Another integral member of their team (albeit supporting them from back in NC during the race) is Jack Barnes, who was instrumental in putting in the hours to make ready the boat by both wetsanding and doing gelcoat for the bottom of the hulls.
Team Chums/Corpus are back after missing the race last year. Lee Wicklund is skipper again with a new crew in this race, Cory Harding. I’ll be updating you on their progress thoughout the week. They will be accompanied by manager Mrs. Harding. I don’t know if this is Cory’s wife or Mom. If the latter, it’s a great way to spend Mother’s Day all week long, since Jake’s parents came along with us in 2006 and we had so much fun.
Team Mooseburd is a team with the third of the Burd boys (as you may surmise by their team name) although I never knew that the moose was a water dwelling mammal. Tyler Burd, (aka T-Burd) will be sailing along with Morgan Kellogg. Walter Maguire is their manager.
Then come the four boats sailing under the Team Royal conglomerate, all under the watchful eye of Den Mother extraordinaire Laurel Sonnenklar. On Team Royal Green is Leondro Spina and Jamie Livingston. This is another team to watch. Not only do these guys sail together often, Jamie actually won last year’s Tybee 500 with Kenny Pierce. I have to take a moment to say, Where’s Kenny this year? Information has been scant.
Team Royal Orange has the distinction of being the youngest team sailing in the race: Jared Sonnenklar and Colin Page. Jared has had some great success in past Tybee 500’s while Colin has participated in at least one Alter Cup. Not too shabby.
Team Royal White is skippered by Curt Johnson with crew Terry Greene. Seems to me like they should have been on Team Royal Green just by virtue of the crew’s name. Now I’ll get all confused.
Finally, Team Royal Yellow unites the super duo of Steve Lohmayer and Jay Sonnenklar. This is another team in contention for a high placing finish based on past performance, including Tybee 500 wins for both separately.
Now for my sweeties: Team Seacats Orange. Jake (the snake) Kohl and Frank (the tank) Moore have sailed together in the Tybee 500 twice before. In 2006, they earned third place but the next year had some problems with the boat in the fugly surf conditions during the Jupiter to Cocoa leg, forcing them to take an eight hour penalty which pushed them back to seventh. Jake took a year off in 2008 (and Frank sailed with Mike Ferrara) but he is psyched to be back on the boat this year. They aren’t able to sail more than a couple of times a year due to geographical challenges but they have a super rapport and always have a good time on the boat, regardless of the outcome. Frank is partner in a Law Firm, Mansmann & Moore, based in Pittsburgh and has been sailing for 26 years. Jake is an engineer who works as manager of the aftermarket sales division of Hartness International. Coming along to support us once again this year is team manager Tim Owens (one of my favorite people in the world, incidentally). He’s “the man with the smile”, super helpful and extremely hardworking. Acting as pusher and alternate sailor is Daryl Moss, from CT. He works as production manager for Seaside Naturals, a great company that produces environmentally friendly cleaners and personal products. Daryl is the guy you see, perpetually shirtless (and with very pretty eyes), helping every single team get their boats up the shore and parked. We are really lucky to have such a wonderful ground crew! Then there’s me, of course, who’s only contribution to the effort is to make smart aleck-y remarks while attempting to be informative on this blog. I used to do the admin and be errand girl for the team but I’m a little down this year due to health issues. At least I didn’t have to miss the event like last year. I’m medicated and thrilled to be back with the old crew.
The other Team Seacats boat (white) will be carrying our dear friends Chris Zander and David Strickland. To mix languages from the Classics era, their race names are the Rum ‘n’ Gladiators: Testecles and Scrotacus. I was going to make graphics to that effect for their sails but decided it was only fit to be broadcast for posterity on the already swill filled Interweb. ‘Cause that’s the kind of classy dame I am…and why I’m dubbing this years’ Team Seacats coverage Live – From the Tramp. I did make a t-shirt for that. Again, classy. Like Jake and several other Seacats team members, Chris and David sail out of Keowee Sailing Club on bee-eutiful Lake Keowee in Seneca, SC. Chris has been sailing since he was a sprout and brought his friend David into the sport in the early 90’s. They have sailed and raced together on their own and with their spouses on both monohulls and catamarans. As I mentioned before, this will be their first time on a boat during the Tybee 500, even though they have put in years of contributions as Ground Crew during more than a few long distance races, including a Worrell, a few Tybee 500’s and the Great Texas. These guys are employed by the same company, Bonitz Floor Covering, based in Belton, SC. David’s wife Robyn will be joining them as a support member for the Tybee 500 while Chris’ wife Wendy will be staying home with their two month old daughter, Abby. Team Manager for Team Seacats White is good friend Bjorn Kronquist. A native of Malmo Sweden, Bjorn is a newlywed with his lovely wife Michelle. He has a history of sailing since his youth and currently owns a Nacra 570. He moved to the US to finish his flight training and currently works for a Nursing Home/Assisted Living facility in NC, handling both its IT needs as well as acting as the company pilot.
