Sunday, January 19, 2014


It has been about a week since I laid down the challenge and good steady progress is underway.  My weight is down to 191 from 200 and I am starting to feel like a human being again.  The Bikram Yoga has been transformational.  It is such a challenge each day but in every pose, I can feel progress.  Every part of my body is feeling better and remarkably, my food cravings have virtually gone away.  My body only wants healthy things to go in it. 

I have been on the water twice now.  The first day was pretty light air but yesterday was a decent breeze and everything felt pretty good.  I was worried about how my shoulder would respond but other than being a little sore, it held up pretty well.  I know hiking will be different once out in open water with some waves but for a gusty and puffy lake sail, it felt actually good to be back out on the Laser and it even felt like I remembered how to sail the boat.

I should be able to get back out for a sail tomorrow and hope to get 4-5 practice sessions in before starting the drive to Florida on February 6th.

My mantra right now is "Body, Boat, Brain".  I am not going to even start worrying about results until after the Florida Master's Champs. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Process

Lao Tzu says it best.  "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  If we can learn to pay attention to the single step, the present moment, the breath, it will lead us where we need to go.  If we get lost in looking for the end of the journey, often we don't know where to begin and more importantly, we miss out in the process.

Nick Saban is another firm believer in the "Process".  Take care of the details, trust your process and the results will follow.

My "Process" begins with getting my body back and to undo the damage I have inflicted upon it over the past few years.  This begins with the weight loss piece which is actually going pretty well.  Have dropped 7 lbs in the last week and should be under 190 by next week.  My goal is between 180 and 185 by the first Laser Master's event in Florida beginning February 8th.  Bikram Yoga does an amazing job of not only stretching tight muscles but for me, it detoxes my body and also seems to rev up my metabolism and also seems to make me only want to ingest healthy food.  It may be psychological but for me it works.

I plan to get out on the Laser for the first time this afternoon and see if I can shake off some rust.  The first step in this journey is to get my body functioning properly.  I am not really too worried about the sailing part yet.  I feel like that will take care of itself if I an get my body comfortable sailing the boat again.  Maybe as the races grow closer, my attention will become more focused on the boat and the racing but for now, my journey begins with getting my physical self back to where I want to be.  In the end, that may the main accomplishment that comes out of this Laser Master's circuit.  It may not be about results at all.  We shall see....

Friday, January 10, 2014

Its a New Year!

A sad realization has hit me.  I just tipped the scales at 200 lbs!  By far, the heaviest I have ever weighed.  I usually average about 185 and can drop to 180 if need be.  I have made excuses....injured shoulder, the holidays, advancing age...etc.  Bottom line is that I am pissed off!  I need to have a fire in my belly to get back in shape. 

I took up golf a few years back and really love the sport but it has wrecked havoc on my low back and neck.  It has become "easier" to just go out and play golf with my sons or my buddies than heading out to the lake and sail.  I need to find the balance and my first love and passion has always been sailing. 

My son Stuart enjoys racing our catamaran and both boy's are starting to get interested in taking their friends out on our J-29 so sailing can happen in my life without the excluding my kids now.  We also have some pretty interesting events happening in 2014 that would be worth being in top shape to compete in.  The Great Texas 300 will be held in June and the F-18 NA's will be held in Corpus Christi this October. 

As I have aged, the concept of "bucket list" events are popping up on my radar screen.  I have always wanted to do the Florida winter Master's circuit and I have decided today that I am going to do it....this in 30 days.  I haven't been on my Laser since last April at the Easter regatta and I am seriously out of shape.  I have a couple of partially torn rotator cuff ligaments that look like can be rehabbed without surgery so that is the good news.  I have to get my shoulder back up to strength to have any hope of being competitive in Florida.  I also need to lose at least 15 lbs  and would really like to lose 20 lbs in the next 30 days.

I am putting this out to the universe with the express intention of being held accountable to make this happen.

Here is how I am going to do it.

In an hour, I am going to bikram yoga.  I will alternating yoga and weight training every day until the day I leave for Florida.  I am also going to reintroduce cardio into my life style.  I have a rowing machine, elliptical trainer and stationary bike in my work out room.  I will commit at least 1 hour a day to one of these machines.

