Commodore's Corner - April 2010
preparations began early in the morning on Saturday, March
20, 2010. The last minute hunting and gathering of everything
needed for the 2010 Wind Ceremony at Shell Point Beach almost
drove me insane. As Chris and I got in the truck to make our
way to the Point, I went down the mental checklist . . . got
the shirts, suppah tickets, tables, chairs, cooler, registration
tent, registrations, registration forms, TikiMon, wind wish
sticks, curlers in my head, . . . and my band "outfit".
Okay, good to go.
Registration began at 3:00. There were 3 or 4 people
already in line around 2:45 so they would get their Wind
Ceremony shirt. Thank you Ann, Kathy and Merrilee for helping
with registration! Being the Chair of any event is so much
easier when folks just walk up and say "what can I
do"? Thanks to everyone who did.
The stage pieces were under the big pavilion waiting to
be strategically placed for the "show". Lights
were erected all around the pavilion, and a podium was quickly
built for Soundboard Master Rick. Hey, when and how did
that pole get in the middle of the dance floor? The wood
showed up on a trailer that was jam packed, thanks to Dave.
The trailer was unloaded and shortly afterward the bonfire
was built and ready to be set ablaze! Thanks to all of the
pyromaniacs who helped put the bonfire together - it burned
way, way, way into the night! Thanks to Wright Finney for
leading the site prep crew consisting of (among others,
I'm sure) Dan, Rick, Stan, Bob A., John G., Lee and Chris.
The site preparation resembled a colony of ants gathering
together everything needed to make things just right for
Swami and the Festoons to perform later that evening.
Tables were unfolded and arranged for what would turn out
to be LOADS of food. There were 17, yep SEVENTEEN pots of
chili!!!!! Wow! I'm sure the judges Dan Burch, William Treichel,
Mark Voigt and Scott Williams had a heck of a time trying
to pick 5 winners from those 17 pots! Thanks for a job well
done and we all hope your taste buds are still functioning!
That's a lot of chili tastin'!!
The results were: Tracie Churchard (1st), Chris Hill (2nd),
Abby Hodge (3rd), Andrew Priest (4th) and Keith Long (5th)!
Congratulations and thanks to all who entered!!!
Thanks to everyone who brought a dish to go with the chili!
Thank you Judy, Lizzie, Mark and others for handling the
food line and the chili judging! If I missed acknowledging
anyone, I am truly sorry - after the food line was set up
and I finished a bowl of that AWESOME chili, Teensie and
I had to excuse ourselves and retire to the "dressing
room". Thanks to William for bringing the "bubble"!
I must say my first band experience was one I hope to repeat
next year, if they will have me. The musical talent within
the SPSC is awesome. Larry Couch, from Panama City, was
there to help us retie those cosmic threads to bring windy
days to Shell Point Beach. Awesome guitar playing Larry!!!
We also had our own conch player - thanks Gavin, you did
an awesome job!!! The amount of dedication and hard work
from these folks for a few hours of entertainment at the
Wind Ceremony is well worth it, don't you think? I know
I had an absolute blast! Thank you Swami for keeping us
on track, thanks to all of our band members; Don & Sharman,
Andrew, Adam, Jack, Dave, Richard, Perry, Paul, Bradley,
Deb, Bob, Wright, Tina "is the bass player" and
Rick on the mixing board.
Our focus now turns to the 37th Annual Stephen C. Smith
Memorial Regatta set for April 23-25, 2010. So get registered
early (www.smithregatta.com) and let's make it even more
successful than last year!
Juanas 2009 (finally)
Bill “I’m worried about the beer supply”
|I had heard through the grapevine that windsurfers
were once again appearing at the Juana Good Time Regatta in
Navarre Beach. Rumors ran rampant about who would show, while
others embellished the horror stories that made them abandon
the event in the past. Since there were several nights of
free beer scheduled, I headed over to Navarre Beach. Friday
afternoon and evening were dreary and gray, but yes, there
were windsurfers at Juana’s this year, five of us.
Saturday dawned gusty and cloudy, with rain already on the
way. The sixty plus catamarans headed out for their long distance
race and the windsurfing fleet set up for course racing.
Jim from Birmingham and Bert from Pensacola were the formula
fleet. Bert was riding a free formula board and Jim meant
to sail a formula board, but found when he opened the board
bag that he had brought a Starboard Go instead. Pat from Tampa
and Steve from Pensacola were the long board fleet and I was
there for comic relief on the old F2 Lightning.
It was rainy and gusty Saturday morning so I rigged my smallest
sail, banking on perseverance rather than top speed. When
the committee boat and course were set, I found that sand
had jammed my extension and the stupid pin would not lock.
By the time I re-rigged with a Chinook base extension, I had
missed most of the morning and just sailed around a while.
After lunch I finally made it down to the course and started
the first race. It was very choppy by then so I sailed one
heat and gave up after getting lapped. Even then, I got to
yell at a Hobie 16 that was cutting across our course on his
way back to the beach.
