Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 Nite Nationals on Green Lake


Greetings from Green Lake, Wisconsin home of this year’s Nite National Championship Regatta.

A field of eighteen Nites, one of the largest in recent years, arrived on Green Lake March 15, 2014 ready for two days of great sailing and a try for some coveted Nite hardware.  If you’ve ever sailed on Green Lake, you know just how big it is.  If you haven’t, this is one of the biggest lakes in Wisconsin—about 7 miles long, a mile-plus wide, and certainly the deepest.  Local sailor Joe Norton reminded us not to drop anything important (as though we could through two solid feet of ice) because it would be a long way to the bottom 210 feet below (gulp).  Just the same cars, trucks and SUV’s of all shapes and sizes drive back and forth across the lake just like the famous Ice Road Truckers of TV fame.  This was a beautiful sheet of ice.  The heaves we sailed across in January have all dropped leaving miles and miles of great ice—enough for our course and the Northwest Ice Yachting Association a couple of miles away.  

Saturday morning, our Judges Jim McCabe and Commodore Sanford set our course about three miles away from the pits where we had a wide open sheet of ice.  All we needed was some wind. Around 11:30, when it failed to show up, skippers parked their boats, unrigged their mainsheets and piled aboard pick-up trucks, trailers and Jim’s Gator for the three-mile ride back to the pits where members of the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club prepared a great lunch for us and the Northwest sailors.  Back out on the ice at 2:00 we held our annual meeting, soaked up the sun, posed for some fleet photos and waited for the wind which never showed up.  Luckily we had a fleet of support vehicles for the tow back to the pits.

The wind did eventually fill in (around 8 pm that night). A few sailors climbed aboard the GLIYC’s big sternsteerer for a moonlight cruise down the lake for a late-nite cocktail at the Heidel House.  Even though the moon slipped behind some clouds sailors and boats made the 14-mile round trip without incident.

Sunday was a different story.  The 10-12 knot breeze came from the northeast--right down the lake—producing a great big course.  Everyone was psyched and ready to go when Jim dropped the flag for the first race around 9:30.  By noon we had five races in (the max for any one day of the regatta).  In the end, this regatta belonged to Scott Brown.   Scott traveled to the regatta from the frozen (really frozen and really snowy) northland of Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.  Sailors who take home the hardware usually claim that it pays to be consistent and Scott’s string of four first-place finishes was the kind of consistency that really pays off.  He’s been a perennial at Nationals for many years but this was the first time Scott left for home with the Nite (first place) punchbowl in his truck.  Well done!

Pewaukee skipper Will Perrigo is no stranger to iceboating. Though this was only his (I think) second Nite Nationals he was equally consistent with a string of second-place finishes.  Green Lake skippers Joe Norton and John Hayashi’s boats sported new spars from Joe’s shop.  They bend like the spars Joe builds for DN’s--a real departure from most Nite masts.  This was the first race outing for these spars and they’re bound to be faster once they’re dialed in.  We also welcomed some new skippers to the line: Paula Bersie, Maureen Bohleber, Joe Hickey and Emma Zeratsky.  Paula received the best Rookie trophy for her first-time appearance at Nationals.  Will Perrigo received the recently-updated perpetual 2nd place trophy that now includes all of the boat numbers from the previous winners and the Master’s Trophy for best finish by a skipper over 60.  Dick Grota, the skipper with the second-oldest boat in the fleet, took home the Grand Master trophy for best finish by a skipper older than— well, older.  

Thanks especially to the Green Lake Nite skippers and members of the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club for hosting a great regatta.  John and Mimi Hayashi, Joe Norton, Maureen and the rest of the gang up there were great hosts, welcoming us back for the second year in a row.

The International Skeeter Association (ISA) regatta has been called on for Green Lake, WI; Madison, WI; Lake Geneva, WI or Sebago, Maine for the weekend of March 21-23.  Nites will have our own start in this big event provided enough of us show up.  Keep watching iceboat.org for the final confirmation that will come around noon CST on Wednesday, March 19.

Results and a few photos are attached.

See you on the ice.


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