Monday, September 7, 2009

Good friends, good sailing and we owe it all to our three amigos….

After 14 hours in the car we are finally home in RI. It was a beautiful drive home through Canada and Maine with plenty of time to reflect. We talked about the highlights and the people…. Scott’s favorite part of the event was the 3-way battle in the last race between himself and the two former World Champions Jan Scholten and Arnoud Hummel. He loved how they just pushed each other so hard to the second weather mark, through the reach and downwind, through the next reach and around the leeward mark, trading places back and forth. They ended the race 1, 2, 3... now they were three... three World Champions. You could see him light up as he gave me the blow-by-blow. One of my favorite parts (as a spectator) was seeing Andy Roy, Terry Neilson and John Bertrand call Scott over to their table at the awards ceremony to ask him “three questions.” They were all smiling (I just wish I had taken a photo!) and they said, “We have three questions. How old are you? How tall are you and how much do you weigh?” I loved watching…these three masters of the sport just a little older now, a little greyer but still so fit and full of the game…so cool.

You know, I really don’t think that Scott and I would have ever gotten involved with the Laser Masters scene if it hadn’t been for the good times that we have shared over the years with John, Peter and Mark. I remember back in 2004…we were out to dinner with the three, listening to them laughing and telling stories of the different places that they had sailed at the various Laser Master Worlds. It was after that night that Scott and I decided to check it out…. In 2005 was when we took our anniversary to Forteleza, Brazil. This recent Worlds was our third and what a way to travel, do something that you love and hang with people that you enjoy.  The camaraderie, the physical exercise and the fuel of competition all add up to staying young!

The 70 year olds that you see at these events are not the 70 year olds that we normally see! They are laughing, fit and feisty! As Scott always says to me, ‘you have to keep pushing your body to remind it that its alive or else you just get old.’ So, on that note and in the words of Fred Taylor, NE Patriots 33 year OLD running back, we will “run until the wheels fall off.”  Because we know that two things are for certain…. we will all get old and the wheels will eventually fall off so …might as well have a good time with good friends until that time comes!

Photo: John Bentley, Mark Bear, Peter Seidenberg

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Newport’s Laser Fleet 413 takes home 4 of the coveted cubes!

Peter Seidenberg took home his 8th World Title yesterday while Scott Ferguson, Andy Pimental and Mark Bear also walked away with a prestigious cube. Each of these guys has worked really hard and each has earned a cube or two from the past.

This event was Scott’s third Master Worlds. In ’05 (Forteleza, Brazil) Scott was 3rd in the Apprentice Master fleet right behind Brett Beyers of Australia. In ’07 (Roses, Spain) Scott was 4th in the Master Standard division. The winner that year was, “The Flying Dutchman,” Arnoud Hummel…. so you might say that this event was, ‘the revenge of Roses.’ Also in this years top 5 was the ’08 Standard Master World Champion, Jan Scholten.

The top 5 in the Standard Masters: Scott Ferguson (1), Arnoud Hummel (2) , Andy Pimental (3), Mark Bear (4) Jan Scholten (5).

We are heading back to RI in a few minutes. I am sad to go and sad to leave our sweet “Seahorse Cottage” but also happy to be done with the event. We were both hoping to take a stop and visit Prince Edward Island as that is where half of Scott’s family (the Benoit’s) is from but…Scott has to get right home because of work… work always gets in the way!

Stay tune for one last story coming…”The Three Amigos”

Photos: The top 5 Standard Masters from left to right (Jan Sholten, Arnoud Hummel, Canadian Mountie, Andy Pimental, Scott Ferguson, Mark Bear) The Cube, Peter Seidenberg with Andy Roy, Packing up, Regatta over, The final stretch with Rascal, Seahorse Cottage view, Seahorse Cottage, One pooped Sherpa dog!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The play of the day…..

