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High School Sailing…

– Steve Harris

High School Sailing?  Yes, believe it or not, sailing is a competitive sport at the high school level here in Ohio.  Of course, it’s probably just up at Lake Erie, right?  Not at all!  In fact, there 8 registered schools here in central Ohio, and 18 total schools that participate in the Central Ohio High School Sailing program at Hoover Sailing Club.  Two of those schools – Westerville South and Olentangy Orange – competed this past weekend at the Put-in-Bay High School fall regatta at which I was fortunate to be the Principal Race Officer.  It was an exciting day.

Had you asked me on Thursday if I thought we’d be able to sail on Sunday, I would’ve likely said “no” (actually, I would probably have included a choice expletive).  The forecast was for winds in the high-teens, gusting in to the mid-20s.  Even sailing in the protected waters on the north side of the island, it didn’t look promising at all.

Full of optimism, I made the trek up to PIB on Saturday morning, got the committee boat rigged and hoped for the best.  In between beers and brats at the annual Put-in-Bay Oktoberfest on Saturday afternoon, I probably went down to the monument and checked the wind half a dozen times or more – generally low-teens, but gusting into the twenties, and the air temperature was low-50s at best.  We made the decision not to cancel and hope for the best.  NOAA issued a small craft advisory for Sunday, but we would be in the lee of the island… optimism at its best!

Our original plan was to sail by the monument.  Protected, but no good place to get the sailors in out of the cold between rotations.  As luck would have it, the cool, windy weather kept the transient boaters mostly away for the weekend as well.  As a result, the mooring filed by PIBYC was empty!  Have you ever raced sailboats through a mooring field before?  Neither had the sailors from the 7 teams who caught an early ferry over to race!  It was interesting to say the least.  

With winds out of the southwest, we were in the lee of the island so waves were not a factor.  (I can only imagine the thoughts going through the sailors’ minds when they made the south passage to the island that morning on the ferry though!)  We got on the water early and were able to get four races off in each division – enough to make it an official regatta!  The winds were 10-15 all day with gusts as high as 22.  Being in the harbor, it was very shifty and very challenging.  But, even with a number of capsizes, the sailors demonstrated that they could handle it and they all sailed well.

When all was said and done, the team from Put-in-Bay High School – in only its second season of existence – took top honors, followed by Olentangy Orange, and Beaumont (Cleveland Heights).  It was a good day and a wonderful way to finish out the 2019 season.

for full results

to learn more about High School Sailing

for Put-in-Bay Daily’s write-up on the event

Ancient Mariners Cruise…

– by Jerry Besanceney


“The white foam flew, the wild wind blew…”

– S. T. Coleridge


The BLYC Ancient Mariners weathered the storm!


John Vangilder, Don Harris, Tom Shain, Ross Long (Hoover SC) and yours truly, Jerry Besanceney, “titular skipper”- hereinafter referred to as the “Ancient Mariners” – five septuagenarians to be more specific, completed a Lake Erie Bareboat charter last week. 

Here’s our story!…

We sailed from Harbor North at Huron, Ohio aboard the beautiful White Pine, a 41′ Hunter sloop, last Monday the 23rd and encountered strong direct opposing seas, sailing seas part of theway then making the Kelley’s Island Harbor . We tied up at the Casino bar restaurant docks and were treated so well by friendly locals. The next day brought beautiful, mild sunny weather all the way to Leamington, Ontario.

Day three, the tempest hit big time – we stayed in harbor. The people were terrific, dollar strong, food great… life is good.

Day Four, heading home, we misread the waves – 3 feet… they were really 3 meters or 9 feet – as rough as I have ever experienced, violent! Use your imagination.

We finally made it back to Huron being at it all day long.


  1. Chartering is a fun, challenging adventure (eather is your call) There’s nothing like it.
  2. Chartering is economic – split 5 ways, less than $100/day per person. We stayed all nights on board and ate some meals there too. It’s housing, kitchen, entertainment and transportation.
  3. Meet new people, discover interesting places, see our jewel wonder of a planet and build memories for a lifetime.

– Jerry Besanceney
Skipper (Titular)

Reflections from the Grand Annual Regatta

– by Steve Harris

From time to time, as we rebuild our sailing programs at BLYC, it seems easy to feel discouraged.  While we had a great season, the numbers were still relatively small.  I know that Governor Paligo was discouraged several times throughout the season as well.

