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Thistle Fleet 48 blog

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  • 15 Apr 2014 8:33 AM | Anonymous
    The April fleet meeting was held at the home of Scott and Crissie McCormack.  Fleet captain Art Molitor opened the meeting by thanking Crissie, who was kind enough to host the meeting on her own despite Scott’s absence.  We enjoyed ham and a bountiful pitch-in.
    Personal news:  Jennifer Garrett shared the news that the Copenhaver family, Todd and Sherri and their two kids, were in a bad accident this week and could not make it to the meeting.  No one was injured, but their van was totaled.  Jennifer also updated us on Jo Smither, whose cancer has progressed to the liver and bone.  She is in the hospital now but expects to be home as early as Tuesday, and we have volunteered to provide meals next week and continuing as long as the family would like.  No calls or visits, please, but cards and emails are welcome encouragement.
    Regatta reports:  Len Wert sailed the Interdistricts at Muscle Shoals last weekend, eighteen boats and five races in a beautiful venue, with Paul Abdullah the winner.  A highlight was that one of their club members filmed the regatta using a drone.
    Earlier, Brook and Anna Lee Bradley crewed for Jim Roberts at the Orange Peel in Jacksonville.  It was a well-run regatta with 32 boats, but thanks to fickle wind they were able to complete only two races.  Both were again won by Paul Abdullah.
    Club race report:  Because of weather, holidays, out-of-town regattas and one day of cancelled races, we have only had two races to score so far this spring (both won by Bill Tumlin).  Art urged everyone to sail the Districts, which will be the week before the Dixie at LLSC, and to prioritize the scheduled race days on our home pond.  We have also received permission from the RC to come out for spontaneous practice races on any unscheduled day when there are starts for other fleets.  We will start last and the races will not be scored, but the practice will help flesh out our spring. 
    AYC Open:  The Thistle Fleet has been asked to be in charge of Sunday lunch.  Crissie McCormack volunteered to help, but we need a team of at least two.
    Saturday Night Club cookouts:  The number has been reduced this year, and the Thistle Fleet is in charge of only one, the kick-off cookout on June 21.  Barbara Bradshaw was drafted to host, and Art promised to find her a co-host.
    TCA proposed amendments:  These appear in the recent issue of the Bagpipe.  Our fleet votes as a block, and since we are so large our vote is important, so Art urged everyone to read the amendments carefully and get a dialogue going on the fleet list-serve.  Brook gave a good report on his first-hand experience using radios at the Orange Peel, strongly endorsing the amendment that would allow them.  
    Social Calendar:  Next Saturday, April 19, is a Club-wide event hosted by the Fricker family in celebration of Kathleen.  Thistle Fleet members are asked to come with appetizers, desserts, memories, and kilts!
    On Sunday, May 4, Jeffrey and Julia Martinroe are hosting a birthday bash in honor of Jeffrey’s Big One.  He will be concocting mojitos and roasting a pig, and the whole fleet is invited.
    Our next fleet meeting will be May 10 at the McCormacks’ cabin, details to be announced. 
    Spar Wars Dixie:  Brook gave us the run-down, with some details still to be filled in.  Means Davis is the RC Chair, and we will be doing the Purple/Green fleet thing again.  Julia’s website is up, meal prices are final, and registration is holding at $40.  Most job assignments will be a repeat from last year, unless anyone notifies Brook that they wish to change or bow out.  Coral Reef will attend but are on their own; they will not be collaborating with us on t-shirts this year, nor do we have a financial arrangement of any kind.
    Adjourned for dessert
  • 18 Mar 2014 8:12 AM | Anonymous
    Thistle Fleet Meeting Minutes
    March 15, 2014
    The March Thistle Fleet meeting was held at the home of Charlie and Erin Clark on the 15th, the Ides of March, to lament or celebrate (your pick) the assassination of Caesar with a pizza buffet.  Fleet Captain Art Molitor opened the meeting with thanks to the Clarks for hosting their first meeting, though we have met there many times before when their home belonged to Charlie’s parents Buck and Judy.  He also announced that our next meeting, on April 12, will be at Scott and Crissie McCormack’s home rather than at Mike and Judy Ross’s as previously scheduled.  Mike and Judy’s daughter Avery, a budding equestrian star, was given the floor to explain why her recent success for her school’s team has vaulted her to the next level of competition in Nashville, which just happens to be on the 12th -- so her parents were cheerfully given a rain check. 
    On the business end, the $1,000 we voted in February to become a sponsor of the Southeastern Opti Championship, hosted by AYC in September, has been gratefully acknowledged by organizer Katrina Blauvelt.
    At the RC training meeting today, new equipment and procedure changes on the barge were introduced and demonstrated.   The Club has also purchased a new Carolina Skiff, for a total of three.
    In the absence of Dixie Chair Brook Hamilton, Art announced that some key positions have been filled and that Brook will have all assignments in place soon.  Julia Martinroe displayed the dynamite artwork she has created for the website, which is under construction as we speak.
    Bryce Dryden and Jennifer Tumlin have agreed to organize some training sessions for interested participants at any level, dates to be worked out with Art and dovetailed into the race schedule.
    Nancy Molitor gave an update on Kathleen Fricker, who was recently hospitalized after a heart attack.  Kathleen is home now, tired but in great spirits and able to enjoy phone calls and short visits.  She is on around-the-clock hospice care, so people are encouraged to see her soon and to call before visiting.
    Mike Ross gave us an update on the Midwinters West, which he sailed with John Irvine and Amy Thompson as crew.  Despite the Pacific swells of 7-8 feet (12 feet one day!), three-foot chop, velocity of 12-18-25 AND the travel challenges of Snowmageddon, they had a wonderful time and managed to place sixth in a pretty hefty crowd.  Awesome!
    Julia Martinroe pre-invited us all to a birthday party for Jeffrey, who is turning “older” on May 4.  Birthday Boy is roasting the pig and mashing the mint for the mojitos, so the least we can do is contribute appetizers.
    Jennifer announced that inasmuch as the Club is emphasizing safety this year, there will be another CPR class on March 22.  We are reminded that emergencies can arise quickly and unexpectedly, and the more of us trained, the better.  Contact Courtney Bradley if you can commit to this class.  
    The Wainwrights have recently bought a Tartan 44 in Newport, RI, and I’m almost positive they offered to host a meeting there this summer.  If that doesn’t work out there might be another option at the Shivelys’ new cabin, about to be under construction just outside the Club gate near the Roberts’ house.  All kinds of things happening!
    The meeting was swiftly adjourned so we could get back to a last round of partying.  Thank you, Clarks, for a great evening
  • 01 Mar 2014 4:37 PM | Anonymous
    Thistle Fleet News
    February, 2014

