SLOG – Team Racing in Cleveland!

by Steve Harris

Team Racing may well be the most exciting of all the sailing disciplines, but it seems that even the most seasoned sailors are not particularly familiar with it.  I was fortunate this past fall to be invited by Sam Patterson, Sailing Director for The Foundry in Cleveland to serve as the Principal Race Officer (PRO) for this year’s US Team Racing Championships for the Hinman Trophy held at The Foundry’s new sailing center in Cleveland’s Inner Harbor.  The Foundry’s story is, itself an interesting one.  Opening in late 2015 as a non-profit rowing and fitness center, The Foundry occupies several buildings of old industrial space in the Flats of Cleveland.  They have one of the largest installations of indoor rowing tanks in the United States.  The operation soon expanded into sailing as well.  The Foundry’s Sailing Center is located in the Historic Coast Guard Station, on a small island just north of Wendy Park.  Abandoned by the Coast Guard in the 1970s, there is much work to be done on the facility, but the operation is in full swing and hosts some of the most active community sailing programs in the midwest.  This year, they were able to purchase a fleet of 12 brand new Zim 420E sailboats.  It was these boats, that we used for the Hinman racing this year.

That brings me back to the racing… Team Racing.  Most are familiar with our more “typical” fleet racing discipline… The boats all start at the same time, on the same starting line, sail the same course, and the point is to beat everyone else.  Team racing however is a lot more like speed skating – in more ways than one.  For starters, teams race against each other in a round-robin format.  At this year’s Hinman, we had 12 teams from all over the U.S.  In a rather complex format, teams of 3 boats (6 sailors – 3 skippers, 3 crew) race head to head against other teams of 3 boats.  Certainly having all three of your boats in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd would mean you win, but there are multiple combinations of finishes.  In a three boat format, with each boat getting points equal to their finish position, there are 21 total points in a given heat.  The point then, is not to necessarily get 1st place (as in fleet racing) but to get 10 points or less, therefore winning that race and receiving 1 point for your team in the standings.  In team standings, the highest point value wins.  You could easily win the race with your boats finishing 2, 3, 5 (10 points) as your opponent, while crossing the line first, still earns 11 points (1, 4, 6).  This makes team racing much more tactical than almost any other discipline.  Keeping your opponent from finishing well is just as important, if not more so, than doing well yourself.  Of course, all the same right of way rules apply as in any other sailing discipline, so it can get very interesting.  Here’s where the sport is sometimes less like speed skating than it is like roller derby.  Generally, these races are umpired on the water.  Umpires make nearly instantaneous calls and penalties are given out during the race – no waiting to fight it out in the protest room afterwards.  It’s fast paced and exciting.  We had a stellar RC crew in Cleveland and, on average started another race about ever 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.  For the three day event, we ran an amazing 178 races.  If the wind would’ve been a bit more cooperative on Sunday, we would have done that with time leftover and could’ve maybe have gotten even more!

Top to bottom, the Foundry did an amazing job hosting this event and I was very honored to be invited to be a part of it.  I’ve had some exposure to team racing before, but nothing like the intensity of this particular championship.  It was something else.  Team racing is starting to become more popular in High School Sailing and, with the growth of high school sailing in central Ohio, who knows? We might see some of it around here.  I’ve included some links below if you’re interested in learning more about the discipline.  And… if you happen to be in the Cleveland area, stop by the Historic Coast Guard Station and see what Sam and his team have accomplished there.  And, YES… they sail pretty much year-round.  It’s frostbiting season and where else but Cleveland would sailing fit that name more aptly.