I also plan to get back on a healthy, no sugar and alcohol free diet.  Plenty of vegetables, fruit and lean proteins.  My goal is to lose 1 pound a day for the next 10 days and then to fine tune my weight and taper down to 1/2 a pound every 2 days until February 1st.  I would like to be somewhat stabilized on the weight loss with a week to go before the first event in Palm Beach.

On the sailing side, I am going to try and get at least 2 days a week on the Laser between now and when I leave.  This will be somewhat weather dependent but usually, we have a couple of days a week at least in the 60's here in Austin.

There you go!  That is my plan.  I am going to update this blog at least every couple of days and outline my progress.  Thankfully, my wife and kids are very supportive of this endeavor and I am looking forward to kicking my own butt in this adventure.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2013 Ruff Rider Regatta, South Padre Island, TX


(Sunday morning on the beach…..Photo courtesy of Steve Piche)

John Morran and I had the opportunity to participate in the 39th annual Ruff Rider Regatta held on South Padre Island over the Labor Day Weekend.  Several Austin Multi-hull sailors made the trip.  Steve Piche and Juke Ball; Mike Rohrer and Chris Holt,  Arron McCulley and  Miguel Pumarejo, Jim Rehage and Rick Nelson,  and Jim Casto and Mark Biscotto all proudly represented AYC.

This was a semi-bucket list event for John and I from the standpoint that we thought this regatta would be a great “baby-step” towards one day competing in the GT 300.  We thought that a long distance race with some navigation and beach launching involved would be a great way for us to figure out if we have the “right stuff” to eventually do the GT.   As we would discover, doing a long-distance race is a lot different than going around the buoys.

The Ruff Rider is basically a race around South Padre Island.  Saturday’s race is approximately 35 miles long and consists of a LeMan’s start off of the flats next to the SPI Convention Center.  Your place on the starting line is based on the order in which you registered.  Since we were a last minute entry, we were placed at the southernmost end of the line.  I guess in past years, this would have been a disadvantage but this year, the breeze died right at the start and slowly filled in from the south, which gave us an early advantage over the 30-boat fleet.  We took a tack off to the south, tacked back, put up the chute and headed for the first turning mark which was on the edge of the Inter-Coastal Waterway about 3.5 miles from the starting line. 

We rounded this mark in first with John Tomko just behind us.  Initially, the wind was almost directly behind us as we entered the channel and we were jibing frequently to stay in the channel and not risk running aground.  Tomko executed these maneuvers a bit better than we did and passed us fairly quickly.

Soon, the breeze shifted more to the east and picked up to about 15 knots.  This new wind direction required that we double trapeze with the chute up.  John and I had never done this before so it took a little while to get used to it.   Apparently, the mast is very vulnerable to breaking if the mast is not “over-rotated” and held in place with a preventer (of which we did not have) so we were a bit nervous about breaking our mast on this point of sail.

We sailed on like this for at least an hour and covered the 20 miles to the next turn pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, we encountered a large barge that literally filled the narrow channel from side to side.  Tomko was fortunate to squeeze by the barge before the channel narrowed and we had the misfortune of getting squeezed out of the channel by the barge and running aground. 

At first we thought we had broken our centerboard because the boat was behaving very oddly.  In what seemed like 5 minutes, we had lost several 100 yards to Tomko and suddenly Mike Rohrer and another C-2 from Houston had caught up with us and had passed us.  To compound our problems, I didn’t realize that the one of the channel marks was our next turning mark and had a delayed chute douse and a very wide rounding.  We were now faced with navigating very shallow water in an area that was not clearly marked in order to enter the Port Mansfield Cut that would take us out into the Gulf.

With the increased breeze and the direction settling in from a SE direction, our sail through the narrow Port Mansfield Cut was now directly upwind.  The wind was strong enough that both John and I had be out on the trapeze after each tack but we could only stay on a tack for about 30 seconds before we would run out of water and be forced to tack back.  We estimate that it took at least 50, wire-to-wire tacks to get us through the channel and out into open water. 

We did a pretty good job of executing this tacking drill and were able to pass Mike and the Houston boat back and open up a decent lead on them as we entered the gulf but Tomko was now only a dot on the horizon.  The water turned a very beautiful aqua color as we entered the gulf and it was now a race of trying to sail just to the surf zone and then tack back out for about 10 minutes and then tack back and try to sail as far up the beach as we could before tacking back out to sea.  It was really fun sailing but you had to really keep your eyes open for seaweed.  Snagging seaweed could drop you from an upwind speed of 13 knots to 9 or 10 pretty quickly.

