82nd Annual WMYA Championship - Crystal Lake, Michigan

8 August 2011

The Event
Two-hundred plus teams sailing in seven different classes made it to one of the nicest lakes in the world for the 82nd Western Michigan Yachting Association Championships. Just Google Crystal lake, Michigan and check it out. 9 miles long almost 2 miles wide and "Hurt Your Eyes Blue Water". Sixty-two MC Scows, 66 Butterfly's, 24 E Scows, 17 Melges 17s, 18 Lasers and 15 Optimists attended this year. Making this the 2nd largest WMYA event in history just barely behind of the old record at Torch Lake last time we were there for the Westerns.

Four beautiful days of racing mostly in the light medium range with temps in the low 80s. Crystal Lake Yacht Club and the massive volunteer network really put together a very well organized regatta. great launching and retrieving teams, huge parking lots crews. 3 styles of lunches for the folks on shore and the sailors in between races. Just being at such a beautiful "bucket list" lake is great enough but then you add the huge hospitality factor and you can quickly understand why this is the event of the year in the Michigan Scow world. The regatta banquet dinner was off the charts with great food, company and singing legend Johnny "Magambo" Linder. Magambo had the house rockin' including his mom and dad Commodore Lindner dancing the night away. It was cool!!!

Race committee teams led by Steve Schiller, Midge Verplank, Stu Soule and a cast of about 50 others from CLYC really gave us some great courses and starting lines. Nancy Price using the "Regatta Network Scoring System" had results finished and on-line before most teams had their boats put away. For final race details in all classes check out www.WMYA.org. There will be some great images posted there in the very near future. Kudos to Joan Manny for continued great organization at our WMYA events.

The awards ceremony was really cool because the youth group awards was a highlight for sure. They had so much fun. Seeing young sailors thanking parents, coaches, showing some early signs of great sportsmanship with their comments really was a highlight of the regatta for sure. Charlie Knape going up with a heartfelt thank you for his first regatta E Scow trophy for winning race 2 was a highlight. Rob Terry sailing in three fleets thanking his bride Jules on every trip up for launching his boats to keep him going was a fun moment. Connor Davis top Junior in the MCs with his rock solid performance against a very deep tough MC field was another award highlight moment. Tom Munroe had quite a week with a hard fought victory in the M17 class and then a spectacular crash in his E Scow (no injuries) when they were mounted by a port tack E Scow at the start – see images soon at www.wmya.org   We had a bunch of ladies skippering and crewing which was great to see. Amy Todd finished 2nd in the 18 boat Laser fleet. Elizabeth Bald was second in the Butterfly Open. Libby Reeg from Spring Lake  finished 5th in the 57 boat Butterfly Junior Division. Allison Price was top woman finishing 27th overall in the tough 62 boat MC Class. Deb Gluek won 2 of 5 races finishing 3rd overall in the very tough M17 class with 17 boats.

Hospitality is through the roof at this club. Teams were hosted at dozens of homes as local sailors housed many teams who came to this event. Thank you Crystal Lake for making it so comfortable for so many sailors.

The Racing And Learning’s From This Event
The breeze was a little unsettled throughout this event with regards to velocity. Lots of up and down conditions. That put a huge premium on clear lanes so you could shift gears and put your bow down when needed. It was almost a case of velocity ruling over best course to the mark sometimes. Boat speed was a big deal. Living in dirty air for anything more than 5 seconds when going upwind or downwind really hurt you. Another key learning was being fast at the corners (marks) this week. Quick moves and acceleration out of the windward offset mark proved to be another important focus point with the large fleets this week. Probably one of the areas that teams need the most improvement on would be leeward gates. We saw throughout the week in all scow fleets a tendency of folks to down speed sail their boats because they were fighting for buoy room. Folks, coming into a leeward mark or gates with a exit strategy containing boatspeed as a main ingredient is a lot more important that proving a point that you have room and in the process parking your boat. For sure big losses for many in this department. Sailing ahead coming into the gates and having a plan is critical. Don’t get wound up trying to prove a point you have room and then in the process giving up 1-10 boats. Also the last thing to consider in a no-throw out race event is to keep plugging away every minute of every leg. Every boat counts. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. Twice this week I found myself in the forties early in a race because of starting mistakes but I just kept racing the next boat next to me and doing that from beginning to end . Both of those times I crawled back into the top ten. Fight for every boat. One last thought is understanding water conditions with so many boats and a large spectator fleet. The water was very choppy at times even though we had light/medium winds and were on a very large lake. Going out and doing a pre-race practice beat and run each day really helped you understand that power, speed was needed to deal with the chop we saw sometimes. When in doubt let it out was a popular trimming theme for the week.

The Results
All scores in full detail are up at www.wmya.org now but here is a snapshot.
MC Scows (4 races - 62 boats)
Rob Terry 19pts, Tony Pugh 24, Ted Keller 32, Rick Morris Jr 33, Cam McNeil 35, Connor Davis 38, EHood 38, Andy Molesta/JHood 39, Pete Comfort 40, Chris Eggert 42

Melges 17s (5 races - 17 boats)
Tom Munroe 12pts, Rob Terry 16, Deb Gluek 20, Brian McMurray 25, Mike Dow 26

C Scows (5 races - 9 boats)
Cam McNeil 11pts, Scott Helmes 17, Todd Bosgraaf 21, Tom Keenan 22, Karl Lanka 24.

E Scows ( 5 races - 24 boats)
Ted Keller/Jamie Kimball/Pete Comfort 12pts, Rob Terry 23, Don Nelson 30 , Doug McNeil 37 Art Brereton 40 , Pete Price 48

Laser (4 races – 18 boats)
Isaac Kremers 4 pts, Amy Todd 15 , Bruce Hansen 16, Kenneth Griswold 24, Dell Todd 25

Butterfly Open ( 5 races – 9 boats)
Michael Madden 12pts, Elizabeth Bald 17, Jack Hutchinson 19

Butterfly Jr. (5 races – 57 boats)
Frank Reeg 12 pts, Mason Wolters 22, Benjamin Finkelstein 36, Wade Lorimer 43, Libby Reeg 49

Optimist (15 boats – 4 races)
Spencer Todd 7pts, Toben Johnson 12, Justin Lovell 14, Murphy Wynsma 21, Connor Goulet 23 

Lots of photos from several sources are being accumulated as of this writing. View Full Photo Gallery

Upcoming Regattas
ILYA Championships – Lake Minnetonka , MN August 14-21
E Scow National Championships – Torch Lake, MI September 9-11
MC Scow National Championships – Lake Keuka , NY Sept 14-17