by Al Struck
Who knew that starting a regatta and recording how the boats finish could be so exciting! In her first Regatta, Brenda Hambleton captained a crew of newbies, Doss and Riley Hasson, to officiate at the KLA Regatta held July 31 on Keoka Lake. Brett McCarter and his brother Rob kindly agreed to help set the two anchors to keep the boat on the start/finish line.
Riley was tasked with getting the registration materials to the boat so the Regatta could start. She was ferried to the Committee Boat by Brett with the vital information. The winds were stiff, and the Committee Boat found itself being dragged off the start line. The horn used to alert the fleet had its sound shredded by the winds. Those who heard the horn started briskly across the line and the rest of the fleet followed.
After the last boat passed the start line the crew of the Committee Boat needed some fortification to calm their nerves. Libations were served to re-establish order on board. Ted Nixon, an observer who was snatched from the safety of the shore, was a witness to these shenanigans.
As the race reached its climax, the lead boats began their final approach to the finish line. Sensing that the Committee Boat was well out of position, risking life and limb, Riley Hasson dove into the churning waters and positioned herself in line with the two buoys at the finish line. As each boat crossed, Riley shouted out the boat number to the crew on the CB. As hypothermia closed in on her, Riley gamely swam back to the CB in a near stupor. The crew pulled her nearly unconscious body from the grasp of the cold clutches of Keoka Lake, dragging her onto the deck where she quickly revived.
Little did the intrepid crew realize they were just beginning their ordeal. With results in hand the crew, reunited on the CB, attempted to leave its station and return to shore with the results of the Regatta. Unbeknownst to them the anchors had gotten fouled in the depths of the unforgiving lake. Having lost its first victim, the lake endeavored to take the entire boat as its prize. Valiantly, Captain Brenda tried to free the CB from the cold dark unknown depths. Try as she might the craft was stuck fast. On shore the sailors grew restive not knowing what travails the CB’s crew was enduring. In an act of selflessness, Doss Hasson dove into the lake and, taking the anchor line into her hands, gulped a lungful of air and followed it down into Davie Jones' Locker. At the end of the line, Doss pulled the anchor free as her lungs screamed for air, air, AIR! She broke the surface and swam to the boat amid the cheers of the plucky crew. Thus freed, the CB proceeded to shore to deliver the anxiously awaited news of the Regatta results.
No one on shore was aware of the heroic deeds of the CB crew; only now, through the exclusive report you see before you, have the actions of the CB been made public.
Dare I say, "bravo!" and "hear, hear!" to these brave souls? The pride of the KLA!!