Posts Tagged ‘michigan’
Fleets come and fleets go, but the Cal 25 remains forever. At least that’s how it is in Southeast Michigan, where the Cal 25 continues a long legacy of great racing, better partying, and lasting forever. Here’s the report from the Detroit gangstas who won last week’s National Championship without winning a race, and our apologies for our almost magazine-like delay in getting it up. Okay, not quite that bad.
The first weekend in August saw the Cal 25 fleet make its way to Port Huron, MI for the 2014 Cal 25 National Championship, some from as far away as Annapolis. Light winds all 3 days caused by a large high pressure system over the Midwest made for some delays with a final tally of 6 races going up on the board. 21 boats was the final headcount for the event, with over half of the fleet representing Detroit.
Target Practice had been awaiting this weekend for some time, and had done tons of boat and sail prep to ready for the event. Numerous jibs were looked at and the entire deck layout was reconfigured to try to give us more control over sail shape and eke out that hundredth of a knot from these 4KSB’es.
Day 1 saw light southerly breezes all day. Race 1 started in ~4knts of breeze, and saw a number of the top boats get off clean and flop onto port after a short while. Places remained relatively static around the course with Target Practice coming away with a deuce. The breeze died and we went under AP for ~90 min waiting for it to fill. When it did from a weak thermal, Race 2 saw a little more action on the line with some yelling and a couple of alleged fouls, but no flags. The rich got richer as clean air was king for the start of this race with the leaders extending, however on the 5 leg race the last downwind saw the breeze dying and things started to get mixed up with boats finding patches of wind that others simply didn’t have and some boats were able to improve their lot on this and the ensuing upwind. We led the day with a 2,2 followed by Draco and Holmebrew.
Nerves ran high on Day 2 as it was moving day. It was again light southerlies but with the expectation that a northerly breeze would fill in at some point. Race 3 and 4 saw more of the same from Day 1 with slightly more breeze, we again went 2,2 however Never Alone found an upwind gear that was untouchable and took 2 bullets. Race 5 was started with an easterly thermal breeze of ~5 knots. We suffered from an unforced error and were called over early just off the boat, while Obscured by Clouds won the pin with clean air and was first around the top mark. The course however was hugely starboard tack favored, so after ducking the line we found some pressure right and still wound up rounding in the top 5. We had struggled with our downwind angles all weekend thus far, and were having trouble sailing as deep as some of the other boats. A quick gybe saw us move up to 3rd and Obscured, Never Alone and us all went around the left mark. Obscured finished first with Never Alone right on their heels, followed by us. This unfortunately ruined our up-till-that-point perfect scoreline of 2-2-2-2.
We went into the final day with a 5 point lead on Never Alone. We expected no more than 2 races, and so the gameplan was to continue to sail our regatta, but keep a loose cover on the competition. Dense fog greeted us on the racecourse, but brought relatively strong breeze with it. However, starting a race in the fog would have been difficult and as it burned off the wind died. At about 1 oclock the fog had lifted and we had sufficient wind to start. The line was pin favored and so with a minute left we tacked away from Never Alone for a pin end start. We hit the line on time and with speed, only to look over our shoulder and see that Never Alone had done the same roughly midline. An early tack away saw us take some transoms to get to the favored board and pressure, and we were able to round in first. We held serve on the downwind and rounded the left mark again in first with Never Alone behind, coming with us out to the right. They reaped the gains of their high upwind mode and we were only able to round in front due to a header at the top mark that forced them to do 2 tacks. That header also saw Patriot squeeze in front coming in from the port layline, with Target Practice and Never Alone close behind. We finished in a dying breeze with our final deuce of the weekend and a 6 point lead on Never Alone.
Racing was very tight all weekend, and Port Huron Yacht Club and the Race Committee did an excellent job getting in 6 good races. Our thanks to Tyson Connelly and PHYC for running an awesome event! Target Practice was sailed by co-owners Erik Ryan and Adam Hollerbach, with me, Nathan Hollerbach, and RJ Wolney rounding out the crew.
USA 632 – Target Practice
August 21st, 2014 by admin
Just two hours before some of the the Cal 25 Nationals fleet would sail through the same spot on the way back to Bayview Yacht Club from Port Huron, MI, our own Mr. Clean was on hand to witness a horrific accident in the St. Clair River. While a picture may say a thousand words, this was a truly bizarre one, and we go to Clean for more on yet another big summer boating accident. The lesson to sailors? Never stop scanning your horizon for the marine environment’s real killers: Go-fasts with drunken idiots behind the wheel.
