04 September 2013

The Bear Posts - "MASKWA kicks a** on the Tri-State, and the season as well

Foreboding skies part to leave good strong winds and following seas
Bear figurehead

Maskwa Crew and Friends,

What a great weekend.

The fleet was spanked for a short period of time with severe winds (50 knots +) and rain just as the start sequence began leading to a postponement, but the starts resumed after the bad weather moved South. A fast and furious reaching ride over to St Joe (no tacks, no gybes, but several flawless sail changes in the middle of the dark  night.) We arrived earlier than ever while  chasing one of our competitors right up to the finish line.  Only later did we find out we were third for the race and a flag would be presented later at the party.  Then a great day of relaxing, beaching, and then partying at St Joe YC.   It was a fun time for all.  Scott was not successful in riding the whale, but future attempts will probably take place  (the blow-up whale brought to the boat by Kate.)  The new inflatable bear head was properly installed on the bow pulpit for all to see as we were the boat tied up on the wall at the St Joe Yacht Club.  Thanks Kate,  great addition to the bearaphanalia.

Inside boat can be a good thing!

The crew was in great form as we headed to Michigan City,  A little hung over, but still on the top of their game.  The usual decease in wind as we neared the finish line at Michigan City led to a grumpy skipper remembering all the times we sat and waited for hours to finish the MC Race, not to  mention
the recent hours at the end of the race to Mackinac this year waiting for wind as well. As we finished I thought we were not in contention for any award, but entering the harbor, there appeared to be a  only a few boats tied up on the wall. Since several of the missing boats were from Michigan City, I thought they were tied up in their slips and could not be seen.  However,  only one boat from our section finished ahead of us by a few seconds and they owed us time.  Hey, another flag and this time for First!!!  Dinner at Matey’s was not the best food or service, but David managed to be distracted as we departed (of course!).

Love the Palm Tree, First time with 1st!   
The forecast for the ride  back to Chicago did not look promising. Luckily, the winds were not as strong as predicted, but were strong enough to keep the fleet moving.  The moderate North wind with the 2-5 foot waves made for a fast and wonderful ride back to Chicago.   We finished ahead of everyone in our section, ie another first!!!

Several crew could not make the weekend.  However I know where your hearts were for the weekend.  You can be assured you were part of our success this weekend.   Winning requires lots of hard work, practice and commitment.  Everyone works to create support for sailing Maskwa as fast as possible.  Everyone contributes to every success, regardless if they are on board or not.

So Thank You to everyone.   We missed those who were not able to sail, we enjoyed the company of those who were part of the sailing (and partying).

Everyone’s work this year probably has earned us the AREA III Boat of the Year Award for the Port to Port Series.   It is not official, but consider our finishes  this year in the races,   Chi-Waukegan  1st, Waukegan to Chi 6th,  Chicago-MC-Chicago 2nd,    PHRRFection to MC and Back Two 1sts, Chi to St Joe, 3rd, St Joe to MC 1st, MC to Chi 1st.  (Five firsts, one second, one third and one sixth).

A special thanks to Scott who has been instrumental in keeping everything organized.   Everyone knows his unbelievable efforts to coordinate three races in three different places far from Chicago (and it all worked exactly as planned).    He also scrubbed the bottom to keep the bottom smooth and fast (ably assisted before the MAC by Kristin—the keel keeps crying for another massage).  

Steve also deserves a special thanks,  he has been there for me every race humping sails and providing me support to prepare the boat, scrubbing, adjusting the shroud tension, cleaning the deck, anything that required attention (The boat and I are very needy).  The case of Guacamole he bought just before the MAC was also very helpful for me to have nourishment throughout the season.  Only one box still remains.

Kate also deserves special recognition, giving up her spot in the Port Huron race to manage the transportation between the races and the final compilation of all the costs looked like an experiment in high energy physics.   Don’t worry Kate, My voice is getting softer as you work to keep the main in control.  I only had to repeat your name twice in a row once on the way back from MC.

Carly,  your spot on the tactical team at the rear of the boat is secure.  We miss you greatly.

