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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

31 Jul 2015 - J/105 Chicago to Mackinac Race report  Carter Williams has enjoyed sailing his J/105 Creative Destruction for years. Having grown up sailing in Harbor Springs during the summers, Carter decided to again sail the Chicago-Mac Race this year, but with a youth sailing team. Here's Carter's report: "Creative sailed with a mostly junior crew, finishing third in the hugely competitive J/105 class! We had Libby Forsen as our navigator. She's taken the Starpath Navigation course and, at 16 years old, this was her first time sailing the Mac Race. Sonny Jenema was sailing his second Mac at 18 years old. JT Ludington, 21 years old, was on his first Mac. Preston Carey, 16 years old, was on her second Mac. It was a young crew! The old guys were Carter Williams, Mike Duff and Robert Matthews.

Sunday morning it was hot, with little wind and lots of biting flies. Despite the lack of wind, the kids stayed focus, which we attribute to close attention to the watch schedule. As the wind built Sunday evening into the Manitou's, everyone was well rested, so we were able to get the whole crew on the rail late Sunday night and early Monday morning. As a result, we blasted through the Manitou's, slowly picking up more boats.

As we came into Grays Reef Monday early am, there were three J/105s in front of us. With the chop around Grays Reef, we sailed our angles well, gybed right on the lay line, and closed the gap on one boat a bit more, maybe to a quarter mile. As we turned the corner at Grays Reef, it was a tight spinnaker reach into the Mackinac Straits. Clark kept up high, so it was difficult for us to fully close the gap, but the kids were focused all on the rail. Slowly but surely, we were inching on Clark. About an hour from the bridge, a squall hit, driving all the boats down into a broach. The kids moved quick, got the spinnaker down, and jib out. They had all the waypoints in for the rest of the course, so in the fog/whiteout, we were back on course quickly. That helped us move up to third place overall! As we hit the other side of the bridge, we covered Clark while looking for our opening to move up to second place, but time and wind ran out so we could not move up. The kids absolutely loved it! They cannot wait to do it again. We are trying to assemble two junior teams to sail J/105s next year, and would encourage other boats to do the same. Perhaps we will give an award for the boat with highest score with three or more juniors (under 21) aboard!

After the Mac Race, we took our J/105 back down to Harbor Springs for the Ugotta Regatta. Being an off year, we did not have enough J/105s for a class. So, I and the new owner of J/105 hull 29 (the ex-Convexity), Sam Powers, contributed our boats to let the sailing school and juniors field two boats in the Ugotta Regatta. The boats were skippered by junior sailors, racing under the Storm Trysail IOR Collegiate rules (keeping two boat lengths). The kids had lots of fun racing the Ugotta Regatta too!

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