In a lifetime on the water, I’ve never seen anything quite so nasty happen, and I just happened to have a front row seat. Remember when that moron in the speedboat on the Lake of the Ozarks caught a wake at speed and nearly flipped, beating the hell out of the occupants?
We had a similar situation here last night but with much worse consequences, when a 25 or 30 foot Baja cigarette-style boat, running at least 50 mph, decided to go through the wake of a big Bayliner cabin cruiser without throttling back, and at a terrible angle. I happened to be less than 200 feet from it all; having slowed down for the Bayliner’s wake, I saw the speedboat approaching at mach 2 and decided to watch the action, actually saying to myself, out loud, “This is gonna be good.”
The Baja caught the first wave and got heeled to the left in the air, then caught the second at a worse angle, which launched it back in the air, now with 20 or more degrees of heel to the right. By this time, even if the driver were still hanging on to the wheel, he was just along for the ride. The Baja hit the third wave at a terrible angle – the boat was bow-up and heeled hard to the right when it hit – and it literally launched itself completely clear of the water by 4-6 feet – aimed directly at the Bayliner’s flying bridge. The heel on the Baja had rounded the boat up on the final wave, turning it to the left instead of straight through as intended by the driver. The Baja didn’t so much hit the Bayliner (and the six people on the bridge) as landed on top of it, then continued over it, and landed in the river. The entire upper deck of the Bayliner was torn off its supports, and barely remained connected to the main deck by a few hoses and wires.
After calling 911, I moved. The Baja was between the cruiser and me, so I snapped a pic of the culprits to make sure no one made a run for it. They were pretty shaken up, and responded that ‘everyone’s fine’ when asked. I gunned it over to the stricken vessel, and they were shouting that there was someone in the water. As I searched downriver and mentally tried to figure out how much water had moved in the 5 minutes since impact, (there is 2-3 knots of current in the river at this point), I kept yelling for every boat I saw to join in the search. Shortly thereafter, with more than a dozen boats now on scene helping out (but still no official help) a woman’s body was pulled out by a pontoon boat, and 20 minutes of CPR didn’t help her.
As the body was pulled from the water, I noticed the Baja drifting downriver, nearly out of sight. As I headed back to them, a crowd hollered at me on shore, and I ran over to a house to pick up the local Fire Chief, who I dropped off on the Bayliner to help with the rescue. As I handed him off, I saw the second body in what used to be the cockpit of the boat – a man in his 50s – also unresponsive after a few minutes of CPR. A third casualty – a woman in her 60s – looked to be going into shock, or cardiac arrest, or both.
I hung around for long enough to see the freighter traffic start to idle through the channel again, as it just didn’t seem right to buzz over to the lake and go fishing after the carnage I’d just witnessed. After giving my number and info to the Marine Police and USCG as a witness, I overheard the Sheriff who had the Baja’s driver in custody talking to the neighboring police boat. ”You take the statements from the passengers; I’m taking this one in.” I couldn’t hear the next question from the deputy, but the Sheriff’s response made that clear. ”Yep, he’s been drinking.”
It’s unlikely that a sober Baja driver would have done any better in that situation, but that’s not the issue. A sober person – at least one with an IQ over 50 – would never have taken that wake at that speed. Once again, the equation holds: Horsepower + (Alcohol OR Youth) + Inexperience = Death.
Title comes from one of the 80′s best cult films, also about a river, death, and stupid people.
August 4th, 2014 by admin
As the second Mac gets set to begin tomorrow, Our old pal Petey Crawford jammed together a video from the light air/downwind start of the earlier race, Bayview’s Port Huron-Mackinac. Bora Gulari returned from Sardinia for a couple weeks to give Phil and Sharon O’Niel’s TP52 Natalie J her fourth straight overall (Cove Island Course) BYC-Mack win, and we’ve got an interview coming up with the rock star soon…for now, enjoy the stylings from Penalty Box.
UPDATE: Tim Lewin asked us to point out that, while Natalie J won four straight Cove Island overalls that she sailed, she actually didn’t go macking in 2013 because she was on the Transpac. Last year, Sledgehammer, a J/120 won the Overall for Cove Island.