Mary Ellen has done a great job of taking control the foredeck. And whipping it into compliance.

Kristin, Kristie and Mary, you are all becoming essential pieces of the Maskwa racing machine.

George and David,  your sailing smarts (George) and strength (David, "I work out" guy or is it" I wiped out" guy?) and the efforts to train the newbies  are greatly appreciated.

It is always great to have the Whale on board.

We miss the presence of  several others (Ute, Nicole,  Ryan, Andrew) as new opportunities have taken them away from us this season.

It was great to have Jean and Doug return for the Pt Huron (and Ryan) and Harbor Springs regatta.    

No one in the fleet can compare to the consistency of our boat during this season.  

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort.

We still have some Wednesday night races remaining and the MORF open if anyone wants to continue racing.    Who is In???
The Maskwa Team ROCKS.

aka The Bear!!

31 July 2013

2013 Ugotta Regatta, Harbor Springs, Michigan


Calm waters and dark skies in Little Traverse Bay
Ah, Ugotta Regatta at Harbor Springs…. Why do you treat us so bad?

There are gremlins that live in the water between Harbor Springs and Petosky, Michigan. They have our name, and they enjoy the visit.

Prep Work
We had a great crew for both days of the race. From the bow to the afterguard, we were looking in tip-top shape, with Doug and Jean returning for a few races, then Whale, Ute, Kate, Mary, Kristin, Kristie, Steve, Don,  and me. Experienced crew, all ready for action.

Ready for the start!
The Tour Of The Bay kicks off the Regatta, and this is the best reason to do the race. The venue is great, tucked into the bay at Little Traverse, hills on 3 sides, with the open expanse of Lake Michigan to the West (so the prevailing winds can get a good running start at us.)

The Tour is a 9-15 leg course, up, down, and across the bay. We have done this race many times, and it always serves up something interesting.

As usual, it was a dead calm that we motored out into, and that gave us a break to jump in the lake (the water temperature was higher than the air temp,) relax, scrub the underside.

The “Harbor Springs Virgins” thought that we were joking when we said “Oh, it is calm now, but it could easily be 20+kts of wind in the next 15 minutes; we need to watch the water to see it happen.”
Hold my feets so I don't slide!
So, then it happened….

We got the wind we wanted, that is for sure!

Dang fast boat
The Tour of the Bay went well, but a funny thing happened. We opted for a ‘2nd line’ start, since we were slightly slow and didn’t want to get pinched out on the line… and then we just stopped. It was eerie. The front line boats went rocketing off onto the first leg of the course, but the 5 boats that were 2nd line (in the 19 boat section,) all just stopped. It was like there was a wall between our boats and the race course. By the time we all sailed out of the hole we had gotten ourselves in to, the frontrunners were all 500+ yards ahead.  They were sailing along in 15-10kts of wind, and we were just accelerating out of being becalmed.

We would fight the rest of the 18 miles of the race, but there was just no way to make up that lost time. We had a great race, sailed well, managed to get sails up and down without  a hitch…. But we never made up that lost ground, and you can see the results in the finishes; the 2nd line starts all have markedly different times than the front line starters. Bummer.
The Sleds are off!
 That was ok, we had some partying to do Saturday night, and then a set of W/L races on Sunday to look forward to.

More pressure inshore!
Sunday dawned with not a calm in sight. We motored out in 15+ kts, and knew it would remain blowing. We had good sunshine, happy sailors, and we were ready for action after the previous day.

Race #1 went well, we just picked the wrong side of the course. The winds looked like they were favoring the center of the bay, and they were by direction, but the boats that ran to the southern end of the bay had a good 8 kts more breeze. You can cover a lot of ground with an addition 8 kts!.

Race #2 was the best of the bunch, and now that we knew the south shore was favored, we hit it hard. The J35 Touch of Grey tried to push us over at the start, but we managed to duck them properly and hit the start well. We executed our tacks and jibes, and managed to come in 4th, which would be our best finish of the regatta.

