Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fleet 5 Fall Party

The sailing season maybe over in Chicago, but please join us for the Fleet 5 Party. A great time to commiserate about all the wonderful times past and to enjoy the company of all your friends in the greatest One Design Fleet on Lake Michigan. This year's party will be at:

                                                                   Hangout Lighting
        Party is Saturday, Nov.16 at:          2100 W Grand Ave. #1a
        Please be sure to forward Evite      Chicago, IL 606123
        to crew  & friends                            7:00 PM to 11:00

Thursday, September 26, 2019

2019 Fall Meeting CYC Monroe Sunday, Oct. 6th

Last weekend’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Regatta GLIOR was epic. Huge winds drove the boats around the race course and a great time was had by all. We will be posting a story shortly. We hope to grow participation next year getting more than 10 boats on the line. The college teams were awesome and the J105 is the perfect big boat for this type of event. Sitting back , while holding on for your life, and watching a skilled bunch of college sailors was a truly enjoyable learning experience.  

Sadly the end of the sailing season approaches, time to organize our Fall Meeting. Because we need to hold the meeting well in advance of the most important event on your social calendar “The Fall Party”, so that our vender has time to make flags, we try to meet in Oct. Unfortunately, while the racing season is over, the sailing season is not and many people are busy getting in that one last sail or moving their boat to storage. To avoid conflicting with the Saturday river trips we are going to try something new this year and  have the meeting on a Sunday morning.

Attached is a proposed agenda & proxy, please if there are any subjects you would like to discuss feel free to bring them up or send them to me.

Please, if anyone would like to stand forward as an officer or wants to nominate someone please let me know.

Hope to see you all soon. Get out there and enjoy that last sail!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


A fast and windy Friday overnight race to St. Joe was followed by Sunday's slow, flat water return.

The fleet sped towards St. Joe on a port beat with about 10 knots of breeze.  The Asylum being the most rightward boat, followed by Vytis and Sealark with Esprit d'Ecosse, Y-Not , Global Nomads, Black Diamond and Striking in hot pursuit.  This was Striking's and Captain Vanessa Gates' final race as the boat has been sold.  (The new owner lives in Texas, but spends summers in the Chicago area and has raced many years on Lake Michigan.)  It is hoped the boat will still be campaigned as part of Fleet 5 in the summers to come. 

Meanwhile, the winds freshened a bit and the boats continued to separate north to south as we drove through the T-10 Fleet looking for the wind shift on the other side of the Lake.  It hit abruptly around 11:15;  the winds clocked sharply right and boats could now lay St. Joe on the other board.  As VMG matched boat speed, finish times were being churned out by the crews (against every rule in the Sailor's Superstitions Guidebook).  Even skippers were beginning to wonder just how much money should be put in the bank.  An then, the winds started backing to the NE, forcing the fleet down off layline and into seeming endless calculations as to favored board (with velocity changes and oscillations added to the mix).  As the fleet slogged to the finish line, Sealark reported 1 mile out, a bit ahead of Esprit d'Ecosse.  Vytis and The Asylum reported at nearly the same time, with Vytis taking the third podium spot.  The party at St. Joseph YC was again a major success as the weather, although chilly, cooperated nicely.  The rains came through Saturday night and ended just prior to the start of Sunday's race.

Unfortunately, the passing of the front brought lighter winds and new challenges for the return trip to Chicago.  A decent breeze greeted Sunday morning racers, but things were predicted to shift and go light later in the day.
The T-10 Fleet threw the first wrench into a smooth return with a General Recall--setting back the rest of the fleets' starting time by nearly 20 minutes.  That proved critical.  Only 16 boats out of the nearly 70-boat fleet made the finish line.  Five of them were T-10s that sneaked through the course before the wind shut off.  

The J/105s had a clean start and immediately split into two packs:  Esprit d'Ecosse, The Asylum and Global Nomads went left on port, and the rest of the boats--Y-Not, Striking and Sealark--choose to sail into the Lake in the hopes of stronger breezes throughout the day.  