After about 7 miles of sailing up the beach, we were able to see the finish line.  It was set between two flags on the beach.  We still had a comfortable lead on the pack of boats behind us and all we had to do was successfully execute our “first beach landing”.  Unfortunately, no one was close enough to be able to watch and get pointers so we were left to wing it. 

We tried to get the boat upwind of the landing spot and we were simply going to bear off and reach on to the beach with our dagger boards out and we were hoping our rudders would just pop up on contact with the sand.   Unfortunately, we misjudged the depth of the water on the sand bar that was still fairly far away from the beach with our leeward dagger board about two-thirds of the way down.  When the board hit, we immediately stopped and our cat pivoted back towards the wind and we promptly capsized.

We had always heard that capsizing in the surf would likely result in breaking our mast so we were a bit freaked-out.  Fortunately, we were able to get the boat back upright and get the boards out and drift across the finish line and on to the beach with no damage.  Mike Rohrer did a great job taking advantage of our miscue and came into the beach at full throttle and narrowly nipped us out at the finish.  He had obviously done this before!

John and I were beat!  In fact, I had a Ruby Red Vodka and stretched out on the trampoline of our cat and took a great “cat nap”!   Over the next few hours, the most of rest of the fleet made it to shore.  I did hear that the last boat didn’t arrive until 10:30 at night.  How they actually found the finish line in the dark, I will never know. 

The Ruff Rider organizers provided us with a great barbeque dinner and Jim Casto was kind enough to provide John and I with an over hour long drive on the beach back to civilization.  A hot shower, a good bed and ESPN were never so appreciated.  We were beat!

Sunday’s race was another 35 miles or so up the beach past the hotels and condos, through the jetty and back into the bay to the finish.   The wind was from SE again which meant that we would be sailing upwind to the entrance to the jetty which was about 25 miles of double trapping in about 15-18 knots of breeze. 

We didn’t get a great start off the beach and almost capsized in a freak puff that did turn Piche over at the start.  We did get away and found that we were sailing pretty fast and before long, had established a decent lead on the fleet.  John and I were sailing the boat as hard as we could and after about 3 hours of upwind sailing were quickly approaching the stretch of beach lined with hotels and condos.  It was really great sailing and we were fighting hard to enter the jetty ahead of John Tomko and his crew Ian Billings.  These guys are the gold standard and always the guys to beat on the Formula 18 circuit. 

We had sailed a great upwind leg but were a little unsure of how close we could cut the entry into the jetty.  We let Tomko get inside of us and he was able to squeeze around the jetty entry ahead of us.   In retrospect, I am not sure we would have known where we needed to go if we had maintained our lead at that point.  We had to jibe at high speeds with chute up through shallow water, then had to sail under power lines that looked very close to the top of our mast.  In fact, I just closed my eyes at that point and hoped for the best.  We also had to figure out which span of the causeway had deep enough water to sail through as we re-entered the bay looking to find the Inter-Coastal for the sail to the finish.

Through it all, we held on for a strong second and were able to take second overall in the event.  It was a great physical challenge for us and we certainly learned a lot.  Now that we have the course under our belt, I think we will definitely provide Tomko a more formidable challenge at the next Ruff Rider.

Friday, March 1, 2013

My Intro to Cat Sailing

For much of my sailing life, I have been a hard-core, one-design dinghy or keel boat racer…and I have the battle scars to prove it!  I have very little useful disc space in my low back from years of hiking in twisted positions or shoving my lower back underneath the lower life-line of a J-24 while steering upwind; and, permanent dents in my shins from banging them on the traveler bars on J-24’s and J-22’s for nearly 30 years.

Catamarans always seemed to me be on the periphery of my view of the sailboat racing world.  Kind of a novelty…not to be taken too seriously….more of a beach toy and nothing more.

A few years ago, John Morran and I took the plunge and purchased a Hobie Tiger Cat.  Our reasoning was that if nothing else, it would be a fun way to introduce our kids to high performance sailing and also perhaps offer an opportunity to try something new and maybe learn a few things along the way.  The conventional racing that we had been doing was starting to grow a bit stale.