Race #3 started with great excitement, as we got into a battle at the starting line with Touch of Grey (again!) but this time when we got our bow under their transom, we pushed them up and over the starting line, and kept our bow clear so they had to return and re-start. They showed their experience by catching us on the upwind leg (they are a faster upwind boat than we are, in general, but downwind they don’t stand a chance,) but we consistently pulled away.
Hike out!!

Approaching the finish of Race #3, we had a tight group of boats, including a Henderson 30, an FT-10, and some other fast boats, all of whom owe us time, but we were flying along in Maskwa’s favorite air… 20+ kts of wind, following seas, and a happy skipper. Regularly over 9.5 kts downwind, now we were hitting the 10s, and managed to leap across the finish line surfing down a wave with 11 kts of boat speed. It was a great rush, we all had big smiles on our faces.

We didn’t end up on the podium for this race, but unlike many other years, we came away happy and ready for more. Everyone happy, everyone uninjured, nothing broken, and a good experience all around.

Now we take a few weeks off, and come back for the Michigan City PHRFection Regatta.



24 July 2013

2013 Chicago to Mackinac (Part #3, a.k.a. The End)

Wash, Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
I guess we could say Sunday and Monday into Tuesday sounded like that. But more like "Drift, Calm, Breeze, Drift."

When I went off shift Saturday night, we were humming right along upwind at 6.5 kts; the winds showed no signs of lessening, and I fell asleep listening to the current of water flow past the hull.

I woke up to barely holding on to 1.0 knots. In fact, it rapidly fell to under that.

And there it would stay, except for short bursts, alllll the way through the finish.

Some things are hard to explain
George and I doublehanding Maskwa
The problem with slow boat speed, is that even moving around effects the speed of the boat. You need to make sure the boat is heeled properly so you are using the entire waterline, so you need everyone to hang out on one side of the boat (usually where the sun was beating down.) Speaking of which, we did not have a single cloud Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.

Regular Mac racers will recognize the biting flies. Of course, it was nice and hot, too, and with no wind, belowdecks it was a good 100+F, and nothing to cool you down; so you were out of the sun, but it was more hot and stuffy. Not always a fair trade.

Was almost a Stew Codpiece
We found that using the frozen solid packs of beef stew as coolers we could wear, we would bring our body temps down into normal range. Everyone was ready to sport the Stew Look

We managed through the shifts. We slowly worked our way up the lake; we actually had good boat speed for a few hours as we worked our way into the Manitou Passage, but then we were sucked into another hole.
Skipper by night
The good thing, is that we kept managing to sneak out at the top of the hole as it was developing. The winds would freshen from and out of the north, and we would always be on the tail end of the deal, but we did find a way to keep grabbing on to the wind.

It ended up being a 72 hour race. On the long side for SURE.

another sunset.... right!
Too much time to reflect
We all agreed that being on a slow boat on the Mac was certainly better than just about anything else we would otherwise be doing. So we enjoyed ourselves. You find games to keep your minds occupied, like come up with nicknames for each other (actually, we only looked for nicknames for Dave; a few of them stuck, too!)

We did not really see many boats from our section, which is unusual. Normally we go neck and neck with a boat from our section for at least part of the race, but once we were gone from sight on Saturday, that was it.

Don't even tell me I lost my toothbrush, too!
After passing under the bridge, it got really hard. We were 5 miles away, but we were doing 5 kts... then we were 4 miles away, doing 4 kts... then 3 miles away, doing 3 kts. It kept taking us longer and longer to work our way across the distances.

Looks like the crane is loading the Grand Hotel on board!

We had a big celebration at 1 mile to go, even though we were over an hour from the finish. We were staring at that lighthouse for quite a while! Thankfully we were south of the shipping channel when a
So close and yet so far
freighter came through; I am posting video of it here. You can hear us... you got a Lake Michigan Perfecta out of the video... a Lake Cargo Carrier, 2 sailboats, a Mac Island Ferry, and a powerboat that disappears just out of sight behind the cargo carrier.  Fun stuff.

