September 9, 2010
Every 5 years, the NCESA packs up and makes way to Little Egg Harbor, NJ for its annual National Championship. For those who have been to Little Egg Harbor, it might be the best natural venue possible for racing E Scows in the country; with is wide open waters, steady and reliable seabreeze and great social activities, there is a reason the class puts this venue on the calender repeatedly. What will be most welcoming is that the sailors can almost certainly count on being able to stretch their legs and put the webbing in their hiking straps to use.
When compared to this year’s variable and shifty E Scow ILYA Champs on Lake Geneva, the Nationals will be a full on drag race event, a true test of boatspeed as opposed to rolling the dice and hitting a shore. When the seabreeze comes in Little Egg, the boats in the front are tacking 2-3 times in 15-18 mph winds on 1.5 miles beats which usually draws groans from crew members who are doing the equivalent of a 11-12 minute wall sit during the upwind beats. During the 2005 Nationals when I had the opportunity with race with Vincent and Bri Porter, we decided to sail with 3 people and during one of the upwind legs on Day 2 with a fresh sea-breeze, our jib man Bri had a hard time taking the pain in his legs and quietly asked me to club him over the head so he could still be in the straps, but not be awake for the pain. When racing E Scow in Little Egg, you will need good boatspeed to succeed, and some strong thighs as well.
Coming fresh off a victory at the ILYA Champs, our team of Chrisy Hughes, Tony and Lynn Jewett are hopeful we can do what Tom Burton did in 2009; secure victories at both the ILYA and NCESA Champs. This is a rare feat with only a handful of sailors being able to pull this off and when you look at the names of who has done it, Melges, Porter, Burdick…you begin to understand why; with so many good sailors racing E Scows, you not only need to sail well to win one major championship, but you have to have a bit of good luck as well, and to do it twice in one year is exceptional. 2010 will be no different with the top talent in the ILYA and ECESA making the trek to Little Egg. Brian Porter, Vincent Porter, Augie Barkow, and Chris Jewett as well as a handufl of sailors from the East will all try to inscribe their names on the classic 1950s Tiffany’s bowl awarded to the winners. With over 70 boats pre-registered, whoever wins will have to display great speed and an ability to sail clean.
While most boats are individually doing there best to take home a National Title, there is also an underlying competition between boats in the ILYA (Inland Lake Yachting Association) and ECESA (East Coast E-Scow Association) and who has the tougher fleet annually. While there is certainly great talent in both regions, in the past 25 years the ILYA has claimed the National E Sc0w title 23 times, and 16 straight. With the Nationals taking place at an ECESA venue, and some very good talent evolving in their region over the last few years, it is very possible a boat from the East could make a strong challenge for the title this year…but we will do our best to keep the trophy in the ILYA.
After we unload the triple deck E Boat trailer towed graciously by Jeff Solum on M-12, our plan will be to get the E Scows rigged, tuned and prepped for racing. We will be sure not to work too late into the evening however since we have a date with flat screen TV for the Vikings/Saints game at 7:30. Racing begins at 10:30 am on Friday morning and with 3 races planned each day, the biggest challenge will be to ditch the great social activities early and get a solid nights sleep.
Stay posted to 42marine.com for daily updates from the 2010 NCESA National Championships.