    Hoping that WinterMania is now really behind us, the Thistle fleet is already well engaged in hopped-up plans for a busy sailing season, with some creative changes targeted to spark enthusiasm and increase participation.  Though there is not much sailing activity to report in the here and now, I can at least report that a few intrepids have been hanging out at Lake Lanier for the Laser Frostbite Series, that Len Wert is racing his J-22, and that Bill Tumlin is sailing his EC-12 while house-bound Beth is waiting for her new bionic knee to upgrade her to Thistle crew status in the spring.  But immediate and far more entertaining news comes from Mike Ross, who along with John Irvine and Amy Thompson slogged their way out of snow-strangled Atlanta last month to the Mid-Winters West in San Diego.  Mike’s well-written but hilarious recounting of not just the regatta but of what it took to actually get them there is too long for this article, but well worth the read.  You will find it posted on the Thistle blog of the AYC website, and I encourage you to boggle your mind by going there.
    But social news?  No problem!  We started 2014 with a bang -- that was supposed to be literally, except that we couldn’t lay hands on fireworks safe enough for the Snyders’ dining room.  (Are they wimps, or what?)  Thanks to Karin and Larry for hosting our January fleet meeting in a pre-celebration of the Chinese New Year, with chopsticks, mounds of take-out, fortune cookies and lucky red everything, from decor to dress code.  Then in February, Mike and Jennifer did do a bang-up job with our annual shrimp boil, a new venue for us while Beth takes a sabbatical.  Definitely her mother’s daughter, Jen drew in over 50 shrimp-eaters, a squadron of kids and a number of guests including AYC Commode Ian Elliot and his wife Lisa, “old” member Carolyn Marks, Elliot Newnham’s girlfriend Bianca, Len Wert’s crew Mike King and his wife Patty, the Garretts’ sailing neighbors, and Membership Chair Kathy Bronaugh, who brought with her prospective club member Diana St. Amand, an engaging (and experienced!) crew who already has ties to the lake and has sailed with Alex Padgett a couple of times.  Diana got everyone’s attention by making sure we could find her when a crew was needed, and Fleet Captain Art went on record as saying it had been a long time since a pretty young woman had handed him a slip of paper with her name and phone number written on it!  Just in case you weren’t there to get one of those lucky charms, Diana’s number is 678-770-1997.
    Our meeting was action-packed, kicked off with a keynote address from Commodore Elliot and followed by Art’s long-awaited announcement that the position of Assistant Fleet Captain is now FILLED by the lovely and talented Jennifer Garrett!  Jennifer, in fact, was the spokesperson for the Opti mega-event that the Club is hosting in September, coaching us to become a sponsor by pledging our financial support.  Since Ian reported that the Snipe fleet has pledged at the “Silver Level,” we could hardly do less than that, and so committed to $1,000 to be scraped out of our fleet coffers.  (Treasurer McCormack was not present, so cannot now object to his proud balance of $5,673 now suddenly reading $4,673.)  Our sponsorship will provide us with an ad in their printed program and a booth to showcase a Thistle, offer literature and basically strut our stuff in front of a large sailing audience.  If you have any ideas about “favors” or items we could offer for their raffle, bring ’em on!
    Since Captain Molitor is not one to rest on status quo, high points of the coming sailing season include changing things up a bit both on and off the water.  The race schedule, for starters, will include 54 this year, as opposed to 99 in recent history.  While blocking out regattas less than three hours away and making some weekends two-races instead of four, the intent of the changes is to move away from scattered participation, prioritizing the days we do race and getting more boats on the line at a time.  We’ll have a calling committee and “weekend cheerleaders” to rally the troops when we’re racing, hoping to get our numbers back up where they belong.  And here’s a shot in the arm:  Bryce has agreed to organize some training sessions, and Jennifer has already agreed to help.  Finally, we’re keeping the same scoring system (high point), because it rewards participation.  So. . . what’s not to like???
    Another opportunity to spread the Thistle gospel and maybe entice some new crew is the two “Thistle Days” scheduled for Britt-Marie Holben’s Adult Sailing Class.  On June 14 and September 13we have committed to get some boats out in the morning, show these students what strings to pull and what makes a Thistle go, and take them for a hands-on sail.  Britt-Marie’s class has done an amazing job of growing the club, and this is a great opportunity for us to get new folks comfortable on a Thistle rail. 
    On the social scene, Entertainment Chair Julia Martinroe pointed out that all four! major Club events this year are headed by Thistlers, so practice moving your lips in the shape of “YES” because there will be many opportunities to say that word.  One change in the shape of summer will be fewer Saturday night Club-wide grill gatherings at the Point this year. Rear Commodore Tom Henderson is responding to several of the fleets’ wishes to leave at least one Saturday night unscheduled each month, which will likely be the second Saturday -- we’ll let you know as soon as it’s chiseled in stone.
    Julia also spearheaded an extracurricular activity in January with a “Thistle Girls’ Trip” to the beach on Isle of Palms and Charleston.  Many thanks to our gracious host Rita McCormack, whose house was the perfect gathering place for our motley crew.  Of note among our eight beachcombers were also Cheryl Clark (who lives conveniently just across the inlet) and former member Jane Smith, who flew down from Chicago just to be in on the fun.  And thanks to Rose Haisty for providing us with a legitimate excuse for having a birthday party.  Never mind that it was FREEZING!! cold all weekend -- it was beautiful and it was the beach, so who cares?  If you’ve ever wondered what “the girls” actuallydo on a girls‘ trip, all I can say is if you are a girl you should be sure and come next time.  (Or if not, be it known that we made a pact that What Happens on IOP Stays on IOP.)  Lots and lots of fun.
    MIA were Beth (awaiting knee surgery), Judy Clark (also awaiting knee surgery -- it’s an epidemic!), Diane Van de Putte (this one was foot surgery), and Jo Smither and Ashley Davis, who are together under Ashley’s roof while Jo finishes chemo and gets her strength back.  We send healing wishes to all these absentees and are saving a place for them next trip.  Please also keep the Tumlin family in your thoughts and prayers in the loss of Beth’s sister Loie, who passed away in California on February 25.  Beth and Loie, and all the family for that matter, were very close, so it is an especially sad time.
    Since the Thistle fleet is drawn by special occasions like a moth to the flame, once it was known that the Newnham family recently became U.S. citizens, it was simply ordained that we fête them accordingly.  At the shrimp boil Dale, Arlene and Elliot were brought center stage, donned with stunning red-white-and-blue headgear and made to recite the slightly modified Pledge of Allegiance, which began with “I pledge allegiance to the Pie.”  Is there anything more American than Diane Van de Putte’s to-die-for apple pie? -- the consummate disposable gift for our newest compatriots.  I’m surprised they even made it out the door with the pie intact!  And in other congratulatory news, everyone probably knows by now that no-longer-confirmed batchelor Gavin McCormack and Cammie Russell are engaged, with a September wedding date already on the calendar.  But you may not know that they have also bought a house in Dunwoody and will be moved in by the time you are reading theScuttlebutt.  High five, guys, on all counts!
    And finally, for your calendar, you can mark dates for the next four fleet meetings:
    March 15  Pizza Night at Charlie & Erin Clark’s (Note 6:30 start!)
    April 12 Mike and Judy Ross’s house
    May 10 Bob & Rita McCormack’s cabin
    June 21 Thistle Fleet hosts first grill-out at the Point
    Commissioning (March 29) will be here before you know it, flanked on either side by the Orange Peel (March 22-23) and the Interdistricts (April 5-6) in Muscle Shoals.  (I’d be glad to report who’s going to the regattas if I only knew!)  But I do KNOW you’re planning to sail the first Club races the Sunday after Commissioning because you promised.  Let’s gin up a good turnout and show the rest of the Club who we’re gonna be this year!
    Nancy Mo
  • 01 Mar 2014 9:01 AM | Anonymous
    All’s Well That Ends Swell