We finally made it across the finish line, but with the TOT ORR set for Off Wind, we were physically behind many boats in our section, and winded up 10th out of 18, with #19 as a drop out. We sailed well, we had fun, and we finished.

We had great land support, with loved ones meeting us on the island. We all went various ways once we were off the island, but Maskwa will be back next year, ready and roaring up the course once again.

On to some more racing, now!



22 July 2013

2013 Chicago to Mackinac (Part #2)

Hi all!

So we all got down to the boat early on Saturday, to finish the prep work, and launch out to the lake.

Even though this was an 'early Mac,' we were ready to go. Kate and Mary Ellen had the food prep out of the way, Steve spent the morning tensioning the rig, we gave the waterline a good scrubbing, took some photos, all the usual stuff.

It was actually a relaxed morning. Loved ones came and saw us off. It was relaxed because we had done the majority of the prep work the days before. Maskwa was ready, and so was her crew.

Kristin and I had used the deck snorkel to get the bottom scrubbed, we rebuilt winches, cleaned and lubed them, checking for telltale shiny wear marks; everyone pitched in to scrub the boat from stem to stern, so we would have a clean house (to start out with, at least.) Gear was organized, sails were repaired, fitting were adjusted, the works.

We had a good section, although as I explained in post #1 on the Mac, there was a good chance if they scored the race as Off Wind, we would be at a disadvantage.

We motored out, passed in review of Navy Pier, turned to pass the check in boat, and then it was just us and the lake. Oh, and 300 other boat. And a Coast Guard Cutter. I am sure I am missing something.
Motoring out

We had 3 Mac "Virgins" on board. Mary Ellen, who has taken over for Carly as our bow girl, has been doing a great job calling the starts, and was on board for her first Mac. Kate, who came to us off and on last season, really started sailing hard this season, and won a good spot with her main trimming and positive attitude, and we invited our good friend Dave "Sabu" (a.k.a. Single Banger, a.k.a. Two Stroke, ) G, who comes to us from Denver just for this race. He has been sailing the NOOD Regattas with us for years, did a Tri-State a few years back. He sails his Sanata 22, Zen Tuna on the lakes in Colorado, provides excellent all around sailing skills, and is funny as hell.

Great crew to sail with!

We had our crew brief on the way out as we motored, and then we settled in and spent some time thinking about sailing.

The approach to the start went well, we had clear air, and away we went! We had bled off a little too much speed right before the start, thinking we were a hair early in the lighter winds (nothing like being over early in a 333 mile race!) and Crazy Diamond popped past us, but the rest of our section was low of us and not terribly fast.

We spent the rest of Saturday enjoying a fresh breeze out of almost exactly the direction we wanted to go, of course. But we were planning on a lull moving over the lake; pretty much every forecast had that included, so we wanted to be as far north in the lake as we could. We just did not have as much boat speed as we wanted. More is almost always better!
finally on the high side!

trimming from the low side
Slowly the boats that would finish ahead of us after 72 hours were working their way past us in the first hours after the start. Once we were up the lake, the solidified those positions, as the fresh breezes were coming from the north end of the lake, so they would get them earlier than we would.
Nite Hawk

In addition to all of that, we never saw greater than 10kts of wind the entire voyage. Usually some place in there we get a good breeze... we are a spinnaker boat, and we need some downhill sailing to really make hay. I think we had the chute up for a total of... oh... 4 hours?
1st Mac!!
Obviously not enough!

Saturday ended with us still moving along at a decent pace, but a little too far West of Rhumb for my taste... but we were concentrating on north, and that is where we went.

More to come, more to come!
preparing for the night...



21 July 2013

2013 Chicago Mac Race Recap (Part 1) -- a 'chat' about handicap systems

Flat... Glorious flat....

Hi All!

Well, it was the best of races, it was the worst of races... How's that for a classic start?

Ok, it was neither. It sure beat doing anything else for 72.5 hours, but it was a bit long and hot.

