2009 Door County Breeze Regatta Report

The 2009 Door County Breeze Regatta was held July 3-5 in Ephraim, WI. A record 37 sailors participated in the event.

Racing over the weekend was blessed with sunny skies and moderate winds. A fun sail was held on Friday with several people touring out to the Horeshoe Island visible from shore in Ephraim. They were accompanied by the committee pontoon boat. Winds were light for most of the fun sail, but built into the teens near the end of the sail.

Saturday morning the winds were 5-10 mph out of the northwest with the forecast for things to swing around out of the south later in the day. With that info in mind, Steve set a simple windward/leeward gate course and got in two good races before breaking for lunch. During lunch the workshop fleet got in some nice racing near shore with plenty of spectators.

After lunch, the wind had shifted to the south as forecast so Steve simply  switched the direction of the Start/Finish line and continued racing the windward/leeward gate course shown below (the green marks were now the windward marks though they had been the leeward marks in the morning). Two races were completed on this course before calling it a day. The gps tracks show that I always chose to round the windward gate at the mark nearer to shore as it was a bit lower, while I chose each of the leeward buoys about equally based on which side of the course had more wind as I approached the rounding.

Saturday afternoon course

Saturday afternoon course

After racing was complete we were treated to a fantastic dinner right by the water at the Ephraim Visitor’s Center. Thanks to the Vande Corput family and everyone that made it happen! One of the best things about the Door County regatta is the amount of things to do after racing is complete. There are lots of shops, fireworks displays, restaurants (even after the great dinner it is hard to resist some ice cream at Wilson’s), and windsurfing camraderie. A lot of the gang headed over to the campground at Aqualand for a camp fire and some of the Russian folk singing that is becoming a tradition. As for me, we headed to a double feature at the local drive-in (where do you see those anymore?) and the kids enjoyed an animated film (Up) and then fell asleep on queue as the second show started.

Sunday morning we got to the race site and saw absolute glass on the water, but as we ate breakfast within eye shot of the bay the wind was building. At one point prior to the race start there was 10-15 mph from the south. However, at the time of the skipper’s meeting the wind had swung back to the northwest at only around 5 mph. A modified “M” course (shown below) was sent with the first lap consisting of running upwind to mark A, then downwind through a series of jibes (yellow) on the way to the leeward mark E. The 2nd lap was a windward/leeward from the E to A, back to E, and then back up to the Finish line. Two races were run with the wind both puffing and shifting. The gps track shows a trace that cuts from the windward green mark to just inside mark “B” and then turning abruptly straight to mark “E”…Well, that was me thinking during the first race that both laps required going through the jibes, but my brother Adam showed some good sportsmanship by hollering over that I just needed to go straight to the leeward mark. Adam and Josh were right on my tail as I got to the leeward mark after sailing the extra distance, but I managed to hold them off.

Sunday morning course

Sunday morning course

After two races in the increasingly unstable winds, Steve decided to have us break for lunch to see if the wind would settle in. During lunch the workshop fleet got in even more racing, and Kevin Gratton from Windpower Windsurfing did a great job showing off the new O’pen Bic sail boat that is coming on strong as a modern fleet for getting youths on the water. It should also be noted that Kevin’s brother, Andy, was sailing a 20+ year old tandem board with Mike Reed throughout the day, and making impressive time on the race course, esepecially upwind with twin 11.0 sails powering it. I was also impressed with the maneuverability of the board through the jibes in the morning races until Andy reminded me that the board actually has a rudder with foot-operated tiller for enhanced steering. Still, the sail handling required made the turns impressive.

After lunch, the wind had built some, but still had not steadied. Steve decided to make the course a bit less sensitive to changes in wind direction, so he pulled mark C, and realined marks B & D to make a box course with an outside loop. So, the mark order is now Start-A-B-D-A-D-E-Finish as shown below. We got in three races in ~10mph winds with aggressive shifts. To showcase this point, notice that there are two traces of me making the beat on the outside loop from D heading towards the middle of the course on port before tacking over to starboard to round B the 2nd time. Those two traces show me taking the same lay line to B on starboard, though they do differ by around 20-deg on the heading I am able to take on port, with several wavers from shifts along the way. So where’s the trace for the third race? Well, look at the line that runs from just to the right of D to just to the right of B….that was me laying the windward leg on one tack due to a significant shift.

Sunday afternoon course

Sunday afternoon course

Competition was stiff in these final three races as Josh was consistently pushing me on the windward legs, and Adam was showing great speed and some saavy on the downwind runs. Adam won the last race by leading it start to finish as I nipped at him all the way around and still couldn’t make a pass. Steve Johnson and Woody were also coming into their own as the breeze picked up, and Peter Hartwhich and Timmy Cleary were in the mix as always. Plus, the tandem board with 22 meters of sail was always right to make things interesting. Woody and Adam even had one race where they had a big lead but then took each other out rounding the leeward mark as a large wind shift got the best of their large sails and close proximity. As Josh and I sailed by though, we saw a big bloated carp floating in the water and we wondered if they were just going for some Great Lakes sushi.

The regatta came to a conclusion with an impressive 9 races completed. I managed to win the Unlimited class followed by Adam and Woody, while Josh Woodworth won the limited fleet (and 3rd overall) with Tim Cleary in second (4th overall) and Alex Monroe (newly married…congrats!) in third (9th overall).

The Sport fleet was very competitive with FIVE different sailors winning a race. Dan Thorton came away with the win, followed closely by Kelly Johnson, and Mark Schmitz.

The Workshop fleet featured five sailors, and Kylan Johnson from Minnesota got the top score. He was followed by Niels Zaunmueller from Beaver Dam, WI, and Marc Dascenzo.

Thanks again to the Vande Corput family and everyone who made this event possible. They did a great job. Thanks also to the sponsors; it is safe to say this regatta has some of the best community support of any of the events we have.

Up next is the Menominee Festival Regatta August 8-9. Be sure to check the MOWIND calendar for other events this year, as well as the updated MOWIND Series Scores.

– Arden Anderson reporting


2009 A Fleet Scores

2009 Sport Fleet Scores

2009 Workshop Scores

Photos by Jan Vande Corput (click on thumbnails for higher-resolution picture):