Now for what I’m affectionately terming The Syndicate: Team Velocity. I was calling them Trey-velocity-dot-com due to Trey Brown’s feat of roping in so many more participants this year to sail under the Velocity banner. However, The Syndicate sounds more mysterious, as if Trey has a flunkie ready with a baseball bat to the knees for anyone who steps out of line. Anyway, they already have a big swirly thing as their logo and therefore no use for a gnome mascot like the travel site uses. In any case, there are fully six out of the twenty-three teams sailing as Velocity sponsors. Don’t even expect me to tell them all apart, though I’ll do my best to learn.
As Team Velocity 1/Anarchy Challenge, I’m predicting great things for Trey Brown and and Alan Stewart, who placed third last year and have been training with fellow Velocity team mate John Casey…a multiple winner in Tybee 500’s of yore. Their teams will both be ones to watch. This Velocity team is being managed by Ryan Boyle.
Team Velocity Sailing 2 is helmed by Tad Pecorak and is sailing with Bailey White. Bailey is a Tybee virgin while Tad sailed with Trey in 2006 and sadly came late in the results due to a DNF. They will be sailing on the boat that Tad has named Undecided, due to the half white/half yellow hulls. However, I refuse to call it anything other than Moonpie, since it looks like a big, banana Moonpie. If you don’t know what a Moonpie is then you’re not missing out on much…you just aren’t from the South. This is also the boat that Mischa Heemskirk sailed to a handy victory in the 2007 Tybee 500. Managing Tad and Bailey is Tybee regular ground crew Derek Binkley.
Team Velocity 3 is being skippered by Australian native Brad Kramer with crew Don Lenfesty. I believe they’re the ones sailing on Team Seacats’ old blue I-20. I don’t mean to imply that the boat itself is old, only that it is new to them. Their manager is Kirk Spicer.
Team Velocity 4 is being helmed by Brett Robinson with crew Alan Friedman. Brett is a second generation Hobie sailor but I believe that they are both new to this race. They are being managed by notable (for various reasons I won’t mention here) Velocity alum James Boicort.
Team Velocity 5/Magic Marine is another double threat team featuring the sole gurrl powered entry for the year, Olympic Yngling sailor Carrie Howe who is pairing up with multiple Tybee victor John Casey. This is Carrie’s first run at the Tybee 500 but I feel certain this team will be a force with which to be reckoned. JC missed last years’s Tybee 500 due to previous sailing engagements in Europe (where he’s been putting in a lot of time on the water) so he’s officially now an international catamaran rock star! Plus, he’s a super nice guy and has a very generous spirit when it comes sharing his sailing experience with others. They are being managed by Mario Noya.
The sixth and final Team velocity entry, also known as Pirates of the Chesapeake, features skipper Keith Chapman and crew Alec Daunheimer. Both veterans of long distance sailing, they’re from Annapolis and are being supported by manager Adam Domanski.
Team Zhik is comprised of our good friends Mike Krantz and David Lennard. David is a veteran of a Worrell and they’ve sailed together in many Tybee 500’s and other long distance races, such as the Great Texas. They’ve also sailed in the Alter Cup a couple of times. They have an hysterical story regarding the Great Texas featuring a rented RV, if you feel like asking. Mike also races on a Melges 24 and is co-owner of Layline sailing gear and the US representative for Zhik. David builds custom homes in NC with the help of his lovely bride Renee. Even though Mike lives in GA with his wife Rebecca, he and David manage to race together on a regular basis. Their ground crew is skipper, PRO for many events, and all around super guy Hank Goodman, who also sails out of Keowee Sailing Club in Seneca, SC.
