Skippers square off in 2015 Gator Regatta at Ashland Pond

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The annual Gator Regatta, held this past weekend at Ashland Pond in The Villages, was a huge success again this year.  There were 26 entries representing all of the Florida EC12 fleets plus one entrant from Peachtree City, GA.

Liz and Alan Perkins kicked off the event with the Gator Gathering at their home where everyone enjoyed seeing old friends, meeting new sailors while sampling great food and drink.

Buoy racing started Saturday morning with a skippers meeting at 9:30 a.m.  Winds were quite light from the NE, but the quickly clocked to the east and increased in velocity to 10-12 knots with gusts to 15. Most of the sailors took the opportunity to switch to their B rigs. These increased winds resulted in very spirited sailing for both the A and B fleets. Each fleet had 16 sailors with 4 relegating up or down after each race.  Though there were several altercations on the racecourse, no skipper suffered and damage to their boats.

Ricky Gerry served as race director, did a great job of running the races, keeping things safe for all and making the regatta fun.

Racing continued after a break for lunch plus some time for skippers to tune their rigs. After a full day of sailing, some 16 races, Alan Perkins led the pack with Jack Ward a close second.

The 2015 Gator Regatta was held this past weekend at Ashland Pond.
The 2015 Gator Regatta was held this past weekend at Ashland Pond.

With racing completed for the day, everyone retired to the Arnold Palmer Country Club for a cheerful and tasty dinner. Judy and Gary Clarke invited all to their home where everyone enjoyed coffee and ice cream.

Sunday racing started about 10 a.m., after a short wind delay.  It started as it had on Saturday with light air from the northeast, but filling in from the east.  Most of the morning was sailing in 10-12 knots of reasonably steady winds.  As on Saturday, many sailors moved from B to A giving them experience sailing with the top skippers.

Trophy winners at the 2015 Gator Regatta were, from left, Race Director Ricky Gerry,  1t Place Alan Perkins, 2nd Place Jack Ward, 3rd Place Joe Walter, 4th Place Jon Luscomb and 5th Place Dave Linville.
Trophy winners at the 2015 Gator Regatta
were, from left, Race Director Ricky Gerry,
1t Place Alan Perkins, 2nd Place Jack Ward, 3rd Place Joe Walter, 4th Place Jon Luscomb and 5th Place Dave Linville.

About 12:30 p.m. skippers had completed 12 more races before the race director called it a regatta. Most sailors packed their cars, or golf carts, before participating in the awards ceremony.  The top five skippers took home some exceptionally fine and creative trophies designed and crafted by Ricky Gerry.  The top 10 finishers were:

1. Alan Perkins 24 points

2. Jack Ward 32 points

3. Joe Walker 46 points

4. John Luscomb 47 points

5. Dave Linville 53 points

6. Dr. Bob Greer 75 points

7. John Goldsworthy 85 points

8. Dick Reinke 87 points

9. George Balasckak 95 points

10. Brian Engle 107 points

The skippers wish to extend their thanks for the many volunteers who made this regatta possible.  To name a few:

Ricky Gerry, Race Director

Linda Pearce and Karen Luscomb, recorded finishes

Tom Engle, scoring

Ken Morrison, rules

Liz Perkins and Leona Thompson, lunch catering

Joe Devine, for providing and manning the crash boat

Sal Serio, parking and rescue boat crew

Alan Perkins, for transporting food, tents and refreshments

Dan Pearce, for deck repair and general helper

And, of course, The Villages Rec Departments for tables, tents, chairs, etc.