May 16th & 17th
Arkabutla Lake, Hernando, Mississippi
What a way to kick off the 2009 sailing season; to have an abundance of water, ample wind and boats ready sail. Lightning fleet 274 was blessed to have all of those factors on the weekend on May 16th and 17th. The local fleet managed to pull enough crews together to put five boats on the line and with the addition of boats from Dallas, TX, Nashville, TN, New Orleans, LA, and Pensacola, FL made for some exciting racing.
Saturday morning began with nice 10 mph breeze from the south, but quickly shifted to the west and increased to a nice 15 – 18 mph breeze that stayed the rest of the day. The first race got underway and Robert Bernhardt of Pensacola took the honors at the finish line but was followed closely by locals Crit Currie Jr. and Bill Baxter Sr. The second race was started with threat of a thunder storm; and after the first leg the race was abandoned for an abundance of lightning flashes. The fleet sailed and ate lunch while the thunder storm move on around the lake and never dropped a drop of rain. The second race got under way and was dominated by Robert Mattix of Nashville. He was followed by Robert Bernhardt and Larry Frost of New Orleans. The last race of the day had Larry Frost and Robert Mattix fighting it out for first; with Larry taking the win and Bill Baxter Jr. and Robert Bernhardt fighting for 3rd and 4th, Baxter Jr took the third.
Saturday night a Barbecue dinner was put on at the lake by the members of fleet 274. With a little libation, the war stories were abundant and good time was had by all.
On Sunday morning, the sailors found a strong northerly breeze and a temperature drop of 20 degrees. The first race of the day had Larry Frost in the same position that he finished the day before. He was followed by Bill Baxter Jr. and Robert Mattix. The second race of the day had Larry Frost and Robert Mattix fighting it out, Larry got the win over Robert Mattix and Robert Bernhardt put the move Bill Baxter Jr at the finish line. The last race, again, was Frost and Mattix fighting it out for first. However, coming in off the left side of the course, Bill Baxter Jr. won the race and Mattix took the second. In the end Larry Frost won the regatta by one point over Robert Mattix and Robert Bernhardt took the third position over Bill Baxter Jr.
I would like to thank all the sailors that showed up and competed so well. There was a lot more action going on the lake than just the front three spots. John Womble of Dallas was always just a tack away from the top three. And the local new sailor on the rise is Carl Panetta, watch out for him in the future. I would like to thank our race committee and Delta Sailing Association for letting us host our regatta.
Come in and sail against us some time. We would love to try to show you some good ole southern hospitality.