Jamie Kimball Wins Big at 2012 MC National Championship

26 August 2012

Report by Eric Hood - Jamie Kimball has won one of the largest one design championships of 2012 sailing season here in the United States. Ninety-four teams came to White Lake, Michigan for the 41st Annual MC Scow National Championship. Not only did we have a large turnout but we also had MC skippers and teams there that represented 22 of those 41 National Championship wins. Having sailed in over 200 MC Scow regattas myself I can tell you this clearly was the strongest fleet we have ever assembled. That also suggests the class is extremely healthy and strong which is great news for this cool little 16' Hot Rod that we all simply call the MC.

Normally in my regatta reports I give you all some blow by blow reports about the top boats. For this report though I think I will do something a little different. I say that because there is not much more to say other than that Jamie Kimball dusted us. You have to give some high honor to a National Champion who does not have to sail the last race (actually no choice because he could not risk a black flag which cannot be dropped).

So, let's talk about the other 93 teams. I am going to point a few things out here that I hope are encouraging for everyone between 2nd and 94th. First I want to start with the race winners, but here is something I am going to do differently (encouragement), and that is, I will put out to the side of each race winner in brackets their worst race. What you will see I think will surprise you and hopefully it gives you a sense of how tough this event was out on the course.

Race 1 winner – Jamie Kimball (12)
Race 2 winner - Ted Keller (26)
Race 3 winner – Doug McNeil (41)
Race 4 winner – Bill Colburn (18)
Race 5 winner – Eric Hood (44)
Race 6 winner – Coye Harrett (73)
Race 7 winner – Justin Hood (OCS)

So everyone between 2nd and 94th just know that at some point during this event you beat a team that won a race at the nationals. That is a big deal and just know you can put that on your list of "how am I doing, how am I improving". I think the most important thing I would say to folks who came this year to the nationals is that it was really tough sailing, in very tough conditions (extremely shifty at the top of the course each race) and not to think you got hammered or had a bad regatta. Anyone who sailed at this year’s MCSA National championship is going to be a lot further down the road as a good MC skipper and team as a result of sailing this event. So way to go for everyone hanging in there!!!

I would like to also share a very interesting observation from a MC sailor Dick Cline (1605) who could not make it to the event. His observation is interesting because while he could not make this year he is planning ahead for next year and/or Augusta in 2014. Here is what he saw in the results. Dick Cline- I took all your words and then the 1 thru 94 detailed data and found what to me are two kind of interesting sets of data that I thought I would share with you. You mentioned teams and crew. I looked at the detailed data. Broke it into two groups - top 20 and bottom 20. In the top 20 the data says that only 4 of the 20 were out there in that level winds single handing. The bottom 20 shows that 11 of the 20 were. Hmmm- kind of makes me wonder if just maybe being smart enough or prepared enough to have a team and thus crew person on hand might be the smart thing if ya can. Any comment? EHood – Absolutely having a crew at a major event is just plain smart. If you do not have someone in your immediate family then connect with the host club for junior sailors. Or introduce somebody you know to sailing and invite them along to the championship. That is how we will grow the sport.

Dick Cline - Second data point info I got looking again at top 20 vs bottom 20 and the hull numbers for the boats used. In the top 20 only 2 of the 20 had a hull number under 2100. In the bottom 20 a full half - 10 boats - were hulls with number under 2000. So that got me to thinking - is it ONLY the guys that have the older boats may be the older sailors, newer sailors just getting started, etc, or is it that the skill of the sailor cannot overcome the issues that might be there with an older boat? Again - wonder about your thoughts being the guy that was there and saw it all. EHood – Here is my read on that very good observation Dick. I think those who really want to get all they can out of the sport try to get the best equipment they can to the starting line. Obviously you pick up a huge mental advantage if you have new gear. Andy, Justin, Harry, Jim and I have been spoiled by our profession and we always have new gear. However, let me illustrate this way. I have three sets of great golf clubs – I play the serious days with my new clubs and other days I might chunk around the golf course with my other clubs. It is a pretty well proven fact in almost any sport that has some serious high tech equipment that newer equipment is going to serve you better towards your personal goals. We are not playing basketball or soccer where you could in fact have older tennis shoes and still win or do well. Best move if you want to take a shot at doing your absolute best is to help others get into the sport with your older boat and equipment and then upgrade your program. Both of your observations were really good – Thank You Dick Cline MC 1605.