    By Mike Ross

    As it is every year, the Thistle Mid-Winters West was held in San Diego on January 31 through February 1 this year. If you have never attended a west coast event, the logistics of getting a boat, gear and crew to the west coast is challenging for any sailor in the east. And if those sailors are from Atlanta, besieged by Snowmageddon on the primary travel day. . . well, that is worthy of a Scuttlebutt article.

    To set this up properly, I must go all the way back to Christmas day; where 21 family and friends gathered at our home. All were sailors, and joining us this year was fellow Thistler Paul Abdullah of Jacksonville, Florida -- who is now engaged to our niece Marie Thompson! In addition to celebrating our faith and the source of our blessings, there was plenty of sailing being discussed. During one such conversation Paul made it known that he was headed to Mid-Winters in San Diego with two boats on a three-boat trailer. “Jingle-Jingle”. . . did an angel get her wings, or did an opportunity just shake the Christmas tree?

    With the blessings of my lovely wife Judy, plans to attend the event were finalized in a matter of days. Joining the expedition was my good friend John Irvine (always up for an adventure), and intrepid sailor and traveler Amy Thompson (also a niece). Plane tickets were purchased, and I delivered the boat to JAX in mid-January. We would depart at 8:30 AM on Wednesday, January 29th. . . or so we thought. A few days prior to our departure, with a “wintry mix” forecast south of the city, our team agreed to meet at the airport rather than driving in together. Confirmation e-mails and texts were exchanged on Monday; and then the forecast began to change.

    As many of you experienced, Tuesday the 28th began relatively normally and ended with thousands of Atlantans gridlocked on frozen roadways, many sleeping in their cars through the night. The airport appeared to be functioning smoothly, but how would we get there on Wednesday morning? Amy made it to Atlanta from Athens and had the option of walking to a MARTA station in the morning. John was in Buckhead and also volunteered to walk 3-4 miles to a MARTA station, hauling his luggage. That left me, 40 miles from the airport -- walking was out of the question.

    I woke at 3:30 AM on Wednesday and began scouring the internet. The airport was fine, but not much else. I checked the GDOT cameras along I-75 to find gridlock on the downtown connector, I-285 and at various points in between. I chose to head towards a MARTA station in Dunwoody via surface roads and departed at 4:00 AM in my 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The roads were frozen solid, and cars littered the shoulders, but I was moving very well at around 25 mph. Ten minutes into my drive, I learned that the on-ramps to GA 400 were closed and MARTA was shut down until 10:00 AM -- “Re-calculating!” I eased down the on-ramp to I-575 and headed into the city. A very eerie feeling settled in as I crept down the interstate. There were abandoned vehicles in the travel lanes, in the median and some in trees well off the road. As I merged onto I-75, an express bus went
    by me at 60 mph -- go figure.

    As I approached I-285, I began to get a little nervous. Eighteen-wheelers were stacked up by the thousands trying to access I-285. Cars were wedged in between the trucks, separated by inches and at every angle; an express bus was against a concrete barricade with his flashers on -- hah! The median disappeared and was replaced by a concrete wall -- there was no turning back. I pulled to the shoulder on I-75 just past the Chattahoochee River and called John Irvine. He could not get out of his subdivision and had dinged his car on the neighbor's mailbox. I called Amy; she was at the MARTA station and the trains were running. John and I reconvened and agreed that I would get as close to his house as possible; he would hike to me and we would find our way to the Lenox MARTA station.

    About a mile from John’s house, I stopped in the middle of the road and sat idling between a jumble of cars with pending insurance claims. Fifteen minutes later John appeared in the mirror, sliding down the street with a duffle over his shoulder. He jumped in, and as we navigated our way through the carnage towards the MARTA station we learned that Amy was at the airport and the flight was delayed. We had a shot at being on the flight with Amy! MARTA was “officially” not running any trains, but they were running, so we hopped on the next southbound and marveled that we had made it this far. We were one stop from the airport and 45 minutes from our flight departure when our train broke down. We could practically walk if they would let us off, but they would not, and dispatched a “rescue-train” instead. Once on the rescue-train we headed north to switch tracks, as our previous train was blocking the tracks. John rescheduled our departure with Delta, and as we entered Hartsfield we learned that Amy and our original flight were still at the gate! But regulations being what they are, we were not allowed on the flight, so Amy departed without us at 9:30 AM.

