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Spring Thaw 2014

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

It has been COLD! Take heart though, spring is right around the corner along with the Torresen Marine Spring Thaw Open House. Join us on Saturday, March 8th, for a day full of fun, educational seminars, manufacturer representatives, new products, refreshments, special pricing and door prizes. Sign up for our Spring Seminar series while you are here. The Torresen Marine service team will be on hand to help plan your spring work.

Spring Thaw Seminars:

Education: The Boater’s Safety Net – Donald Matthews of the Muskegon Power & Sail Squadron

Sail Replacement, Repair & Maintenance Questions & Answers – Jim Frisinger of Bluffton Bay Sails

NOAA – Muskegon Activities and New Products for Boaters – Dennis Donahue of NOAA

Featured Product Representatives:

Bell Industries

Bluffton Bay Sails


Interlux Paint

Land N Sea – SeaDog

Muskegon Power Squadron


Quantum Sails

Sail Place

Samson Rope

Total Marine Services – Ronstan-Andersen, Gori-Vari Prop, Edson, Epifanes

UK Sails

Come on out and take advantage of great prices while visiting with your sailing friends after a long winter. We look forward to seeing you!

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Stuff Sale

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Do you have any boat “stuff” laying around? Have your been saying to yourself  “I really should sell this?” Or maybe you’ve been looking to replace something but it’s either an odd piece that is hard to find or you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. If you can relate to any of these, please come visit the Torresen Marine Ship Store on Saturday, April 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for our first annual Stuff Sale!

This is your chance to sell, trade or buy marine equipment, accessories, electronics, tools, books, etc. It is $35 per table to sell your “stuff”. Registrants keep all the proceeds from their sales.

Admission is free to come in to browse or buy another sailors “stuff”. Who knows what you might find?

Contact Karen in our ships store for more details or to rent a table for the day. Hope to see you there!

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An Interview With The Worthy 2012 MC Scow National Champion Jamie Kimball By Eric Hood

Friday, October 26th, 2012


We are visiting today with our new 2012 MC Scow National Champion Jamie Kimball from Spring Lake, Michigan. First of all on behalf of the entire MC Class we have to say congratulations Jamie on winning big at the National Championship at White Lake, plus winning two other majors and the season class rankings. We have some questions we would love to get your thoughts and insights on about your sailing program that might help the rest of us get better with our sailing programs. So here we go with our first question.

E Hood: Jamie can you give us some basics on how long you have been sailing, how you got started and talk about a few mentors who really made a difference for your enthusiasm and career for sailing?

JamieThanks Eric! I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI so I began sailing on Reeds Lake at the Grand Rapids Yacht Club and later the Spring Lake Yacht Club. The butterfly was the junior boat, which is what I first learned to sail.  Rather than heading to summer camp when I was younger, my parents dropped me off at the yacht club every morning for sailing school and the better part of most days. This is where I developed a passion for the sport and some of my closest friendships that I still have today. I’d encourage anyone and everyone to enlist their children in their local sailing school. Forget camp, and send them to the closest yacht club.

As my brother, Rob, and I got older, we eventually transitioned into MC, C, and E scows at the Spring Lake Yacht Club in MI. Truthfully, and a lot of enthusiasm for the sport came from beating my older brother. I loved how angry he would get- it was awesome! Over the years, we’ve learned to sail together and we’ve had some great success, but I still like to put it to him when I get the chance. If you don’t have an older brother or sister, you might not be able to see where I’m coming from. Even though I typically put it to him, he has been my greatest mentor for sailing and pretty much everything else.

E Hood: What can you share with MC sailors and for that matter sailors from other classes about your regatta preparation? I guess we are really asking three questions today. One, what is your physical prep, two, what is your mental prep and three, how do you prep your boat? A follow-up question to these three questions would be how much does preparation truly play in the total equation?

Jamie: Regatta preparation really comes down to how serious you want to get. During college I always tried to be the most physically fit sailor on the water, since I was never the lightest. This was difficult with all the distractions in Charleston, SC, but I think I did a pretty good job. I needed this advantage to make up for my weight and lack of talent and experience in the FJ and 420. I typically had better results at windier events. In any scow, it helps to be physically fit, so I try to stay in decent shape. I need to lift weights more often, but I still run 4 to 5 miles almost every day. 

