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.