The party Saturday night was good, with barbecue, a decent
band, and plenty of locals. Sunday dawned clear and calm,
and barely a breath of wind. The race committee left us on
our own to set up the distance race.
I was still bruised and battered from the day before, so I
declined to sail and got a beer. Jim and Bert found better
things to do as well, so Pat and Steve checked the chart and
selected a channel marker about a mile and a half to the west
as the mark for the race. Steve used his local knowledge to
good effect because Pat didn’t quite grasp that the
marked channel was on the north side of the bay and headed
down the middle of the bay and couldn’t find the mark.
All in all, Juana’s 2009 was a fun event for me. The
venue is a good place to sail and the people were all nice.
It may be a while before serious racers are attracted to the
event again. I never did find out who won, but it didn’t
matter. Maybe next year I won’t get lapped.
Wind Ceremony Indoctrination
By Larry Couch
been about 11 years since I first stepped onto a sailboard under
the expert instruction of Bobby Nabors. I spent the next few years
totally immersed in the sport and really took an interest in racing
in particular. The first regatta I attended was in Pensacola Beach.
I would’ve missed the race had it not been for a generous
Shell Point racer who let me borrow a boom because I had forgotten
mine. I think most of the windsurfers I’ve met would have
that. But, the folks from Shell Point are different. That was
a carbon boom. And it was inscribed with strange symbols, hieroglyphs
if you will. I suspected they had some sort of mystical powers
because the wind seemed to follow me around the race course. After
the race, the guy I borrowed the boom from winked and said, “Glad
the boom worked for you” when I thanked him for the loner
. . . strange.
I don’t remember my first regatta at Shell Point, but
I do remember that the wind blew really hard on that Friday, the
day before the racing started. This didn’t happen just once.
I believe it’s happened for every regatta I’ve ever
attended there. And that would’ve been awesome if I was
ever able to actually show up early on Friday. The locals at Shell
Point however, were able to enjoy a wonderful shortboard day prior
to the event. How coincidental.
I was always curious about the Wind Ceremony, but driving half
the day to attend a party didn’t really appeal to me. Besides,
I’m a musician and weekends are my work days. Baby makes
three back in 2003 and that really made it hard to justify making
the trip. However, curiosity got the better of me when I first
heard a recording of “The Festoons” show from 2007.
How could this many musician-types exist in one windsurfing club?
And what band did Perry front in the 60s? Believe me, I’ve
heard amateurs play music, and this was not a group of wannabes.
This group was genuinely touched.
For the past 2 years I’ve been trying in vain to make
the trip. It’s nearly impossible to get a weekend off from
a band. And the economy hasn’t really been conducive to
taking time off anyway. But, after having one too many meetings
where my boss cut my salary while simultaneously booking a flight
to see Cirque du Soleil and ordering sushi to be delivered to
his Jaguar, I decided to leave the band. The first thing on my
agenda: make plans for the Ceremony … oh, and get another
I always thought it was lame when musicians asked to sit in.
Traditionally, you should wait for an invitation. But in this
case, I felt compelled to delicately offer my services. You know,
in case somebody passes out, loses a guitar pick, or gets zapped
by an ungrounded microphone. Jack said he had a couple of guitar
solos that were giving him
muscle cramps, so I was in. The first thing that blew me away
about the Ceremony was the scale and care that was taken. I mean,
I haven’t had a monitor engineer since I …uh, wait,
what was Wright doing over there beside the stage? Actually, I
haven’t played a gig with a sound engineer for a few years
period. The backstage was a full compliment of chili and fixins
which by the way, the musicians were offered to partake of before
anyone else. That’s respect my friend, or it could be to
keep the band from belching into the mics and playing everything
at “full stomach tempos”. And, you could drink while
you were playing too. Little known fact: you can’t have
a margarita when you’re playing at Margaritaville. Jimmy
has gone very corporate. I also learned from my Festoon band mates
that you can mix Tecate with Bacardi Limón. Well, you can
probably mix Bacardi with anything. The other thing that really
struck me even before I was in Shell Point that evening was that
these guys actually rehearse. Although I wasn’t fortunate
enough to attend, I’ve heard rehearsals are judiciously
planned down to the minute and executed like a military sortie.
And the sign of a great entertainer is their ability to build
a mystique. They say obtaining a copy of Festoon’s lyrics
is sort of like getting Bush’s baked bean recipe …
without the help of that loose-lipped dog. And style points? Well,
let’s just say I’ve never been on stage with Parliament
Funkadelic, but I know what it feels like baby. And I’m
sorry, but a chic playing bass in leopard print boots is the coolest
thing ever. But for me, it all comes down to how the music feels.
And when you put a group of friends on a stage that are truly
enjoying themselves, that comes across in the music. The vibe
was strong that night. You can’t learn that kind of stuff
at Julliard. I certainly felt like I had been re-tied to the cosmic
thread on the drive back to PC Beach thinking about a season of
mystical wind and looking forward to next years Ceremony. Festoons!