Thistle Midwinters East Report: So Far, So Okay

After one day of racing at 2007 Thistle Midwinters East in St. Petersburg, Florida, Greg Fisher leads the 69-boat fleet.

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Michael Lovett

After one day of racing at 2007 Thistle Midwinters East in St. Petersburg, Florida, we couldn't ask for anything more. In fact, we're praying for nothing more-in terms of wind, at least. My father, John, and I are sailing without a third crew, which puts us underweight and overpowered in any breeze over six knots. The six-knot breeze we encountered this afternoon pushed us to the limit, funny as that may sound. Crossing tacks with Craig Koshalk's three-person crew on one upwind leg, I was droop hiking and cranking on more boom vang; Craig was sitting comfortably on the rail, pointing at me, and laughing. With equal parts folly and fortune, we posted a 15-3 today, and we're not complaining. And I haven't heard much complaining from the 68 other boats competing in the event, either. Shortly before the second start, an unidentified woman on a passing boat turned to us and exclaimed, "Isn't this great? I'm just so happy to be here."Also happy to be here is Greg Fisher, who sits in first place with a 1-2 score. That 2 might have been a 3 had we not let him snipe us at the finish, but I suppose we're lucky to have held him off for that long. It's great fun watching the class' frontrunners ply their trade. At the second start, Scott Griffin snuck into our hole to leeward and gently pinned us between the boats to weather. At 10 seconds, he bore off, shot ahead, and never looked back, winning the race by a minute or more.Now it's off to Cha-Cha Coconuts, where the regatta's de facto entertainment director, Kyle Finefrock, has lured fellow racers with the promise of free chicken wings and half-price margaritas. That's about as highbrow as the Thistle Class gets. Nobody's complaining.