The Spengeman Fling
This isn’t a typical magazine article that talks about the logistics of the regatta weekend, or the smartest way to rig your boat, or even a plea to get more boats to the 2015 Bluegrass Regatta (I am my father’s daughter after all) but it is a quick recap of one of the best weekends that I have had in a LONG time. Last Friday afternoon, I picked up Ben (age 6 ½) and Emma (almost 4) from Summer Camp with two Optis in tow and my car packed with a whole bunch of camping gear for the weekend…we were starting our little weekend adventure by hopping on the road to head to the Highlander Hoover Fling. Why not bring three boats to a weekend regatta!?!
We arrived at the club with Ed just a few minutes behind us with the Highlander and since the night was young, and the wind pretty light, we decided that priority number one was to rig up the Optis and get the kids out on the water. Ed drove Emma’s boat with her guiding him on where to go, and Ben hopped into his own boat only to drive to weather of Ed for the entire sail as he figured out that this would “steal Daddy’s air.” Needless to say, he was wearing a huge smile for most of his sail! They slowly made their way back to the dock as our “sailing family” was starting to show up.
Steve Bauer and family arrived, along with a blast-from-the-past Mike Perakis and we made our way to the Clubhouse to cook out. We were soon joined by John Bauer and his family and we were all back to swapping war stories while watching the next generation of Highlander sailors play on the playground. It was an awesome night!
Saturday came pretty early, as it often does with small kiddos so we started our day having breakfast with the gang in the clubhouse. When we showed up to Hoover, our game plan was to have a rotating crew, with Ed and John taking turns driving our Highlander to allow all of the “shore moms” a chance to get back on a boat. But sometimes plans change and you roll with it.
So over breakfast Saturday morning we announced to the kiddos that we would be racing as a family that day! Emma was 100% on board and ready to go right then, but Ben was a little reluctant as the playground was pretty cool and he and Jack Bauer were having fun! But we managed to rally the troops and hop on 2002 for our first family race.
We were the last boat out to the starting line and had NO expectations of really doing anything but going for a sail, but we started with the rest of the fleet and told each other that we would just have a good time. Throughout the course of the race, we were filling up water bottles with lake water (followed by “don’t drink that!”), Emma was pulling off pieces of electrical tape from the role (not really sure what she did with those) and Ben was yelling “Tally Ho” to any boats that got close enough to hear (we apologize).
Miraculously, we rounded the weather mark in 2nd place and started the next leg of the race. With Jason Jipikse ahead of us, and John Bauer close behind we felt like we were in good company and were just trying to keep our wits about us long enough to float to the next mark. When we rounded the leeward mark in first, we quietly explained to the kids what our position was and they suddenly got VERY interested in the race. With a couple of tacks to the finish, we were able to hang on to our position and get our first family bullet which was a truly awesome feeling.
Due to a bathroom emergency, Emma and I had to get off the boat after the first race only to have Ed and Ben two-man the rest of the races as Emma had discovered that her friends Jocelyn and Emily Bauer were on the playground. The guys did a great job racing, and a few times during the afternoon Ben would ask questions like “how are we going to catch Mr. Rob” or “tell me again why we aren’t flying our spinnaker to make us faster downwind?” and even ended up doing the math on the way back to shore to figure out that they had 13 points. Needless to say, the stories that came from that afternoon of racing were pretty cool and ones that we won’t forget.
That evening we enjoyed sharing a meal with our friends once again, and taking another Opti sail, with some of the Bauers joining us. Little kids and “big kids” got to take turns going for a spin and it was another fun night just spending time with our sailing family.
Without any wind to race on Sunday, everyone started packing up early which gave the kiddos plenty of time to bond on the playground and in the sand box. Our kids were pretty excited when they learned that we needed to stick around to collect our 3rd place trophy and those are already proudly displayed in each bedroom.
Regardless of how we finished, this was just an all-around great weekend for us. We got to spend a ton of time on sailboats and were able to do it all weekend as a family. We were able to spend time with some pretty awesome sailing friends and make plans for regattas to come in the next few months.
While driving home that afternoon, I asked the kids what they like best about the weekend and both responded that they like racing together as a family. We started the weekend with a plan in place, but plans change. And this time I can only hope that the impact of our plans changing will be a memory that our children hold on to forever. I know I will.
(Editor's Note) Neal Deaves and David Bauer were also participants in the Hoover Fling.