Thursday, July 29, 2010

Windsor - 2010 505 Midwest Championship

Over the weekend of July 17th and 18th, Fleet 13 made the drive over to Windsor, ON for the Southport Sailing Club’s annual 505 and 420 regatta. This event also served as the 505 Midwest Championship. We loaded USA 7611 onto Craig’s roof with USA 7346 in tow behind the venerable blue truck. The Longs’ USA 8821 made its way to the regatta behind JB’s vehicle. We have a Fleet 13 triple trailer in the works that should aid in these efforts. Joining Fleet 13 regulars Craig Thompson/Matt Woodworth, Katherine Long/Stephen Long, and JB Turney was Jono Burnbaum, an accomplished junior sailor ready to take the next step after college.

After pulling into Windsor around midnight, we set up our tents to catch a little sleep ahead of Saturday’s racing. With a civilized first start time of noon, we had ample time to rig the boats and catch coffee and breakfast. There were eight 505s in total, with boats from Windsor, Columbus, and Toronto making up the balance of the fleet. With four races ahead of us, I pulled on the trapeze harness to give Jono a lesson in what 505 sailing is all about. Fortunately, we were blessed with perfect 505 learning conditions. Lake St. Clair offered up an offshore breeze from the SSW at 8-12kts to start the day. Jono acquitted himself well on his first leg in the 505 rounding the weather mark in first. There was enough breeze to wire run and we set off on a great downwind ride. Craig/Matt split from Jono/JB on the last run and found great pressure to make the pass and take the win. Jono/JB were able to win the next two races while the breeze built slightly to 10-14kts. In race 4, Jono found out just how physically demanding 505 sailing can be as the new 505 helm lost a little steam while leading around the first leeward mark. This was our windiest race of the day with perhaps 14-16kts of breeze at times. Craig/Matt showed good form in the breeze and powered ahead for the win. After a tasty barbeque at the club, a few suds capped off a great day of 505 sailing.

With a 12:30pm cut off time for racing, there was some question as to how we were going to get in four races on Sunday. Fortunately we again had breeze of about 8-11kts from the SSW. Saturday’s races had been about 40 minute affairs; the first two races on Sunday were trimmed to 25 minute sprints. Jono/JB showed good early morning form and were able to take the win in races 5 and 6. Positioning and boat-handling were at a premium on the short courses. With two drops planned for the series, the overall picture was tight. Through six races Jono/JB had a 2-1-1-3-1-1 for 9 points while Craig/Matt had a 1-2-3-1-3-2 for 12 points. In race 7, Craig/Matt were able to pinch off Jono/JB and force them into a tack on the first beat. On the extremely short course, there was never a chance to recover and the black boat held onto the win. This set up a final race with Jono/JB on 11 points and Craig/Matt on 13. A left shift before the start saw Renka Gesing/Adam Gesing and Craig/Matt in the lead with Jono/JB scrambling to catch up. A gybe-set allowed Jono/JB to move into second at the leeward mark where Craig/Matt began to slow them by covering their air. Who doesn’t love a pass-back in 505s? Jono/JB were able to hang onto second by just a few feet ahead of Katherine/Stephen at the finish. This left Jono/JB with the win on the water on 13 points from Craig/Matt on 14; this was a solid performance by Jono for his first time in the 505. With two drops in play, Craig/Matt were able to drop both of their thirds leaving a tie on 8 points. With their last race win, Craig/Matt won the regatta and the 505 Midwest Championship. Congratulations guys! Katherine/Stephen rounded out the top three for a clean sweep of the podium for Chicago’s Fleet 13.

After packing up and enjoying more great food and the awards, we headed west for home and an arrival time of 8pm, not too bad. Unfortunately Craig and Matt lost a trailer tire on the Southside of Chicago when they were only ten minutes from home. This is not exactly and ideal neighborhood to be in with a disabled trailer. The change was made without incident and everyone arrived home safely. A great deal of thanks is due to the Gesings and to the Southport Sailing Club for hosting a great event.

While packing up, we happened to catch a local steel magnate heading out onto the lake in his absolutely wild, jet-powered, 3,500 hp speedboat.

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