At the club, back in the early 80's, we had two classes for racing keelboats - Main & Jib Class and Spinnaker Class. Chutes weren’t in my future back then because I had only recently begun to reap some seconds and thirds (no bullets) out there...but I was feeling confident in my future against others in the M&J. Previous Commodore Pete Kremlich, that new member (at the time) from Michigan, had Spinnaker Class well locked in his S2 9.2 Tinker's Toy. Back then, I felt I had been paying my keelboat, on-the-water dues since 1978 and was about to start taking home some nice hardware. Previous Commodore Mike Miros was Fleet Captain in the early 80's and he was awarding nice trophies after every race - every season. If you were good, you'd soon be trophy-case shopping.
I owned a Tanzer 22 named Dove in the early 80"s and she was "rode hard and put up wet" more times than the Lone Ranger's Silver. When Dove had been delivered in 1978, there was another new Tanzer 22 aboard the same flatbed which pulled into the main lot. It was to be Ronnie Ashmore's. Well, about a year after delivery, someone told me Ronnie was a "Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" – a civil engineer. I figured he had to be out of my (Clemson) league with smarts. I was correct! He became the Dove helmsman and we actually won Main & Jib class in 1983. The annual banquet that year was at Cafe and Then Some in Greenville. Previous Commodore Billy Lacher handed out engraved trophies and the M&J third-place trophy was a huge, silver cup to Russ Wagner in his Hunter 27. The second-place trophy was a big, silver-plated platter. When it came to our first-place trophy, you could stick it in your shirt pocket! What? Smallest trophy that night! "Hey Billy, what gives, we win first and get the tiniest trophy of the decade?"
Billy: "Right Ed! That's because I commissioned my professional jewelers at our Greenville location - J.B. Lacher's Jewelers - to design and manufacture a custom, sterling silver award for you because you have worked so hard sailing for it." (picture attached)
We were on WCSC-racing cloud nine now! We would own Main & Jib next season. We were loaded for bear and planning to take no prisoners. Dove would have a new, faired bottom with a smooth coat of VC17. Bring it on!
Not so fast. In 1984, after a nasty winter, we're in the main lot ready to launch a new racing season. Wait! Look over there! What kind of boat does that guy have? THAT is the weirdest keelboat I've ever seen! Most racing sloops have a soft chine. This one had a beyond-hard chine and the stern is open. No stern in the cockpit - his coolers will slide right out into the lake! Not only that, her name is Lucky Lindy! She is a Lindenberg 22 and the owner is club member Dick Harder. We had no idea Dick was planning to give sailing lessons in Main & Jib Class that year, but he was... and he did. We've never seen a person handle a M&J boat like Dick Harder. He nailed starts, out-sailed, out-tacked and out-guessed us at every turn and soon became our nemesis. We didn't "own" anything. Dick Harder in Lucky Lindy now owned M&J. How could you not become friends with a congenial sailor with such dedication to sailboat racing who always shows up with a positive attitude? So each race for many seasons, it was Dove, and others, chasing Dick Harder and Lucky Lindy around race course. Dick and I began sharing sailing secrets and became friends. Sailing the luff-curve is a secret we never shared with anyone.
Not only is Dick Harder a sailor, but he’s a gentleman, father, grandfather, engineer and WCSC member. He is a craftsman. Of all the sailing trophies won during my WCSC career, the one cherished most is a small, but beautiful, wooden bowl, hand-crafted by Dick Harder and given to me. Evidently, he has made many over the years. This one is # 3468 dated 4/10/07 (picture attached). I love Dick Harder.