2009 Island Creek Penguin Frostbite Regatta

Paul Hull



Preceded by three days of steady thirty-knot winds with much higher gusts, an ominous forecast and sad grey skies, the big season-ending party and Island Creek Penguin Frostbite Regatta happening at all was a small miracle. While attendance was down compared to last year, 13 boats registered and 12 sailed five races in a light northerly under very overcast skies but no rain. Much more agreeable conditions than the 25-knot winds served up at last year’s regatta.


Kim Cochran with her sisters Beverly and Sharon began planning for this event when last year’s ICPFR ended. There is no end to the detail. Special Penguin costumes, ICPFR hats, a special course chart with appropriately re-named shoals and points and an endless list of awards are some of the requirements for this end of the season celebration. There are oysters to be specially dredged and shucked, special dishes to be cooked and refreshments which must be sampled during the planning meetings to ensure only the highest quality is served.


The entire Island Creek neighborhood is pressed into service to help launch and retrieve boats, serve food and drink, and generally insure that the party is a happy all-day affair.

When Gray Benson and I rounded the wing mark, strategically placed about five feet from the dock, I noted that there were easily many more spectators offering refreshment to those who would sail close enough than sailors. Please note, Kim, it would be helpful if you had a larger dock for the spectators and specially equipped oyster tongs to serve drinks to the sailors as they pass. I think extra points should be awarded to those who can successfully snare a drink in the middle of a jibe.


A port favored starting line and triangular course dictated that the boats who could execute well in the first 50 yards would be successful with few other chances at redemption. Only winners Jonathan Bartlett and Nick Floyd managed consistently low scores. Fpr the less skillful four points separated second from eight place. Charlie Krafft and Donna MacKenzie broke a tie for second with Read and Read Beigel, with, by the way, the more talented Read at the helm as evidenced by big Read’s poor performance in the crew race. Fourth and fifth were also tied with Scott Williamson and Aubrey Barringer prevailing over Matt Lane and Patrick Firth. Last year’s International champs Mike and Rachel Hecky managed sole possession of sixth one point ahead of Grey Benson and me.

Tom Bouwen and Sewell Cox rounded out the top eight.


Celebrity attorney Sandy McAllister and April Elliott headed up the next batch followed by new Penguin sailor and former Miss Penguin Elizabeth Wainwright sailing with the youngest sailor Caroline Benson. They were followed immediately by oldest sailor (a special award) John Majane and Craig Taylor and finally Patrick, Sean, and Martha Callahan.


The crew race was won easily by Grey Benson over Read Beigel. Nick Floyd was third and Patrick Firth fourth. This fleet boasted very talented young crew. (Not Read. He is talented but to include him as young would be a stretch even beyond my immodest capabilities.)


All of the usual suspects showed up to help PRO Tot O’Mara on Doug and Becky Firth’s committee boat. Victor DuPont handled the crash and mark boat .  John Danley, Joe Balderson and Colin Edgell made this regatta so enjoyable by launching and retrieving. I have no idea what we’ll do if their waders spring leaks. 


A final note. I had a lot of fun ragging on Big Read in this summary but in truth he is doing what we all should do in Penguins. He is letting Read, Jr. sail the boat. All the time. Every regatta. Is there a better way to encourage the next generation of Penguin sailors?


A final note: Winner Jonathan Bartlett said it simply during the awards presentation, “This is the best Penguin Regatta on the Bay. Period.”