Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lake and River sailing, all in one weekend

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but I never appreciated that Detroit is a waterfront city. There is water everywhere, and it's pretty water, often a pale turquoise. This morning Commodore Carr met me by the Flying Scots and we did the official burgee exchange. He was all dressed up because today marks the beginning of Venetian Week and he had many official duties to do. Last night at dinner we walked by the spot in the bar where they display all the burgees from other clubs. It's fun to imagine our CLSA burgee there now!

The festivities at the club did get me wondering about the derivation of Venetian night, or week, or whatever. At CLSA we decorate our boats at the moonlight sail in August and call it Venetian night, but I never stopped to wonder why we do it....

Today we had two races right in front of DYC, in a current of about 2 knots. I have heard of some regattas where they do around the buoys on Saturday and a distance on Sunday, but this is the only place where we sailed in a lake on Saturday and a river on Sunday!

What you can't tell from this photo, is that there are some pretty upscale homes just beyond this big industrial structure!

Paul Lee, a local sailor, gave a short tutorial on managing the current before we began racing Sunday morning. The main message: stay as close to the shore as possible going upwind (against the current). We had easterly wind again today, which had gone a little farther right than yesterday's breeze. I feel like that is a pretty unusual wind direction, but this summer we've sailed in more east winds this season than I ever remember doing before.

From left: Deb Aronson, Suzie and Sam Hawkins, Bob Lieb, Brian Hawkins and Kerry Pebbles

Anyway, we made sure to stay above the start line during the starting sequence so that we didn't have to beat up against the current to get over the line. In both races Ben got a good start with speed, winning the pin end both times. Then we headed for the left shore. Although it was .3 mile to the windward mark, we probably tacked more than a dozen times in order to stay as close to the shore as possible. It gave us a chance to really practice our roll tacks and to entertain spectators along that shore. We tacked so close to the shore, which was reinforced by a big metal wall, that we could have almost shaken hands with them.

Brian Hawkins, sailing with his son, Sam, and Paul Lee, sailing with his kids, Elliott and Adrianna, gave us a good run for our money, but we managed to finish ahead of them in both races.

Sam and Brian Hawkins, Michigan-Ontario District Champions. This was Sam's first-ever regatta!

At the awards ceremony we received a huge gift basket full of Detroit-based edibles, including beer, coffee and candy. Yum! The peanuts and one of the candy bars did not make it home, but it made the six-hour drive home go much quicker! Plus, I think that's a pretty cool idea for a trophy and I think I might ... "borrow" it. I can think of at least six things we can assemble to represent Urbana-Champaign products, and I bet we could find at least that many to represent Bloomington-Normal...

Special thanks to regatta organizers Sean Murphy and John Gallagher and to Sean's wife Kelli, who was very helpful when I called to get the lowdown a mere two days before the regatta!

No more regattas for us until Carlyle Lake's Egyptian Cup, which is Labor Day. Join us there!!

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