Please select your home edition
Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Debi Schoenherr on the 61st Annual Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series

by David Schmidt 27 Jul 2022 08:00 PDT July 29-31, 2022
Racecourse action at the Annual Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series © Gretchen Dorian

The sailing season might be shorter on the Great Lakes than it is in warmer regions, but you will have to sail a lot of miles to find a more enthusiastic bunch of sailors than those who hail from the Midwest. While plenty of attention is devoted to distance races such as the Chicago Yacht Club’s Race to Mackinac or the Bayview Mackinac Race, plenty of engaging day-racing events also unfurl on the Midwest’s freshwater expanses. Take, for example, the 61st Annual Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series (July 29-31), which is being organized by the Little Traverse Yacht Club, and which will be contested on the waters of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.

The Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series is open to offshore racing and cruising yachts that are at least 22 feet, LOA, as well as invited One Design classes. Offshore-worthy multihulls are also welcome to compete, so long as there are at least three registered boats.

A glance at the scratch sheet reveals a fleet ranging from J/70s, Melges 24s, J/88s, and Alerion 28s to the GL52 division, which is populated by TP52s (and a Pac52). The J/111 class is also well-represented, with more than 15 competing teams (N.B., this regatta will serve as the J/111 class’s 2022 Great Lakes Championship).

In between these One Design and box-rule classes are the ORC A, ORC B, PHRF A, and PHRF B divisions, which represent everything from Santa Cruz 70s (ORC A) to Beneteau First 36.7s (ORC B), as well as a Sydney 41 (PHRF A) and J/109s (PHRF B).

I checked in with Debi Schoenherr, regatta chair of the 61st Annual Ugotta Regatta and One Design Series, via email, to learn more about this classic Lake Michigan keelboat regatta.

Can you please tell us a bit about the Ugotta Regatta, how it got its colorful moniker, its history and culture, and the kinds of yachts and sailors that one can expect to find here?

Little Traverse Yacht Club Regatta started 61 years ago, providing a fun and "little crazy" regatta, on the weekend following the two Mackinac races. It was run on Saturday and Sunday, including: A point-to-point race each day, which took the boats around a tour of scenic Little Traverse Bay.

The Regatta promoted fun/family/friends racing with a big focus on parties! Within a few years, it was dubbed 'Ugotta Regatta' by the sailors. There were accolades for most number of crew on a boat, the greatest number of junior sailors on a boat, and walking the docks for a ride was encouraged.

[The] Ugotta has evolved over the years and has become a "Bucket List" regatta nationally, according to Terry Hutchinson. We now offer One-Design windward-leeward racing on Friday along with the traditional tour of the Bay on Saturday & Sunday.

There is a separate One Design course for the small boats [such as]: Melges 24s, J/70s and Alerion 28s doing windward-leeward [racing] on Saturday and Sunday as well.

The scratch sheet is now sprinkled with Offshore/Turbo boats and Pros. We have the GL 52's (TP52s), ORC boats ranging in size from 40-70 feet, PHRF boats, and One Design classes of J/111s, Melges 24s, J/70s and Alerions.

The only constant is parties! Dave Irish (R.I.P) who owns Irish Boat Shop, throws a huge welcome party on Friday evening and the tradition continues. LTYC hosts evening parties both Saturday and Sunday evening. The theme for the weekend is: No Coats, No Socks, No Ties!

What kinds of numbers and interest levels are you seeing ahead of the 2022 event compared with previous editions? Also, how many classes do you and the other event organizers plan to score?

We have a limit of 100 boats due to a shortage of dockage. We had 100 boats registered by March 1st and started a waiting list.

Attrition has taken place, but we are still standing at 100. Typically, we lose a few during the two Mac [races], due to irreparable damage , however I believe we will check in with between 95 and 100 [boats].

[We will divide the fleet] into ten classes.

Generally speaking, what kinds of conditions can sailors expect on Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan in late July?

Wow, geographically, we have a wonderful phenomenon in our beautiful Bay. Typically, we have a prevailing breeze that comes in from the West [at] about noon and builds throughout the day from 12 - 18 knots. It makes for fantastic sailing conditions.

Over the years, we have had some strange surprises, such as: three solid days out of the East at 10 - 18, last year we had an unprecedented breeze out of the North for all three days, still 10 - 18. Mother Nature can be so fickle!