We hit our start right on the starting cannon. Perfect, except we had bled off a little too much of our speed, but I would say Mary Ellen called the line perfectly, in any regards. In this picture, Maskwa is the orange boat bumping the letter "N" in "Navy Pier." You can see roughly where the starting line would be (This was a few seconds after the start.) The red line is the Rhumb Line (most direct course towards the finish.) (land not included.)

This is a problem that has plagued us consistently with the boat; we just get creamated in light air. The slightly older boats with their 155 Gennies just scoop up that much more air to use to sail. If you look at the PHRF boats that tend to do well in light air, you will usually see that they have masthead overlapping jibs. That's just the way it goes.

Maskwa really starts to heat it up and come alive around 8 kts of wind speed. Between 5 and 8 we kind of wallow a bit, and below 5 we are forced to really put some heel on the boat to lay her over with no pressure in the sails.

So, off we went!

They were using the Off Wind handicap from ORR, which puts us at a wild disfavor over some boats we regularly race against. For instance:

Under LMPHRF, we rate a "72." Our 0.917 rating for OW ORR means that for all the time we race, our corrected time will be 91.7% of what we sail (kind of like a major league batting record, except fast boats can score higher than 100%.)

Under LMPHRF, Spitfire rates a "63." (So they would owe us 9 seconds per mile raced.) Their 0.902 rating means they will correct to 90.2% of the time they spend on the water.

Here is how those 2 handicaps play out head to head. We race against Spitfire all the time; we pretty much know if we should be passing them or yielding to them.

Let us suppose a good 40 mile race; we race across to our destination, and Maskwa and Spitfire finish at exactly the same time. There is no doubt, there is room for more than 1 boat in the finish line, it does happen.

We average 5 kts, finishing the race in 8 hours (because we want to play nice with the math.)

Here is how those races would finish scored under both systems:

So, in the PHRF scored race, you can see how Maskwa would have won by 6 minutes. In the ORR scored race, you can see how Spitfire would have won by over 7.5 minutes. Same race, two different scoring methods.

Now, PHRF also has a Time Over Time scoring system that can be used as opposed to a Time Over Distance system, but you get the idea.

One of the problems is that it scores you over total sail area available, and we have a massive spinnaker, whereas Spitfire has a little fractional chute. When we are going downwind, we have quite a bit more sail area. When we go upwind, however, Spitfire does lose some sail area, but Maskwa loses quite a bit more.

Another consideration that was brought to my attention some time ago was that ORR also bases a high percentage of their handicap 'weight' on having 20 kts of wind over a large section of course.

Considering that we never saw more than 10 kts of wind the entire 333 miles of the race, It is hard to justify that formula. True, we can best many of the big jib boats sailing with 20 kts upwind; we are still carrying our full jib, and they have most likely gone to their "2" or even their "3" by that point. (We would probably have our "2" up, but it is just a heavier, less roachy "1." Great sail, and our favorite upwind sail... we know when we are carrying that sail, we are probably passing boats.)

Having said all of that----

Every handicap system has a failure or three. One Design racing seems like the most simple, but even then they have to ok sail purchases, design changes are not permitted, etc, and people still cheat! How lame is that?

So we have to live with what we are given, we have to race the wind we have, not the wind we want. And this was certainly a race where we wanted more wind!

I'll end part #1 here, and come back with some of the fun and shenanigans we had on our 72 hour, 23 minute, 27 second journey.



12 July 2013

2013 Chicago Race to Mackinac!

Hi Maskwa Friends and Family!

We've been working diligently on boat prep, (parts always need replacing, things wear out, etc…) and
with only a few small items to knock out, Maskwa is ready for the 2013 Race to Mackinac!! (
We have a mixed crew of veterans and newbies, consisting of (first, the veterans…)

Don "The Bear" -- Skipper, Owner, Tactician, Driver, Strategist (he can do what he wants, he pays the bills!)
Scott -- Crew Chief, Naviguesser, Driver, Jack of Most Trades
George "Splash" -- Driver, Trimmer, Comic Relief, Jack of All (sailing) Trades
eSteve -- Trimmer, Halyard Jumper, Rigger
Nicole -- Trimmer, Spin Flyer

And the Mac Virgins of 2013!
Kate -- Trimmer, Cook
Mary Ellen -- Bowgirl, Trimmer, Cook
Dave "Sabu, The Water Boy" -- Trimmer, Mastman, Rockstar

(wow, we have 3 people we need to throw in the lake!)