With regards to mental preparation, I try not to over think things and basically try to keep “fun” a focus.  I also try to think about the process rather than focus on the results. The process of having good starts, tacks, gybes, boat speed, tactics, and a little bit of good luck leads to good results.  If you focus on executing the process, results will follow. With regards to boat preparation, the last thing you want to be thinking during a race is that your boat is slow or your sail is bad. My goal for every race is to leave the dock with the feeling that I have the fastest boat in the fleet. That might take a pre-regatta waxing, washing, new lines, or maybe even a new sail.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate (aka spoiled) to race with good equipment, so I haven’t had to put too much work into this area and have been able to devote more time on the water. Melges also does a great job of having the boats race-ready when the leave the factory. We’re really fortunate that we don’t have to mess with too much.

E Hood: I know that when sailing in big fleets like this one with 94 boats that I set some goals for starting and the first mark just to survive. I missed my goals in three of seven races and it truly hurt not hitting a good start or being in the top 15 at the first mark no matter what. Give us some thoughts on what your game plan included. Run us through pre-start to start to first beat and beyond. Do you have some non-negotiables in your game plan like not sailing in dirty air, headers (at what point do you pull the trigger and tack). Give us a few examples from the seven races at the Nationals this year.

Jamie: For me it goes back to the process and not focusing on the results. Before the regatta at White Lake ever started, I knew that I was going to be deep and have to battle back throughout the series.  With 94 boats or any large fleet for that matter, you’re bound to run into trouble and find yourself deep in the fleet at some point.  What can lead to a good result or a bad result is the process that follows.       

In the 5th race at the nationals on White Lake, I found myself deep up the first beat. I started just to leeward of the midline boat as I had done in the previous four races.  My start was actually pretty good, but soon after a big left shift came in. Pretty much all 94 boats tacked to port. I still had a nice lane on port tack sailing up the beat, but I was on the wrong side of this persistent shift.  At the windward mark, I was probably mid fleet. I assessed the situation and noticed I was right next to two good boats- Cam McNeil and Justin Hood. At this point you have two choices- panic and give up or focus on the process. 

Fortunately I had been in this situation a time or two before, and knew I could still salvage a good result if I focused on doing the little things right. I didn’t panic and continued on with my process. The winds for this race were in the 8-12 mph range and were pretty shifty. Perfect conditions to pass a lot of boats!  With a big fleet, it can be tough to find clear air, so you need to determine early on what is more important – clear air or sailing the lifted tack. With the shifty conditions, I thought it was more important to be on the lifted tack, and at times sacrificing clear air. 

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to sail the Melges 20 with Chris Rast and Michael Kiss, two really good sailors, and we often set up to practice sailing in dirty air (not while we are actually racing). Chris and Michael think it’s important to be able to sail well in bad air. If you can sail your boat fast in bad air, you should be all right. In this fifth race at the nationals, I committed to sailing the lifted tack and doing the little things right, all along sailing in dirtier air than I normally would have liked. In the end, it seemed to pay off and I was able to crawl all the way up to 12th.  Although my “result” was the lowest of my series, I thought it was my best race. 

E Hood: So a big group was from Western Michigan. Heck, I grew up there.  You sail there a lot with the likes of Cam McNeil, John McNeil, Ben McNeil, Doug McNeil and so many others who have a ton of hours on White Lake.  Then we all had the curve ball thrown at us and we sailed in a part of the lake that has not been used in about 10,000 years. We had some great racing there but it was really tricky.   Looking at the scores for everyone really just you , maybe Bill Colburn and Andy Burdick who tied for second came even close to surviving all the races on this course.  In my mind the top of the course the last 200 yards in was a game changer for most of us.  Give us your viewpoint of the tough spots on this course.  Did you see anything race after race that most everyone was missing (it is okay to share now)? 

Jamie: You are spot on! The last 200 yards into the windward mark were crucial (especially the first windward mark).  Often there were 15 boats from the left and 15 boats from the right converging at the first windward mark in just a few seconds.  The left was a little more favored than the right. It was easier to cross starboard tack boats, and more leaders came from the left.  On average, there were 2-3 shifts in the last 200 yards, so it did not pay to get to a layline early. 

Trying to avoid the layline too early, I did my best to sail the shifts between the leaders on both sides, all along keeping an eye on the starboard train coming to the windward mark. Luckily, I never had to duck too many starboard boats entering the 3 boat length circle on port tack.  Ducking the starboard train can be a race killer!   A great passing opportunity for me was to lee bow and tack below boats on the starboard tack layline knowing that a left shift would occur sometime in the last 200 yards. The left shift would allow me to tack and cross boats that were ahead of me.

