|the Bayview YC
Detroit River, Michigan * 4-5, 2016
by Steph Romaniuk
From: Steph Romaniuk
Here is my report... best I could do on 4 hours of sleep :)
By 8pm Friday, all the sailboats and racers had arrived at Bayview Yacht Club. Tony Krauss showed up to Crescent Yacht Club earlier that day and went for a sail - we joked all weekend that this is the reason the Wayfarers got kicked out and were not racing out of there on the weekend. :) We loved our venue - the sailing school building and launch a stone's throw from the main building, but quite the walk around... we really should've used one of their Optimists to run ourselves back and forth (and hope not to be run down by a J120 or a "Gin Palace" We had our own private space, building, bathrooms, launch, etc. for our six Wayfarer teams.
After getting the boats all rigged, we headed north up the scenic coast of Lake St. Clair for a late late dinner at a Greek restaurant before returning to the beautiful heritage home of Nick and Mary's.
Believe it or not, this is the 1st ever Wayfarer regatta on the continent that had only Mark IVs competing... and the first regatta for Sue and I in a Hartley. Three American teams went head to head with three Canadian teams for 5 races Saturday. The RC wanted to get as many in before the keelboats started coming in off the lake. The forecasted thunderstorms on Sunday morning initiated that 'need for speed.' If you have ever raced on a river with a good flow, you know how challenging the conditions can be, and how something as simple as crossing the start line or rounding a mark can be quite the challenge. The winds were about 7-10 knots, most of the almost 4 hours we were on the water, out of the east, making the beat directly against the current. It was sunny and warm in contrast to the cool water. The first beat took a long time so the mark was moved closer for the rest of the day. Most of the fleet tacked up the Detroit shore staying away from the stronger current in the middle of the river but running the risk of sailing into a hole; meanwhile, the right side or "Bell Isle" provided heavier wind and shore 'lifts' but then you'd have to take that long 'knock' tack back across the strong current near the starboard lay-line. It was a challenge to decide which side of the course to go to or where to start on an often port-favoured line in such a current. The Pughs led the way up that coast in race 1, sailed into a hole, but held their lead to the weather mark with us and the Weirdsmas in pursuit. No sooner did you get the spinnaker flying and settle in (I did anything but settle in the new boat) to the leg then it was time to take it down due to the leg being expedited by the current. Sue and I took the wrong side of the shortened course finish mark, abandoning our 2nd for a 6th by the time we turned into the current, hit the mark on the 2nd attempt and finally crossed after a 360 on the course side. The next two races were wins for Marc & Julie and the Pughs, I believe. Race 4 had Tony and Nick taking a flyer out to the right side and having it pay off. There is always more traffic on the river, including multi-level commercial and tourist vessels. Even with their size, it is amazing how well they can fit behind sails. Tony's crew did not warn him about the looming boat because he thought, "How can he not see that?" A boat-length and a half away, Tony replied to a sudden query, "What boat?" and then quickly threw the tiller over - an exciting close-encounter I'm sure! Regardless, the rest of us never came close in that race and Nick and Chip celebrated a bullet. Race 5 took an interesting turn (pun intended) when the first beat turned 90 degrees into a planing reach just after a few broaching gusts went through the fleet. The rest of the race was a close reach back and forth which bought back fond memories of triangle courses.
I think most of us were relieved that the first keelboat was seen entering the river because the first regatta of the season can really tucker you out! We put the boats to bed and most of us went for the all-you-can-eat BBQ and subsidized alcohol in the big tent. Some of us shopped for on sale apparel and got some nice duds! The fleet returned to Nick and Mary's and surprised me with a birthday cake for my 40th which fell that day. Our soreness and fatigue made it seem like midnight when we were heading to bed, but sadly it was only 10. :)
It was ironic that we hung about in a nice breeze and sunny skies for a couple hours Sunday morning, but when the regatta was called, we had to pack up in the rain and wind from the scattered thunderstorms, etc. It was the right call, albeit a hard one, and wrapped up a BOD with only five races; however, that was a step up from only 2 the previous year. It was great to see our Amercian friends and celebrate the beginning of a new sailing season. There is lots more fun to come!
P.S. I sent some pics in a separate email, Al, but the regatta photographer did take a pile of shots - Nick has a group shot too - good for cover photo.