Thistle Midwinters East Report: This RC Deserves a Cola

Prudence on the part of the race committee spared the fleet from a sudden blow and the carnage that could have ensued.

ThistleDay4St

J H Peterson

When the race committee abandoned preparations for a third race today and sent the fleet to shore, many racers couldn't understand why. The wind wasn't particularly strong and the clock had barely passed noon."Maybe they're trying to let somebody else get to the hoist first for a change," joked Scott Griffin, whose string of good finishes has helped him secure prime hoist positions as well as a three-way tie for fourth place in the standings.As it turns out, the abandonment was motivated not by some conspiracy to overthrow the hoist hierarchy, but by the race committee's desire to protect the 69-boat fleet from the 30-knot winds about to strike Tampa Bay.When the violent wind arrived five minutes later, competitors stopped questioning and started hiking, easing mainsheets, and dousing jibs. Fortunately, the fleet made it ashore with relatively little turmoil. In the hoist line and across the parking lot, much of the conversation concerned the race committee's good judgement.Throughout the week, the race committee has shown prudence and prescience. In the shifty conditions, officials have had to alert racers to course changes at almost every leeward mark rounding, and nary a mark has been set askew. Attribute much of this success to Principal Race Officer Carole Bardes, "that little spark plug," as Elmer Richards calls her.At the skipper's meeting on Sunday, Bardes established her policy of openness and approachability. "It's great to see so many familiar faces," she said, "And it's great to see so many faces I don't yet know. If we haven't met, please introduce yourself, and if you have any questions about what's going on, don't hesitate to ask me."Prior to the afternoon blowout, Bardes held two great races today. Aiding her efforts was a leeward-sweeping current, which kept the premature starters at bay. Greg Griffin put in an impressive performance in the moderate, choppy conditions. He posted a 2-1 score and now shares fourth place with his brother, Scott, and Vlastamil Kunc. The top three spots remain unchanged, occupied by Greg Fisher, Robbie Brown, and Paul Abdullah, respectively.We're still in ninth, hoping for another blowout. For complete results, click here.