We had the same wind direction and course setup for the first 2 days of the regatta. Generally, I thought the left side of the course was favored, so I always went left if I was ever in doubt. With that said, I still started every race somewhere in the middle of the starting line. I thought it was important for me to stay out of trouble and keep my options open. On average, I thought there were 10 shifts per beat, so you typically did not have to bang a corner. Having decent air and sailing the shifts usually got me to the windward mark in the top group, which is really half the battle. If you can make it around the first mark in the top group, it usually gets easier from there.  Hopefully, anyway!     

E Hood: What would be your best advice to anyone new to the class or somebody who has been in for a while but really wants to improve their game. For example I got some great advice from a good friend of mine Bill Hybels a couple of years ago and he said just get 5-10% better each year. Ever since I heard that I am always looking at things differently. Five yards at a time or one boat length at a time.  Anything special you can share with new sailors?

Jamie: Best advice? That is tough. I have learned a lot by watching other sailors sail their boat. The next time you are at a regatta, tune up with the regatta leader before the race, or watch them during the race.  Ask yourself the following.  How is their body positioned in the boat? How hard are they hiking?  How hard are they trimming their main? How much boomvang, Cunningham, and outhaul do they have on?  For instance, Andy Burdick rounded a leeward mark right behind me at the Nationals.  I looked back and noticed he had more boomvang on, wasn’t hiking as hard, wasn’t trimming his main as hard, and had his traveler higher. I adjusted my settings and tried to replicate his setup. The result…unfortunately Andy passed me! But you get my point. If you are able to sail your boat exactly like the leaders in the fleet, you will improve your results. 

E Hood: Okay we so appreciate your thoughts on the questions and ideas above.  As National Champion the floor is yours. Anything you want to share with the MC sailors and other sailors about the regatta, our sport please do so.

Jamie: Eric, thanks again for giving me the opportunity. I’d like to give some praise to Cam McNeil, a close friend and great competitor, who chaired the MC Nationals this year. I think everyone would agree that he did an incredible job and deserves all the credit. With a 94 boat fleet, housing was made available to everyone who requested it. This is a true testament to the class and character of the White Lake Yacht Club members and families. A great deal of gratitude is owed to Cam and his team.

To my knowledge there were 9 junior skippers at this event. Encouraging youth participation should be a primary goal of the MC Class Association.  You mentioned this in your speech at the Saturday dinner.  We need to teach the younger sailors and expose the next generation to our great sport. It should be our focus going forward to maintain the health and growth of our great class! The 2013 MC Nationals will be held in Clear Lake, IA next June.  As a class, we should promote, set a goal, and create an initiative to get as many juniors to this event as possible.            

E Hood: Again, Jamie for all of us in the class at the factory and in the sport of sailing want to congratulate you on a fantastic season with great wins!!!

Thank you sharing your thoughts with all of us. You are a great sport and asset to the sport of sailing

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Richardson Trophy victory for Don Wilson and crew

Monday, October 22nd, 2012
’100th Richardson Trophy’    CMRC – Chicago Match Race Center – ©


The Chicago Match Race Center’s Don Wilson and his crew of sister Jen Wilson, Sally Barkow, Tod Reynolds and Erik Shampain have today claimed victory in the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes’ 100th edition of the Richardson Trophy on an impressive streak of victories: in 24 flights, Wilson and team lost only three matches in the three days of this event. By doing so, Wilson joins a long tradition of repeat winners of this venerable trophy, the world’s oldest match racing trophy that is not a challenge cup.

‘The top four teams were all solid, but we knew we had our work cut out for us in the semis and finals,’ says Wilson. ‘The scoreline made the finals look easy; it was anything but that. Sally and the team did a great job keeping us on the lifted tack at all times which was crucial to success upwind. We are stoked to have won this two years in a row.’

Besides their opponents in today’s concluding matches of the double Round Robin, Semi-Finals and Finals, another adversary for Wilson and the other ten teams was the weather. A strong approaching cold front brought 15-25 knot conditions, accompanied by sudden shifts and rain squalls so dense to obscure the race course set off Chicago’s Belmont Harbor. Accordingly, CMRC race managers ordered reefed mains and no spinnakers to limit any damage, especially after yesterday’s dismasting towards the end of the day.