What kinds of on-the-water racing can attending skippers and crews look forward to? Are we talking about mostly W-L racing, or will you also run races that use the islands or geographical points as turning marks?

We offer both W/L and the [Bay] Tour (point to point), which covers the entire bay.

We have 18 set Tour courses and we choose a course each day depending on the wind direction, these courses are set up to be mostly windward- leeward crisscrossing the entire Bay.

Are there any new additions or important changes to the 2022 regatta, compared to previous editions?

This year we are hosting the J/111s Great Lakes Championship, within [the] Ugotta [Regatta]. ORC certificates won’t be available until the close of the Chicago Mac race, giving us a two-day turnout to input for our event.

What about onshore entertainment? What can sailors look forward to once the finishing guns have gone silent each day?

Friday evening there is the Irish Boat Shop Party from 5 – 8 (complimentary). Saturday, Regatta party 4 - 8 and Sunday Awards Party [from] 4 -7 at LTYC.

Can you please tell us about any efforts that the club has made over the last year or two to further green-up the regatta and make it an even more sustainable event?

We have been a designated "Sailors for the Sea" event since 2018, when we won a silver level and [we] continue to uphold [this standard] each year.

Related Articles

Charlie Usher on the Firecracker and M15 regatta
A Q&A with Charlie Usher about the 2024 Firecracker and Melges 15 Regatta Sail-World checked in with Charlie Usher, who serves as event chair of the 2024 Firecracker and Melges 15 Regatta, via email, to learn more about this exciting One Design regatta. Posted on 20 Jun
The latest kit for summer boating, rain or shine
Our pick of the latest kit Summer's finally here and the season is in full swing. Here's our pick of the latest kit for racing, cruising and enjoying the water, rain or shine. Posted on 19 Jun
The Devil Wears Detail
Amazing renders have a nasty habit of not being completely thought through Amazing renders do indeed have a nasty habit of not being completely thought through, so complicated as to have a build cost factor of times three, or the proverbial snowflake's chance in hell of ever being built. Sometimes it is even an amalgam. Posted on 18 Jun
A look at the 2024 Newport Bermuda Race
David Schmidt looks at North American racing When it comes to classic 600-mile bluewater races, the biennial Newport Bermuda Race is one of the world's great offshore contests. Posted on 18 Jun
Will Jones and Justin Barnes on their 49er dreams
A Q&A with Will Jones and Justin Barnes about their 49er campaign for the 2024 Olympics Sail-World checked in with Will Jones and Justin Barnes, who are representing Canada in the 49er event at the 2024 Paris Olympics, via email, to learn more about their campaign. Posted on 18 Jun
It's just a stick
It was just like watching an enthusiastic kid It was just like watching an enthusiastic kid. Alinghi's Silvio Arrivabene was totally in the 'nothing to see here' mode, and moreover, was keener to get into the ‘maybe exceeding them' remarks about their targets. Did someone say, ‘Spinal Tap'? Posted on 17 Jun
Corinthian Spirit
The inaugural Corinthian J70 Worlds had a superb entry of 109 boats Sailing has gone through phases of being professional and Corinthian. Originally a pastime for the rich, then becoming a sport for everyone during the boom in the 1960s and 1970s. Posted on 11 Jun
Bill Souter on the latest from MarsKeel
A Q&A with Bill Souter on the latest from MarsKeel Sail-World checked in with Bill Souter, who serve as MarsKeel's technical keel specialist, to learn more about MarsKeel's keel-building operations and business. Posted on 11 Jun
Para, Inclusive and Open RS Venture Connect
We find out more ahead of the upcoming World Championship at Rutland, UK We speak to Dan Jaspers, who is responsible for International Sales and Business Development at the RS Marine Group, about the RS Venture Connect. Posted on 6 Jun
Affordable meets Versatile meets Reliable
It was a real hurdle for me, nay, it was a complete roadblock It was a real hurdle for me. Nay, it was a complete roadblock. I simply felt like I had the most underwhelming headline. For me, this is often the peg in the wall to hang everything off. Posted on 4 Jun
Henri-Lloyd - For the ObsessedMySail SkipperZhik 2024 March - FOOTER