Yesterday’s racing was looking to be more of the same as the previous day but, was it going to pay to go right like Thursday or was it going to pay to go left as it has been for most the week? Is it an oscillating breeze, a persistent breeze or is it geographic…heads were spinning on the way out. Mark Bear, Scott and Peter Hurley decided to check it out, split and sail upwind. The three sailed together for about a minute to get tuned up, then Scott took the left, Peter took the middle and Mark took the right. The three set their watches and sailed for 5 minutes upwind and all at once tacked. Holy crap! Scott came out of the left and crossed Mark's bow by 15-20 boat lengths!!! The group began to scratch their heads as the plan going out today, for Scott at least, was to start at the RC boat and bang a hard right…. now, that plan was all messed up! Scott went on to watch Peter Hurley start in the Apprentice fleet...the committee boat was favored and the lemmings were all there while Peter opted for the pin. He banged the left and was eventually 1st to the weather mark.  Scott didn’t see Peter make the weather mark before his start but saw enough to know that he too was in…Scott was going left. He started at his typical spot, a mid-line start with a solid line site. He was just to leeward of Arnoud Hummel (NED), "the flying dutchman," but was poked out just enough and able to force Arnoud to tack away. Marc Jacobi, Mark Bear, Tim Landt and Arnoud Hummel all went left while most of the fleet went right. At the leeward mark, Hummel was right behind Scott and decided to tack away…a clearing tack gone too long as when Arnoud came back from the right he had fallen way back eventually finishing 12th while Scott took 1st, Marc Jacobi 2nd, and Mark Bear  3rd.  

Fleet 413 sailors Mark Bear and Andy Pimental are currently tied for third overall going into the last day of  racing!

In the GGM fleet, it is going to be a nail-biter of a day coming up as Peter Seidenberg (7 time World Champion) is currently tied for first overall with Australia’s Kerry Waraker.

Today looks to be a light northerly….possible late sea breeze but….not looking too good as no races can start after 4:00pm.

Photos: Rob Breslin, Peter Seidenberg, Andy Pimental, Scott Ferguson, Mark Bear and John Bentley

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hangin’ on by a thread…..

In Scott's words, yesterday’s racing was ‘tactically confusing!' He said that Andy Pimental sailed a spectacular two races (2,4) and of course, as he was expecting, Arnoud Hummel from NED was dangerous in a breeze finishing with a (1,1) Scott was 4th at the World’s in ’07 when Arnoud won so there is a little history.  Check out the photos of Arnoud and Scott … I think I could write a blurb on, “The Anatomy of The Perfect Laser Sailor.” Arnoud stands just shy of 6’3” and weighs in at 180 lbs. Scott is around 6'1"-6'2" and currently weighing in at 186 lbs. When the breeze is up, Arnoud just unfolds into the human lever upwind and seems to go a half knot faster than the rest!

According to Scott, his 3rd and his 7th were hard fought races. In the last race Scott found himself off the line trying to shake a guy from his hip. The two had blown everyone else out the back but Scott was flat out for 2 minutes thinking it had to be Arnoud-the hiking machine- hanging to weather. Whoever it was, was pushing him to the left side of the course and leaving the rest of the fleet to go right. Scott wanted right so he slowed down to let the monster pass. As Scott tacked to go right he looked over his shoulder and yelled, “Boner!!” Terry Neilson (you know, the Finn Olympic medalist from CAN) laughed and said, ‘You got to hike harder!’ Ok, you all are wondering, what did Scott yell that for? Apparently, growing up Scott had heard that the nickname for Terry Neilson was ‘boner’ so during one of the practice days Scott sailed up to him and asked him why people called him ‘boner’ Terry laughed and said that it was because he hiked so hard. My comment to Scott was, ‘Scott, you didn’t just ask him that? Did you at least introduce yourself first?’

Anyway…going left turned out to be a bad move, even if you can hike better that the rest as Terry sailed into a 19th place finish and Scott managed to scrape back to a 7th. Again, all during the Standard worlds, the talk was all “left” and even in the first half of this week it was, “when in doubt go left.” Yesterday, on the other hand, a lot of right paid off….ahhh, welcome to the fine art of yacht racing!

Photos: Scott and Arnoud

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sea breeze is in!

It's another gorgeous day here on St. Margaret's Bay. Finally, the weather seems to be doing what the locals consider, "normal." It is 12:15 and the sea breeze is fully in-woo hoo! 

The Standard Masters fleet should be quite a show today as the top half has been placed into the "Gold" fleet and the bottom half, the "Silver" fleet. I am proud to say that all of the Fleet 413 SM guys are solidly in the "Gold" fleet! 