Everyone brings more than one skill to the table. We are all practiced, bloodied, we have tasted victory, and we are ready for the Big Race.

If you would like to track us, here is the link to Yellowbrick, a global race tracking company that provides the transponders that they will use to track us as we travel the 333 miles from Chicago to Mackinac: http://gae.yb.tl/chicagomack2013 They are supposed to have an update time of 15 minutes, so you can really see how we do!

Yellowbrick also has a race tracker application called "RaceViewer."  There is a fee associated with following a race on your phone, however, VC or one of the sponsors picked up the tab, so you can download and follow us on your phone for free.

Maskwa is in Section 5. Our start is this Saturday, 13 July, at 1220. You can wave to us as we 'pass in review' off of Navy Pier 'round about 1130, or follow us online as we head up the lake.

A big thank you also goes out to our friends and families for supporting us in this crazy sport.

See you on the water!!


23 June 2013

Chicago to Waukegan

This race has always been a bit of a mixed bag for us. We've been on the podium before, and we've been the pickle boat before...

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then this picture certainly says it all. Flew the chute, jibtop, chute, jibtop...

The crew is really coming together. After a disappointing start to the NOOD Regatta (recap still to come, when I can sit in one spot for more than 10 minutes,) We finished Sunday with a pair of 2s in that race.

Now, this race was great. Exactly Maskwa weather. Flat seas and high winds. And a calm.

Looking forward to seeing how everyone does on the ride back.



04 June 2013


A bit of a departure....

Is your mind in the right place?

Mindset makes quite a difference.

The free online dictionary defines mindset as "A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations."

How many times are you on the rail, and you are not racing so much as reacting and watching the boats go past. If your conversation while you hike out "Dude, I got so wasted last night!" or closer to "I feel like the skipper is pinching, what are we doing, does anyone else feel like we are slow?"

In our W/L races on Lake Michigan, normally we run 4 legs, preferably about 1.2-1.5 miles for our PHRF group. The entire race at that pace with fairly decent winds should be around 1:00-1:15, maximum.

Given boat speeds upwind and downwind, that should mean about 18 minutes upwind per leg, and 15 downwind. Give or take a bit, that sounds right.

You know that you will, after the start gun goes off:

Hike out hard.

Tack 2 or 3 times.

Chute on deck.

Tack 2 more times.

Pole goes up.

Chute up, jib down.

Jibe twice.


How far ahead of the boat is your mind? If you are on the rail chit chatting about drinking, who will be at the party, your latest traffic stop, or your support for CSAs, how far into the race are you mentally? What is your mindset?

Yes, it is hard to stay completely focused on every single event taking place on the boat, but are you planning ahead? Where will you be in 3 minutes on the boat? For that matter, where will the boat be? Will we be able to lay the line, or is the helm driving us off into a corner all by our lonesome, and we're going to have to come all the way back? Are you prepared for the next evolution of the boat? Who packed the spin? Are we hatch or bag launch this time around? Do we have a crossing at the mark with boats from a different section that will effect our rounding? (especially since for them, the mark might not exist.) If we had problems with the tack, if so maybe the foredeck can help the jib around. Are we being lifted? Knocked? Are you scanning the water, looking for those telltale signs of wind shifting? IS it to our advantage?

