I was racing in the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge this past week-end when I found our about the tragic events on Lake Michigan. A cold front swept through on Monday morning and brought 40-knot winds and heavy rain as we headed west along the south shore; it looked sufficiently menacing for us to take sails down but only lasted a few minutes. In short order, we resumed our course towards the next mark as the sun came out to dry boat and crew. It wasn't until later in the day, as we got closer to shore and cellular coverage, that I stepped down in the cabin to reach my iPhone and tweet about the squall that I came across a news update from my colleagues at the Chicago Yacht Club. In shock, I found myself reading it over and over before I could share the news with my fellow crew members; racers like us have just died on a Great Lake race. Fair winds to Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel, from Saginaw, MI who were lost when the yacht WingNuts; deepest respect to the crew of Sociable who successfully rescued six other crew members in the most challenging circumstances.
Back to Lake Ontario, Robert Eckersley from the Queen City Yacht Club in Toronto won the Sperry Cup on Blue Streak, a J/109, in a rather uneventful Lake Ontario 300 Challenge. Tuesday evening flag presentation and post-race party at PCYC was on the quiet side and conversations about the Lake Michigan could be heard everywhere.
The Transpac Race is now over with Hassle crossing the finish line after seventeen days at sea yesterday, great persistence on their part. Best finish goes to Jack Taylor from Dana Point Yacht Club Club in southern California who, on his Santa Cruz 50, completed the course from Long Beach to Hawaii in ten days.
The eighth edition of the biennial Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race starts on Sunday 31 July from Southampton on the south coast of England. Ten identical 68-foot race boats will take crews made up of regular folks who have signed up for the event; with a dedicated skipper on board, they will race each other over multiple legs that will take them around the world for the next year. Each yacht is fully equipped with the latest in communication technologies; we can expect interviews and images from the crew as they challenge themselves over the next months. Find out more at www.clipperroundtheworld.com
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