More about Team Racing

2018 Championships Results


SLOG – 2018 ACSA Old Fox Regatta

by David Paligo
No Name Yet” #1049

So, I need to prep this SLOG with a little background. This is not so much about the Old Fox Regatta, which has been a standing regatta for many years, but about a Catalina Capri 22 and its rookie crew. A few weeks back I was searching the web for Capri 22 for sale and stumbled across one that was for sale out of Newark, Ohio. So, being a fan and owner of Capri 22s, I wanted to know why this one was up for sale. The owners, Jeff and Jen said they wanted to downsize because this sailboat had a spinnaker and they did not know how to fly it. Oh, music to my ears! So, we arranged to meet at Alum Creek and have a spinnaker lesson. The day of this lesson there was no wind at all so we launched the spinnaker and put the o/b motor in reverse to fill the kite. Using this technique, we were able to practice some launches, douses and end-for-end gybes. The owners were excited and this immediately developed into a new friendship.

So now, as Paul Harvey would say “Here is the rest of the story” … I heard about the Old Fox Regatta and called Jeff and asked him if he wanted to enter his Capri 22 in this 2-day regatta. His answer was we’ve never raced before but if you coach, then yes, so I suggested we go for the gusto, enter PHRF Spin Class and not race JAM. Jeff and Jen were hesitant so I told them I would find one more crewmember and let’s just go for it even if we come in DLBF every race. They agreed and submitted their electronic on-line application.

On Saturday the first warning was 1100 hours. As we set up the boat our goal was to stay 5 boat lengths away from EVERYONE. Our first start we were 5 days late to the start line, our second start we were only 6 minutes late to the start line and our third start we were only 1 minute late; what an improvement. We were so slow in that first race that RC sent out the mark boat and told us to motor back to the start line and they would finish us in place. Not bad as RC saw we were really trying, big smiles, having fun and great Corinthian spirit toward the fast and furious sport boats. I’m only going to say that RC saw our enthusiasm and then started ‘helping’ us get around the (shortened for us only) course a little faster.

Sunday met us with more wind and our newly seasoned crew looked forward to this day’s possibilities. We were engaged closer to the start line, we tacked better, had better windward and leeward rounding and our competitors started to cheer for us as we finished the races. BTW, in all our 8 races we finished dead last and had the biggest smiles in the entire fleet.

Below is video of our 3rd race on Sunday and us avoiding the hectic 9 boat scrum start line. Enjoy!

SLOG – September 23, 2018

Temperature – 70° mostly cloudy
Wind – NE 7-8 knots, gusting to 10

My mentor has always told me to practice to race and not race to practice so when the rest of the BLYC PHRF fleet said they were unable to race on Sunday, we decided to do as my master and commander had taught me, Go Practice. Our team consisted of our regular crew members Bill and Chad, plus Gloria who had never sailed before, and myself.

First, we got the trimmers to practice tacking & gybing with the jib and main only. This was very successful with the light winds so we decided to fly that dreaded 3-cornered sail called the spinnaker. We furled the jib, set the spinnaker pole for a bare-away launch and hoisted the kite that filled with a pop–what a great sound. We practiced trim, made a few end-for-end gybes, then decided to take down the main so this crew could easily watch the sheet and guy trim and its affects. At one point, we were free flying the kite–what a beautiful sight. We continued to practice a few takedowns and relaunches from the cabin.

It was a beautiful light wind day so we let the trimmers take turns driving, allowing them to see our trimming so they could get a better understanding on how their trim affects the boat’s performance. We were having so much fun doing ring-around-the-Rosie (no wake markers) we lost all sense of time. After we put the boat away, we slid up to the YC bar for a few barley-pops to discuss the day’s adventure. A good time was had by all.

Prep well & sail fast… Dave for “No-Name-Yet” 

WOW! What a great day on the water!

We started the day off by launching our new Club 420 sailboats for the juniors at Liebs Island.  BLYC members joined in to help escort them as they paraded the new boats down the lake to BLYC.  Upon their arrival, the PHRF fleet launched along with several of our 2018 sailing camp participants in Optis.  All sailed around the front of the Clubhouse where Father Mike blessed the fleet and it was time to race!