It was instantly a hit with the kids!  We have had four kids simultaneously trapping from the leeward and windward side of the cat with spinnaker up and doing 15 knots down the lake.  They all think it is so cool that they want to invite their classmates to come out to the lake and try it out.  It has a major coolness factor that taking them out on the J-29 just didn’t offer. 

Another by-product that I didn’t expect though was just how challenging and competitive the catamaran racing would be.  John and I started racing our Tiger Cat in the F-18 division at AYC and as a rule, we were able to use our one-design skills to secure good starts but after that, it was all we could do to hold off the other teams as the race progressed.  It certainly has taken me a while to fight off the urge to tack on every little wind shift.  The biggest lesson has been to learn to avoid putting yourself in positions where you are going to go slow.  You don’t have to be the fastest cat out there all of the time but you have to minimize ever going slow.  The difference in going 5 knots and 20 knots is huge and the distances add up very quickly.

The biggest foibles to avoid usually are things like tacking too short on a lay-line and having to do a few extra down-speed tacks or approaching the leeward gate on a bad angle and having to head straight downwind with no spinnaker up.  This is where you lose major distance to the good guys!

The biggest thrill of racing the catamarans to me is downwind.  The angles change so radically based on how much wind velocity each team has.  High-speed crossings with the spinnaker up downwind are really fun and challenging.  You usually don’t know what will happen until the very last second on close crossing so you have to ready for anything.

Also, learning to get comfortable sailing downwind with the spinnaker up and the windward hull out of the water to reduce drag is really an art and also tons of fun!  The trick here is to keep the boat headed up close enough to the wind to keep the crew on the wire but yet still have the windward hull clear of the water.  From that point, you just steer the boat up and down to maintain that delicate balance.  If a big gust hits, the apparent wind tries to come further forward so you just sail lower.  When the puff starts to subside, just head back up to generate more power and keep that hull flying.

We have the catamaran bug in a bad way!  We just recently bought a second cat (a C-2…also an F-18) for hard-core racing and look forward to doing a few national caliber events this year and maybe even the Great Texas 300 in June. There aren’t many boats that someone over 50 years old can comfortably sail from the trapeze and be competitive with top sailors 30 years their junior.  My body is thanking me for the switch, I promise you.

For anyone that hasn’t had a chance to sail a catamaran or trimaran, I would strongly recommend it.  With the America’s Cup now featuring high performance catamarans and the re-introduction of catamaran sailing for the next Olympics, no element of the sport has more potential for growth and fun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RC 44 Oracle Cup Re-Cap

Sharon Green Photo
Words can't adequately express the experience I had steering Team Aqua in the RC 44 Oracle Cup held in San Diego this past weekend.  For me, it was initially overwhelming...perhaps like starting in the front row of the Daytona 500 after spending most of your driving career on the interstate highway.  Eventually.... the "deer in the head-lights" look was slapped off my face and I began to embrace the challenge and even reveled in it.  

Imagine weaving your way through the fleet of these 11, $700,000 carbon fiber thoroughbreds in pre-start maneuvering at 9 knots?  Weaving in out of piers with hundreds of spectators cheering with play-by-play coverage of your every move going out over the loud-speakers in the back-ground, all the while trying to avoid the hundreds of spectator boats and trying to set the boat up for a full speed start on a starting line that is only about 50 yards from shore. 

All of this with about 30 minutes of practice under my belt....and after having never steered a boat much bigger than a J-80 in a race....much less a boat with a steering wheel rather than a familiar tiller!  It was complete sensory overload!  To say that I was a bit "puckered up" was an understatement.

As I mentioned in my last post, this opportunity was offered to me by my good friend Chris Bake who was unable to attend the regatta at the last minute due to business commitments.  Chris has gone on from our college days at the University of Texas to become a Managing Director of Vitol, a very successful energy trading company with operations all over the globe.  No one is quite sure how Chris manages all of the things he does in his life and yet he still maintains an incredibly kind and calm demeanor.  