July 18th, 2014 by admin
After a five-year hiatus from covering the Midwest’s second-biggest freshwater distance race, we’re heading up to Port Huron, Michigan for the start of the Bayview Mackinac Race tomorrow. With Luna Rossa Challenge’s Bora Gulari aboard the TP52 Natalie J, Annapolite-turned ocean racer Ryan Breymaier joining the F-31 Cheekee and a pile of fun boats including the old VO70 Il Mostro, there will be plenty to see, and you’ll be able to watch all the action via Sailing Anarchy’s Facebook Page starting around 10 AM EDT tomorrow.
Years of live coverage of the Chicago Mackinac and the 4 hours we’ll be spending on the water tomorrow have reminded us of conversations we’ve had over the years about the start of the Mack races, and a basic question we still don’t know the answer to: What is the purpose of starting each section separately, with the slow boats first? Sure, we understand that the slow boats will get there a bit sooner compared to the fast boats, but that seems like a silly reason for expending all the extra resources to involved in banging off 15 starts rather than a single one. Think about it; that’s 15 starts at 10 minutes each, or nearly three hours of starting. The format guarantees a weaker experience for spectators (who rarely want to sit around watching 6-10 boats sail off a line every ten minutes), a tougher day for the Race Committee, a long, long wait for the racers on the water, and perhaps most importantly, a poor spectacle for the TV, print, and online media so important to getting new interest and keeping sponsors happy.
Think about the incredible action at a Sydney-Hobart start, with simultaneous guns over just three lines and course boundaries for spectators for a mile or so up the course to guarantee tacking or gybing in close proximity to the fans; contrast this with the Macks, where the Coast Guard sets a cordon to keep powerboats half a mile from the starting lines…not that there is much to see anyway. Nearly no boats chase the Mack fleet…because it’s already so diluted at each start that there’s not much to chase.
Our suggestion for the BYC and Chicago Macks: Four simultaneous starts: One for racing fleets, one for cruising fleets, one for multihull fleets, and one for shorthanded fleets. Win, win.
Shot of Lucky Strike (ex-Lucretia) sporting the SA flag yesterday on the Black River, thanks to Anarchist “Geff”.
July 11th, 2014 by admin
Every sailor sees fog now and again, but we can’t recall ever seeing photos of a fog bank like this one rolling in so perfectly. Gorgeous work from a salmon fisherman on the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan, with the full gallery here. Thanks to MI Anarchist ‘Geff’ for the tip.
May 24th, 2014 by admin
Sarah Sloan checks in from the tail end of the University of Michigan Sailing Team’s season.
You learn a lot about your teammates during car rides. Over the course of a season, you discover who is willing to take the graveyard shift, who likes the backseat, who has the smallest bladder, and who can actually ignore a car full of people talking about the effect windshield wipers and wind have on the flow pattern of rain over windows to study for exams. University of Michigan sailors are very familiar with long car rides, as they travel to the east coast for regattas nearly every weekend during the spring and fall. But last weekend, six Michigan sailors (Alex Ramos, Ryan Seago, Karinne Smolenyak, Liz Wallace, Will Cyr, and Sarah Sloan) packed up and headed the opposite direction to Minnesota for the MCSA Coed Qualifiers at Wayzata Bay on Lake Minnetonka.
The great thing about the Midwest is that everywhere reminds you of home, because over the course of an eleven-hour drive the scenery rarely diverges from the fields and rolling hills characteristic of middle America. The “Land of 10,000 Lakes” lived up to its name, however, and the sailors traveling from Ann Arbor felt the familiar twinge of jealousy that accompanies sailing on a lake in a school’s backyard, as opposed to the half-hour drive that we Wolverines deal with daily. The feeling only intensified upon seeing the University of Minnesota’s beautiful, fresh-off-the-trailer Z420s, and caused Michigan team members to fantasize about one shining day, just $39,000 from today when we, too, will host regattas with a brand new fleet of boats (hint…donate here).
Sailing on inland lakes keeps even the best skippers and crews perpetually on their toes, as puffs and shifts can come from seemingly nowhere and completely change the outcome of a race. The wind increased throughout the day from averaging ten mph to “hike-as–hard-as-you-can-as-long-as-you-can-or-face-the-wrath-of-your-skipper” speeds. Eight extremely close, extremely competitive races were completed within each division, and at the end of the first day the University of Michigan was in first by three points, followed closely by the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, who were separated by a single point.
