2014 Midwest Districts at Sheridan Shores YC, Wilmette, IL
Despite one capsize and a broken halyard, the 2014 Midwest Districts hosted by Sheridan Shores Yacht Club and Fleet #3 on June 27-28, was a huge success.
Eight out-of-town boats made the trek to Lake Michigan and, together with Sheridan Shores sailors, we had a field of 14 competitors. That group included Frank Gerry, FSSA president; Bill Vogler, FSSA vice president; Harry Carpenter, boat builder; Ryan Malmgren, sailmaker, as well as Midwest District Governor, Ben Williams.
Three races were scheduled for Saturday and the race committee and the weather provided just that. Winds were southeasterly (about 150-160) and nice and steady, something we lake sailors do not take for granted. Each race was almost precisely one hour, even though with the high winds (I heard a rumor that some gusts were as high as 24 mph) and large waves, sometimes they felt longer! Still, compared to last year's Race Weekend regatta at Sheridan Shores where the waves were about eight- or nine-feet tall, these conditions felt manageable.
We had one capsize on Saturday, brought on by a boat trying to skooch around the windward mark, getting caught in irons and slapped by a very large wave at the same time. The team was able to right the boat, which then sailed away when the safety boat lost track of their bowline! Luckily Ryan Malmgren and Stacey Rieu were sailing by and swung in, Stacey leaping gracefully from the gunwale of her boat to the unmanned boat and ZIP ZAP, took down the sails and brought the boat to a stop!
After dinner Saturday we had a brief and dramatic storm, which was followed by a lovely double rainbow ending in the vicinity of the beautiful Baha’i Temple, which is just inland from the club.
Sunday brought more beautiful weather with slightly more moderate winds and almost no waves, since the wind was coming from the shore and had little fetch. Although the winds built a bit through the two races, the waves didn’t materialize and the only mishap was a broken halyard. The skipper and his crew were towed in, were able to make the repair and make it back for the last race!! How’s that for dedication?!
The single-handed race, a Midwest Districts regatta feature traditionally held on the Friday before the regatta, was won by Fleet #3 Captain Mike Fuller.