Olivia and Katy

We had good wind and the RC set a nice long windward leeward course for the PHRF fleet – the new 420s sailed by Matthew Davis & Bryor Burke and Katy Schroeder & Olivia Smith sailed with PHRF and were handicapped along with them.  The Optis were sent on a smaller triangle course and… well they sailed and had fun.

It was a great day as the girls, sailing C420 #8612 were off the line like a shot and took a commanding early lead which they never lost – finishing a full 6 minutes ahead of Big Girl and 7 minutes ahead of the other C420.  A promising look ahead to our 2019 BLYC Sailing Team!

Last week’s Rabbit Flag winner Chuck Bendig presented the girls with the the coveted award for this week – a great day of adults and youth sailing together and having a great time on our beloved lake.

Sail on Sundays… Sunday, August 26

Submitted by Dave Paligo for No-Name-Yet

This entire summer has been plagued with light to no wind for our SOS series.  This week, we put 3 boats on the line for three races with start #3 being a photo type start with all of us hitting the line almost at the same time.

All in all, we had three good races.  Our starts on “Team No-Name-Yet” weren’t the best, but in each race we improved by staying tighter in the start box and closer to the line. After the starts, we knuckled down to the basics, kept working on those tacks, gybes and weight placement and that was what kept us in the hunt and in the race. I want to give big kudos to our team Bill Collinson, Marsha Bendle and to welcome Chad Schrock who is a new crew member and has never sailed or raced before. We will see everyone next week at the starting line.

Buckeye Lake Juniors get two new Club 420 Sailboats…

Club 420s racing for the Bemis Trophy – US Sailing Junior Doublehanded National Championships – at North Cape Yacht Club, August, 2018


Thanks to the generous donations of many BLYC members and friends, Buckeye Lake Junior Sailing, Inc. was able to purchase two new Club 420 sailboats this summer.  These boats, manufactured by Zim Sailing, were used for the US Sailing Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championships for the Ida Lewis Trophy in Mentor, Ohio in late July and again for the Chubb US Sailing Junior Doublehanded Championships for the Bemis Trophy in LaSalle, Michigan the first week of August.  They have only been raced twice!  As a result of Zim’s loaner program for the Championships, the boats are made available for sale to junior sailing programs at a discounted price.

One of our new boats, Sail Number 8612, at the finish line at the 2018 Chubb US Sailing Junior Championships. Trevor Davis and Rider Odom of Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis won the Championship in this boat.

These boats will significantly improve our junior sailing fleet and provide additional opportunities for our youth sailors too learn, race, and be competitive.  The last time we purchase new boats for the program was in the early 2000’s.  The youth sailors, and everyone around the Club, is excited about the opportunities that these new boats will offer and are looking forward to seeing them on the water.

On Sunday, September 2, we plan to launch the boats for the first time on Buckeye Lake.  The Juniors will launch at Lieb’s Island and parade the boats down the lake to the Club where BLYC Fleet Chaplain Fr. Mike Gribble will offer a fleet blessing for the new boats and for our junior sailors.  All BLYC members, friends, and members of the Buckeye Lake community are invited to join us – along the north shore or at BLYC – to celebrate this growth in our program and welcome the new additions to our fleet.  More Information to Come…

We are still accepting donations for the program and to help fully fund the purchase of these new boats. Please contact Mike Bruckelmeyer for details.

Sail on Sunday – August 5, 2018

Winds: SW, 7-8 knots
Climate: 89°F, 58% humidity with sweaty T-shirts
Course: S-1-2-F (all three races)

No Name Yet #1049

I want to thank the RC for the great job they did, the crowd of spectators that gathered in the RC shack for their support and our team which consisted of Bill Collinson, our first-time racer Ed Romito and myself.  I also want to commend both Alex Fischer and Chuck Bendig who single-handed all three races as they are both tough competitors.  A big congrats to Chuck with his O’Day 26 Big Girl on winning the coveted Rabbit Flag.