    As John and I arrived at our departure gate, we learned that our pilots were trolling the Delta employee lounges in an effort to cobble together a flight crew. With the greater good in mind, John and I volunteered to man the beverage cart if the pilots would do their jobs. Apparently there are regulations against that. Eventually a crew was assembled and we departed at 1:00 PM -- six hours after connecting with John and nine hours after I had left home. We slept all the way to San Diego.

    John and I were greeted at the Mission Bay Yacht Club by Paul, Marie, Amy and a round of beers sometime around 5:00 PM. It was cloudy, cool and windy as we rigged the boat in the parking lot. Racing began at 11:30 on Thursday and called for wind at 12-15, with swells running seven feet. Not the typical SoCal weather pattern, and certainly not the Lake Allatoona weather pattern!

    The hour-long sail to the racing area began by weaving through Mission Bay, past several marinas and under a bridge. As we turned the last corner we could see that the swells were running directly down the channel with the wind, and they were big. The photo boat was in the channel and snapped a great shot of the upper third of our rig. Hidden by the swell were three inland sailors wondering what it was going to be like flying a spinnaker down the back side! It was cloudy and overcast, with the wind oscillating out of the south rather than the typical NW. John did a great job of keeping me on the line at the starts, and we managed to keep ourselves in the top third of the fleet on the first day. A big shift in Race 1 made for a two-lap parade, but our speed was good and we finished around eighth. The following race was short and fast, the next a long three-lap test of endurance. The fleet was mixed up by the oscillations, and at the end of the day we were sitting in sixth place and feeling pretty good about it.

    After each race on the first day we felt a little better about how to steer through the swells, trim the chute downwind and clear the kelp from our rudder and centerboard. We determined that upwind there is a “lift” going up a swell and a “header” going down the back side. Driving to weather I had to make a conscious effort not to take the full lift or risk collapsing the sails as the header hit us at the top of the swell.  We kept the boat moving as fast as possible and scalloped to weather on the swells. Going downwind, John did a fantastic job flying the chute through these same lifts and headers, often trimming the guy as much as three to four feet to keep it full. We were just on the edge of surfing conditions and determined later in the day that keeping the chute full was better than trying to surf in the lighter breezes. Amy did an amazing job up front as John and I repeatedly put her in tough spots by flying the chute all the way into the mark.

    Day two arrived with low, dark clouds and added big breeze. Offshore it was blowing 20-25 knots, with waves at three feet on top of swells running 8-10 feet. Although scheduled to run all nine races offshore, the RC elected to sail in Mission Bay on Friday. The sailing area inside Mission Bay is very similar in size and shape to Lake Allatoona. Winds inside were in the 12-15 range, very shifty, and the shape of the sailing area made port tack heavily favored.  Despite its similarity to Allatoona, we had a rough time inside the bay. Racing was very tight, with little margin for error and a premium placed on the first weather leg.

    We had good starts, often getting to port quickly with clean air only to drop back in the swirling winds around the weather mark. In the first race we found ourselves in 24th position (yes -- next to last!) at the first mark. We worked very hard, picking up a few boats each leg by quick tacks on small headers and gybing into clear air downwind. John did a great job of telling me to “chill-out, dude” as we worked our way back to ninth. Later we agreed it was probably our best race of the day, although overall we dropped back to eighth in the standings. I spoke with Paul Abdullah after the race about how our boat felt “bound-up” and lacked the punch and quickness we had felt the day before. At the experts’ round-table the next morning, we collectively determined that I had left the vang on too much. Rather than sheeting the vang in puffs and releasing, I had left it on for most of the weather leg, as we were fully hiked most of the day. We should have been vang-sheeting -- a technique I have used for years but had failed to do in the previous days’ races.

    The final day dawned to look like the SoCal weather we had hoped for -- sunny and warm. The offshore forecast looked great and was expected to increase from 10-15, with a bit of swell left over from the day before. Again, John kept me on the line and we had very good starts, often finding ourselves in the lead group at the first mark. The wind was a little stronger than Day one, and we found that surfing was a must off the wind. Amy, facing aft, kept us informed about the waves and the boats behind us. There was a fine line between heading up to get the boat on a plane, or heading down to surf and move the boat to leeward. If a boat was on our transom, I generally had to stay up to maintain clear air. If we gained any distance, John and I would execute our single pump of the sails to get the boat surfing; we would then bear off to move the boat to leeward and towards the bottom marks. Capitalizing on all that we had learned about sailing in the swells and leaning on Amy’s gymnastics in the front of the boat, we continued to stay with the lead pack, taking third in the first two races of the day.

    In the third and final race of the series, the wind continued to build, with puffs pressing into the high teens. We were exhausted to say the least, but again managed to work the boat very hard. John and Amy were spectacular at every turn. On the final downwind leg we had a little room between us and our nearest competitors, and took the opportunity to surf the boat as often as possible, several times out-pacing the wind and collapsing the sails. Steering was tricky, as there was a two-foot chop on top of the swells and we could catch the smaller waves. As the boat began to surf, we would slide back and I had to steer for the “flat” spots while John masterfully kept the chute full. A few hundred yards from the leeward gate, Amy informed us of a particularly large swell. As the stern lifted, we went through the single-pump and slide-back routine as the boat launched onto the face of the swell. The chute and main collapsed, but the boat continued to accelerate. We were high on the swell, and as I looked down into the hulls of two boats ahead of us we went sledding right by them. They had missed the ride! We were on this particular swell so long -- we estimate maybe thirty seconds -- that we had time to laugh about it while the sails flapped uselessly. As we approached the leeward gate we noted the starboard mark was closer; however we were on the port gybe. Still surfing, I questioned whether we would survive a gybe and a spinnaker take-down and manage to get off the swell in a single maneuver. I opted for the port gate mark. We rounded ahead of the two boats we had surfed past and held them off to finish fifth in the race and move back into sixth overall for the regatta.

    At the end of the week we were exhausted and sore, the boat had a few scratches and the team a few bruises, but we were smiling. It is quite possibly the most fun I have had at a regatta, and to have John and Amy in the boat made it even better.

