The Other CRW
While Charleston Race Week seems to get all the press, Cleveland Race Week is one of the last true race weeks in the US that this anarchist is aware of: it spans two weekends and weekly night racing for 9 days, and I think the fact that Lake Erie sailors have to pack a year’s worth of sailing into four months has something to do with the events long lasting success. And the Edgewater Yacht Club, on the shores of Lake Erie just west of downtown Cleveland, does a great job of catering to everything from Jet 14 dinghies to 36.7s and big PHRF cruisers.
The first weekend gets things going with strictly One Design Racing, including the 24 boat J-22 Fleet won by Jim Barnash on Thunder Chicken, and the 21 boat T-10 Fleet won by the ever present Heidi Riddle on Nuts. For Results go here.
Through the week the PHRF action heats up, with Thursday kicking off the real series for the PHRF fleets and the Beneteau 36.7 fleet. That is, the race was scheduled, but mother nature had other ideas; 40 knots from the wrong direction and a hellacious thunderstorm kept everyone at the dock. The wind alone caused the normally quiet basin to rise about 3 feet, and two boats were reportedly hit by lightning. Needless to say, everyone stayed at the dock eating gumbo and sausage, washed down by adult beverages. Video here:
Friday night started the last PHRF racing with a nice points-to-points “Where’s Waldo” deal. You know, the crowded roundings, fast boats shoving slow ones out of the way, yelling, and general mayhem that is PHRF racing. Great conditions rounded out the weekend with close racing and no shortage of breeze on Saturday and Sunday (20 kts, building to 40 Sunday on our delivery back.) The action was close in several fleets including a tiebreaker in PHRF A between two Melges 32s, with Robert Hesse’s ‘Lake Effect’ coming out on top, and the 36.7s mixing it up with 4 out of 7 boats getting a bullet. Mark and Bill Cummings’s ‘Big Electric Cat’ wound up on top in the class by one point. For more results from 10 classes go here.
Cleveland is one of those places you would never expect to have such an event. What makes it interesting to me is that not a lot of boats from off Lake Erie attend; this is a truly local event, but it is so good that most every raceboat from within a couple hours away shows up. This makes it a pretty tight-knit group that has just as much fun off the water as they do on the water. Evidence: belly dancers on the first weekend, 10 bucks for the wristband for all week, the SA Group Grope headed up as always by anarchist Zar and the general mentality of the crowd … although some of the Cleveland sailors try like hell to take out the competition by getting other crews wasted and keeping them up to the wee hours, hoping they won’t be able to see straight in the morning.
Thanks to all the Anarchists that represented the near-150 boat turnout for CRW (the other one) this year, and the sponsors for making the event happen.