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Safety at Sea Training

– by Steve Harris

Recently, a few of us were discussing the upcoming Mills Trophy Race on Lake Erie.  Some of our members are considering entering this year.  The Mills is an overnight distance race starting at the Toledo Lighthouse and ending at Put-in-Bay.  Many Lake Erie sailors consider it a “must do” each season – it’s certainly an adventure.  I’ve been fortunate to serve as Principal Race Officer for this historic event – cancelled last year due to COVID-19, 2021 will be the 97th running of this event.  Being a coastal event, there’s a lot more prep that goes into planning to race in the Mills.  One of the requirements for all crews is US Sailing’s Safety at Sea training.  Traditionally, this was conducted as a two-day, in person course, but like many trainings lately, US Sailing has made an online training option available. Further information is below….

Whether you’re planning to race an event like the Mills, looking to cruise on Lake Erie this summer, or just want to brush up on your safety knowledge and preparedness, I highly recommend taking the training and getting certified in Safety at Sea.  I recently completed the online coastal Safety at Sea Training.  It took a few hours to go through all of the modules, but it was very straightforward, easy to understand, and informative.  Yes – even on shallow Buckeye Lake bad things sometimes happen!  You can never be too prepared.

Online Coastal Safety at Sea

This Online Course is for… Inland and Coastal Racers and Cruisers. This five unit online course is designed to provide you with essential safety information that you can use immediately on the water.  It is for anyone who sails, boats, cruises or races on both inland and coastal waters.

Requirements for a US Sailing Coastal Safety at Sea Certificate:

Successfully completing this course with a final Post-Assessment score of 80 or above.

Cost of the Course

US Sailing Members, $45  (discount code found in “My US Sailing”)
Non-members, $50


Coastal Online covers: Giving Assistance, Personal Safety Gear, Crew Overboard Rescue, Emergency Communication, Search and Rescue.  This course satisfies the requirements for Coastal Races being sailed under United States Special Equipment Regulations 4.3.2.

You will receive a Coastal Safety at Sea Certificate upon completion.

This Coastal Online course DOES NOT FULFILL the requirements to obtain an International Offshore Safety at Sea certificate.


Mills Trophy Race

June 11-12

Pre-Season Prep – Fleet Launch Day is this Saturday!

As we prepare for Fleet Launch Day this Saturday, here are some tips from North Sails on inspecting your sails before you head out on the water this season

to RSVP to Fleet Captain David Paligo or for further information

for an article from Yachting World about a few, key but often overlooked rigging issues to consider fixing before you go mast up for the season

for another pre-season maintenance checklist. 
Courtesy of ThumbWind.

2021 Summer Sailing Events on Lake Erie

Regattas are BACK for 2021!

A number of large regattas in our region are planning to return in 2021 and registration is open.  Scroll down to learn more.

Click on the Logos below to Register

Mills Trophy Race

June 11-12

An overnight, distance race from the Toledo Light to Put-in-Bay, the Mills Trophy Race will return in 2021!  As one of the longest-running premier events on Lake Erie, the Mills is a “must do” for most big boat sailors!


Cleveland Race Week

June 18 - 27

Cleveland Race Week (CRW) has undoubtedly become one of the largest sailing regattas on Lake Erie and one of the largest in the country. The annual event, celebrating its 39th year, attracts hundreds of boats from across the United States and Canada. Nationally, Cleveland Race Week ranks as one of the largest sailing events based on number of sailing classes. Founded in 1980, CRW has developed into 10 days of racing and special events. Based at Edgewater Yacht Club, which recently celebrated their Centennial and underwent a renovation, the event is annually takes place in the summer sailing season. CRW annually draws over 1,800 national and international participants and offers significant marketing exposure to a premiere demographic of sailing professionals, nationally ranked amateurs, junior sailors and female competitors. With over a dozen One Design classes, nine racing divisions in the Handicap (PHRF) Class and three JAM divisions, the event has expanded to four race courses.

I-LYA Bay Week Regatta

July 30 - August 1

The longest continiously operating sailing regatta in North America, Bay Week will return to its full format this year with classes for PHRF, JAM, Hobie Waves, Interlakes, Portsmouth-handicapped dinghies, and Cruising.  Make plans now to spend a weekend at “The Bay” and enjoy racing around the Lake Erie islands!

At the Helm: Man Overboard!

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Published on Sailing ScuttleButt April 22nd, 2021

by Andy Schell, SAIL Magazine
Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and those expected over the next four to eight hours.

The helm feels a little heavy, and it’s going to be dark soon, so we decide to roll up part of the genoa, bringing it in to the first reef mark. In doing so, we’ve also got to move the car forward in order to keep the sheet lead correct—we want it pulling “down” on the leech of the sail as well as aft along the foot to maintain proper shape.

By now our Swan 59, Icebear, is dipping the leeward rail from time to time, and the low side has become the “dangerous” side for the crew who need to work their way forward in order to re-position the car. This maneuver is routine and can happen several times over the course of a four-hour watch when conditions are variable. It’s also risky, making it a great test case for Icebear’s man-overboard safety practices.

As a skipper, if the words “man overboard” don’t send icy chills down your spine, you’re probably not doing enough to prevent it from happening. You go overboard, you’re dead. Simple as that. If we get you back—well, you’ve been very, very lucky. – Full report

Buckeye Lake in the News…

Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director, Mary Mertz, last week announced details of a new H2Ohio wetland project that will help prevent harmful algal blooms on Buckeye Lake….

Click Here to Read More

Water quality at Buckeye Lake is a topic that has been discussed, and cussed, for decades. From faulty septic tanks leaking into the lake to nutrient-rich farm runoff to an out-of-control resident Canada goose population, there has always been plenty of fodder for people to complain, blame, or both, about Buckeye Lake….

Click Here to Read More