Wilson celebrates his win with Sally Barkow – Richardson Trophy -  CMRC – Chicago Match Race Center – ©  

This made passing lanes downwind more difficult while just under main and jib, but it also kept the racing close so that the upwind legs could be used to play the frequent shifts. It was here that Wilson and team did especially well, gaining back after trailing to rival Nathan Hollerbach in the Finals pre-starts. Hollerbach’s eventual loss to Wilson was a hard one, as he was hoping to not only repeat his win earned in 2002 with brother Adam, but also carry on a family tradition of bringing the trophy home to Detroit’s Bayview YC: Hollerbachs won three Richardson Trophies in the 1970′s.

But Hollerbach did win the only stage to go to three matches in the first-to-two point Semi-Finals against Lake Minnetonka YC’s Sam Rogers, who sailing his first Grade 3 match racing event as a skipper and not a crew.

Another former Richardson winner in the Final Four was Terry McLaughlin of the Royal Canadian YC, who won in 2007 but today could not get past Wilson in the Semi-Finals, falling to the Chicago team 2-0. Against Rogers, however, he went on to win third place in a straight 2-0 series.

Chicago Match Race Center website
by Chicago Match Race Center

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Brian Porter and Full Throttle Masterfully Win The 2012 Melges 24 Fall Championship Regatta

Friday, October 12th, 2012

9 October 2012

The 2012 Melges 24 Fall Championship hosted by Lake Geneva Yacht Club proved to be a huge success with plenty of competitive racing and great social events. A strong fleet of 24 boats from 6 different states traveled to Lake Geneva to compete for top honors. An ambitious 7 races were scheduled for the two day event. Lake Geneva kept her promise the first day with winds out of the Northwest 18-20 mph with the shoreline scenery in peak Fall color. PRO Mike Sherin and the competitors kept the racing on the water as there were only one set of letters (DNC) posted on the final results.

The excitement started with three short races to jumpstart the regatta. Starts were of premium importance and race 2 saw plenty of action at the boat end and the beloved LGYC Flag Ship got broad sided just before the starting gun. Local favorite Brian Porter aboard Full Throttle took the gun the first two races. The second race he won by a full two minutes! Lake Geneva Yacht Club Commodore John Simms aboard Chaos 24/7 took third. Porter would have gotten a third bullet in race three had not his good friend and rival from Coast Mesa, California, Brian Ayres aboard Monsoon squeezed ahead of him at the finish by a little more than a boat length. The always colorful Mike Dow from Grand Traverse Yacht Club aboard Flying Toaster finished third.

Race 4 and 5 were of the longer variety and the race committee adjusted the course for an East shift. Another local, Mike Keefe aboard Oxygen and 2011 National Champion Bora Gulari aboard borrowed boat Hoodlum battled it out for the top spot. Bora got the win at the end finishing with Lake Geneva Yacht Club’s Mike Keefe well ahead of the fleet.

For Race 5 the wind shifted even a little bit more right and after two consecutive general recalls PRO Mike Sherin had to give the fleet a little “religion” and the black flag was displayed. The fleet got the message and the longest race of the day started without a penalty. Bora Gulari won followed by Brian Porter.

The wind was a bit lighter the second day but still in the 10-12 mph range. Overcast skies still prevailed and though the competitors hoped for a rise in temperature, the bite of Autumn chill was still in the air. Aboard Tom Freytag’s Wicked Feet a crew sported a sombrero though there was no concern of sun. Race 6 saw Pat Sagan aboard The Djiin taking the top spot. Pat also had a good regatta finishing 7th overall. In second place was Porter’s Full Throttle with J. Ledsworth aboard Blufton Bay Sails taking third.

The final race of the regatta saw a left wind shift at the finish that came too late for a Charlie.” Brian Porter again took the final gun followed by Lake Geneva local Mike Keefe aboard Oxygen. Also aboard Oxygen was Kevin Jewitt and fiancé Carolina Davila with bags packed for their move to Charleston, South Carolina. Good Luck! Midwest Melges 24 Fleet Captain Augi Hernandez pulled out the third. As the last boat finished the first glimpse of sunshine all weekend burst through the clouds.

Brian Porter and Full Throttle masterfully won the regatta 1-1-2-3-2-2-1 followed by Bora Guluari, Mike Dow and Mike Keefe. Congratulations to all!

