Two years ago, Tom Despres and the Fleet 5 leadership made the inspired move of selecting BJ Mansfield as the winner of the 2008 Outstanding Crew Award. Their choice was motivated by her staunch and selfless support of her husband and skipper, Mike Carpenter, through their long journey to replace his heart. It was a blockbuster decision enthusiastically embraced by all. We were moved, both by her selection and by what it stood for. In addition to lending some perspective to our annual awards, it also served as a poignant reminder of just how close we all are and how much of a family we have become. Last month, BJ laid claim to that award in perpetuity through the gift of her kidney to Mike. Words fail me. I am humbled by how they’ve handled this difficult voyage and grateful they are among us. Thankfully, today they are home, on the mend, and at last word, feeling optimistic about the future and looking forward to sailing in 2010. Our thoughts are with them.
We owe a well-deserved tip of the hat to Jim Raisides and Steve Uhl for organizing what some say was one of the most festive and bestattended winter parties we’ve had in a long time. If alcohol consumption is any measure, I’d have to agree. The 35 to 40 folks in attendance didn’t seem to eat a lot, but we sure put a dent in the fleet bar. It was great to see old friends like Norm & Carole Cressy, who made it feel like old times. It also was great to see new friends like Joan Thayer and John Read. Also in attendance were Susie Schneider, Cheryl Byrne and a few other race committee friends, who after a drink or two, allowed us to bend their ear about why we couldn’t possibly have been over early in that one race last year. A good time was had by all.
Next up is the spring registration meeting, which will be held on Thursday April 15th. The meeting will be mostly business, though in keeping with tradition, will also include whatever is left of the fleet bar (but you’ll have to complete your registration before we’ll let you have a drink). The agenda will be in next month’s newsletter, though generally in addition to the business of registration, it looks like we’ll have a couple of issues to vote on. The first is whether to race three races per day or two. The second is whether to score, not score or award byes to folks sailing in East Coasts, which by the way, will be held on June 25-27 in Padanaram. We’ll probably also talk a little about measurement certificates and the importance of getting measured in the spring (there is more about that elsewhere in this newsletter). So circle the date, and don’t be late.
Finally, I’d like to extend my thanks to Rick Berliner for his efforts to update the fleet web site. He’s definitely bitten off more than he bargained for, but is doing a great job bringing it current and making it easier to navigate. We hope to be able to show it off sometime soon. In the meantime, if you have any good pictures or other interesting historical content, please forward that along to him. The surest sign of spring was a truck that left Fenway heading south. They’re playing baseball in Florida, so the Spring Series can’t be far off. It’s time to make your lists, order your parts and lock in the team. It won’t be long now.