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.




Anonymous said...

Great stuff, thanks for posting scott

Dave g-Denver

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