1.Brian Porter, Full Throttle 1-1-2-3-2-2-1=12
2.Bora Gulari, West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes 2-9-6-1-1-6-4=29
3.Mike Dow, Flying Toaster 3-13-3-5-6-8-8=46
4.Mike Keefe, Oxygen 4-10-9-2-17-7-2=51
5.Dan Wright, Maggie 9-6-7-7-8-5-9=51
6.Sailor Vowels, I’m with Stupid 5-7-10-6-5-10-10=53
7.GS Gray/Sagan, The Djinn 8-5-8-10-12-1-11=55
8.Bruce Ayres, Monsoon 10-14-1-14-3-9-7=58
9.Tom Freytag, Wicked Feet 6-22-4-8-4-14-6=64
10.August Hernandez, High Voltage 7-18-5-9-9-16-3=67

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Being the Mystery Guest

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Scuttlebutt News:

Being the Mystery Guest
By Peter Isler

Peter Isler

“It’s the best regatta! Just stay out of the middle on the runs,” counseled my friend Dave Ullman. “You’ll have a great time, the E-Scow is one of the most refined one design classes in the world – it’s on par with the Star,” said Dennis Conner. “You’ll do great, just don’t let them over-serve you,” added Gary Jobson. Those were some of the tidbits of advice I got from former Mystery Guests at the fabled E Scow Blue Chip regatta. This past weekend (Sept. 21-23) in Pewaukee, WI… it was my turn!

Everybody should get the chance to be a “Mystery Guest” at some point in their life. Here’s the gist of it: sail with a crew of four in one of the fastest and most developed one design classes in the world in big breeze against the best sailors in that class on a lake with a deep rooted sailing tradition that has made it the “heartland of American sailing” for many years. On the surface the Mystery Guest’s role might seem pretty obvious – but as the late Roy Disney used to say, “The devil is in the details.”

Over the past 47 years of the Blue Chip, a wide variety of “celebrity sailors” have been invited to take part in this epic three day regatta – which closes down the sailing season for the class with a bang. The obvious duties of the Mystery Guest are to take the helm of an E boat with a local ace crew for the regatta – racing against 20 or so teams from around the E Scow universe that have qualified during the season to attend the event. But there’s so much more.

You have to put up with some of the best hospitality imaginable … being treated better than a king for four days. You quickly realize that the regatta is not just about the sailing… the shoreside feasting and festivities are more than equal in importance. And the Mystery Guest is asked to keep up with the “pedal to the metal” pace of the participants both on and off the water!

Mystery guest lore runs deep – but looking back at the score sheet – success on the water is rare – only a few have mastered the E Scow’s secrets and broken the code to the wind shifts on little Pewaukee Lake. In 47 years only seven Mystery Guests have made it into the top three. Two San Diego sailors, Dennis Conner (1977) and Andrew Campbell (2011) pulled off the impossible by winning the ultimate “away game”. But nobody at Pewaukee YC seems to put too much of import of the MG’s regatta score… it’s all about showing the Mystery Guest a real good time, and looking forward to the big Saturday night banquet when the Mystery Guest gets to entertain the crowd with some tasty sea stories over dessert.


I had never sailed an E Scow – but I had seen them before, and I had spent three days out on Pewaukee Lake – teaching a US Sailing Advanced Racing Clinic to the E-Scow and M20 fleet. I was a hot college sailor and I’d never seen a scow sailing before – but I soon was hooked. The boats are super powered up – and sail on their edges, heeled over to reduce wetted surface, increase waterline and orient the lee board vertically – in 12 knots they are flying and in 20 knots they are off the chart sailing fun – especially downwind. I didn’t have a pocket gps, but we had great breeze all weekend and I’d bet the boats go upwind at about 9 knots – tacking through 75 degrees… and downwind, with the masthead A-sail the boats easily break 20 knots. A local sailor told me they pulled 2 wake boarders behind the boat earlier in the summer – I believe it.

The first real cold front of the season came through on schedule – on the first day of fall and we had some smoking great breeze that proved a bit much for some of the class “experts” on Saturday. I counted about 7 capsizes including two directly in front of us that caused my heart to race just a bit to avoid them. Talking to the victims later – the blame was not placed on the 45 degree – 25 knot puffs – but the “activities” of the previous evening – or should I say early morning? Luckily the Mystery Guest was able to keep the mast pointed at the sky – though we did have a couple of heart wrenching moments. I seemed to get the hang of upwind boatspeed pretty quickly – but picking the right side of the course sailing downwind (and concurrently keeping the mast pointed at the sky) were a challenge and when the six race scores were tallied – we finished in 13th place.

