2000 Regatta Report

Sam Myers Memorial Regatta, Pymatuning Ohio

The 23rd edition of the Sam Myers’ Memorial Regatta was held at Pymatuning Sailing Club over the July 8-9 weekend. A total of 5 Fireballs put in an appearance at this year’s event, maintaining the tradition of participation at the regatta. This year, the fleet consisted of two Ontario boats, Antica and Doug from Ottawa and Rick Clift from Niagara (with an imported crew, Lainey White, from Pittsburgh) and three US boats. Of particular note with the US boats was the return to the fleet of a couple of stalwart Fireballers from years past, Duncan Schaefer and Fred Stewart. Duncan was sailing one of the boats he built back in the 1980’s, having rescued it from a barn in eastern Ohio. Fred had pulled his boat out of storage too, now that his daughters were old enough to sail. It was great to see old faces in the fleet again. Also hitting the water was one of the new Fireballs from the Jefferson High School project. Dave White was valiantly trying to get all the bits on his boat prior to the start, so that that the Fireballs would have the pre-requisite 5 boats for a fleet. In addition to the Fireballs sailing, there was a large fleet of Sunfish (with ex Fireballer Ron McHenry leading the charge), some American Sailing Canoes (explanation of which defies belief), a mixture of Lasers and Force Fives, some JY15’s and an open class consisting of one Flying Dutchman, various Hobies, and other odds and ends.

After a record cold night Friday night (for those of us camping in July, we did not realize extra blankets were needed!), Saturday brought with it sunshine, and no wind! The fleets slowly made it out to the start line, and after seemingly hours of intense drama, Fred Stewart claimed the opening bullet, much to the delight of 12 year old daughter Sarah. The fight for second place came down to a tacking duel between Duncan and Rick, with Duncan pulling out all the stops to get 2nd by ½ a boat length over the fast (?) charging orange boat. Fortunately for all concerned, the RC decided to postpone racing for the balance of the day, as the winds were non-existent. All the boats retired to the club for some well deserved cold beer, and a great chicken dinner, in the tradition of Pymatuning.

Sunday dawned with the threat of thunderstorms over Lake Erie, and a building breeze from the SW on the lake. The first race saw Rick and Lainey claim the bullet after some close racing from a hard charging Duncan Schaefer. Doug and Antica grabbed third, as Doug was slowly learning how to drive a boat with no point up front. The winds continued to build as the day progressed, allowing both Clift and Schaefer to pull away from the other boats, especially on the off wind legs. The second reach on the second race was a great ride, with both boats clawing their way through the Sunfish fleet, planing flat out. Duncan showed that his Fireball helming talents were returning quickly as he claimed bullets in the 2nd and 3rd races of the day, thereby cementing his top placing in the regatta. Rick and Lainey were challenging Duncan for bragging rights but came up short, having to accept two seconds. In the last race, Fred Stewart and his daughter confirmed that Pymatuning Lake was still not deep enough for Fireballs to turtle, as they dumped on the last gybe at the start of the downwind leg.

After all the racing, the fleet charged for the shore, to get packed up before the thunderstorms struck. Fortunately, the rain held off until the trophies were handed out, and the boats were on the trailers.

Final placing for the regatta were:

Duncan Schaeffer USA abcd 2, 2, 1, 1

Rick Clift CAN 11148 3, 1, 2, 2

Fred Stewart USA 12xxx 1, 4, 3, 3

Doug Corner CAN 12362 4, 3, 4, DNF

Dave White USA 14zzz DNS, 5, 5, DNS

All in all, the 2000 rendition of the Sam Myers Regatta continued the traditions of past events at Pymatuning. The event is a great place to get into Fireball racing, with good facilities (except for the mozzies), warm water, cold beer, and usually at least one day of wind!

Next year, hopefully the fleet will be twice as big, so Fireball can get the first start on the line.


Keep On Ballin,

Rick Clift

Fireball CAN 11148