By Dave Gray - Fishers, Indiana - USA

Dave Gray, sailing his PDRacer Wild Duck powers his way out onto the race course. Wild Duck normally carries two masts and sails, but was using just one for this race.

PDRacers from across the state assembled Saturday, June 28 at Lake Vista in Fishers, Indiana, for a regatta and race. Six PDRacers participated in the regatta and five of the six were manned for the race along with one Snark. Participants included:

  • Dave Gray, Fishers, sailing hull #143 Wild Duck
  • Kazuki Heiser, Muncie, with her sister Miki from Japan, sailing Dave’s hull # 100 Lame Duck
  • Tom Heiser, Muncie, sailing hull #223 Amakusa Duck
  • Daniel Meith, Fishers, sailing hull # 241, Infinity
  • John Nystrom, Peru, sailing hull # 134, John Duck
  • David Bridges, Fishers, sailing the Snark

The rescue boat Hot Tub #20 was ably manned by Jessica Meith and a guest of one of the Lake Vista residents.

Thunderstorms and high winds prevented the morning practice and on-lake regatta, but with Tom Meith, president of the Lake Vista Association, manning the grill, participants and spectators enjoyed a lunch of burgers, brats, potato salad, cole slaw and soft drinks provided by the Lake Vista Association. During lunch, the storm front passed and the sun broke through the clouds, as race participants hurried to their boats for some quick practice runs around the three-buoy course. Sunshine and winds from 15-25 mph would dominate the rest of the day.
Getting out of the narrow channel, however, proved to be a challenge for most of the PDRacers. With the wind from the southwest blowing straight into the short, narrow, and shallow launch point, captains were challenged with launching, quickly lowering their boards and rudders, and tacking out of the channel in strong winds. The launch point quickly became chaotic and more than one boat was quickly driven into the shoreline and had to be towed out of the channel by the rescue boat.

Once boats reached the main body of the lake, however, sailing was a delight.

At 2:30, captains and crews gathered for the captains’ meeting prior to the race. Participants were cautioned by Dave Gray to wear their PFDs and avoid collisions at all costs on the potentially crowded course.

By this time, many of the lake’s residents had emerged from their houses and set up lawn chairs to view the event, which was unlike anything they had seen before on this small, 12-acre lake.

One resident’s guests volunteered to man the rescue boat. Another resident mounted a video camera on his kayak and reportedly took 55 minutes of video of the day’s events.

Race participants gathered at the first buoy for two laps around the three-buoy course. At the signal, two boats caught a gust at the line and quickly made a turn downwind while the other four boats were caught off guard and had to endure a rare calm before making the turn downwind to the second buoy. The tack upwind to buoy three directly into the southwest breeze proved challenging, but the two leaders off the start were never challenged. On the final lap, however, one of the two leaders caught his rudder in the line at buoy three, and Daniel Meith, sailing his brand new sprit boomed, leg o’ mutton Infinity sailed home with the victory. Amazingly, Daniel had just put the finishing touches on his boat that morning.

John Nystrom placed an easy second with his lug-rigged John Duck, and in an exciting race for third, Tom Heiser’s lateen rigged PDR outpowered Dave Gray’s Wild Duck to the line. First-time sailors Kasuki Heiser and her sister Miki finished fifth.

Winners are pictured with their Puddle Duck trophies. Left to right: Daniel Meith, first place; John Nystrom, second; and Tom Heiser, third.

Event organizer Tom Meith, speaking for the Lake Vista Association, and Dave Gray, speaking for sponsor PolySail International agreed that the event was so much fun for everyone that it bears repeating next year.


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