2012 Class National Champion, Andy Burdick and team completed a season “hat trick” – averaging better than 2nd place and winning his second Blue Chip by 18 points. Andy and gang also won the big A Scow Nationals in 2012 – an impressive clean sweep of the big scow Classes for the well-liked President of Melges Performance Sailboats.

The impressive thing for me was to see how successful the 28 foot, E Scow has been in transitioning through the generations. It’s roots come from the big 38 foot A Scow – created in 1901, that was, for many years, the world’s fastest monohull. The E Scow is easily on its third generation of sailors and still attracting the best young sailors in the Inland Lakes region… for good reason; this boat is well balanced, well rigged and very high performance. And on the smooth water of Pewaukee Lake – you wouldn’t want to race any other boat.

Except maybe the giant big brother A scow! After the awards’ ceremony on Sunday, PYC Commodore Dave Decker made good on his late Saturday night promise and we launched his A boat and I got to take the helm for spin around the lake. Tick another item off my bucket list! I still had a few more hours before my plane departed, so in the Blue Chip spirit of keeping the pedal to the metal, I rode over to the brand new Harken headquarters where I got a tour from my good friend and Pewaukee legend, Olaf Harken.

Olaf and his brother Peter represent, to me the epitome of American business success. The new facility is huge and state of the art … who knew that robots built the blocks that we all use on our boats! A cool touch that hammers home the one design performance heritage of the Harken company is a fully rigged Finn dinghy (with USA sail numbers) on display in the foyer. Olaf said it was the last boat manufactured by their sister company Vanguard – part of the fleet that went to the 1996 Olympics – it’s never touched the water!

So I got to add my name to the long and illustrious list of Blue Chip Mystery Guests. It was so much fun – I’m thinking of trying to sail a few E regattas next summer! Hopefully I upheld the tradition and the high bar set by my peers. But somehow I don’t think anyone will be able to surpass the performance of Russell Coutts, mystery guest in 1995 (the year Black Magic took the Cup to NZL). Over the course of four days I heard more stories about Russell than any other Mystery Guest. But none of them were about the sailing… no one ever even hinted on how he finished – the Mystery Guest’s legacy is clearly tied to their performance on shore as well as on the water!

Photos by Tammy Sawyer

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Flash Gordon 6 Wins Rolex Farr 40 Worlds

Monday, October 1st, 2012
Flash Gordon 6 crew celebrate
Flash Gordon 6 crew celebrate
©Rolex / Kurt Arrigo
Rolex Farr 40 World Championship
Chicago, USA
Chicago architect Helmut Jahn has won the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship after nine races across four days of competition on Lake Michigan.

A stalwart of the grand-prix class, Jahn’s previous best result was a fourth place at last year’s Rolex Farr 40 World Championship which was contested in Sydney, Australia. After more than a dozen times racing in the world championship, it seems fitting that Jahn claims the 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title while racing from his home club, Chicago Yacht Club, against a backdrop of the city that is graced by some of his work.

With the race committee hoping to run three races for the final day of the series, the first race of the day got underway in a westerly breeze of 13 knots with gusts to 24. John Demourkas, on Groovederci (USA), led the fleet around the first two marks of the 6.4 nautical mile course, only to be overtaken by Hasip Gencer on Asterisk Uno (TUR) who cruised on to cross the finish just four hundredths of a second ahead of him. Enfant Terrible (ITA) was third across the line, followed by Charisma (USA) and Barking Mad (USA). Standings leader Helmut Jahn, on Flash Gordon 6 (USA), was sixth which was enough to both keep him in the lead and also increase his points cushion from 10 to 13.

After a wait for the wind to stabilize and then two general recalls, the second race got underway in approximately 12 knots with gusts to 17. Enfant Terrible won and was followed 10 seconds later by Nightshift and Heartbreaker, with Struntje light and Transfusion rounding out the top-five finishers. With a seventh place finish, their worst of the series, Flash Gordon 6 secured the championship crown. With the time limit for starting another race running out, the championship was determined with nine races.

“We knew we had 10 points [margin] this morning, and Transfusion was clearly our competitor,”
said Bill Hardesty, Helmut Jahn’s tactician on Flash Gordon 6. “We were able to stay close to them in the first race. They took a little bit of risk and ended dropping back and getting a couple extra points so that made things a little bit more comfortable for us. But the race committee kept talking about doing two more races so we didn’t feel quite out of the woods yet. When the wind was so weird out there it just whittled away at the time and they could only get one more race in. It came down to us needing a top-12 finish. It was just a surreal feeling. It’s an amazing event to win.”