FINALLY, after 6 weeks of races being cancelled because of no wind we were able to get back out on the race course.  We had steady SW wind at the start line and our strategy was to hug the line and cross on port tack. We did okay and were about 15 seconds behind the O’Day 26. We held our port tack all the way to the north bank and with a few good lifts we were hoping it was enough to round the windward mark w/o any additional tacks; but the wind shifts and lifts would not cooperate and we ended up asking for Rule 18 rights (3 boat rule) from the Catalina 22 to round the mark. We ended up having to duck her stern at the last moment to avoid contact (I really owe Alex a few barley-pops on that one) and rounded in third position. We made up the distance with good sail trim and rounded the leeward mark for a second position but corrected out to a third place finish. Second race, we were the same strategy for our start but, with a wind shift while in our start sequence, we were forced to start on starboard. We were again a little late, but seemed to make up good position and held this all the way around the course.

Third race we had to take a DNS as our team had prior commitments so we put the boat away while the race was going on.

David for Team No-Name-Yet



The Board of Governors at their meeting on August 9, 2018 voted to recognize two long-time “BLYC Heroes” with Life Memberships in the Club





Greg Fisher, one of the most successful one-design sailors in the United States, started his sailing and boating career at Buckeye Lake Yacht Club and sailed for BLYC throughout his youth and early adulthood.  The son of P/C George (1958) and Marty Fisher, Greg has amassed over 20 National, North American, and World Championships in his career.  He has served the boating community through a number of chairmanship positions with US Sailing, as a Sailmaker, sailing coach, and most recently as the Director of Sailing for the two-time National Collegiate Sailing Championship Team at the College of Charleston.  Greg’s honors in boating and sailing are too many to mention, but include the US Sailing Hanson Medal for life saving rescue, the US Sailing Community Sailing Award for Outstanding Director of a year-round sailing program, and US Sailing’ Gardner Trophy – One-Design Service Award, to name just a few.  He is also a several time nominee for US Sailing’s greatest honor, the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.  Just this past month, Greg was hired by US Sailing as the new Chief Operating Officer for Olympic Sailing.  Greg and his wife JoAnn currently reside in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

To learn more about Greg, click on the image above for the US Sailing Press Release regarding his new position.

Mike Hein, son of P/C Mike (1974) and Joan Hein, grew up at BLYC and also has gone on to have a very successful career in the sailing and boating world.  As a BLYC Junior, he won the Lightning Class North American Championships in 1982.  From there, he went on to instruct junior sailing at the famed San Diego Yacht Club where he met America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner.  While sailing with Connor aboard Stars & Stripes, he also met Bill Koch for whom he crewed on two World Championship Maxi Yachts and aboard America3 – the winning yacht in the 1992 America’s Cup.

Following his racing days with Koch, Mike and his wife Annie, settled in San Diego and remained in the sailing industry for several years.  In 2000, they relocated to Aukland, New Zealand and Mike began a career as a yacht captain aboard the 130′ motorfisher Mea Culpa.  Today, Mike is the private fleet captain for the Emir of Qatar.  Mike, Annie, and their children, Abigail and Max, currently reside in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

To learn more about Mike’s career and his time sailing America’s Cup in particular, please click on the image above.

Junior Bay Week 2018

It’s been a busy summer of sailing – so busy that it’s been some time since we put up a SLOG post.

The most recent happening was the I-LYA Junior Sailing Championships at Put-in-Bay – Junior Bay Week.  This year, the BLYC team consisted of five juniors – Matthew Davis, Oliver Krajewski, Katy Schroeder, Susannah Schroeder, and Olivia Smith – and our coach, Michael Davis.  Over 35 BLYC members were up for at least part of the week supporting our juniors and many also helping with the regatta.  4 days of GREAT sailing weather in the Lake Erie islands and a whole lot of fun.  This was the final year of eligibility for Matthew, Oliver, and Susannah.  They have represented us well through the years!

