My crew and I are trying to keep a living legend of a race boat off the dock and into the starting box. Spitfire is Franklin 40 1 Ton. A one of a kind boat with a one of a kind Captain. Jim Hellquist has been at the helm for over 30+ years racing every single race the Great Lakes have to offer, he has won a fair amount of them. His biggest joy is placing in the Chicago Mac Race.
A couple years ago we were in a 68 hour grueling race with little to no wind, beating hot sun and to make matters ever more interesting a battery that died half way through the race and of course it was the only time we had any kind of wind. With 9 knots of wind we were cruising at 8.7 trying to match and or exceed the wind while our batteries lay on the deck baking in the sun so we can get whatever juices they have flowing. I will never forget the sound of that engine firing up as we all cheered in appreciation to this modern day maritime miracle.
As we sailed into the finish line we heard yelling family on the beach telling us we just placed 1st… the champagne was flowing but later on we discovered we finished 2nd….. by a corrected time of 10 minutes… 68 hours and we lost by 10 minutes.
The next season we all found out that Jim was finishing the program… we were devastated but understood the boat needed new sails and he had grand kids to think of. This past season the crew and i decided that enough was enough. We couldn’t let this boat and Jim’s legacy be done with out at least one more 1st place finish. 100’s of racers have been able to race on Spitfire we want a 100 more to get the chance.
Please help spread the word to as many that would listen. Any social media channel would be a huge help. ANYTHING from you guys would be truly appreciative. We need new sails and gear to get her racing again.