Driving Flash Gordon 6 on the start and first beat of each race was Evan Jahn, Helmut’s son. “It’s something we’ve been after for a really long time,” he said of the win. “For many years it didn’t feel like we were getting any closer. To just achieve it is pretty tremendous for us. To sail and win with Dad, I’ve thought about that actually for the last few days. We’ve been doing this for so long. Our relationship has gotten so much stronger just by sailing together. This is a crowning achievement for a very long tenure in this class and to be able to share it with my Dad is pretty special.”

The senior Jahn took up sailing because, as he explained, he needed something else in life to balance a very demanding profession. “I take it very seriously,” said Helmut Jahn. “I never sailed because I thought ‘I’ll win the world championship.’ That wasn’t something I thought I had to do. But doing it [winning] is just incredible. It makes me feel that maybe I’m not a better sailor, but I’m a better architect.” He went on to explain that he didn’t think the team had an advantage because they were sailing in home waters. “You saw that we had different conditions every day. This is actually the great thing about sailing, its unpredictable and it’s not something you can actually prepare yourself for. Sailing at home we had somehow had a sense we were on a mission. Like so many teams, they do better at home, I think it was the belief … the concentration, the preparation that we did in the last three weeks which got us in.

“The one requisite was that we had to have the right amount of speed. Bill Hardesty, our tactician, kept us out of trouble. We didn’t make mistakes. We didn’t think we needed to win the races. We just didn’t want a bad race. I set, on Sunday night, the goal – never any double digits. So a lot of things fell in place. We set our goals at a level where we could win. We achieved those goals. Retire? I want to celebrate now.”

The winner of the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship was crowned based on the sum of all races for each yacht (i.e. no discards). Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon 6 won the series with 41 points. The win of the last race by Alberto Rossi on Enfant Terrible (ITA) moved them up two spots in the overall standings to take second with 51 points. The defending champion, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion (AUS), took the remaining spot on the podium with 52 points. Wolfgang Schaefer on Struntje light was fourth overall with 62 points, followed by John Demourkas on Groovederci (USA) with 66 points.

Further information on the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds can be found at and

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Why So Many Waterspouts in the Great Lakes?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

There have been dozens of sightings of waterspouts on the Great Lakes over the past several weeks. While waterspouts are a common occurrence across the lakes this time of year, their frequency this year is unprecedented.

There have been dozens of sightings of waterspouts on the Great Lakes over the past several weeks. While waterspouts are a common occurrence across the lakes this time of year, their frequency this year is unprecedented. 

Photos: Awesome Waterspout Photos From the Weekend 

A record 154 waterspouts have been sighted on the Great Lakes, meteorologist Wade Szilagyi told NBC News on Monday. Szilagyi is head of Canada’s International Centre for Waterspout Research. Records have been kept by the Canadian research service since 1994. 

So why has this year been so extraordinary? meteorologists believe one important factor is at work. 

Warm Summer, Warm Lakes 

Waterspouts are short-lived tornadolike funnels that form over water due in part to tremendous differences in temperatures well up the atmosphere and on the water surface. 

They are commonplace this time of year as cooler air masses move over the warm Great Lakes, where water temperatures are usually at their peak following the summer months. 

As anyone who lives in the region can attest to, it was a hot summer, enough so to break records

Lake water temperatures are several degrees above normal from the summer warmth, currently as high as 70 degrees in shallow Lake Erie. 

Combine that with near-record chilly blasts flowing over the lakes since the first week of the month and you have a bonafide recipe for scores of waterspouts, and a plausible explanation for the new record. 

More to Come? 

While a natural balancing act between air and water temperatures tends to take place rather quickly as we head deeper into the autumn months, waterspouts are typical deep into October. 


Twitter user @Budd1983 took this photo of a waterspout near Elyria, Ohio. 

Over the next several weeks however, the Long Range forecasting team expects less frequent and less severe chilly snaps as a milder pattern takes hold across the eastern half of the country through early October. 

Instead of dozens of waterspouts on the cooler days in the Great Lakes, reports of them should become more sparse over the coming weeks. 

Waterspouts are often awe-inspiring when viewed from a safe place onshore, but sometimes they can be destructive. 

Mariners should always treat every waterspout seriously since they can easily toss about vessels like toys. Rarely, significant damage can occur if they move inland. has compiled some of the best photos and videos from social media of waterspouts this past weekend in the Great Lakes. If you have any cool shots, be sure to pass them along on our Twitter or Facebook accounts. 