    To sum it all up, things were just. . . swell!
  • 22 Feb 2014 4:35 PM | Anonymous
      February Minutes
     
    The February Thistle Fleet meeting was held at the home of Mike and Jennifer Garrett, with over 50 eager shrimp eaters and an assortment of kids helping to fill up the house.  Art opened the meeting by welcoming our guests:  AYC’s 2014 Commodore Ian Elliot and his wife Lisa; “old” member Carolyn Marks; Elliot Newnham’s girlfriend  Bianca; Len Wert’s excellent crew Mike King and his wife Patty; the Garretts’ neighbors Sharon and David Hunt; and AYC’s new membership chairman Kathy Bronaugh, who brought along prospective club member Diana St. Amand to meet the fleet and circulate her phone number for crew opportunities. 
    Art announced that the job of Assistant Fleet Captain is now filled!!!! by Jennifer Garrett.  Secretary Beth Tumlin reported that our fleet roster is all but complete, with only a few more to add.  With over 40 members already, we are now the largest Thistle fleet in the country.  Treasurer Bob McCormack was not present, but he had already reported to Art a balance of $5,673.  And Dixie Chair Brook Hamilton reported that preliminary Dixie plans are well under way, with the important job of RC Chair now filled by Means Davis.
    Art reiterated the next four meetings:  March 15 at the home of Charlie and Erin Clark; April 12 at the home of Mike and Judy Ross; May 10 at the cabin of Bob and Rita McCormack; andJune 21 at the Point, where we host the first Club-wide cookout.
    Moving on to sailing business, there is no Thistle sailing going on at present except for Mike Ross, who traveled to San Diego to sail the Mid-Winters West with John Irvine and Amy Thompson crewing.  They finished in an impressive sixth place, and Mike’s entertaining account of the event will be posted on the Thistle blog of the AYC website.  
    Also posted will be our 2014 race schedule, in which we can expect some noticeable changes.  Most obvious is that we are reducing the number of races scheduled from 99 in recent years to 54 this year.  We elected to not schedule against regattas less than three hours away, and we have built some two-race weekends and some no-race weekends into the schedule, allowing for a number of “free” days.  The intent is to prioritize max participation on scheduled race days, bolstered by a calling committee and “weekend cheerleaders” charged with the responsibility of getting boats out on the line.  We will also schedule some training days, to which Bryce has already committed, with Jennifer agreeing to help.  Scoring will remain the same, high point system.  
    In other new business, we have agreed to help with two Thistle Days for the Adult Sailing Class.  From 9:00 to noon we will have boats in the water to show students the basics of sailing/crewing on a Thistle, with the hope of keeping some of them out for the afternoon races.  
    Speaking on behalf of Katrina Blauvelt, who is heading up the huge Opti Southeastern Championship that AYC is hosting in September, Jennifer Garrett made a presentation inviting our fleet to become a sponsor for the event.  We voted to sponsor at the Silver Level, with the perks of an ad in the regatta program and a booth where we can show off a Thistle as in a trade show.  The cost of our sponsorship is $1,000, bringing our treasury balance down to $4,673 in the wink of an eye, but we are pleased to be able to lend our support.
    Art announced that the number of Club-wide cook-outs at the Point is being cut back this year, leaving the second Saturday of each month open for alternative activities.  Julia Martinroe, Entertainment Chair, also pointed out that all four major Club events will be headed up by Thistlers this year and we should all be prepared to step up to the plate.
    Before adjourning, several congratulations were in order.  Gavin McCormack and Cammie Russell are engaged to be married in September, with the very rare distinction of a third-generation union.   And last but not least, since Dale, Arlene and Elliot Newnham very recently became naturalized American citizens, they were called front and center to be decorated and administered our Pledge of Allegiance, which was not to the flag at all but to the most American of all icons, Diane Shively’s magnificent apple pie.  Congratulations to one and all
  • 27 Jan 2014 11:27 AM | Anonymous
    Dont forget!- Thistle Fleet Upcoming Meetings


    February 22 - Mike & Jennifer Garrett (shrimp boil)
    March 15 - Charlie & Erin Clark
    April 12 - Mike & Judy Ross
    May 10 - Bob & Rita McCormack's cabin
  • 27 Jan 2014 11:25 AM | Anonymous
    You shoulda been there!  The most-fun January thistle meeting was held at the home of Larry and Karin Snyder in a pre-celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Wu(which, as everyone knows, in Thistlespeak means the Year of the Purple Wooden Horse).  Snyder Won-Ton Palace was transformed, with decorations, abundant Asian cuisine and red-resplendent guests, into a gourmet Chinese buffet, and good luck and bliss were everywhere. After dinner, new fleet captain Art Molitor seized control of The People and set the tone for the new year.  Here are key topics for the record, and for the cultural enlightenment of those who weren't present:

    * New fleet officers:  Art at the helm, past captain Brook Hamilton Dixie Chairman, Beth Tumlin Secretary, and Bob McCormack Treasurer.  The position of Assistant (a.k.a. next year's fleet captain) is under negotiation; Art seeks to avoid another retread and instead engage someone who is younger, active and a bridge to our next generation of fleet members.

    * Secretary Beth reported that all registration forms have been mailed and many are already in. She urged those who have not yet paid to get moving. 

    * Treasurer Bob was not present but had reported bank balance beforehand. We made about $1600 on the Dixie last year and now have about $5800 in our fleet treasury. 

    * Art led discussion about declining participation in fleet races, outlining changes in our race calendar that he hopes will reverse that trend:

    1) fewer races scheduled, with the intent of lending more importance to those that are sailed;

    2) protecting more regattas than in recent years;
     
    3) not scheduling races when RC is loaded with Thistle sailors;

    4) assigning "cheerleaders" to roust out sailors on each 4-race weekend;

    5) emphasizing communications -- regular e-mail conversations; frequent postings by Ed Holben on Thistle page of AYC website; race reminders; regular updates from Bryce on scoring, participation and number of races needed for Club Championship qualification;

    6) get-togethers at the Point after races to share tips, strategies and beer; 

    7) mentoring of new or less experienced skippers with several oon- and off-water training sessions
     
    8) offering training sessions for juniors to give them a chance to try out a Thistle (with Robert and Lauren Mitchell as this year's Jr. Yacht Club Chairs as well as Jr. Week Co-Chairs, we have a built-in liaison to help us coordinate); 

    9) keeping last year's scoring system (high point), as it rewards participation; 

    10) committing to sail the Sunday after Commissioning to get the season off to a strong start. 

    * Last year's fleet captain Brook Hamilton presented awards (very nice embroidered shirts) to 2013 series winners:  3) Len Wert; 2) David Shively; and 1) Bill Tumlin.