This morning, when Scott was off getting changed, Rascal and I were standing near his boat when a couple of GBR guys came by to check out Scott's boat to see how he has it set up. One of the guys was Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sails (amazing Laser sailor, I might add!) Well, we got chatting and Steve and his friend were blown away when I rattled off the names of the Fleet 413 guys in the Gold fleet.  As Mark Bear said today, ''re only as good as the people you regularly sail against.' So, for those of you who didn't know why Scott and Mark took off during the middle of the Coastal Living Sail Newport was to sail out to R2 in search of big waves and wind. It was all part of the preparation and it seems to be paying off! I know that Scott was picking Mark's brain about sailing downwind (Mark is fast downwind) and Mark was getting tips from Scott regarding upwind. So far, at this regatta, Scott feels much faster downwind and Mark is feeling really good about his upwind performance.  Today will be interesting to see how they all do, racing against the best.

Photos: Evening in Nova Scotia, Morning ritual with Rascal going for the ride, John Bentley on the day off, Arnoud Hummel of the Netherlands (winner in 2007 Standard Masters), Morning on the YC lawn

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Today is the “rest day” and the sea breeze is filling in nicely…go figure!

Today is a “rest day” for the competitors and isn’t it ironic that today could prove to be the best conditions yet. It’s 11:30 am and check out the photo from our porch…here comes the sea breeze.

Fleet 413 is still dominating. Peter Seidenberg has been flawless in the GGM fleet. He was able to throw out his “senior moment” which leaves his scoreboard with straight bullets! Scott is currently leading in the Standard Master’s fleet with Mark Bear (4th), Andy Pimental (6th), Marc Jacobi (7th), Peter Vassella (9th), and Peter Shope (16th) - all have qualified for the Gold Fleet.  In the Apprentice Master’s fleet Rob Breslin had a good day yesterday and currently stands in 13th and in the GM Standard fleet John Bentley is holding his own in a very competitive fleet at 17th overall.

The regatta so far has been really tough with the shifty conditions, requiring a bit of “brain gym”, along with a lot of in and out hiking conditions. The end of the week is looking to get windy so maybe more of a heads down and grind it out deal is ahead.

Photos: The perfect sea breeze starting to fill in, Rascal placing his good luck paw prints, Rascal’s new friends from the Cayman Islands, chatting with Marc Jacobi, rest day for the pooped Sherpa dog, no rest day for Scott.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The “bullet” Boys!

Peter Seidenberg (GGM) and Scott Ferguson (M) could do no wrong today, each scoring a bullet in their respective race #1 and Scott going on to lead in race #2 only to have the race cancelled halfway through -argh!

According to Scott the racing was really hard, it was shifty, puffy and streaky. Again, everyone left the dock at around 11 am only to get teased with a nice thermal that didn’t last. The race committee was gearing up for a race when the thermal got snuffed out with cloud cover. Everyone picked up and moved to take advantage of the new gradient breeze and a race was completed in 5-10knots. At around 4pm a strong breeze filled in from the south with 15+knots and big waves and race #2 was underway. On the “standard masters” course, Scott was in the lead on the 4th leg at the weather mark when the race committee decided to abandon the racing. I know that Scott would have preferred them to have shortened the course and call the finishes right there but… the RC knows the area and, like clockwork, the breeze shut off. It was the right decision.

I have to mention Marc Jacobi as he is not a regular in fleet 413 but he is from CT (close enough) and sails with the gang in many of the same events. Marc is also sailing in the “standard masters” division and pulled off a “horizon job” today on his course! He is now tied for third with our own fleet 413 Dr. Mark Bear. After today’s racing the “standard masters” will be split into a Gold fleet and a Silver fleet. The racing in the Gold fleet should be pretty exciting to say the least!

Another note…. Peter Seidenberg would have had two bullets on the first day of racing but had to retire after the first race (RAF) as he realized that he had forgotten to round the offset mark. Yes, a “senior moment” ….I think that they should allow for one free senior moment in the sailing instructions, don’t you!

Photos: Peter Seidenberg and Scott Ferguson... happy at the end of the day