By Christina Pandapas
It was truly astonishing. There were so many Fleet 5ers at Sugarloaf over the holidays I’m surprised the left side of every lift line wasn’t overrun. In fact, next year I’m proposing we all put our sail numbers on our jackets, assemble at the top of Gondi Line at 12:30 p.m., and get one of the ski patrol to give us a start. The Fleet 5 crowd was in such full force at the ‘Loaf, two different parties of Rhodes sailors ended up just a few condos down from each other one night. Of course, the gravitational pull was too strong, so many apologies to Lisa and Frank McNamara’s non-sailing guests who found themselves completely outnumbered when the Bloxham gathering converged with theirs and conversations quickly turned from skis and slopes to keels and bottoms. Overall, and particularly for our group, we were quite well behaved even when Frank happened to mention he has purchased a J70. Yup — Cue the looks of horror!
On the positive side, Frank still has Ripple and plans to hit the Rhodes 19 starting line this summer. In the meantime, he’s hitting the road to Key West Race Week to crew on a friend’s J70. To his credit, he did say his new acquisition may be a sign of his second mid-life crisis. He didn’t allude to what the first one was, but I don’t think Corvettes have a tow package, so it couldn’t be that.
Speaking of mid-life, Fleet 5 alum, Karl Renney celebrated his 50th in style — pressed white shirt, of course. Kate threw him a fantastic party at their Sugarloaf home and we were quite impressed with the recent renovations, particularly turning the garage into a room for the pool table, dart board and large screen T.V. that can be viewed from the hot tub outside, not to mention the secret wine cellar behind the book case. Karl has his priorities completely in order. Fleet 5 was well represented by: Katie and Jeremy Bloxham, the Pandapii, J.P. Zonnenberg and his girlfriend Susan Russell (yes, folks, they are back together), and alums Kate and Jeff Dinsmore. We missed seeing Tommy Tompkins but were happy that Sally Tompkins made it. Funnily enough, the pool table and dart board were quite popular that evening. You can take the sailors off the racecourse, but you can’t keep them from trying to kick each other’s ass whenever the opportunity presents itself.
As the week between Christmas and New Year’s progressed, more of Marblehead materialized in Carrabassett Valley. The Daltons were there, but seemed to be hanging out with landlubbers because we didn’t see them much. We did, however, spot all six-foot-two of Alex Dalton. How on Earth do you grow an eighth-grader that big??? Andrew Dalton was completely M.I.A., although the rumor mill reported he was skiing with Perry Byrne. Well, not the rumor mill per se, more like Cheryl Byrne whom we ran into while waiting in the SuperQuad line.
Nancy and Jerry Blouin made their annual pilgrimage to the frozen North to ring in the New Year at Chateau Zonnenberg. Nancy hit the slopes a couple of times despite the frigid temps so we think her blood may finally be thickening to New England tolerances. No luck getting Jerry out there. In fact, the topic became verboten something about “Hell freezing over.” I have two words for your Jerry: Polar Vortex. See you on Gondi Line at 12:30, my friend.