There is so much going on, but in a normal race, you are 'on' for maybe an hour. Have you run through the next jibe in your mind's eye? (Release topping lift from caribiner while pit frees gear from lifelines, dumps jib halyard for douse... visually check spin bag to make sure haylard (ha ha) and sheets are hooked up... inboard end of pole up enough to clear bow pulpit... call "pole up!" to pit... spin trimmer is in place with sheet, s'board jib trimmer has swapped out the lazy jib sheet for the 'soon-to-be' active guy and taken up the slack for the preguy...foredeck has run the halyard free, ready to hoist... pole in place, level for expected spin position based on winds, preguy 20 yards from mark, completed with pole in position as the bow crosses the mark for "Hoist!" call from afterguard... spin goes up, trimmer helps the clew out of the bag with a little pre-trim... mast man spins 180 degrees to grab the jib clew on "full hoist!" call... Pit is already opening the jib halyard as the sailor manning the guy winch adjusts the pole to the helm's course... foredeck strips jib down forestay... spin trimmer settles the chute as the jib drops down... pit is feeding the jib halyard out... jib trimmer from opposite side slides across to ease the main halyard, cunningham, and outhaul for downwind sailing, then drops down to ease off the backstay... fordeck unclips the spin bag from the lifelines on the way back to grab the lazy guy and bring enough forward for an immediate jibe... are we all settled in?

What are you thinking of 200 yards from the mark? 100 yards from the mark?

Mindset means quite a bit. Are you ready to race?

29 May 2013

Practice... we got practice....

Hi Gang!

Had great practices over the weekend on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday we were a little short crew, but Mary Ellen was game, so we did some sail changes, got the Jib Top up and stretched out a bit, and worked on maybe a better way to control that sail. Don and eSteve measured out what we will need for the new inhaulers, and we had some fun with wind speed changes from 0 to 20 knots. (really... all in the space of a few seconds, too. We blame Ute...)

Monday had a different, but also short-handed crew, so they practiced reefing the main, shaking the reef out... reefing the main again... shaking it out. Kate and Kristin got a little exercise with that one.

Remember, the time you want to practice reefing is not when it is suddenly blowing 30 and you need to reef, but maybe a bit beforehand...

Beercan tonight, and getting tuned up for the NOOD Regatta. Lynn and the mighty Dave Gillespie will be joining us again, so we can plan on a good time all around.

See you on the water!!



15 May 2013

updates to the 2013 season!

Hi gang!!

So, we had a great little practice last night, on perfect water with a great breeze. If you didn't make it,
well… you missed out! Had a good time swapping people around to different positions, etc, letting everyone get a taste of the good life.

Ok, here is what we have coming up. Sit down with a nice glass of wine for this, it's gonna be a bit. I will post the basics of it on the blog, and I will also update the schedule on there.

Even though to day is a Wednesday, there is no beer can race today, because Don is out of town. No Bear, no sail.

Next practice will be this coming Sunday, May 19, 1100 show time. If you can make it but will be a little bit late, let us know and we will wait on the dock. We are trying to get everyone as much time on the water as possible.

First Beercan of the year is next week, Wednesday May 22. eSteve is returning for the season, so we have one of our veteran mainsail trimmers and mast men returning, so that will take quite a load off of our minds in that regard. Nicole has written that she will be back for whatever races she can make it for, so that will be much welcome help, too!

Our first real pin races of the season will most likely be the NOOD Regatta. There is a race Memorial Day weekend, and Don would like to use that as a tune up race, but we really need to get some more good practice in and get ourselves… well.. tuned up. Please let me know either through the internetz, Crewsignup, or some other way. If we can get a full crew for the race, Don will be glad to get us out.

After all of that, June, for the most part, is the NOOD, Waukegan, and the Michigan City round trip, and the Wednesday night beercan series. For those of you new to the crew, the Waukegan race is a Saturday race up the shore to Waukegan, spend the night on the boat, and then Sunday we race back. Since there is train service, and almost always someone is willing to drive up Sat afternoon, you can do either race, or both. There is generally no train service that runs early enough to get you up there for Sundays 'off the dock' time, so you would have to come up and sleep in the boat Saturday night… but it's not like that never happens. If you get into sailing regularly, you will find yourself spending quite a few nights on the boat (and loving it!)

