Sunday at TTL: Wipe Out!

Dave Henning enjoying the breeze. Featured photo: Joanne Aspinall

By Bob Naylor, Rear Commodore and Sunfish Fleet Captain

The forecasts for Sunday afternoon didn’t look good… cool, mid 60 degrees, winds out of the north at 9 – 13 knots, with gusts of up to 20 knots. The C14.2s canceled – only one C14.2 ventured onto the lake with Igor Wojewoda at the helm. It was accompanied by a lone Buccaneer 18 skippered by Emory Heisler with new sailor Anthony Perez, representing the Portsmouth Fleet. The Juniors didn’t sail. Lasers were on Race Committee. That left the Sunfish.

Steve Dausend and his wake!!! Photo: Joanne Aspinall

Eight Sunfish launched and raced. Dave Henning’s boat was racing – he shared tiller time on his boat with new Sunfish sailor Joanne Aspinall. Brothers Steve and Jack Dausend sailed. Rick Keffer again made the pilgrimage from Las Cruces, NM, as he regularly does, to race with AYC. On most Sundays this time of year, Sam Puentes has to decide between sailing or snow-boarding – today seemed like a good day for sailing, or maybe just a bad day for snow-boarding. Jeff Bryant loves to push his Sunfish hard, and he was looking forward to some heavy air. Pete Lesser raced on his boat, the newest to the fleet. And keelboat sailor Tom Fuge, a recent transplant from Arkansas, thought it might be a good day to try one of those sexy Sunfish for his first time.

The afternoon started well enough – it was windy but not too bad. After a while, the winds built quickly, and before long, the conditions were gusting as predicted – heavy blasts of intense, swirling air coming mostly out of the north, but sometimes from other directions, too. Before long, Chuck Norris and Matt Baker kept plenty busy on the mark set boat assisting Sunfish and a few kayakers too.

Some people just make it look easy! Photo: Joanne Aspinall

Membership in the Sunfish “Capsize Club” increased four-fold in one afternoon. Jeff was hit with a powerful gust that lifted his boat and capsized it. Two blasts hit Rick from different directions simultaneously, enabling him to experience the TTL baptismal ceremony for his first time. Sam’s halyard mast cap was damaged in the strong winds, forcing him to rely on skills learned years earlier on his high school swim team. The sibling rivalry between Steve and Jack came to a head when Jack went over – finally matching Steve’s capsize during the Regatta a few weeks earlier. Tom was speeding along, having a blast, racing very competitively, and hiked-out and holding onto the wooden tiller extension for dear life until it suddenly snapped, sending him overboard.

At the end of the day, Pete looked exhausted; but he was dry, as were Joanne, Steve, and Dave. As for the rest … core body temperatures began returning to normal, clothing was changed or dried, a few smiles broke out, and as the capsize stories starting flowing, there was even some soggy laughter here and there. Dinghy sailors expect “wet pants sailing” – whatever the cause – but plenty of Sunfish sailors got more than they bargained for on Sunday!
Ahhh TTL, you whimsical cruel beauty!

More photos from Joanne…