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2014 Great Pumpkin Regatta - Birmingham Sailing Club, AL

posted Oct 25, 2014, 12:52 PM by Tca Webmaster   [ updated Nov 21, 2014, 8:23 PM by Thistle Class ]
They came from far and wide to the Birmingham Sailing Club on Lake Logan Martin. Paul Abdullah was fresh in from his third place finish in the Championship of Champions. Steve Burke flew in from Bermuda, barely escaping before Hurricane Gonzalo stuck the island. David Van Cleef returned after a 5 year hiatus, during which his brother carried the family banner at the Great Pumpkin (They claim to be twins, but we think they are the same person since no one has ever seen them at the Great Pumpkin together). The weekend could not have been more perfect. 

Twenty-five Thistles and crews headed out under an awesome blue sky with winds NW from 10 to 15 on Saturday. There were many shifts, gusts and a few holes, which made for great one-design racing. After 3 races Steve Burke and Pete Gregory held the lead with a 3-1-1, followed by Paul Abdullah, Alex Krumdieck and Marie Thompson in second with a 2-2-2, and David Van Cleef in third with a 1-4-4. Loy Vaughan and Andrew DeRussy were in fourth with 5-3-5, while David and Carol Reddaway held down the fifth place as we headed in for the evening festivities.

The Children’s Costume Party dominated the cocktail hour followed by dinner with filet mignon and all of the trimmings. While some watched the college football games on TV, others made their way down to the water front where the band Bonus Round was taking the stage (a 24-footer provided by fleet member Tate Beckham). Bonus Round entertained us with their ability to play almost anything from any era. They were fantastic. The sheriff showed up to tell them to tone it down right after they had played their curtain call; so you know it must have been good.

Sunday was forecast to be light NE from 4 to 6; but to the delight of Thistlers all, we had our best races in a steady 10-12 breeze from the NE. This provided for long courses and a really competitive race. Abdullah was able to pick up a couple of points on Burke in the first race, but Burke returned the favor in the last race so that they finished tied in points. Burke won the tie breaker and the final top five remained unchanged from Saturday night.

As usual, the trophy presentation was the highlight of the regatta with Pumpkin Bowling! Every team was given a turn to roll a pumpkin down a 300 foot hill with many trees, terraces and tents to see if they could put the pumpkin into one of 3 targets. Sunday Bob McCormack overcame his Saturday OCS to put his pumpkin in the target. Most, but not all of the pumpkins made it to the sea wall where they hopped into the lake to the delight of all.

-- Loy O Vaughan

2014 Great Pumpkin Regatta – Birmingham Sailing Club