This past weekend, I gained a new perspective on how we define success for club racing.  It’s easy in our area to compare ourselves to the stronger participation over at Hoover, or some of the larger Lake Erie clubs.  I know that most of the events I’ve worked as a race officer lately have been large, “stereotypical” regattas with beer tents, parties, bands, and plenty of onshore activities.  Usually, these have included a number of top-level teams and often sailors who are more than a bit serious about the rules, course configurations, and more.  But this weekend, I had the opportunity to be the PRO at Cave Run Sailing Association for their Grand Annual Regatta.  It reminded me that we do this (or should do this) for fun first, and everything else second.

Cave Run Lake is a man-made Army Corps lake near Morehead, Kentucky completely surrounded by Daniel Boone National Forest.  There are no structures on the water – even the Club doesn’t have a physical “home base” from which to operate.  However, even without the clubhouse amenities that most  of us are used to having, CRSA is a vibrant, fun group of sailors who just love to sail and race.  Being that the lake is nestled in the mountains, light and shifty air is usually the norm – it certainly was this weekend.  I know a lot of sailors who would never even attempt to race in such a venue, but to the members of CRSA, it is home and a place of which they’re justly proud and happy to be able to enjoy their sport.

The “base” for the weekend was a shelter house in the woods in one of the National Forest’s camping areas near the marina where most of the members dock their boats.  Most people either stay on their boats for the weekend or camp.  The Club provided breakfast and lunch both days and a phenomenal Cajun dinner on Saturday evening with… you guessed it… BLUEGRASS music.  (Yes, everything was cooked in camp)  It reminded me more of a weekend camping with friends (even though they put me up in a nearby hotel) than it did a “typical” regatta.  It was relaxing and fun.

Winds on Saturday were very much light and shifty (180° shifts within one 5-minute starting sequence at one point) but we were finally able to get off four races – good, not great races – but four nonetheless.  Everybody seemed happy with the day – After all, they’re used to these conditions.  The wind gods were far less kind on Sunday. With no wind visible on the water and forecasts of 0-3 kts all day, we stayed ashore, talked sailing, traded war stories, and then gave out the awards about 11:00 am and everyone packed up and headed home.  

There are a lot of things about the weekend that some may view as not being a “success.”  Like our sailors here at BLYC, Cave Run is also struggling with participation, building a strong junior program, trying to get new people into the sport, and an aging group of current participants.  But, I think it just may be the most enjoyable event I’ve worked this year.  No, it wasn’t some high-level championship – we didn’t have the big parties sponsored by Mount Gay Rum – the winds were, well… barely wind – but, it was a great time sharing the camaraderie of fellow sailors and a day on the water.  What could be better?

I think we can all learn a bit from the folks at Cave Run.

Speed & Smarts.

US Sailing members get access to special editions of America’s Cup winning tactician David Dellenbaugh’s newsletter Speed and Smarts.

Are you a member of US Sailing? 

CLICK HERE to join today!

Below is an excerpt on developing a strong pre-start strategy.

Your strategy is an invaluable guide to keep you on the right track throughout your race. It must be in place when you come off the starting line, and this means you have to begin working on your gameplan well before the start of the race.

There are many things you should consider when putting together a gameplan. Here is a simple three-step process you can use before the start of any race to come up with a solid strategy. The steps are explained in greater detail throughout the rest of this issue.

Step 1: Figure Out What the Wind is Doing

I’ve put the wind in Step 1 because it is often the most crucial strategic factor. In most races, even a small change in the wind can produce a big change in the results. That’s why, in most cases, you should think about the wind more than other strategic factors. The wind is almost always changing in both direction and velocity, and you must consider this when making up your game plan.

For the remainder of this article and other issues of Speed and Smarts login to your My US Sailing account or click here.

I-LYA Traveler Series Regatta a Huge Success

This past Saturday, June 1st, Buckeye Lake Yacht Club hosted the kickoff to the 2019 I-LYA Traveler Series. Seventy-five youth sailors, aged 6-17, made the trip to Buckeye Lake, east of Columbus, and enjoyed a great day of racing. Buckeye Lake, after several years of low water, was back in top form with comfortable temperatures and steady southwest winds blowing 6-15 knots. Spectators lined the piers of BLYC and the new North Shore bike path to watch the racing up close. The series continues next week at Alum Creek Sailing Club in Lewis Center, Ohio and will continue throughout the summer with the finale at Hoover Sailing Club in August.

Thank you to all of the BLYC volunteers who made this event successful. It was truly a team effort and the comments from competitors, parents, and other visitors were very complimentary of the Club and the event.

Full results can be viewed here:


Learn more about the Traveler Series here:

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