The word is that Team Wildthing with James Zellmer and and John Harmuth from VT have backed out of the race, although I’m not certain of the reasoning behind this rumor. Another interesting tidbit is that I’ve heard news that Mischa Heemskerk has chartered a boat out of Atlanta GA, double stacked it, and is en route to points unknown…possibly blowing in at the last minute for the Tybee 500? That would throw a whole new spin on the competitive edge of the fleet as Mischa is quietly confident (and for good reason) of an excellent performance in any race in which he participates. In 2007, Mischa and crew won the Tybee 500 by a margin of two hours ahead of Team Tybee. It should be noted, however, that Team Tybee lost a chunk of time on the Cocoa leg as they missed a mark and had to correct.
We’ve finally arrived at the Islander Resort in Islamorada and plan to get our gang together, say Hello to everyone else, and chill out after our long drive. I’ll post more later, including links to all of the other blogsters covering the race this year.
One of the most exciting factoids about the 2009 Tybee 500 is the fact that there are currently 23 boats registered…far more than the past few years. This will amp up the level of competition as well as camaraderie with more fine sailors assembled working toward the same goal of getting to the great vacation destination of Tybee Island, Georgia, just outside of Savannah.
The Team Seacats sailing teams this year are Frank Moore and Jake Kohl on the orange boat (the “General Lee” once belonging to Team Tybee) Chris Zander and David Strickland on the white boat. This is Frank’s 7th consecutive year of racing in the Tybee 500, while Jake began in 2004 through the upcoming event, although he took off last year to work as Ground Crew, with Mike Ferrara sailing alongside Frank. All of the Team Seacats competitors are avid sailors (both monohull and catamaran) with decades of experience between them. This will be the first year of actual racing in the Tybee 500 for Chris and David, although they have served gallantly as Ground Crew for many years. It’s good to finally see these two “gentle giants” on a boat! I mean it, these guys are tall. Of course, this is coming from a woman who barely surpasses the five foot mark. Their goal is to finish the race, but I’m sure they will do great!
One major difference this year is the inclusion of eight F-18’s in the fleet. The rest of the boats, of course, are I-20’s. To my understanding, the boats will be judged by class then handicapped together for an overall winner. This should make for some interesting sailing, depending upon the wind conditions and directions hurled at them throughout the legs of the race. For those not involved in the sailing community (also known as landgrabbers), the following is what I know about some of the differences between the two models. Please note the overarching caveat that I am not much of a technical minded sailor and oftentimes simply repeat, to the best of my ability, what I’ve learned from someone else. So take it easy on me.
The F-18 is a box rule, development boat, meaning that it can be tweaked into any Frankenstein creation (think mix ‘n’ match sails, masts, etc.) as long as it falls within certain basic parameters. The I-20, on the other hand, is a factory boat, all having the same, approved equipment and hardware from the one manufacturer (also known as a SMOD, or single manufacturer one design) While the I-20 is a fine ocean boat that can benefit from light winds due to overall sail area, it can suffer upwind in heavy air when the focus on depowering (which adds drag, and is also called sail dumping) provides resistance and hampers their performance. Conversely, the F-18 excels in heavy air upwind due to better optimized sail shapes. Therefore, the overall winner may very well be determined by the whims of Mother Nature and Uncle Wind Direction.
As usual the race organizer is Tybee Island resident Chuck Bargeron and the PRO (Principle Race Officer) is Sean Ferrell. The Tybee 500 crew always do a superior job running this race and we anticipate another great race this year. As part of the Team Seacats ground crew, we hope to see as many friends and supporters as possible at the various stops along the way. Please stop by and say Hello. See you soon!
Friends, family, and followers of Team Seacats lend me your ears…both of them, ’cause this is big news. I’m thrilled to post that the time is nigh for the 2009 Tybee 500! I will soon be flooding this series of tubes that makes up the Interweb with team information, status reports, photos, and occasional bouts of hot gossip.
To kick things off in style, Team Seacats will be hosting a party for all of the teams on Saturday, May 9th at 7pm. Sponsored by Cruzan Rum and Mansman & Moore LLP, the Team Seacats party will feature fixin’s by the aforementioned firewater manufacturer, Coke, and limes. We’ll also be providing munchies in the form of wings and pizza. The party will take place in the vicinity of the beautiful Islander Resort in the equally beautiful Islamorada, Florida. Come one, come all to nosh, drink, and talk smack with each other about the upcoming week of what I’m certain will be a fabulous race. I predict a good time for all.