    * As this year's Dixie Chairman, Brook held a brief discussion on plans so for for the regatta.  The so-called "Creative Committee" (anyone who wants to participate to brainstorm) has already met to offer suggestions, but to date only the following are finalized -- the theme/name of "Spar Wars Dixie -- An Intergalactic Blast;" sailing in two divisions (purple and green) again as we did last year; and scheduling "up to" five races.  Whether or not to invite Coral Reef back is undecided, but in any case we will not be involved with t-shirt design or sales.

    The meeting was adjourned about 10:00 and yes, good luck was had by all.
  • 17 Jan 2014 7:34 AM | Anonymous
    AYC’s Thistle Fleet doesn’t exactly burst onto the sailing scene in the spring; it’s more like a slow and subtle creep that starts with a few stalwarts hitting a regatta or two, then gradually builds as more people dust off their boats for club races, finally heating up to a frenzy just before the Dixie.  This year the season officially opened with the 39th annual Orange Peel in Jacksonville, which coincidentally drew 39 boats.  Skippers traveled from 14(!) different states for this event, only to be conquered by the challenging weather all day Saturday.  The start Sunday was moved up to 9:00 a.m. in hopes of going for three races, but a line of severe thunderstorms allowed only one.  But what a race!  A thrilling 16-22-knot wind made up for lost time and at least produced a winner to take home the spoils.  Steve Burke, with an all-Burke team, won the race and the day all in one fell swoop.  Congratulations to Scott McCormack, with crew Jack Smith and Lauren Yapp, who held on for fifth, and to Jim Roberts, whose expert crew work allowed Scott Griffin to slide into sixth.  Gavin McCormack and Buddy Wainwright were tied for 22nd -- along with 16 others whose score read either DNS, DNF, or OCS.  All those acronyms paint a pretty clear picture of the weather -- which does whatever the heck it wants to in Florida in March!

    Case in point:  Next regatta was the Interdistricts in April.  In a reversal of the fractured Orange Peel, the 22 competitors in Birmingham had great wind (two on the rail) for three races on Saturday and then suffered a rain-out on Sunday.  BSC was a great host, with a race clinic on Friday, a good steak dinner and lots of guitar music, with Buddy and Alex leading most of it.  Scott Griffin won the regatta, with Brad and Cammie Russell next.  Of our guys, Buddy and Renee were sixth; Gavin and Bob McCormack (crewing) tied for seventh with Reddaway, and Scott McCormack and Jack Smith were right on their heels in ninth.  Just so you know those finishes didn’t just fall into their lap, the top five finishers included one part national champion and three runners up.  Yikes! 

    You will find results for the AYC Open and the SE Districts elsewhere in this issue.  After that there is only Knoxville on May 11-12 before the Dixie swallows all the attention.  Stay tuned -- or more importantly get tuned! 

    Our very own Commodore Robert Mitchell has a Big One under his belt now that the 2013 Champagne Commissioning is hehind him and club races are up and running.  Pond Allatoona is full to the brim and a sight for low-water-weary eyes, but it has been a windier-than-usual spring and people have been a mite slow to get their buns out on the line.  Day One, Commissioning Sunday, drew a total of one boat.  Len Wert had planned to sail and had new crew Wes Mullinax on tap, so Bryce took Wes out instead and had a whale of a sail.  (Actually, they won. . .)  The next weekend Len did go out, along with David Yapp, each taking turns beating the other.  Participation was up over 300% (about time!) the next weekend, with seven on the line Saturday and four Sunday.  David Huck and John Irvine traded bullets on Saturday, and Bob McCormack took both on Sunday, in no small part thanks to his adding grandson Cole to the team in the second race.  In the last race weekend as of this writing, wild weather kept folks off the course on Saturday, but Rosses and Irvines duked it out on Sunday tuning up for the Districts and Dixie.  The rest of us turkeys missed a glorious day of blue skies and 10-15 knots.  Let that be a lesson to us!  Kudos to Leslie and Judy, who win the brave crew award. 

    In anticipation of the Districts, we held a measurement day last month to legitimatize a few more boats prior to the heart of the regatta season.  Meanwhile Len Wert keeps coming up with new, capable and interested crew, for which we are all grateful.  Be sure to keep an eye out for Tucker Monday, Ryan Leon, Wes Mullinax and Mike King to make sure they feel welcome and don’t drift over to the dark side while we’re not paying attention!

    For a visual treat, check out David Huck’s boat, completely detailed over the winter.  The teak looks brand new, and he has gone “minimalist,” trimming down to all but the most essential rigging components.  The boat looks great -- except that. . . yup, it got its first scratch shortly after racing got underway on April 6, when the rear quarter was t-boned by an anonymous donor.  Sigh. . . but nobody lost an eye, and besides, David has other good news to distract him, as he and Victoria are being married on May 4.  Congratulation to both of them and welcome to the fleet!

    In other personal news, some of you may have been missing Marta Wert without knowing why.  She has been out in Texas for several months taking care of her and Len’s daughter Amelia, who has been diagnosed with a chronic health condition which is not life-threatening but is serious.  Doctors are working on treatment and management options, and with a little luck Marta will be back in Georgia with us before the end of summer.  We are also glad to report good news for our Senior Energizer Bunny Mary Whitney, who had a setback early this spring but is now rebounding in typically spunky fashion.  You go, Lady!

    Belated thanks to Scott and Crissie McCormack for hosting our March “St. Pepperoni Day” pizza party at their home, and to Gavin McCormack and Cammie Russell for hosting our first lakeside meeting at the Point in April.   The May meeting, once again, will be a special treat orchestrated by Mitzi and Orie Wade at Mitzi’s cabin, so be sure to put May 18 on your calendar! This is our annual Dixie Practice Party Weekend -- five races in two days punctuated by a sumptuous grilled dinner under the stars with all imaginable home-cooked sides to shore it up.  Be prepared to fork over $8 p/p and to say “yes” if we ask you to bring an appetizer.  It is almost as fun as the Dixie!

    But then again, not quite.  By now you’d better be packing for this year’s Sea Cruise Dixie, which promises to be a memorable event in our brand spankin’ new venue.  Highlights of this year (aside from the obvious) will be a new plan for dividing the fleets (Purple? Green? You get to choose!), a perked-up Junior Dixie, thanks to cheerleader Lauren Yapp, and an unlimited opportunity to don creative cruise wear -- garb pilfered from deck hand wannabe to shuffleboard champ to “I’m your captain,” to Cruise Director Julie or Isaac the Bartender.  Get your clever on now and avoid the temptation to cop out with a Hawaiian print shirt!