Chris' Team Aqua was one of the first boats in the RC 44 class and they have had a very successful run over the past 3 years and have been instrumental in helping the RC 44 class take off and grow.  When he asked me to step in steer his boat in this event, it was too great an opportunity for me to pass.  After I said yes, the reality quickly began to set in as to what my lack of experience sailing a boat like this could result in.  I started having visions of making a mistake of epic proportions that could not only cost Team Aqua on the race course but also affect Chris' bank account!  Can you imagine me t-boning Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts at 10 knots in front of a 1,000 spectators?  My knees were beginning to knock!

Thankfully, I was aboard Team Aqua with an absolutely incredible team.  Cameron Appleton, originally from New Zealand is the tactician and runs the show.  He  has assembled a team of professionals that I truly believe were the best team on the race course.  These guys range in age from their early 20's to mid 30's and they take what they do very seriously and are all very focused.

Andy Estcourt, also originally from New Zealand is the main sail trimmer and he is the "speed guy" upwind.  He constantly was making adjustments to trim, rig-setup and the trim tab to keep the boat at the proper heel angle and speed.  He coaxed me through the steering adjustments I had to make to keep the boat at the proper upwind speed and also at the correct heel angle which I came to learn was very important in these boats.

Christian Kamp is the upwind jib trimmer and flies the chute downwind.  Christian is originally from Denmark and is new to the team this year.  He was absolutely amazing at relaying to me the amount of pressure and downwind angle we could sail with the chute up.  

Ben Graham of Dubai is the grinder and strength guy; Jimmy Maloney, the youngest guy on the boat and new this year, also hails from New Zealand and focused on the running backs, halyards, etc.  Chris Noble, of Scotland, affectionately nick-named "Wallace" in William, did a bit of everything.  In fact, I was so locked in on my sole task that I never really saw what he did. Cameron quipped that the fact that I didn't hear his name mentioned often meant that he was doing a good job.

Finally, Matt "Matty" Cassidy ran the bow and made getting the chute up and down and changing the jibs look effortless.  He also was really good at calling the line at the start and calling puffs upwind.  Matty grew up in San Diego and his local knowledge was invaluable.  

Brett Jones, originally from Australia and now a sail designer for Quantum in Florida is the team coach and was not only great at this task but is as nice a guy as you will meet.  Karl Funk of Seattle is the team "boat" guy who made sure the boat was operating properly at all times.  

Rounding out the team is Cameron's father, John Appleton who coordinated on-shore logistics and managed to sail as the "9th man" with us in several races.  John and Brett were kind enough to get my wife Amy out on the water with them in the team tender and made us both feel very welcome and comfortable. 

The first day was just crazy for me.  I wasn't sure how quickly to turn the boat, what angle to hit after a tack for speed build, what angle to bear off to while setting the spinnaker, how to bear off and duck a boat at high speed, etc.  Fortunately, the the team was patient with me and helped me learn on the job.  We struggled a bit on the first day but still came out of the day in 4th overall and that was after being over early one start and me hitting the windward mark in another race.  

America's Cup winners Larry Ellison with Russell Coutts calling tactics had the best first day and were atop the standings followed by Artemis Racing with Morgan Larson calling tactics.  I honestly could not tell you anything else about the racing that day.  I was so hyper-focused on what my job was and that was all I could handle.   

On the second day, things began to slow down for me just a bit and everything started to make a bit more sense.  We managed a 1-4-1-2 on day two and now were up to 2nd overall, only 2 points behind Katusha with Bob Little steering and Paul Cayard calling the shots.  

I had now learned that all I really had to do was make sure we got the boat loaded up after a tack, up to the proper angle of heel and target the speed in the low 8 knot range upwind.

Downwind was very interesting to me.  This was the first time that I had ever sailed a boat with a heel indicator on the instrument display.  My goal here was to keep the boat at or near an 8 degree heel angle at all times and to listen to Christian coach me on the amount of pressure he had on the spinnaker and whether we need to sail a higher or lower course to optimize our VMG.  By the end of the regatta, I felt like we were the best boat downwind with not only our speed but especially our boat handling.  

Jibing these boat properly was another challenge.  I had to really focus on letting the boat turn down very slowly and then pause for a moment straight downwind for optimum VMG and then as the chute began to fill on the new jibe and the main started to come across, I had to bring the boat to the optimum angle to exit the jibe with maximum power until we got to the proper speed and heel again.  Big gains could be made on the competition  if the jibes were executed properly.  

