110 Class president and defending National champ John Huff put on quite a spectacular show at the 2012 awards ceremony. In an effort to distract the crowd, who by the way had imbibed far less at this point than he had, led all of the assembled in a group singalong of the well known an beloved 110 class anthem. Just before the end he tried to escape the inevitable dunking that was to follow, but not only did his efforts fail, but he also managed to tear his achilles tendon in the process. I have heard that this is an awfully painful event to suffer from, but our esteemed leaded and champ didn't seem the least bit bothered for the rest of the night. The next day of course was a different story, and below is John's account of his ordeal. Needless to say, it's good to hear that he has been fixed up and will be ready for more racing next summer.
After hauling Glider back to Holland through Canada with Mark and Diane Vander Berg from the International 110 Championship Regatta at Eastern Point Yacht Club, I stayed overnight at Mark and Diane's, managed to drive home Sunday with an ice bag on my ankle and immediately called my long-time sailing buddy - orthopedic surgeon extraordinaire Daniel Newman at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. Dan made time to see me following his surgeries Monday afternoon, concluded that that I tore my Achilles tendon as a result of my shenanigans at the awards ceremony and sent me for an MRI which confirmed that the torn ends of the tendon were about an inch apart. Dan advised prompt surgical repair and found time in his packed surgical schedule by the end of the week to re-connect the tendon on an out-patient basis at St. Joseph Hospital at 6:00 a.m. on Friday. I was home by noon with a fiberglass cast up to just under my knee (yes, Jeff, they shaved me, but only up to my knee). I had a few waves of nausea Saturday due to the general anesthesia which was still wearing off, and also some pain but found I didn't need the heavy-duty pain pills by late Saturday night (does anyone know of a charity that can use the dozen or so leftovers?). I vaguely recall a visit from son Christopher Friday afternoon before he left on the Labor Day weekend race across Lake Michigan to St. Joseph, MI, and was pretty groggy until mid-day Sunday at which point I conquered the constipation caused by the general anesthesia and pain meds, and rejoined the human race by taking a shower with a great dry-bag on my leg that Alice found at Walgreens. I'm not so good with the crutches, and have to go up and down stairs on my butt. Alice rented and son Jonathan assembled a great knee scooter from GoodbyeCrutches.com, a picture of which which Jon has no doubt published to the world in order to thoroughly embarrass me. Discomfort from swelling has subsided and is controlled by simply elevating the foot now and then. Dan says I will have the cast for three short weeks and then, if all goes well, I will graduate to a boot. With physical therapy from IBJ, I should be as good as new (well, at least good enough) in two or three months. On the bright side, this silly ordeal brought home the fact that my physical fitness leaves much to be desired. So, I plan to spend the winter and spring rebuilding my hiking muscles, improving my fitness and losing a bunch of pounds. I am leery of the stretching action and tension from jogging and cross-country skiing, but that should fade as I regain confidence in the strength of the repair. Alice and I did a dry run to and from my chambers yesterday and I will have no trouble navigating the courthouse with the knee scooter when I return to work next week. So, there you have it.
On a related subject, while I have no illusion of winning the 110 Nationals again, as insurance, I offer the following amendment to the Constitution of the International 110 Class Association: "Following the awards ceremony, no winning skipper sailing a white 110 from Chicago and who was born in 1948 may be thrown in the water; nor may said skipper attempt any evasive moves in the event of a violation hereof." However, compliance with said rule is doubtful and the regatta judges will no doubt decline the hear a protest arising from a violation thereof, due to the absence of a remedy beyond offering the aggrieved victim mirthful sympathy and a towel.
Finally, on behalf of the International 110 Class Association, I will at my earliest opportunity formally express sincere thanks and high praise to the officers and members of the Eastern Point Yacht Club. For now, this will have to do: The 2012 International 110 Championship truly was one of the most fun, memorable regattas that I have experienced since joining the Class in the early 1960s. I am confident that all the participating skippers and crews feel the same way. The racing venue is perfect, the cheerful personnel and classic yachting facilities at EPYC are top notch, the services offered there leave nothing to be desired, the race management and judging were superb, and the friendly EPYC members generously shared their beautiful club with us for an entire week. Words cannot adequately describe the natural beauty, the delicious food (ahhhh, the lobstaah!), the interesting art, gift and antique shops, the friendly population and the overall happy environment that prevails in historic Gloucester and Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Bill and Jennifer Rand, who so graciously housed Mark, Diane and me for the week, as well as Jonathan and Margaret Harvey, who hosted a delightful cocktail party one evening, at their respective historic and beautifully preserved "cottages," represent the true aristocracy of yachting and all that is good in the United States of America. I hope to have the opportunity to sail there again sometime, and eagerly look forward to the 2013 Nationals at Inverness Yacht Club, followed by the 75th Anniversary of the International 110 which will be celebrated at the 2014 National Championship at Marblehead where it all began when an unorthodox double-ender skippered by C. Raymond Hunt swept Marblehead Race Week.
Congratulations and many thanks to all the 110 skippers and their crews who made the 2012 National Championship such a resounding success for our grand association.
Have a great day!
John L. Huff
International 110 Class Association