Another huge win and success story for this particular championship this year was the high count of crew and young sailors on board. With the solid wind velocity ranging most of the time between 12 and 18 mph for most races sailors were able to sail with their crews. Seeing so many young sailors both male and female was extremely encouraging. It also helped, I think, that regatta co-chair Cam McNeil recruited from the large White Lake Yacht Club junior team. During our Champions dinner I gave a short speech on the "HIGH VALUE" of mentoring, coaching our youth, and it was like it opened the flood gates of conversation. So many folks came up to me afterwards and said how much they appreciated that moment. I heard from many that in their own world they would work harder to that end of creating sailing legacies for the next generations to come. We had a great week with young sailors. In my case, I had a 13 year old, Connor Briegel, who sails a Butterfly. When we sailed out to the course on one windy race broad reaching at a high rate of speed I asked him to steer. Wow, that was worth the whole regatta effort for me in seeing a new sailor grab the tiller of an MC in a breeze broad reaching down the course with a huge smile and big eyes. You had others out there like Andy Burdick's team with his daughter Mya and son Finn. They added a piece to the history books by sailing with three and doing well. We talked to a lot of crew members who were crewing in their first major regatta and that is really encouraging for our future.

Another "Note to Self" moment was that we picked a great spot for a National Championship. White Lake Yacht Club established in 1903 had everything you could want. Many teams brought their whole family and I think the year long promotion of don't miss this "Bucket List" stop proved to everyone that it really was a "Bucket List" stop. A great lake to sail on even in unstable wind conditions. There is nothing nicer than Lake Michigan on the west shore of Michigan. A really cool club house, great pool. The world’s best ice cream for a buck. Everyone there said it was incredible how nice not only the entire area, club, both lakes were, but also how incredibly nice all the folks from White Lake were. A large number of folks stayed with folks in this semi-remote area. So a big thank you to all those who housed folks.

Back to some sailing. Here are the top 20. View Complete Race Results

Overall Champion – Jamie Kimball 27pts, Bill Colburn 34 (wins tie-breaker), Andy Burdick 34, Cam McNeil 50, Ted Keller 68 (wins tie-breaker), Jeff Grinnan 68 (Top Master), Justin Hood 71, Joe Rotunda 76, Brett Hatton 77, Doug McNeil 82, Brien Fox 86, Eric Hood 87, Mark Tesar 99, Noel Neuman 105, Rob Terry 113, Brian McMurray 117, Scott Harestad 122, Coye Harrett 125 (wins tie-breaker) Todd Bosgraaf 125, Steve Everist 130

So another view to help encourage everyone in the fleet.
Past champions from the big 5 regattas including the MCSA Nationals, MCSA Midwinters , MCSA Masters, ILYA and Westerns finished in these positions throughout the fleet: 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,15,16,20,22,27,31,34,43,47,53,84. These are all folks who have won a major. So it was tough from 1st- 94th as I have said previously.

Other divisional winners: Jeff Grinnan from Rush Creek-top Master, Stefan Schmidt from Madison-top Grand Master, Gary Verplank-top Mega Master, Lynn Walborn-top Woman.

PRO Chip Mann had a large, great crew with him. Locals Jack Rillema and Peter Blacklock were on the mid-line and leeward ends. Chip had Bill Best and several others from his regular crew on board helping. We had great starting lines, very good courses under the tricky conditions down in the east end of White Lake. Bottom half of course was always good, middle was always a little dangerous on velocity and the top last couple of hundred yards is where we saw some very tricky conditions that could quickly add or subtract 10-30 boats at any given moment.

Largest learning from this event with the huge fleet was you had to get off the line and sail the first three minutes in unrestricted air. I would say the top 5 boats in this regatta sailed 95% of the time in clean air. That was the first premium and the second premium was velocity. With so many boats if you were not in velocity all the time you were probably not doing well.

As I close this report I would like to say on behalf of all the competitors: "THANK YOU" to all of the folks at White Lake Yacht Club and of course Spring Lake Yacht Club for their social add-ons like the "Lean In Party".

Check out about 800+ photos going up on Ingrid Lindfor's website WWW.INGRIDL.COM. You can purchase photos there and I can promise you there are hundreds there worth purchasing.

Watch for an interview I am doing with Jamie Kimball in the near future.

Next year Clear Lake, Iowa for MCSA Nationals and 2014 Augusta, Georgia. I want to challenge everyone now to get ready. Freshen up your sails, freshen up your rides and work hard at getting 5% better with each weekend of sailing you do. There is nothing more fun than going to a major championship with big numbers attending. Add Clear Lake Iowa to your calendar now. End of June next season.

See you all out there.
All the best from Zenda,

E Hood
MC 2566
Melges Performance Sailboats