The third day was more of the same.  Gradually, I was getting a better feel for things and my confidence was improving.  We made an incredible rally on the last downwind leg of the first race to snatch a 6th after rounding the last windward mark around 10th.  We followed that up with a 1-3 to again win "boat of the day"  honors and still hovering only 2 points behind Katusha going into the final day. 

The final day was overcast with the wind very puffy and shifty.  Just before the start, the wind seemed to be increasing so we elected to go to our # 2 jib.  The team did an excellent job changing our jib in a very short time frame and we were the only team that was able to make the change.  We got a good start and were looking very solid.

After our first tack to port, we were closing quickly with Oracle on starboard.  Cameron was worried that another tack back with the small sail up and with the wind dying would leave us pinned so we elected to go for the cross.  

Unfortunately, we were a few feet shy of making it and the umpires ruled that we fouled.  We immediately did our 270 degree penalty turn and found ourselves back in the pack but with still a chance to be in the mix.  We did a good job upwind with our small sail, even as the wind continued to die.  On the downwind leg, we made a fairly early jibe to port and managed to get right back in the race as we approached the leeward gate. 

We decided to go around the left gate thinking that we would just cross the starboard tack Russian boat "Synergy".  At the last moment it was clear we would not cross so we bore off to give them room to round.  Inexplicably, we were called for another foul even though the Russian boat never had to alter course and had plenty of room to round.  We quickly did another penalty turn and were now last.  After rounding the last windward mark in 10th, we sailed a great last downwind leg and passed 4 boats to finish 7th and keep ourselves in the hunt.  

The next race was very light and puffy with big shifts.  We again got ourselves back in the race downwind after an average start and first beat and were now in 3rd just ahead of Oracle.  We had not given up on catching Katusha in the overall standings so we took some risks on the last downwind leg that did not work out for us and allowed Oracle to pass us along with another boat.  

Going into the last race, Katusha had a comfortable lead with us just behind Oracle and just ahead of Artemis.  We had a very average start and got forced out of phase and didn't have a great first beat but again, on the downwind leg, we jumped several boats.  We held our own on the next windward leg and on the last downwind leg we passed another boat or two and just barely missed passing the Spanish team which would have given us the spacers necessary to pass Oracle in the standing to take 2nd. It wasn't to be however and we had to settle for a hard fought 3rd place.

Overall, I think we had a great result considering my inexperience.   I am pretty sure all the guys share my disappointment in that I really thought at the end we had a great chance to win.  I can't even to begin to express my thanks to all of the great folks in San Diego that were so hospitable to Amy and I and to the RC 44 Class and to Team Aqua for giving me the thrill of a life-time.  

Here is a link to the RC 44 Oracle Cup.  There are great photos and videos posted there.

Thanks again to Chris and Team Aqua for making my RC 44 experience unforgettable!  I can't wait for my next chance to race one of these boats again! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Can You Say "Forrest Gump"??

I am seriously having a Forrest Gump moment!  A few days ago, I got an email from my old college friend, Chris Bake, asking me if I would be interested in steering his RC 44 in the first stop of the RC 44 World tour for 2011 being held in San Diego.  Chris has been very successful in the oil business overseas and has had business commitments come up that have made it impossible for him to attend this event.

Needless to say,  I am a little overwhelmed with this opportunity to jump aboard a world class Grand Prix racing machine and racing against many of the worlds best sailors!  Making things easier is the fact that Chris has assembled a team that has vast experience sailing these boats and "Team Aqua" has consistently been one of the top teams on the RC 44 circuit over the past 3 years.

I am not sure of the proper time to tell the guys that I have never helmed a boat with a wheel in a race before!  Hopefully, I won't do anything too stupid that results in serious carnage.  I plan to be in serious "shut up and steer" mode and let Chris' team get us around the race course.

The match racing portion of the event starts today and the fleet racing begins tomorrow.  I won't arrive in San Diego until this afternoon and hope to get out and see what these racing machines are all about.

 The pro's steer the boat in the match racing portion of the regatta and the owner/driver's steer the boats in the fleet racing.  Since I am classified as a Category 1 sailor (an amateur), I am eligible to steer the boat in Chris' absence.  Should be very interesting!  Much thanks to my wife Amy and my big family for encouraging me to give this a shot on short such notice!

The web site for the regatta is

I'll keep you posted!