Welcome sailors! MC Scow Nationals in Clear Lake this week

(Above) The MC Scow is a 16-foot with a single sail, skippered by one person.-Submitted photo.

by Marianne Gasaway

The Clear Lake Yacht Club is ready to welcome competitors and their crew for the MC Scow National Regatta this week.

“Last year most, if not all of the regattas in the country were shut down.  So people are ready and they want to go— and we’re ready for them,” said Stuart Oltrogge, co-chairman of the June 24-27 event.

Clear Lake has hosted this event before, in 2013 and in 2000 when a record 107 boats participated.  But given that sailors are anxious to get back to travel and competition, 120 boats are expected this year.

One of the few events to be held in 2020 in Clear Lake was a Masters Regatta in September for those age 50 and better.  That event turned out to be a good primer for 2021, according to Oltrogge.  “We had about 40 to 50 boats and some were first-timers who adored Clear Lake and realized what a great venue this is.”

For those not familiar with the MC Scow, the smallest of the scow family was introduced in 1971, making this its 50th anniversary.  The 16-foot boats feature a single sail and are skippered by one person.  In high-wind conditions one crew member may be onboard.

“We have always had a strong fleet of MC Scows here and they are part of a strong group across the country,” explained Oltrogge.  More than 500 members belong to its association, hailing from Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, the Carolinas and beyond.

Boats began arriving early this week for the event and registration will officially open at the Clear Lake Yacht Club on Thursday. Competition kicks off Friday morning, with a total of seven races scheduled to take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  The intent is to hold three races Friday and Saturday and the final on Sunday, as weather allows.  Each race lasts approximately one hour.  Races will be conducted on the big end of the lake and will be visible from most shorelines.

In addition to welcoming competitors at the Yacht Club headquarters at the end of Main Avenue, the club will host a gathering at the Surf Ballroom Friday night.  

“The Surf is a big draw for this event.  People love to learn about its history and spend time in the ballroom,” said Oltrogge.  CLYC member Jeff Brakke will host a Saturday night dinner and social which will also include recognition of past champions in attendance.

“Clear Lake is known for its great hospitality, beautiful downtown and proximity of the club at the end of Main — and of course, great sailing.  We are looking forward to showcasing all that Clear Lake offers.  It has been a great volunteer effort by the whole club to put on a quality event,” added Oltrogge.

Following the MC Scow National Regatta an X-Boat youth regatta will be held Monday and Tuesday for sailors 16-years and under.  The mini-regatta and clinic is being organized by the Clear Lake Sailing Center.

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