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Greens Creek Challenge 2008
Wet Sails
October 23, 2008

T
here’s a reason, Paul Welles, says, that that it’s called the Green’s Creek Challenge.

Ron Medlin and his Laser head toward the bridge while a school of Sunfish round their mark in Saturday’s Green’s Creek Challenge.

Welles, who’s organized the race in recent years, notes that you sail down not just one, but two creeks. What’s more, he told this year’s competitors Saturday, just when you think you’ve got it won, you go “down a hole, ten feet from victory,” and other boats pass you by.

View from under the bridge of this year’s Green’s Creek Challenge. It was a monochromatic day, where a sail, PFD or nav marker provided the occasional burst of color.

This year’s Green’s Creek Challenge had an additional challenge: rain. It rained Saturday morning, during the first race. It continued through lunch. And there was a drizzle in the afternoon for the final race of the day. A small craft advisory was in play for the Sound in the afternoon.

Still, the race went on. Eighteen boats and sailors toughed it out. There were 7 Sunfish, 5 Lasers, 3 Optimists and 3 boats competing in the Challenger Open Class.

Paul Bogardus, winner of the Challenger prize, for boats not competing within a class. Paul points out his sail has seen a lot of action, and patches.
Rob Eberle won the Sunfish Class.

The rain and dreary cold did reduce the ranks a bit and kept away some who would’ve sailed if it weren’t so wet. (Said one would-have-been sailor: “I didn’t leave England years ago, to sail on days like this.”) Some of those who competed in the morning race opted to sit out the afternoon one, rather than get another set of clothing — and themselves — soaking wet and cold.

Others, however, took the rain in stride, contrasting it to being out in the heat and humidity of the summer, “I’ll take this,” said Ken King, “over any day in August you want to give me.”

Rain, what rain? Ken King came in first in the Laser class. For being soaked straight thru, he also snared the Frozen Sailor Award.
Ben Bruno, the youngest of this year’s competitors. He competed in the Optimist class and took 2nd place behind Nicole Edwards.

The event, a long-running tradition in Oriental and a celebration of boats 20 feet and under, was sponsored by Triton Yachts, Inner Banks Sails, Laser Performance and the Inland Waterway Provision Company.

The post-race ceremony took place under a picnic tent in Grace Evans’ backyard. The focal point was a Coleman stove which heated water for tea and hot cocoa while Greens Creek Challenge maestro Paul Welles handed out the awards.

Paul and Nancy Welles were the chief organizers of the race. Paul Olsen and Jim Edwards manned the chase boats, while the Oriental Dinghy Club provided the Race Committee boat. Marilyn Sechrist assisted with lunch.

Results of the races and more photos of the competitors in this year’s Greens Creek Challenge follow:

One challenge of the Greens Creek Challenge is sailing under the bridge.

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Laser Class Results: 1. Ken King 2. George Sechrist 3. Ron Medlin

Sunfish Class Results: 1. Rob Eberle 2. Sonya and Alex Dean 2. Zack Matthews

Ken King sailing his Laser toward the bridge and beyond it, to first place in the Laser class.
George Sechrist and Sonya Dean.
Laser and Sunfish combat .
Finishing the Smith Creek leg of the challenge, a Sunfish sail grabs all the air it can.
Heeling helps.
Ron Medlin toward the bridge.
Paul Bogardus and the “ unfish”.
Jack Bond.

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The Greens Creek Challenge drew a few of the students from this summer’s kids’ sailing school, who competed in the sailing camp’s Optimist dinghies. Nicole Edwards finished first, Ben Bruno second and Zach Bruno third.

Nicole Edwards on Greens Creek.
Ben Bruno approaches the finish line.
Zack Bruno eyes the course thru the sail of his Optimist.
Committee boat and crew on hand at the finish.
Waist deep. Rob Eberle wades in to retrieve a Sunfish. The water temp was warmer than the air, but not, we were told, by much.
Tea time. You didn’t need a racer’s wristwatch to tell that. George Sechrist pours a cup to warm up after the cold, drizzly race. The Coleman stove was a magnet for many.
Rob Eberle, winner of the Sunfish Class.
The Dean Team. Sonya and Alex Dean tag-teamed. He raced their Sunfish in the morning race, she in the afternoon. That way, they took turns watching their two daughters. The Deans took second place.
Nicole Edwards won not only the first place in the Optimist class but also the Rubber Chicken award for spying the scrawny rubber chicken that had been hidden on the race course. For her sharp-sightedness, she won a duck. It was after all, fine weather for them on Saturday.
The Conch Award went to Zack Bruno.
Paul Welles and Ben Bruno. Bruno won second place in the Optimist Class..
Taking the boat away, in order to race another day..

Posted Thursday October 23, 2008 by Melinda Penkava


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