Esprit d'Ecosse wanted to go south (left) of the rhumbline to take advantage of the predicted wind shift to north east and then north--which would give us a good angle to get to the finish. Contrary to past races when confronted with such light winds, the boat kept it's Esprit upbeat.  No slipping into a feeling of doom and gloom and making calculations to see if it's even feasible to finish the race before the TLE deadline.  This time, the mood was upbeat, and even though the wind was super light we managed to keep the boat moving.  Everyone aboard had a turn at helming and trimming. 

Meanwhile, an early shift caused the pack out in the Lake--Striking, Y-Not and Sealark--to gybe onto starboard.  The other group of three found more favorable headings toward the finish line.  But no J/105 managed to sail fast enough to finish on the original breeze.  Throughout the day, the wind speeds dropped, and trying to make the boat  move was a maddening travail--much like the square-riggers of old trying to go upwind.  Some of us would go back and forth on reaching gybes making little progress towards the finish.  With VMGs under 1 knot, the remaining distance seemed impossible to overcome before the TLE deadline.  Boats began to retire in order to get back to Chicago before nightfall.  Still, Esprit d'Ecosse kept on moving on the left side of the course.  "Once we broke through the “10 miles to go” barrier, we rewarded ourselves by opening a bottle of cava."  The wind gods in return approved and shortly thereafter, the wind did move to the north and picked up to an impressive 4.5 knots allowing us to lay the finish on starboard tack.

Meanwhile, Sealark had begun closing on The Asylum, but to the right of the rhumb line.  Late in the afternoon the breeze picked up, and it looked like the finish was only 3 to 4 hours away.  But shortly after the Distance To Waypoint dropped into single digits, the breeze shut down and we began another slow drift towards Chicago.  Barndoor the main, change to a jib, put up the big chute, switch out to the reacher--The Asylum must have done nearly a dozen chute change-outs.  Sealark even tried a modified wing-on-wing with the chute (suffering from sun-stroke no doubt) trying to improve VMG.  Esprit kept rolling down the left side of the course leaving the two of us to battle for the better angle to the finish.  

Alas, the lack of wind finally resulted in The Asylum changing to the Iron Jenny and now the debate began in earnest on Sealark.  Could we possibly catch Esprit?  (Perhaps.)  How much longer to wait for wind? (30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour)  Would we stay out until the 0300 cut-off time? (Nope--the crew was vocal about mutiny by 8 o'clock)   So we did the best possible thing and handed the wheel over to our first-time distance racing sailor and told him to keep the boat pointed at Sears Tower.  Shortly thereafter, the first puff hit and air ruffled through the chute--partially filling it.  The main went quiet, finding some breeze and then the knot meter popped to life. The game was back on!  We were headed straight for the finish and VMG rose to 3 knots, then 4, then 5 and nearly reach 6 kts.  It was gold--until it wasn't.  Once more the wind died, but we were a mere 5.2 miles from the line and closing at 0.7 kts.  The math was clear--we could (almost) beat the mutiny.  Lucky for Sealark, the breeze filled in once more--all looked great as we clicked towards 5 miles from the finish, then just 4 miles.  Suddenly, the radio crackles to life.  ...Sail Number 50638 reporting 1 mile out.  Argh!  Esprit d'Ecosse had won the Bi-state return and with it gotten the overall Bi-state win (2-1 finish) on the tie-break, and had vaulted into second place overall in the Port-to-Port series title. What a weekend!  Sealark's 2nd place in the Bi-State return combined with a first place on the way over, secured its successful defense of the Port-to-Port series title.  The Asylum nudged out Y-Not for third overall in the port-to-port series with its placement ahead on the way to St. Joseph.

Complete OVERALL Series results.  High Point scoring, with one throw out (Queen's Cup results being the throw-out race as no J/105 boats finished):

Wkg R SJ R
  7 - 2 - 8 - 5  Sealark (22)
  0 - 0 - 7 - 6  Esprit (13)
  4 - 3 - 5 - 0  The Asylum (12)
  6 - 1 - 4 - 0  Y-Not (11)
  3 - 0 - 6 - 0  Vytis (9)
  5 - 0 - 0 - 0  Peregrine (5)
  0 - 0 - 3 - 0  Global Nomads
  2 - 0 - 0 - 0  Phantom
  0 - 0 - 2 - 0  Black Diamond
  0 - 0 - 1 - 0  Striking 
  0 - 0 - 0 - 0  Smokin' J

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Race to Mackinac

The 111th running of the Race to Mackinac was a classic. Compared to the past couple years it was a Champagne ride with upwind, downwind, reaching, nice wind, no wind, no waves, and more than a few flies. Every skill was needed. 

