Epic Lake Winnebago Super Crossing & Windpower Champs Open the 2011 MOWIND Race Series

The 2011 MOWIND Race Series opened with epic conditions at the Lake Winnebago Super Crossing September 24th. The plan was to sail from the Windpower shop in Taycheedah near the south end of the lake up to High Cliff State Park on the north end of the lake – about 25 miles. The wind was forecast for 30+ mph out of the west, and we got more Southwesterly wind than that. The tailing SW wind stacked up the swell and made for a very broad angle in order to sail directly there. With winds gusting over 40-mph I bailed out shortly after Deadwood Point (1-2 miles) knowing that it would be rough to survive the full journey. Andy Gratton and a few others pushed on towards Calumet (about 1/3 of the way), where Andy’s ride ended in a nasty wipeout where he broke his mast when his head slammed into it. Fortunately he was okay and was able to get to shore. Kevin Gratton managed to pick up several people that had retired along the way in order to get them back to the launch, and I think everyone was much happier free sailing in the fantastic conditions than they were trying to sail on one deep downwind run.

The kiters took another approach. They sailed as a group out across the lake to the midwestern shore near Oshkosh, and then jibed back across the lake to SUCCESSFULLY reach High Cliff. Congratulations to Eddie, Jeff, Matt, and Don. “Groni” sent along a couple of pictures of their trip via email, and I posted them to the MOWIND picasa site. These guys should all be proud of making the trip in such challenging conditions. Also, thanks again to Jeff Knutson for organizing this crazy fiasco!

The action continued over the weekend with the Windpower Championships sponsored by Windpower Windsurfing. We had a fantastic turnout with 54 racers (27 A Fleet, 18 Sport, 9 Workshop). We raced 3 heats of figure-8 slalom right off the beach on Saturday in diminishing 15-25 mph winds, and then took a break as the wind tried to stabilize. We were able to complete one course race in light winds before breaking for the day and heading to the Season Awards Banquet at Sunset Supper Club right next to the race site.

Sunday opened with light wind in the first course race, but then conditions ramped up to the 15-20 mpg range and made for some great battles on the race course. Four more race were completed in the higher winds to give us 9 races overall. In the end Mark Boersma’s consistent speed helped him to a first place overall finish, followed by Andy and Kevin Gratton. Kevin continued his strong return from shoulder surgery and even won a slalom heat on Saturday. Welcome back! Keeping it in the family, Kevin’s nephews Rob and Blaise (Andy’s son) finished in 4th and 6th places, respectively. Jeff Degayner from Michigan finished in 5th place and had 3 bullets! We’re glad to see the talent coming from across the pond.

Kevin Gratton was tops n the 8.5 Limited Division, followed by Magnus Zaunmueller and Tim Cleary (tied), with Magnus winning the tie on the strength of his 4th place finish in the last race.

In the Sport fleet, “Low Boom” Larry Reed showed his stuff to come in first place. He was followed by Mark Schmitz and Jim Magnuson. The Johnson family made a good showing with son Kylan finishing 4th and mom Kelly finishing 5th (dad Steve also races in the A Fleet).

Over in Workshop Fleet another Gratton, Andrea (Andy’s daughter), set the pace. Pat O’Connor and Jennifer Wettstein finished in 2nd and 3rd place.

Follow the link for the blog entry from Windpower Windsurfing: LINK


2010 Windpower Championships A Fleet Results

2010 Windpower Championships Sport Fleet Results

2010 Windpower Championships Workshop Fleet Results