    Bon voyage -- and see you on the quarter deck!

    Nancy Mol  
  • 16 Jan 2014 4:54 PM | Anonymous
    Meeting Recap:
     
      The Fleet 48 December Meeting took place at Bob and Rita McCormack’s lovely house in Norcross on Saturday, December 14th, 2013.  It was a smaller than usual crowd this year, possibly due to a condensed calendar.  With Christmas falling on a Wednesday it left only 2 weekends this month for everyone to fulfill their social obligations prior to the final push to get ready for the Holidays and there were many conflicts.  Nonetheless, the intimate crowd enjoyed the close camaraderie of our Thistle Fleet and the festive setting of the McCormack’s house - all decked out in Christmas décor.
     
    The BIG news to many was that Gavin McCormack and Cammie Russell announced their engagement.  CONGRATULATIONS to both!  They make a fine couple.  Wedding plans are being worked out around regatta and football schedules for a mid-September tying-of-the-knot.
     
    After munching down on the many hors d’oeuvres, dips, crackers, and the like, there was turkey and ham to fill everyone up.  Of course the McCormack’s special Egg Nog was in abundance, and Jeffrey Martinroe was offering to spice it up with freshly ground nutmeg.  A few people later passed on his offer after noticing there was nothing left of Jeffrey’s fingernails when the first few glasses were completed.  Several people then spiced their own cups with a brown substance from a bottle marked “Tennessee...” something or other.  It went down very well!
     
    The highlight in the food department was the dessert offerings.  Home made ‘turtles’, a Yule Log, pumpkin pie, capped off with Nancy Molitor’schocolate fondue.  If you were calorie counting, this was not the place to be.
     
    Eventually we got to the business at hand:
     
    1.     Fleet Awards:
    Awards for this year’s Season Series were presented to:
    ·       Bill Tumlin 1st
    ·       Dave Shively 2nd
    ·       Len Wert 3rd
     
    All skippers received an embroidered fleece jacket for their efforts.  Unfortunately, none of the winners could make it, so we raffled off their awards.  (Just joking – we’ll get them to them at the next meeting).
    It was pretty close between first and second, and Len Wert was definitely most improved.  He also sailed a ton of races and truly earned his accomplishments.  Well done to all. 
     
    2.     2014 Fleet Officers
    As mentioned last time, we are working on completing the slate of officers for the Fleet.  As it stands now, the list is as follows:
    ·       Fleet Captain – Art Molitor
    ·       Assistant Fleet Captain (open)
    ·       Secretary – Beth Tumlin
    ·       Treasurer – Bob McCormack
    ·       Dixie Chair – Brook Hamilton
     
    We are looking, and really need to find an assistant Fleet Captain.  It’s an important role, but the good news is there’s not much to do… (until year 2 and 3 when the good stuff happens!).
     
    3.     2014 AYC Fleet Race Schedule
    Much discussion is occurring around the Club to try and get more race participation for regularly scheduled Fleet Racing.  This year the weather was not in our favor, but still, participation is way down.  It is not a healthy trend no matter how you look at it.
     
    The Club is considering reducing the number of scheduled races to focus on specific race days or race weekends to concentrate the racing on fewer days.  There are pros and cons to any change …
     
    Pros:
    ·       Concentrating racing on certain days will bring out more people on those days
    ·       There will be fewer Race Committee teams and fewer days to do RC work
    Cons:
    ·       There will inevitably be some good sailing days on non-scheduled race days
    ·       Change is always challenging
     
    Apparently, the Club is trying to group RC teams by fleet so that no racing will be scheduled for “X” Fleet when they do RC.  Also, they will endeavor not to schedule Club racing for specific fleets when there is an out-of-town regatta for that fleet.  In the end we have to try different things to keep the activity level up when there are demands to for everyone’s time to do other things.
     
    If you have other comments related to Fleet Racing, please contact Art Molitor or any of the Flag Officers of the Club.
     
    4.     2014 Thistle Fleet Meeting Schedule
     
    Art (and I’m sure Nancy) are working to determine the meeting schedule for next year.  We will endeavor to have it on the 3rd Thursday of every month and so far we have scheduled:
    ·       January – Mike and Jennifer Garret (January 18th )
    ·       February Shrimp Boil – Bill and Beth Tumlin - TBA
    ·       March - Charlie and Erin Clark
     
    Of note the Tumlin’s date may depend upon when Beth can have her pending knee surgery completed, so we’ll keep the February meeting as TBA for now.  Good Luck Beth!!!!
     
    5.     2014 Dixie
     
    Bill Tumlin has forwarded the files to Brook for the Dixie, and much work lies ahead, but this will begin in earnest after the Holidays. 
     
    We need to decide on a few key items related to artwork failry early and Julia Martinroe will coordinate a “creative day” by the end of January or early February.
     
    The theme is the Intergalactic Spar Wars Dixie.  Think of the bar scene in Star Wars, Jabba the Hutt, a dose of Spock, Captain Kirk, and the robot from Lost in Space.  Yes, it does sound like “Danger, Will Robinson, danger.
     
     
     
    Just before the meeting wrapped up Art Molitor presented Brook Hamilton with a thank you gift for serving as Fleet Captain this past year.  I must admit, this was a complete surprise and I was very touched by the gesture.  The gift was a beautiful rigging knife with a marlinspike, shackle key, knife blade and screwdriver.  Thank you again vey much.  It will definitely be used often, and with warm memories. – ed.
     
     
     
    There being no further business at that point, the meeting was adjourned.
     
