Chad Coberly Wins Brownwater Regatta

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19 June 2012

Article courtesy of Eric Wynsma - 2012’s early summer stop on the Melges 17 schedule commenced this weekend with the BrownWater Regatta sailed out of Grand Rapids Yacht Club on Reeds Lake. This event featured fifteen boats and "local special conditions" ranging from 3-20+ knots in varying shades of Southerly breeze. There is no magic to sailing on this small lake, it is hand-to-hand combat at all times and the first guy to the dark water gets the prize.

The keg was tapped in the boat setup area early Friday and many locals were on hand to offer free advice on topics like the identification of 'unscheduled swim zones' and where they were positioned on the race course, and of course the Indianapolis reverse-windex-installation technique. Wish I had a camera.

Day 1 saw hot and sunny, with pressure building throughout the day. Many lead changes in the front of the pack, with Mike and Stephanie Dow's Flying Toaster pausing to toast up some soft goods which had tangled up in their tack line and made for a fascinating takedown. This enabled Chad Coberly and his rockstar local junior crew, Isaac Kremers to begin what would be a regatta-dominating string of top finishes in all races. There was great racing all the way through the fleet, with all racers finishing generally within a minute or two of the leaders and seemingly no preferential treatment for the front vs back of the fleet when the Reeds Lake swim monster came calling.    

Day 2 started out moist but proved out to be an amazing day of technical, tactical sailing in 6-10 knots. The points-grab was alive and well in the 2nd-5th place boats, culminating in a heart-attack finish in the last 200’ of the final race, with Coberly sailing into a parking lot and loading up the meter. Mutli-class tough-guy Dow was in hot pursuit but Jason Lovell and Eric Wynsma were in a 1-point battle for 3rd place for the event, with Lovell’s superior boatspeed  getting him a bullet in the final race.     

Jeff and Mary Ann Maier were on loan from Gull Lake YC and did a stellar job serving as P.R.O. In some very challenging conditions. Our many, many thanks to them for their volunteerism here and making our event possible. Regatta chariman Carl Reid prepared all the meals, and orchestrated an awesome dinner out included in the race entry fee. Carl doesn’t need volunteers.  He just does it all by himself. GRYC caretakers rounded out the on-water support team and did a great job setting us up.

In all, a GREAT event; one to keep on our calendar for next year. An event to encourage other fleets to attend - GRYC thanks all participants for coming and we hope to see you back next year!