Another chapter closes today (Sunday 9/25/16) in the storied history of the Clark Lake Yacht Club. This year’s Fall Regatta attracted 29 boats from the United States and Canada. Clark Lake did not disappoint. The water was sparkling clear, the breeze more than sufficient for racing fun, and temperatures, refreshing.
The course for yesterday’s races took in both east and west ends of the lake. Today, the starting point was just east of Eagle Point and from there, went eastward. Andrew Lajdziak’s aerial photo illustrates today’s course. If you look carefully in the lower left you’ll see the yellow marker–an inflatable tetrahedron. From their eastward tack, the boats came about and headed northward. In the far right, is another marker. From there the boats went before the wind and headed west. When wind is at their backs, the sailors push the mainsail as far as it will go one way, and the jib (smaller sail), the other direction to catch as much wind as possible. Some boats in this regatta, the Wayfarers and Buccaneers, were equipped with spinnakers. More than just a show of color, they amplify the effect of the wind and help the boat achieve more momentum.
The starting point of the race is an imaginary line between a buoy and the committee boat which is a raft equipped with flags. There were four classes represented in this regatta-Buccaneers, Rebels, Wayfarers, and Sunfish. Each class has its own start. That happens when the committee raises the flag with the insignia for that class. You can see that happening below.
Many participants are practiced sailors, and they intend to win. Competitive juices are flowing, and tense moments occur. Most sailors will tell you one of the most difficult, and tense, moments is at the start line. Unlike an auto race where the cars can be at idle at the start, boats are at the mercy of the wind. You can spill some of it from the sails, but the boat has no brakes. So the sailors maneuver back and forth, gauging the amount of time it takes between two points so they can arrive at the start line when their pennant goes up and they hear the horn. Not to cross the start line promptly when the signal is given will put a boat behind, making it hard to catch up. As the boats gather, they are inches apart. Collisions sometimes occur. Words may fly not permitted during prime time TV. Above you can see the boats congregating. Below, notice the proximity as the boats enter the starting zone.
The classes start based on their expected speed. Of this group, Buccaneers are expected to be fastest. They lead, followed by Wayfarers, Rebels and Sunfish. You don’t have to hang around a regatta long to hear a story that a Rebel, for example, sped past a Wayfarer, a faster boat. The owner of a Wayfarer may argue otherwise.
For the purpose of this race, Clark Lake is divided into 8 different sections. The race director determines buoy locations based on wind, weather and other considerations. At the skippers’ meeting, he lays out where the buoys are and indicates the location by assigned numbers. Intense competition occurs at these buoys as skippers work towards to rounding them in the most effective manner.
Summary of top three places for each class:
1st Place: Larry Schmida and Mike Waning
2nd Place: Geoffrey Moehl and Steve Geeting
3rd Place: Dan Shock and Martin Shock
1st Place: Marc Bennett and Julie Seraphinoff
2nd Place: Michael Codd and Kurt Iredale
3rd Place: Al Schonborn and Shannon Donkin
1st Place: Kevin Nickels and Hank Helleman
2nd Place: Dave Nickels and Adam Maletic
3rd Place: Steve and Lyndsie Cummings
1st Place: Jim Richter
2nd Place: Tim Nickels
3rd Place: Mike Smith
Now for some views of the race from different perspectives. First, photos from high above courtesy of Andrew Lajdziak. Andrew lives at Clark Lake, not far from the Yacht Club.
What’s it like to be in the cockpit? Take an close and personal look.
There are many behind the scenes who make this event happen. Here are some of them.