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An interview with John Buziak on the Around the Rose Regatta

by David Schmidt 2 Nov 2022 08:00 PDT November 5, 2022

It's not every day that one encounters a regatta NOR that offers reduced corrected times for racing with items such as a grill, a dog, or a sibling (all -5 seconds). While unusual, it makes for fun do some of the other corrected-time allowances, which include racing with an active grill or a spinnaker that's flown sideways (both -10 seconds) and a cat (-30 seconds). More importantly, however, the regatta in question—the annual Around the Rose Regatta (November 5, 2022), which is being hosted by the Fairhope Yacht Club in Mobile, Alabama—sounds like a lot of fun.

Which, of course, is exactly the point of all good club-level races.

The event will feature keelboats of various design racing under PHRF, and it's also expected to attract One Design entrants.

I checked in with John Buziak, rear commodore of the Fairhope Yacht Club, via email, to learn more about this fun-spirited fall regatta.

Can you please give us a bit of history on the Around the Rose Regatta, its culture, the kind of sailors one would expect to meet there?

The club has a "ring" of eight fixed racing marks. The race course is a circle around the marks, which are arranged in the shape of a compass rose. The race has been around for 20 years or so.

It's pretty much a club race. We may have a boat or two from across the bay. All ocean racers round 30 feet in length.

How would you describe the fun-to-competition ratio at the regatta?

We have about equal measures of fun and competition. All the racers have known each other for years.

How many boats are you expecting on the starting line?

We will have between eight and ten boats on the line. Maybe more if the weather is good.

Weather-wise, what kind conditions can sailors expect to encounter on the waters of Mobile Bay in early November? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case weather scenarios?

That late in the year the sea breeze is an iffy proposition. Fronts coming down from the north will each punch through in to the Gulf, bounce off the Gulf, or stall short of the Gulf.

Depending on how strong the front is, you can see anything from a drifter, top blowing the dog off the chain.

If you could offer one piece of advice to participating sailors, what would be it?

Don't run out of beer.

Are there any new additions or changes to the 2022 regatta, compared to previous editions?

We are pretty set in our ways down here. People like to know what to expect. This year will be like most years.

As a dog owner, I've got my red flag ready to fly that you're giving -30 for cats. Have you thought about offering -45 for anyone who sails with the clearly superior four-legged species?

You're more likely to find a pet on the signal boat than a racing boat. One of PROs will bring out his Irish Setter from time to time.

Can you tell us about any recent steps that the regatta has taken to reduce its environmental footprint or otherwise "green-up"?

Not really. A few of us recycle containers. A number of the racers use reusable bottles.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

The racers are a pretty close-knit bunch. We are trying to grow our fleet. But the competition for the attention of the younger folks is pretty intense. But we will keep trying!

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