Going up the lake the race broke into three sections with the far left paying big on Sunday due to stronger winds out in the lake along the Wisconsin boarder. While the boats sailing the shorter distance on the right encountered light air. The racing was still tight with position changes constantly occurring. The pressure was always on. It was incredible One Design racing all the way to the finish.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

1.  Pterodactyl - Mark Symonds
2.  Gangbusters - Mark Gannon
3.   Phantom - Peter Schwarzbach

Afterwards the whole gang enjoyed the Fleet party, before heading off to the CYC celebration and then the infamous Pink Pony.

Cheers, can’t wait till next year.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Race to Mackinac

The Race to Mackinac starts tomorrow at 11:40 CST  for the J105's. Looks like we have a great forecast. Every wind condition and lots of decisions. Follow the racers with the YB Races App.

Look forward to seeing you all at the J105 Party on Mackinac Island, Tuesday, July 16 at 11:00 AM EST, located in the courtyard behind the Market Street Inn, 7237 Market Street, Mackinac Island.  This is the same time & location as previous years. 

The hotel itself is small so they ask us to take the walkway around the building to enter the courtyard via the gate and as always be courteous to the staff.
A big thank you to Keith Krause (Vytis) for organizing the party. He owes all a drink for winning the NOOD’s Trip to the Caribbean.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Crew Pool

As a captain  one of the greatest obstacles to sailing is finding crew. Amazingly there are always people looking to get on a boat. In order to help solve one of life's most vexing challenges I am pleased to announce that Meghan O'Rourke has volunteered to take on the job of Crew Pool Coordinator. She is the Captain of  the V15 Fleet, crews on a J88, & the Pig. Believe me she know everyone.

If you are short people, know someone, you are looking for a boat, looking to build a team and/or need to combine boats (it is better to get one boat out there, than lose two). The goal here is build the Fleet to get more boats on the line for each and every race.

Please don't hesitate, reach out and contact:

                                                            Meghan O'Rourke
                                                      Flying Pig - Sail No. 424
                                                               847 219-6297

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Top J/105 Team Wins Caribbean Championship Berth at 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Chicago

              Gyt Petkus, skipper of the J/105 Vytis, accepts his NOOD Caribbean Championship entry alongside his crew                          Michael Brown, Steve Druzbicki, Keith Krause and daughter Julija Petkus.    Paul Todd/Outside Images/NOOD

Morning rain and fog saw the remaining scheduled races cancelled on the third day of the 2019 Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta Chicago. Spirits were high, however, as competitors gathered at Chicago Yacht Club for the evening's awards party. At each NOOD Regatta, individual fleet winners earn a chance to be selected for one berth at the Caribbean Championship in November in the British Virgin Islands. Today, Gyt Petkus (La Grange, IL), winner of the J/105 fleet, had the luck of the draw, winning his second Caribbean Championship appearance since 2007.

“We’ve owned our J/105 Vytis for 25 years,” says Petkus, who’s nephew Keith Krause trims the boat’s mainsail. Steve Druzbicki calls tactics, Mike Brown trims jib, and Petkus’ daughter Julija is the team’s foredeck crew. The team started the regatta with two third-place finishes on Saturday, before winning the next two and taking the lead. “Friday was a bit frustrating with the fog coming through,” says Petkus of the first day’s cancelled races. “But yesterday was awesome. The conditions were great. The J/105s are tweaky boats, so the little details made a big difference as far as point and speed.”

Petkus finished the shortened series tied with rival skipper Clark Pellet (Chicago, IL) aboard Sealark. The tiebreaker went to Pytkus and his crew. Petkus says he’s looking forward to returning to the Virgin Islands, this time with his daughter, Julija. “All I’ve heard growing up was how much fun sailing in the Caribbean is,” says Julija Petkus. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have the chance to go down there and sail with my dad.”


Fleet 5 Fall Party

The sailing season maybe over in Chicago, but please join us for the Fleet 5 Party. A great time to commiserate about all the wonderful time...