The Second Jive Turkey Regatta


Going into this race I was pretty confident that I was finally going to win one of the turkeys.  With Carl Brosius in California and Dad racing with the Marbleheads, I considered myself to be the favorite.  I wasn’t alone in this belief.  My recent string of dominating victories had given my boat a reputation of invincibility.  It was a matter of what kind of day I was going to have. I don’t remember too much about the overall regatta but one of the races in this regatta is one that I will never forget.  I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone with this memory either.


Due to a fluke in the race schedule, I found myself as the only 10 Rater in a race.  The rest of the boats were Marbleheads.  This caused a bit of a stir in that it essentially gave me an automatic first-place finish.  I didn’t see the problem.  I didn’t make the schedule and I appreciated the gift.  Among the Marbleheads that I would be racing against, one of them belonged to Dick Plout.  It was the black Wind II that my father sailed in 1976.  With that fact and the fact that we both started racing at the same time, I considered him to be somewhat of a rival.  Due to my new found reputation and the fact that mine was the only 10 Rater in the water at the moment, he considered me to be the 300-pound gorilla in the pond.  Dad challenged me to show off so I was determined to keep this race from being close.


I crossed the starting line last but quickly passed the other boats while saying to myself, “Scuze me, pardon me, coming through, goodbye.”  As I passed Dick Plout, who was in the lead, I watched his demeanor drop from excited to deflated. “Sorry Mr. Plout, but reality calls.” I thought to myself.  Then I came upon the Windward Mark.  I intended to round it with all the finesse of a slalom skier.  Instead, I turned too soon and I missed the buoy.  To make matters worse, the buoy judge screamed, “Blue boat missed the mark!” right in my ear.


A boat that misses a mark has no rights and has to wait for an opening before proceeding, or risk drawing a foul.  Since all of the other boats were bunched up, I had to wait for them all to pass, which I did.  After rounding the mark successfully, I set a course for the Wing Mark.  Scuze me, pardon me, coming through, goodbye.” ran through my mind along with, “I hope you enjoyed the gift, Mr. Plout.”  He let out a loud sigh and his shoulders slumped as I breezed past him.  I could still salvage an impressive victory out of this.  All I needed was one quick turn and I would be all alone on my way to the Leeward Mark.  Right after I made that turn, another buoy judge screamed, “Blue boat missed the mark!” right in my ear.


After waiting my turn, I rounded the buoy and streaked towards the Leeward mark with another chorus of  Scuze me, pardon me, coming through, goodbye.” running through my mind.  As Mr. Plout watched his lead disappear once again, I smirked.  Then I repeated to myself, “I am not going to miss this mark. I am not going to miss this mark. I am not going to miss this mark. I’ll just make this quick turn and I’ll be on my way to an easy cruise to the finish line” Then I instinctively covered my ears as I heard a muffled, “Blue boat missed the mark!”  When I removed my hands I could hear the gasp of the crowd while Dad let out a couple of colorful metaphors.


Things had now become desperate. I rounded the buoy and started my sprint to the finish line.  I was no longer interested in showing off. I was hoping to not embarrass myself.  I needed to salvage this win.  Dick Plout’s black Marblehead was in the lead and it was doing its best to hang on to it. My boat was gaining on it in a hurry. Every muscle in Mr. Plout’s body was tight and he was starting to sweat. His hands were shaking.  If he pulled off this victory, he could put it on his resume.  All I could think about was the “Big Idiot” stamp that I didn’t want on my forehead.  It was going to be close. The line judge crouched down and he lined up an index card with the finish line.  The first boat to come into view from behind that index card would be the winner. As we crossed the finish line, side-by-side, the line judge made his announcement: “Black boat wins.”

A sweaty and shaking Mr. Plout turned to me and said, “Don’t you EVER do that to me again!”

The loss factored into my finishing the day in second place.  I didn’t win a turkey.  Dad did, and he gave it away.

Continue on to The Twilight of a Career

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This is my high school yearbook picture.

If you ask me if the position of the transmitter is deliberate, I won’t lie to you.