Racing was cancelled on Sunday due to a torrential downpour turned thunderstorm. Despite having lost the opportunity to potentially change the final standings, the sense of camaraderie between teams was tangible as everyone waited in the boathouse for the award ceremony. MCSA sailors excel at leaving it all on the water; there are very few other organizations in college sports where eight teams will collectively sing Happy Birthday to an opponent, and even your fiercest rival on the water will put that aside once on shore to tell you they like your Sperrys or Patagonia pullover.
Every sailor begins the weekend wanting to sail their best races, and every team wants to win, but last weekend’s top spot went to our team at the University of Michigan, who added another first-place finish to a season that included MCSA Match Race and Team Race victories. With exams wrapping up at the end of the week, team members will shift their focus toward College Sailing’s Nationals, where they, along with the other four teams from the MCSA who qualified, will attempt to prove to teams from the east and west coast that freshwater sailors can be just as fast.
April 30th, 2014 by admin
University of Michigan racer Sarah Sloan reports on what college sailors go through to get on the water in the deep-frozen midwest. a U of M alums should come and support your team; see their full schedule here and donate something toward their boat fund here - it’s tax-deductible!
No one understands cold quite like an MCSA sailor; early season practices can include pulling boats over patches of ice to reach open water, and it’s imperative crews know how to melt the ice off frozen sheets by whatever means necessary (no one is above sucking on the Cunningham just minutes before a race).
Traditionally, winter is supposed to turn into spring come March, but much like the kid at the party who can’t read between the lines when you say you’re washing your hair every night for the rest of the semester, this winter couldn’t take a hint. Teams across the Midwest are still waiting for multiple feet of ice to thaw on inland lakes, and sailors have been forced to resort to extreme melting measures to salvage the spring season, because sometimes you need a friendly MCSA regatta and regatta party after numerous weekends competing against the big varsity teams on the East coast.
When it became increasingly apparent the snow wasn’t leaving any time soon, The University of Michigan Sailing Team began to consider spring practice-alternatives in addition to ICSA regattas, chalk talks, intramural broomball, and even part-time modeling in the case of one of our co-captains. The team initially tried to escape the Polar Vortex by driving to Norfolk, Virginia for a spring break training trip, but the miserable weather followed them twelve hours south. Temperatures dropped from seventy the day before their arrival to thirty the day after. The first day of sailing was cancelled due to the latest snowstorm locals could remember, and didn’t rise much above forty the rest of the week. Fortunately for their hosts, the team took the bad weather back to Michigan, as temperatures rose to sixty the day of their departure.
Frustrated upon coming back to Michigan only to realize they’d have to drive to the east coast every time they wanted to sail, team members resorted to drastic measures to sail at home sooner. Members of the executive board ventured to Baseline Lake in mid-March to personally chop apart the 18-inch thick ice, with some even suggesting the Capital Campaign fund (which is less than $30,000 away from the $100,000 needed to purchase a new fleet of boats), should instead go toward space heaters and fireworks to help along the melting process.
While the rest of the team played with pickaxes, seven freshmen were fortunate enough to sail on the only open lake in the Midwest for the Freshman Icebreaker Regatta at Notre Dame. Determined to fulfill the legacy of excellence both on and off the water as established by their upperclassmen fore founders, the freshman dressed for success, looking dapper in the suits they will no doubt one day don as titans of business and industry. Some even took the plunge into Lake St. Joe’s after a successful race and came out baptized into a new sailing faith.
If Michigan sailors know one thing, it’s how to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. There is still time yet to salvage the season, and with temperatures reaching downright summery peaks of fifty-five degrees in Ann Arbor this week, this heat wave will likely make the lake sailable within the next two weeks, just in time for finals.
April 10th, 2014 by admin
The University of Michigan’s sailing team has a fleet of 20-year old FJ and 420s, and they are quite literally falling apart. With one of the most active Alumni groups in the US, it should be so damned hard to have decent athletic equipment for the sailors, but rather than bitch, the U of M kids are doing something about it: They’re raising money by raffling off this cool radio control racer. More from Wolverine media kid Ryan Seago:
Painted in official U of M colors with a commemorative graphics package on the sails, this one-of-a-kind, 75th Anniversary Michigan Sailing CR-914 is worth $1200 and we’re giving it away! Built by CPM’s David Ramos, all proceeds from this little beauty’s raffle will go directly to support the Michigan Sailing Team.
Raffle tickets are just $25.00 each, and we’ll be raffling the boat off at the Strictly Sail Chicago show at the end of January. You do not need to be there to win! So please purchase your tickets now and help us get future University of Michigan sailors a little Christmas present: New boats!
December 12th, 2013 by admin