2013 MC Spring Shakedown Regatta

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20 May 2013

Article courtesy of Eric Hood - Awesome spring weather for this early by northern standards MC regatta which was one of many around the country this past weekend. Lots of MC teams getting ramped up for the upcoming MC Nationals which is just a little over four weeks away now out in Clear Lake, Iowa. For our event in Grand Rapids this past weekend we had 24 boats but it was a strong group with 4 National Championships, 1 Masters National Championship, 2 Midwinters Championships, several Blue Chip Championships and Western Michigan Championships being represented but this group of 24 sailors. So good tough sailing at Grand Rapids.

The Lake and Conditions
If you like short course racing, dead flat water, shifty breezes to practice in as you prep for the big class sanctioned national championship events then this is the spot to be . A short lake just about a short mile long running east and west with widths about 1/4 mile wide at the western half and then narrowing in the eastern half with high bluffs along the whole south shore. Tricky stuff for sure. The first day we had winds ranging from 5-12mph out of the east coming down the length of the lake. We had two W5 races and the third race on Saturday was abandoned after a full blown "Crazy Ivan" x2 came spinning through the race course and velocity fell to zero. Sunday no wind which is crazy after the huge blowouts the last two weeks around the midwest where some regattas did not sail at all because of high winds. Good courses for the two good but challenging races.

The Results
Let's get straight to the results. Two time National Champ Cam McNeil won this event with two bullets. He was followed by Torch Lake ace Peter Comfort who was really hot a couple of weeks ago down at Columbus. Current National Champ Jamie Kimball was third and we think totally distracted as his wedding bells June 8th are ringing – all the best to Jamie and Jessica. Doug Kiser will tell you he was extremely pleased with his outcome finishing fourth and running with the big dogs. Former Masters National Champ E Hood was fifth. Bob Currier from White Lake was really fast and just got caught on one bad shift that took him from single digits to a 13 on the last race. Top local sailor Curt Miller finished seventh. Former Midwinters Champ Rob Terry was eight. Rob Kimball was ninth followed by Danny Chappell in tenth. Full results will be turned in by GRYC to the class for posting soon to the class website.

The Lessons Learned
Looking back I would have to say that Cam , Pete, Jamie who clearly won the day with their performances found their windows of opportunity in the first 2-3 minutes off the starting line. Once they were just a click in front of the other 20+ boats they just took off and the rich got richer story played out. In the lighter conditions the dirty air was significant. If you were anywhere within 10 boats lengths downwind of a boat while sailing upwind you were operating on about 90% or less horsepower. Clear air was everything !!!! Sailing in the dark water was everything for these two W5 races. The first race we saw that the ability to tack smoothly and quickly at the top up in the narrows of the lake was a premium with the big shifts coming that narrow section of the lake. The second race the pulled the marks back to the west a little bit to get us out of the tight narrows of Reeds Lake. Downwind it was all staying in the pressure which was a little hard to read because the breeze would come off the high hills and big trees and not always drop down completely to the water showing itself. So you had to pay attention to other boats and their speed changes to figure out where the next big pressure pocket was coming from. Fun and challenging stuff.

Bill Metcalf Celebration Party
Recently one of our West Michigan sailing legends Bill Metcalf passed away. He was absolutely one of the most loved and fun sailors we have ever seen come from the Western Michigan Yachting Association. He was a terror in the famed purple deck G-12 "Eventually". He was actually the first WMYA sailor to break the ice and do well in the ILYA back in the 60s-70s paving the way "Eventually" for the rest of us from West Michigan to compete with the tough groups from Wisconsin and Minnesota. More importantly though he was always an encourager to young sailors. This past weekend with the scores of pictures and other Metcalf memorabilia I was reminded of his encouraging upbeat attitude when I saw a picture of a very young Doug McNeil being awarded his first regatta trophy by Bill Metcalf at the Western Michigan Championships back in the day. Bill's wife Karen and other family members were with the crowd Saturday afternoon and evening enjoying Bill's favorite – a keg of PBR on him and of course purchased from Fox Sales I am sure. We will miss Bill Metcalf for sure.

Other Upcoming News
The MC National Championship!!!! That is all I have to say gang. The best MC regatta of the year is just a little over four weeks away. I am calling everyone out that is not from Texas. Why you ask? Word on the street is the Texans are coming with clear intentions of taking all the hardware home to Rush Creek . That 30+ boat fleet has a ton of great sailors and they have been practicing a bunch. You all remember Kenny Wolf from the Midwinters well his is just one of many coming from RCYC. Clear Lake is one of the best sailing lakes we have in scow land. So my challenge and special ask to you all is please sign up today if you know you are coming. This will encourage others to come if they see the numbers climbing and they see who is coming. It will also help the regatta organizers out big-time. Several great events between now and the Nationals on the agenda including some big ones like Lake Lotawana the week after Memorial Day where you can sail against 40-50 MC teams if you really want to prep for the big dance at Clear Lake.

See you all soon. Give Andy Burdick, Jim Gluek or myself a shout if you all need any help getting ready.