The St. Croix Sailing Club would like to have you join us for cruising and racing on the St. Croix River. We're just east of the Twin Cities on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, click on the "About Us" link to find out more.
The SCSC Committee Boat Crew by Linda O'Donnell
You probably know that SCSC pays me for pontoon boat expenses relating to races, but did you know that your Committee Boat crew is completely volunteer.
As I was putting the Committee Boat away this fall, I was reminded about how often Patrick, Katie and Mary were seen charging down my dock to jump on board and set up for the SCSC races. No matter the weather, they needed to be on the course. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to managing these races. Let's begin by introducing you to the Committee Boat crew.
Patrick O'Donnell, lives in Afton and is a Software Engineer at McKesson Corporation in Roseville. He presents his SCSC race calendar to his boss each spring so he can leave early on race nights. Patrick grew up on the Committee Boat helping his dad run races for 20+ years. As an adult, he has studied race management, rules and procedures, attended courses and is a qualified and active U. S. Sailing Club Race Officer.
Katie O'Donnell is Patrick's younger sister and lives in Lake St. Croix Beach. She is a Property Manager for 33rd Company in Woodbury. Katie has it easy. Her boss is a Naval Academy graduate and appreciates the value of “time on water”, so leaving early on race night is a good thing. Katie also spent her early years working on the Committee Boat or racing on a J-22. She has attended U.S. Sailing Race Management classes, and especially likes to figure out which course to set depending on wind speed and direction.
Mary Peterson, fortunately for us, lives near-by in Hudson, WI, but, again, she has to wiggle her work load and family life, line up transportation but always shows up with a beautiful smile on SCSC race night. Mary has been on the Committee Boat for two years and has become very adept at identifying boats, reading the wind, scoring, etc.
And, remember that all three clear their calendars for weekend regattas as well.
During the winter months, Patrick communicates with the US Sailing folks on any changes to racing rules and provides input to the SCSC Board. He checks out the status of race equipment: are flags frayed, do the horns need batteries, is the megaphone still working, are the course marks faded and in need of replacement, which ropes are frayed, etc. SCSC is fortunate to have these folks who provide us with consistent and fair management of our race activities.
Thanks to them and I look forward to seeing you all in the spring.
“The Board of the St. Croix Sailing Club, thank and recognize the entire O’Donnell Family and the many other Committee Boat volunteers, for their years of dedication and service to the entire SCSC organization.”
September 28th was our annual trip down to Prescott, WI for the Commodores Cup. While we have been spoiled with calm downwind runs the last couple of years, this season mother nature decided to pull out a wild card on day (1).
Patrick's comments on the division starts from the committee boat are as follows.
Wind speed for Division 1/4 start: 30mph (very respectable)
Wind speed for Division 2 start: 20mph (steady, gusts slightly higher)
Wind speed for Division 3 start: 50+mph estimated (too much rain and sea water to measure directly)
The above image is Hobbes beating under one reef and our 110, exiting from the Afton no wake zone after what can only be equated to a St. Croix squall. Upon looking back we could only see a silhouette of Harmony barely visible out of a haze of what looked like fog (must have been the precursor to the wind and rain that hit Div 3 start.). We found our way slowly beating on starboard downriver trying at all costs to minimize what we called the dreaded port tack and keeping as close to the Wisconsin side as comfortably possible. When we arrived at the dock Saturday night we heard the same tale from others. All made gains until they had to tack on port. It was 1 step forward and 3 steps back all the way down to Prescott (At least it was for us on Hobbes). You couldn't use your telltales as they were cemented to the sail, the wind-ex was useless, as it spent most of the time spinning in circles. One minute you were close-hauled next you were reaching. In the end we were just along for the ride. A cold wet ride.
"The gypsy fleet arrival in Prescott. Waiting on the fortune tellers, Three Card Monte and find the pea under the walnut games. Hang on to your wallets and hide the women and children! Call the police!"
As you can see from the picture above arriving at the dock with all the soaking wet weather gear, clothing, sails and not to mention sailors. Our spectacle to the Prescott locals that the club made it to town in-spite of the foul weather. Which cleared up shortly before our arrival.
Dinner and drinks were hosted again at the Muddy Waters along with some well deserved warmth.
We'll see if the SCSC gypsies are invited back next season. Send me your tales and pictures.
Day 2 started as the exodus from Prescott. Weather forecast maintained that it was going to be fair wind from the south. I wanted to be behind Hairy Bear or Fast Lane to try and blanket one or the other Hairy Bear walked. We were able to slip behind Fast Lane to maintain cover and keep them with in our grasp. Which we did until I made a bad call as we closed in on the Kinny no wake zone and decided to go in towards Minnesota early and try to get through to the no wake zone before Fast Lane, the nice breeze we were enjoying died next to the Minnesota shore and Fast Lane and Irish Temper walked. We got through the no wake zone after being slowed down considerably by of all things a power boat. We got out and started to draw the distance between us back in. But were never able to regain the cover. We flew through the Afton no wake zone on a reach, there were no other boats with in the zone so I did not slow down (Bad Hobbes). Fast Lane was covering Irish Temper on a reach towards the Wisconsin shore on the South side of the Lake St. Croix, We pulled the board all the way up and made a B-line to the finish. We actually got the boat up on plane for the first time and started making up ground as Fast Lane and Irish Temper were flying towards Wisconsin. The hope was they would keep going out and we would have regained the ground by the time they gybed back toward the finish, they gybed before I could close the gap any further. I estimated that we were 3-4 mins behind them when we exited the no-wake at Afton. Upon crossing as it stands we crossed approximatly 1:30mins behind them. Great day as usual best run of the season.
The Saint Croix Sailing School Inc. (SCSS) is all about encouraging and promoting the growth of junior sailing in the Saint Croix River area. Focused on children and teens from ages 6/7 through high school, SCSS is founded on the premise that sailing is unique in the developmental opportunities it offers to young people. In addition to sheer fun and the opportunity to develop life-long boat handling and racing skills, sailing builds character through its time-honored emphasis on self-reliance, teamwork and sportsmanship.Read more...