west system fp banner ad 1 15

diab big

melges m 14 banner ad

pyi-kiwi-12-16

gunboat-banner-ad-png

hh 66 banner

pyi vendee ad

ullman banner ad

brooklin boatyard

fish side 5 17

onesails top banner

ocean volt 17

hh-banner-top-9-21

Posts Tagged ‘lake michigan’

Article Separator

It’s been six years since Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel died during the Chicago Mackinac Race aboard Wingnutz, and Saturday night was very nearly Deja Vu all over again.  A nasty frontal line – similar to the one that capsized Wingnutz in 2011 – tore through the fleet from the West around Midnight.  Rather than just a big increase and righty, the line held huge, spiking gusts of well over 50 knots, shifting constantly in the turbulent boundary.

Few boats came through the squalls without damage, but the scariest report came from Bill Shellhorse’s Virginia-based Farr 400 Meridian X, a perennial competitor in the Mac.  During a knockdown, they lost a crew overboard and it took a full hour to recover him.  With water temps in the mid 60s and huge, short seas, it’s amazing the crew was able to stay alive, and it’s not a surprise to have received a tip that the rescuee was maybe a few minutes away from the worst end possible.  Despite multiple USCG assets in the area and quite a few boats trying to stand by and help, it was Meridian which recovered their crew under what must have been terrifying circumstances.

As much as a third of the fleet retired to nurse their wounds, while almost the entire multihull fleet pulled out, but not before the F31 trimaran High Priority 2 went over in a 50-knot gust and turtled; the pic to the left is of her crew being winched aboard a CG tender after they hung out on their upside-down hulls for a while.  The big showdown between the two ORMA 60s – Earth Voyager and Arete – failed to materialize, with EV pulling out with mast track problems.  Arete is just 5 NM from the finish as we speak – not of the Chicago Mac (which they finished with first racing boat and first in class) but of the SuperMac! Owner Rick Warner wrote us this morning.  “All of the Arete team wishes best wishes to everyone forced to retire.  We are so glad the crews are all OK!  We saw plenty of wind, on the nose in the upper half of the lake.  It was steady 30s with 7-foot faces with a typical Great Lakes short period, the boat was fully out of the water at times, the main hull launching off the back of the waves and the leeward ama digging in and piercing the next one…if you know how far back the helm pods are on Arete, you understand what it means when I say that the waves were actually pounding on it…We are looking forward to the Port Huron-Mac and then the TransSuperior!”

Quantum owners the DeVos family aboard Windquest ironically retired with sail damage, with the big squall disintegrating an A3 and shredding the headboard of their mainsail, while TP52 Natalie J pulled out after destroying their jib tack, cunningham, and some odds and ends.

Thankfully there are no reports of major injuries, though the sailmaker’s (and rudder repairers) bill is sure to total millions…

Tracker for both the CYC race and the SuperMac are here.   Results here.

 

July 17th, 2017 by admin

Article Separator

21396242175_77a0a6f3a1_o

Long before she was the CYC’s head of Comms, sailing cheerleader Morgan Kinney was sharing her passion with the Anarchists.  She continues with this great story from last weekend’s Chicago Yacht Club hosted IFDS Blind Sailing World & International Championship, presented by Wintrust. Here’s her report, with gorgeous shots from Zachary James Johnston, with more here.

Fourteen teams from as far as New Zealand came to town for four days of racing in hopes of winning the Squadron Cup for their country and being crowned the new World Champion. Each boat had visually-impaired skippers and main trimmers, and two sighted crew – one tactician and one jib trimmer. Teams were then divided into three classes dependent on the extent of their vision loss, ranging from completely blind (Blind 1) to legally unable to drive (Blind 3).

In true Chicago fashion, the fall weather was completely unpredictable and two days of racing were canceled due to no wind, storms, high winds and higher waves.

21385384612_3e2bb4fd76_oAfter no wind and looming storms canceled racing on Thursday, Friday’s course featured 22 knots of wind and six foot waves. Teams raced four to five races in their respective sections while I sat in awe, getting soaked onboard my 12′ photo boat. All I could think was how tough it was to just chase these yachts around the course; in the meantime, they were expertly sailing over, around, and through the huge waves. “It’s a lot about the feel of picking the bow up and knowing how to drive to that,” explained 2013 Blind Sailing Champion Lucy Hodges (GBR). “Downwind was a huge amount of fun. If you caught the wave just right and come off the top, you were surfing down to the finish.”

Dave Allerton (NZL), remarked, “That piece of sea out there is more than just a lake – you could fit the whole country of New Zealand in there.” When fellow Kiwi skipper, Russell Lowry heard that Saturday’s wind and waves were supposed to be heavier and higher, he declared, “Bring it on, Chicago!”

