White Lake Yacht Club Hosts 34 MC Scows At Forthcoming Spencer Weersing Memorial Regatta

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16 June 2011

Article courtesy of Eric Hood - White Lake Yacht Club hosted this annual June event with 34 MCs coming to the line despite chilly weather and big winds on day 1 for the Spencer Weersing Memorial MC Regatta.

Doug McNeil, Bob Currier, Tom Getz, Tom Munroe, Don Nelson and a host of volunteers pulled out all the stops for this first big MC regatta of the Western Michigan season this year. Sounds like a good A Scow team or 5 more great MC sailors that could have been with us. We certainly appreciate top notch PROs and teammates making it happen for the sailors.

For those of you who have not been to White Lake it is a great scow racing lake. Good size about 5 miles long and up to a mile wide in the racing area. Connected to Lake Michigan and about ½ way up the west coast. The club has been racing scows since 1903. One of our largest MC National Championships was held there in recent years with 107 boats attending that event. Some high tree lines on the shores, and a cut at the northwest corner of the lake through a channel connecting White Lake to Lake Michigan.

One other note about WLYC . Watch out this is a hot scow club of the future. Lots of youth and young guns coming out of this club with some real potential to be a force in the future.

Six races were held with 4 on Saturday in big wind out of a very unusual direction of N.N.W instead of the usual cool front winds that come from the N.W. So a little crazy on direction for the locals who grew up on White Lake like current National Champ Cameron McNeil, myself and some others. It was a good equalizer for everyone having a wind direction with some unknowns. Velocities for those first four races ranged from 15-23 mph. The two Sunday races saw light/medium winds with a really crazy mostly northerly wind direction. Race 5 was a good race and then Race 6 was our only shaky race with a Crazy Ivan during the race. Crazy Ivan’s as you know are the 90 degree turn at the bottom of the hour. The series was still close after 5 races though so you had to survive the crazy 6th race to finish well in the event.

Big, big social events both Friday night and Sunday at the McNeil’s on Lake Michigan down on South Shore Drive. The fun thing was Brett Hatton was recruited early by Doug McNeil to work on the food program and wow, he pulled out the stops. The large grill was working overtime and everyone ate well. The parties were an absolute blast. So both on the water and off the water was a great time . A lot of storytelling at McNeil’s . The good old "there I was" type stories. Put this event down on your 2012 MC calendar as a cannot miss event.

So for sailing news. There was a lot of discussion about sailing in the big breeze on Saturday night. About 22 of the 34 teams had crews. Of the 12 without crew 9 were 200 pounds plus. A lot of folks were asking me how I had the boat going so well. Most of the time I was in the 5th -8th range but close to the front. Had a few buoys I hit and some extra mileage that hurt my final results but I did sail the boat very well. As I reflected with the other skippers it became apparent that more than anything I had a real focus on the breeze for this day. I really did not want to fight the mainsheet, vang and tiller plus try to hike. So I pegged the vang on block to block (great if you are not tacking), left the traveler on center or 1 card down, pegged the outhaul all the way to max on the band (pull on slowly so you do not blow up your tack slug), then slowly pulled the Cunningham onto max down (don’t jerk, just pull on slowly so you don’t rip a grommet out). Here is the key though I focused on the breeze coming down and really worked hard on every single velocity and shift change as it touched the boat. I focused much more on my steering than normal it seemed like. This kept the boat level all the time even at my lighter weight. So just something to think about. Then getting bold downwind and staying in the monster puffs put you right back in the game. A lot of folks were timid. Go out and practice big wind downwind sailing. Work the vang in and out on the velocity changes. It is just like a gas pedal on a race car.  

Day 2 – for the first race which was race 5 it was a fun race for everyone as the wind was all over the place but for the most part just sitting on the high side. So tactics, quick tacking were key items.

For both days starts were critical. Bob Currier , Don Nelson and Tom Munroe gave us great starting lines. You had to really work hard to try and figure it out. They called the over early folks very well and very fair. Just a great job of RC work.

Full results above. We are hoping to secure some great images soon that we know were taken at the races.

Top 5 here - Jamie Kimball, Cam McNeil, Brett Hatton, Rob Kimball, Brien Fox . Top Master – Rob Terry, Top Grand Master – Curt Miller, Top Youth – Connor Davis, Top Woman – Allison Price

Lots of great regattas coming up soon. Big ILYA Invite early July at Lake Beulah where Al Haeger regatta co-chair will be rolling out a unique championship within the championship called Heroes and Legends. Watch for that news. Be thinking about the Big Inlands at Minnetonka , the big WMYA Championship at Crystal Lake and the Nationals at Lake Keuka. Tons of other great events like the new Team Racing Event at Clear Lake and more. I know lots of info is going up on the MC website this weekend.