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From: Ron Nicol
Date: 04 May 2005
Time: 06:13:11 -0400
I was racing on Saturday with Steve Steakley and his son Thad on Tampa Bay in the Gasparilla Regatta sponsored by Tampa Sailing Squadron, and I asked Steve when he took delivery of Strider, because I knew it was in 1984, as Mike Speth and myself commissioned the boat. Steve said it was January of 1984, and I checked the records to be sure, Strider is 20 years old, with one facelift and a trip to Seattle for some fun without the sun, but many hardware improvements that keep this cat light on her feet and ready to pounce on the competition, she is still as spry as a kitten. We have found that keeping her light and not overpowering the 42' Tall rig, allows us to sneak around the racecourse with a minimum of effort. This race was an 18 mile, 7-leg course around Tampa Bay, and with Steve steering and navigating with his handy-dandy GPS, he put us right on every mark with great precision. Thad and I had our hands full with the spinnaker sets, and trimming, but the boat is a breeze to handle with furling gear on the genoa and screacher, and ATN snuffers on the spinnakers. It makes what was a 5 man boat into a 3 man operation. We had some competition with an F-31, F-27, and 2 F-24's. The first leg was a short upwind sprint, and we were able to take control after a decent start. Bearing off and setting the large chute to the next mark kept us well in the lead; gybed the big chute, heading for mark 3 was too high with this sail, and the carbon pole started to bow and growl, so we struck the big chute and went to genoa. This was not enough power, but we held position and rounded 3 for a weather march, and felt comfortable as the wind was building. Thad pulled out the Stealth chute, a black, flat-cut North sail, that we hadn't used in years, but it proved to be the weapon we needed to stretch our lead. We deployed Mr. Stealth and took off on a great reach back over to the 5 mark (same as 2) then gibed and held Mr. Stealth on the next leg making 12-15 knots, until the final mark, then upwind to the finish off Apollo Beach. We thanked the Race Committee and turned west to home. Thad brought out our 4th crew member, Otto the Pilot, and he steered us back to St. Petersburg while we enjoyed our Cuban sandwiches for lunch. It was only 1:00PM when we finished! We were back at Steve's dock at 2 and had the old girl tucked in on her lift by 3 and went on to other adventures!!! Just a day in the cat-life of STRIDER! HAPPY BIRTHDAY with many more adventures to come! Thanks Steve for the many years of fun sailing and good times you have shared with me and others! Let's win Key West again, IT'S TIME!