And that, the Windy City did… Eight foot waves and 30 knots of breeze from the northeast squashed all hopes of another big day of racing.

With only one day left in the competition, the pressure was on the Chicago Yacht Club Race Committee to make up for the two days lost. With calmed seas and a rotating breeze, RC started firing off races one after another until a fourth race was started and promptly abandoned due to a sudden 90 degree wind shift. As boats reached back to the start line, our watches read 1:15 P.M., and we were looking at a 2:00 P.M. cutoff. Race Committee attempted to save the race and run one more, but the wind had died.

20773551144_a4a459f910_oDuane Farrar (USA) was crowned the 2015 Blind Sailing World Champion. It wasn’t easy for Farrar, though, as Canadian David Brown was giving the American a run for his money. “The Canadians were very competitive, and we started the day in a virtual tie with them. Before we got enough races for a drop, we were just about a point apart,” said Farrar. “We  smoked the fleet in what turned out to be the last race of the day. We really needed that race to solidify our position.”

Despite earning top slot in two out of three classes, the US lost the Squadron Cup to Team GBR. This is the fourth time that Great Britain has won the Cup in 18 years. Hodges, who was on the team the last time they won in Japan, said, “It was a very close running this time around – USA put on a really great performance. It will be great to take this Cup to Houston for the next running of the Cup in 2017.”

September 17th, 2015 by admin

Article Separator

20150712-IMG_5627
Fresh off his $20k winning performance as the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing OBR, Matt Knighton checks in from the Chicago Mackinac Race aboard the TP52 Imedi.  Head over to the tracking page quickly to see whether Rick Warner’s brand new (to him) ORMA 60 can catch the Volvo 70 Il Mostro before the poop-covered finish.  Thread here.
We just cannot find the wind.
There’s been this elusive band of breeze on the horizon all morning and now into the afternoon that taunts us – we keep sailing towards it, but then it pulls away. We’re slowly coming to the realization that the mirage effect of the lake and the Michigan shoreline has been playing a cruel joke on us all day.
The favorite phrase onboard is echoed every few minutes, “I think there’s a band of pressure over there coming down to us now…” it’s repeated over and over – we’ve yet to see it pay dividends.
There’s a mixture of pain and relaxation onboard. Spirits are high. This is the Mac Race after all and what would it be without a little light air sailing! Then again, ever since the sked at 10am that showed we had lost 25 miles to the competition who had invested in the Michigan shore overnight, we’ve needed some encouragement.
Pulled pork sandwiches just came to the rescue. So juicy, so good…everyone had seconds.
The sun is setting lower now and we’re clamoring to make it to the breeze that the skeds show is ahead of us. The familiar landmark of Point Betsie is growing larger on the horizon and the canyon of dunes that is the Manitou Passage isn’t too far off now!
It’s been the longest 6 hours of our lives it feels like – we’ve been hovering at less than 3 knots of boat speed the entire time – and the biting black flies are making their cameo appearance. The carnage up on deck is shown in the number of black dots covering the white deck.
Still, couldn’t ask for a better crew to go through the pains and joys of sailing the longest freshwater race in the world. Even though we’ve recycled the same jokes now 3 times…we’re still laughing harder and harder.

July 12th, 2015 by admin

Article Separator

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.37.00 AM

Longtime singlehander Tim Kent sent us this report from the deck of Areté, the Great Lakes’ new king of speed. It’s great to finally see a real, modern ocean racer come to freshwater sailing – even if she’s more than a decade old herself. Expect to see some records fall this summer, especially if the all-Anarchist crew can keep the skinny side up.  Head over to the team’s Facebook Page for photos, videos, and updates.

The idea of bringing an ORMA 60 trimaran to the Great Lakes was an audacious one.  There are an extremely small number of decent examples of the world-beating trimaran class left, fewer are for sale.  The closest ones are in France, and shipping one is ludicrously expensive, so a long transatlantic delivery needs to be planned and executed with all of the vagaries that such a trip can entail.

Because the boat is roughly a 60’ square, it won’t fit anywhere easy, and has to come in through the St. Lawrence Seaway – and if the boat is to be raced on the Great Lakes in the summer, it has to come in during the spring.  The early, windy, very cold spring.  Why so cold?  Because at the northernmost point of the delivery, the boat is at a latitude that is roughly 530 statute miles north of Detroit.

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.37.23 AMRick Warner has an affinity for audacious projects – his previous trimaran was the relatively audacious [modified F-31 R] Cheeky – so he dove in, acquiring the ORMA 60 Sopra in April and rechristening her Areté (from the ancient Greek, meaning “striving for excellence in all things”).  The boat made a two-part delivery from the Med to Newport, RI – including an unplanned stop in the Canary Islands.  Members of the racing crew picked her up in Newport and sailed her up over the Gaspé peninsula, down to Quebec, then through the locks on the St. Mary’s River and the Welland Canal – lifted 590 feet above sea level – to her summer home in Port Huron, Michigan.