Getting into July, we have quite a bit of sailing, most of it away from Chicago. After the NOODs and the June sailing, once we are in to July, we have beer cans and Mac prep. We are planning on doing both Mac races this season for the very first time. Here is how the Mac races work for us-- Don makes it pretty much a prerequisite to have done a night race or a night crossing of some kind prior to the race. If you are really dedicated, have logged quite a bit of time, etc, and have some good sailing experience, that is what counts. We don't import 'rock' stars to come from other boats so we put together a 'winning team,' for Maskwa, our team is the winning team, we are a family. If you want to do these races, make it a point to be on the boat. Simple. When it is 0230, no moon, we're in 25+kts of wind and 8' seas (not terribly unusual,) you absolutely must know how to handle yourself on the boat. In 2011 2 people died when their boat capsized in horrendous weather (we were only a few miles away, and went through the same crap. Ask any of us… it was… tense.) That was the first and only deaths on the Mac race, but just a few days ago, in practice for the America's Cup, a crew member got trapped below his broken boat and died. We take things lightly, but more so than almost any sport, when you sail, the elements play a big factor, and we need to face it… it can be dangerous.

So, for July----

The weekend prior to the Mac (July 6/7) we will be doing prep work, helping get her ready for the big day. If anyone is free to come down and help wash, rebuild, clean, etc… feel free to schedule with Don or me.

We usually do not do the beer can the Wed before the Mac… Just too close to go time.

The Mac-- up the lake we go!!

Once the boat is up in Mackinac, things are going to go a bit differently for us. We'll need to get the boat down from Mackinac to Port Huron for the 2nd (and not as handsome) Mac race.

Then, when we get back to Mackinac, we'll need people to help deliver the boat from Mackinac to Harbor Springs, with a stop at The Beaver for fun, games, and ice cream.

Then we'll need people for Harbor Springs, both days.

So you can see how crazy the trip gets!

Chicago to Mackinac Race
Party in Mackinac
Delivery from Mackinac to Port Huron, Michigan.
Port Huron to Mackinac Race
Party in Mackinac
Delivery Mackinac to Beaver to Harbor Springs
Harbor Spring Regatta
Delivery from cruise to Chicago

At everyone one of those lines (except the 2 big races,) any of our crew can join us. So if you are a new addition to the crew (Kristen, Mike, etc…) or if you just don't get out sailing enough, you can still come up over land and do any other portion of the month… as in… Drive up to Mackinac after the Port Huron race, party on the island, stay on the boat, sail to Beaver Island, party, sail to Harbor Springs, party and sail, and then drive home. Or almost any variation thereof!

Told you this would be a long email!

Read through and let me know what you think. If you would like to sail regularly, and be added to CrewSignup, let me know and I will add your info, etc.



17 March 2013

Boat work to begin the 2013 season!

Hi Gang!!

Well, here we go!!

Here we have the tentative planning schedule for boat work and launching for this Spring. The two important weekends are in bold.

Boat work days - basic washing/waxing/rebuilding mechanical parts
April 13/14

Back up boat work days (for what we can't finish the 13/14)
April 27/28

Mast prep/build
April 29/30

Into the water on…
May 2

Delivery/Sail to Chicago
May 4 
  May 5 backup.

We can use about 6-8 people/day on the boat work days. If we have 8 people, we can usually wash/wax the hull, sand and paint the bottom in a single day. If you have never sanded a boat bottom before, you will find there is a lot more surface are than you thought! If the weather is decent and Larson's has taken the mastvoff the rack so we can get to it, we can also wax the mast. Most of this physical labor takes place overhead, so I hope you have been working your shoulders in your workouts!

We are entered in the Chi-Mac race, and Don is working on the entry for the Port Huron-Mac. This is going to be a long week.

There is a safety seminar on April 20th, and they have a deal so we can fire off our expired flares so we can see how they function. If I remember correctly, they have also had chances to inflate (using the cartridges,) the inflatable/emergency life raft. That is more than enough reason to go.

Lots more stuff happening. Please get back to me if you can/will make it for boat work weekends. I'll be loading things into CrewSignUp soon, so we will have that for all the regular/semi-regular crew.

Looking forward to a great season!!