Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Sugar Bowl Regatta

Over our winter break, 4 other Michigan Sailors including Taylor Landeryou, Evan Vowell, Heather Nowak, my brother Will Cyr and I took the opportunity to escape the cold and drive down south to sail a regatta on Lake Ponchetrain in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Most would think that a day and a half of driving in total isn't worth a two day regatta, but the Allstate Sugarbowl Regatta was conveniently scheduled for Decemeber 30-31, so we couldn't pass up on the chance to celebrate the New Year in downtown New Orleans.

All of us woke up before sunrise on Friday the 28th to meet in Ann Arbor and get on the road. At 2 AM the next morning, we finally arrived at our host family's home, near where we would be sailing come Sunday.  It is safe to say that southern hospitality is a real thing, Ive been housed by at least 20 families through high school and college sailing and the Gahagan Family was definitely the nicest family Ive ever had the pleasure stay with. With warm meals, late night pots of coffee, and their friendly dog Beamer, the Gahagan's were always making sure we felt at home.  Since the regatta didn't start until Sunday, we had all day Saturday to tour the French Quarter and enjoy some of the attractions that New Orleans had to offer.

Sunday morning we woke up early and got ready for what we came to New Orleans to do: bring back the Sugarbowl trophy home for the second year in a row.  Sunday was long and cold, the temperature didn't get over 60 and the sun didn't come out once.  We came out of the first day feeling good, we were in second place overall, with Massachusetts Maritime Academy ahead by only 1 point, and a full day of racing left.  Monday brought more cold breeze and winds around 18 knots through the morning. The heavier breeze worked to our advantage, Will and I both had our streaks of 1s and 2s, and we ended the regatta in first by 40 points!  We received some nice mugs for winning both fleets, Will in A and myself in B, Will also won an Allstate Sugarbowl Watch for winning overall, and, of course, we brought home the overall trophy as well.

Now, with more reason to celebrate the New Year than ever, we said our goodbyes to the Gahagan Family and headed to our hotel room that we booked for the night in downtown New Orleans, 2 blocks from Bourbon Street.  From firsthand experience, I can assure you that the chaotic rumors about downtown New Orleans are true.  Bourbon street is a wild place, doubly so on New Year Eve. They definitely know how to celebrate a holiday down there.

Leaving the city the next morning was bittersweet, bitter because it was the first day of 80 degree weather since we had been there, but sweet because we were leaving town with some great trophies, and even greater stories from our night on Bourbon Street. Our stay in New Orleans was well worth the trip, and we hope to keep the winning tradition alive next year.

Chris Cyr '16