The team’s first-year goals are simple – compete for first-to-finish in every race.  Our first race was last weekend’s Queen’s Cup, South Shore Yacht club’s annual sprint across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, and our goal was the Sylvie Trophy for first-to-finish.  The top contenders for first to finish were a bit different from last year, as unfortunately the Max Z86 Windquest and the VO70 il Mostro were both sitting out the race, but the TP 52s and the Andrews 77 Ocean were on the line.  No matter what, we wanted to post a lusty time.

South Shore Yacht Club moves the Michigan finish for the Queen’s Cup each year; this year, the race re-visited the resort town of South Haven, making this trip 78 miles on the rhumbline.  The race starts in the early evening, with the cruising fleet starting mid-afternoon.  Our start would be with the rest of the multihulls – last – with the forecast calling for a breezy, one-legged reach across the lake.

Our new sails had the battens from our old ones installed, and with our confidence in the old sticks a bit low, we started the race with our foot not entirely on the gas.  We crossed the starting line with a reef and the J2, reaching hard at 21 to 23 knots.  After clearing the multihulls and the first two fleets, we switched to the J1.  Still not satisfied, we declared the veteran battens to be stout enough for reaching and shook the reef and Areté responded, jumping to over 25 knots.

At this point we were carving through the fleet, doing our best to minimize our impact on the boats we passed.  With the cold water temps, spray and wind chill, it was cold on deck but no one minded – after a 9,700 mile delivery, we were finally racing!  As we watched our distance to finish quickly diminish, we realized that if we were to get all seven crew a little helm time, we were going to have to start rotating fast!  After the mid-point of the lake, it began to get warmer, but the wind backed off a bit as the temps rose.  As we closed on the coast, we picked out the finish boat, which had hustled out to meet us and crossed the line in 4 hours, 30 minutes, the first boat to finish.

We nailed our goal, adding Areté’s name to the Sylvie Trophy.  We learned more about the boat – it is an absolute thrill to sail, but we have a long, long way to go before finding all her speed buttons.  In two weeks, the freshwater sailing world’s longest race will begin in Chicago; it’s the 568-mile long SuperMac, and all the big players will be on the line.  We can hardly wait.

Queen’s Cup results here.

 

July 2nd, 2015 by admin

Article Separator

With Great Lakes ice cover now at 88% – 2% more than even the cold and icy 2013-4 winter – it may seem like the hundreds of thousands of Midwest sailors will never even get soft water.  But if the lakes do thaw out before July, there’s some damned good long distance racing ahead thanks to the 500-plus boats that will race the two Mackinacs this year.

Chicago Yacht Club cemented their role as one of the forward-thinkers in offshore American sailing yesterday, announcing their amendment of the Chicago Mac rules to award the overall first-to-finish trophy to the first boat instead of the first monohull.  That’s 65 years of historical mistake they’re rectifying, and it’s about fucking time.  In doing so, they make the countries other big-fleet distance races – The Cruising Club of America’s Newport Bermuda Race and the Transpac – look positively mesozoic.

tpyc catAnd while The Transpac does give a multihull trophy (first awarded in 1997 to Bruno Peyron in Explorer)  the TPYC’s most prestigious trophy – the Barn Door – goes not to the first boat to finish, and not even to the first monohull to finish…instead, they give it to the tortured category of ‘first non-power assisted yacht to arrive that isn’t a multihull.’  That makes sense </sarcasm>. But hey – at least the Transpac allows multihulls to enter.  The Bermuda Race doesn’t even do that.

On the other side of the lake, we’ve heard (but not yet verified) that Bayview’s ‘Easy Mac’ – the shorter, more sheltered Port Huron-Mac – has opened up its rules as well, allowing smaller, more sporty boats to compete on the 200 NM shore course.  Melges 24s at dawn, anyone?  More smart thinking from adaptable Midwesterners, and more inclusivity on the water – never a bad thing, and a good explanation of why there are 500+ yachts distance racing over two weekends on the Lakes.  Nice work, Detroit and Chicago!

In a final bit of excellent Great Lakes news, the CYC also announced that 2015 would be a Super Mac year – that means the most intrepid teams will race from Chicago to Mackinac and then continue right through the finish line, sailing another 200 miles to the riverine entrance of the Port Huron Yacht Club.  We called it ‘five hundred miles of freshwater hell’ when we ran it aboard Bruce Geffen’s Nice Pair the last time the race was held in 2009 – here’s a full account of that one.

Where else in the world are you going to get a 500 mile course through water you can drink?  Check the CYC website for more info over here.

 

March 3rd, 2015 by admin

fareast-28-ad

front-banner

hh 55 new

http://www.camet.com/

ewol banner ad