Here are some  pics from the week:

Our Team – Matthew, Susannah, Oliver, Commodore McEntire, Michael, Katy, and Olivia
Team BLYC at the Awards Banquet
Matthew & Oliver getting ready to go race
Katy, Coach Michael, Olivia


Coach Michael and Governor Mike on the safety/coach boat


Greg, Commodore Rose, and Governor Bruce enjoying their time on the island


Evan and Mark at the picnic


Katy sailing into harbor after a long day of racing


Great Racing on Lake Erie…

By Steve Harris

So far, the season has been off to a good start.  I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in some great events so far this season and it’s really been a good time.

Mills Trophy Race
Friday, June 8 – Saturday, June 9
Toledo Yacht Club – Put-in-Bay Yacht Club

The Mills is an overnight distance race sailed on Lake Erie from Toledo to Put-in-Bay, the second weekend of June each year.  This was my 4th year serving as the Principal Race Officer for the event.  BLYC member P/C Don Harris also made the trip to help out on race committee along with long-time friends of BLYC Kay Drake (PIBYC) and Judy Kania (NCYC).  We all loaded up into Judy’s van on Put-in-Bay that morning and headed for Toledo Yacht Club – with the cursory lunch break at Tony Packo’s of course.  It was a great afternoon on the water – 13 starts and a luxurious ride to PIB on board our committee boat, the 80′ Hatteras, Sea Dozer.  The winds were light, but all 97 crews made it over the course safely and finished on the island by 8:00 am.  The Mills Party at PIBYC that afternoon was, as expected, a good time as well.  An afternoon Lake Erie thunderstorm can’t do much to dampen the spirits of a few hundred sailors – especially with the Mount Gay rum and beer flowing freely.  While boats in this race are bigger than what most of us at BLYC typically race, it is a good time and I encourage all BLYC sailors and members to check it out.  BLYC has a long history with the race – many of our early members made the trip to TYC to participate and one of the trophies – the Buckeye Lake Yacht Club Trophy – for the event was donated by our 1911 Commodore, George Mooney.

Cleveland Race Week
June 15-24
Edgewater Yacht Club

Cleveland Race Week is another annual event on the lake and encompasses two weekends of racing along with a number of other activities through the week.  The first weekend is One-Design Weekend.  BLYC member Walter Grubb crewed on Mark Presley’s (HSC) Interlake finishing second behind Stu & Matt Fisher (HSC) – grandson and son of BLYC’s 1958 Commodore George Fisher.

Wednesday June 20th was “Junior Day” at the event and BLYC had one Club 420 sailed by Matthew Davis and Oliver Krajewski and 2 Laser Radials sailed by Katy & Susannah Schroeder.  It was a variable day in terms of wind conditions, but generally pretty heavy compared to what our juniors are used to here at Buckeye Lake.  Michael Davis was there as our coach and reports that they sailed well and had a good day on the water.  Also going up to support our team were Tracey Davis, Vic Schroeder, Tami Schroeder, and Steve Harris.

After Junior Day, I took a break on South Bass Island and returned to be the PRO for the PHRF course at Offshore Weekend.  Friday was a rough day on Lake Erie.  With sustained 20+ kt winds out of the northeast the night before and all day Friday, I was a bit worried that they’d suspend ferry service and I’d be stuck on the island (although there are certainly worse places in this world to be stuck).  Saturday brought totally different conditions – light and variable, we were lucky to get two races in on both racing circles.  Sunday, however, was a “Chamber of Commerce Day” off the shores of Cleveland – 10-15 kts, steady out of the southwest.  We had GREAT racing!  We were able to get three good races in on my course and the sailors were happy (always good for the PRO – Rule #1: don’t do anything that makes you unwelcome at the cocktail party… LOL).  BLYC friends on board Flat Stanley won  the PHRF A class and long time BLYC friends and Snowball Regatta participants, the Ruhlman family, took top honors in PHRF B on board Spaceman Spiff.  The event was topped off with everyone’s favorite Lake Erie troubadour, Alex Bevan under the tent.  All in all, a great week on the Lake.