     
     
     
    P.S.  We learned after the meeting that the Davis and Plants families were not able to make it because Jo is back in the hospital again with dangerously low sodium levels.  They have got the sodium under control several times before but do not know why it cannot be maintained, so are looking deeper into other possible causes.  Jo doesn't feel well enough to take calls or have visitors, but cards would be welcome.  Any mail should be sent to Ashley, as Jo will be staying with her when she is released.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Trust everyone had a Merry Christmas, and wish you all a safe and Happy New Year
  • 16 Jan 2014 4:53 PM | Anonymous
    I hope you all read the October 12 “minutes” emailed to you after the last Thistle meeting at Jim and Amy Roberts’ house.  They covered a lot of ground between last Scuttlebutt and this, but at the risk of repeating myself I’m just going to pick up where they left off, in the middle of the fall regatta series.  With the Old Goat, the Wild Turkey and the Old Salty already dead and gone, the new news begins with Birmingham’s Great Pumpkin, where 35 Thistles came together from six states.  Depending on whom you ask, there was a) “plenty of wind and sun” or b) “five kind of fluky races” (courtesy of a McCormack), but all agreed that the weather, music, steaks and Halloween costumes were over the top.  Paul Abdullah won without any finish higher than a third -- noteworthy to us because AYC prodigy Marie Thompson was crewing.  Our top skipper was Sean Adams in 7th, with Pete Gregory crewing, followed by Jim Roberts in 9th and Buddy Wainwright in 10th.  Rounding out our troops were Bill Tumlin in 13th, Gavin McCormack in 14th, Scott McCormack in 16th and Dave Shively in 19th.  Since Bob McCormack got off to a bad start with an OCS in the first race, he turned the helm over to crew Sammy Hodges in the last race and courteously dropped out, adding a DSQ to his already compromised score.  But it was a great regatta, all the more so because seven AYC boats made for triple the fun.  
    And that holds true for fleet races as well!   For the third year in a row, our average number of boats on the line In club races is DOWN. Even though "we" (a.k.a. Bryce) won the Club Championship, we only had four(!) people qualify for the event based on the number of Thistle races sailed. A number of people have expressed the opinion that we have way too many raced scheduled. Because in recent years we have scheduled Thistle races on every day available, the sliding trend suggests that our sailors have stopped prioritizing race days and become more casual about committing or even showing up.  For the record, the Snipes and Y-Flyers have had similar challenges this year, and the “Big 3” are all looking for creative solutions to what appears to be a systemic ailment.  Judging from comments aired and evident interest in regenerating and beefing up participation, don't be surprised to see significant changes in next year's race schedule.  Your input is invited! 

    That said, the 2013 season still ended up a cliff-hanger.  But the results are in and yes, Boomerang Bill Tumlin and his ace crew, with or even without a functioning knee, returned once again to the top of the dock in first place.  With a total of 63 points, Team Tumlin barely squeaked by Sneaky Shively, in hot pursuit with 61 points.  Now consider this:  if we had just had a decent show of boats for the last three (canceled) club races in October, Dave and Diane might have had another chance to add more points to their score.  (So does that make it OUR fault?)  In any case, congratulations to both skippers and their excellent, loyal crews for a jolly good year’s worth of competition.  And honorable mention to next-in-line Len Wert, who deserves the tenacity award for sailing 28(!) races and learning more this year than the rest of us have had time to forget.  Clearly Len is the one to watch out for next season.

    In personal news, at least a few of the boats NOT on the line can be accounted for:  Bob and Rita McCormack took a couple of weeks off for a cruise in the Greek Islands with former Thistle buddies Chauncey and Cheryl Clark, and the Tumlins finally got to go on the cruise they missed last year in Norway.  Beth had to sneak that one in before she scheduled foot surgery (as I write) AND knee replacement surgery, both necessary evils to keep her hopping on the Tumlin Thistle next year.  On a more serious note, Laurie Remter spent the entire summer in Michigan, where she has bought a cabin on the Leelenau Peninsula north of Traverse City.  It was all good until fall, when she was taken ill with an undiagnosed bacterial infection and ended up in ICU for several weeks.  As of last report, she was out of the hospital and both boys were with her while she regains enough strength to make the trip home.  She should be here by now but is not able to cook yet, so we have an opportunity to help out.  In usual Remter jest, she says she was ready to leave ’cause Michigan is COLD!  Meanwhile Greg has just completed hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, an amazing accomplishment.  He left from Maine on April 3 and finished the trail on October 19 -- 2,189 miles!  His longest day was 46 miles -- picture hoofing it from the Atlanta Airport to the AYC Clubhouse, carrying a 25-pound pack.  Adds up to a lot of trail mix!   

    Meanwhile, another scary incident was going on this fall when Fred Bradshaw was put on life support while receiving treatment for a rare blood disorder (TTP) that until 1999 was 90% fatal.  Fred’s recovery was slow, but he had goals! -- rebounding just in time for Brett’s wedding to Juan Carlos Hernandez in mid-September.  He is back hard at work and claims to have dodged a bullet with no after-effects -- amazing!  We hope to see Fred and Barbara in November as well.

    And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t express our sorrow over the loss of Pam Wade this past summer, however belated.  Smiling and ever gracious, Pam was a fighter who never gave in to her challenges or let them define her.  Orie and the entire Wade family were a blessing in Pam’s life, as she was in theirs.  We extend our sympathy in their loss. 

    By the time you read this our last two regattas will be water over the dam -- the Bloody Mary on November 2-3 and the Jubilee on November 9-10.  So we will have plenty to talk about at the fleet meeting on November 16.  Johnny and Lauren Sinclair are hosting, and it will be another Soup Kitchen, so start digging out your chowdahs and bisques, your hearty fall recipes.  Since this is homecoming season, it’s going to be a Thistle Homecoming Night, all of us charged with inviting folks we haven’t seen in awhile -- former members, crews, kids and adult kids, la-de-da members who don’t often show up, in-laws and out-laws and anybody else you can think of who might want to “come home” to the Thistle fleet for one night with no strings attached.  On the meeting agenda will be (guess what. . .) the Dixie! -- nope, it’s NOT too early to be thinking about themes.  To make life easier for Julia, we need to nail down a theme by our December meeting -- which means getting the ball rolling in November.  Over the next few weeks, let's get some dialogue going via the fleet email with theme ideas, the more fleshed out the merrier, with thoughts about decorations, costumes, lingo, gags and gimmicks. Put them out there on the Thistle list serve, so that we can hash them out at the Sinclairs’ and seal the deal at the McCormacks’ in December. Then we can rest for a few months while Julia works her tail off. 

    ONE MORE THING!  In the “minutes” I sent you from the October meeting I very specifically said that the AYC annual meeting would be on Sunday the 17th, following the fleet meeting on the 16th.  Not true!  Be sure to cross that out on your calendar, as BOTH meetings are on Saturday the 16th.  Hope to see you at both of them!
    Nancy Mol
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