Photos: Awesome Waterspout Photos From the Weekend

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Rolex Farr 40 World Championship kicks off with Farr 40 Pre-Worlds

Friday, September 14th, 2012
‘Starting line action at the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship 4th stop on the five-event North American Circuit – Farr 40 Pre-Worlds and US Circuit Championship 2012′    Daniel Forster – copyright


Farr 40 Pre-Worlds 2012 kicks off tomorrow when twenty teams from eight countries will be lined up to race for two days in the opening act of next week’s 2012 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship held at Chicago YC. And while the Pre-Worlds marks the beginning of the Worlds, it also is the last two days of racing in the five-event North American Circuit leading up to this final showdown. Eleven teams entered this series, which started at Quantum Key West in January, went to Miami in March, Annapolis in May, Newport in July and now will finish in Chicago.

Racing in the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds will start next week on Monday, September 17th and run daily through Thursday, September 20th.

Leading the US Circuit is Jim Richardson and his Barking Mad team from Newport, RI. Richardson won the last stage in Newport to earn the North American Championship crown, and won the first stage in January at Quantum Key West. Barking Mad has earned three past World Championship titles, dating right back to 1998 in the class’s inaugural Worlds in Miami, so they sit as a strong favorite here in Chicago.

The series runner-up, however, is only three points back, is also a multiple World Champion, and comes to Chicago well-armed for battle. Alberto Rossi’s Italian team on Enfant Terrible not only won the NA Circuit event 2 in Miami, but just a month ago defended his title as the ORCi Offshore World Champion, defeating 45 competitors from 15 countries in at the Audi ORCi World Championship in Helsinki. While not a Farr 40 class event, Rossi said ‘It was a difficult series, but we are really pleased. The team sailed very well through some tough conditions, but in the end it was our consistency that was important.’

And it may very well be consistency that wins this series as well, as the third-placed team in the standings, Wolfgang and Angela Schaefer’s Struntje Light team, has put all third-place finishes on the leaderboard. The German team stands only three points behind Enfant Terrible, and with one discard available in the series may be able to overcome the leaders if they trip and fall in this last and most difficult circuit event. Not only does this have the largest turnout of boats, but these boats are littered with tactical talent among several Olympic medalists, class World Champions, match racing champions, and America’s Cup veterans.

‘We have had this Pre-Worlds format in this class for 15 years now, and found it to be a really valuable tune-up opportunity for the teams as well as the race managers,’ said Geoff Stagg, Farr 40 Class Manager. ‘As the last event in the US circuit, it has also been a great incentive for the class to race together several times before leading into the Worlds, which makes them better prepared for the tough fight ahead.’

The intent of the race management team led by Peter Reggio will be to start each day’s first race in the Pre-Worlds at 11:00 AM, with no more than three races held each day, and no new race started on Saturday past 3:30 PM. The current forecast looks favorable for close racing, as post-frontal clearing skies will be accompanied by northerly winds on the Lake.

Farr 40 Class Association website
by Farr 40 Class Association

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Water Runs Through Us: Muskegon leaders spent decades assembling the city’s vast Lake Michigan beaches

Friday, September 14th, 2012

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon residents sometimes have a way of looking around at their lakeshore neighbors with an envious eye toward what they’d like their community to become.

An historic look at Pere Marquette Park Enlarge Muskegon Chronicle staff Muskegon’s love affair with its beaches officially began in 1890, when the Muskegon Railway Co. opened a new streetcar line to Lake Michigan Park, now Pere Marquette Park. Although beachwear differed considerably from nowadays, cooling off in the big lake was one of main reasons to pay for ride on the trolley. Chronicle file photo circa 1916. Photo available for sale please contact Ken Stevens at if interested. An historic look at Pere Marquette Park gallery (9 photos)

  • An historic look at Pere Marquette Park
  • An historic look at Pere Marquette Park
  • An historic look at Pere Marquette Park
  • An historic look at Pere Marquette Park
  • An historic look at Pere Marquette Park

No doubt the fine folks of Acme, Mich., would look at the city of Muskegon and its beloved Pere Marquette Park beach in the same way.

Acme Township, just north of Traverse City on U.S. 31, has about a mile of the East Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay that community leaders would like to assemble as a destination and signature attraction for their community.

The problem is that prior generations of leadership in Acme did not have the vision of their counterparts in Muskegon.

The citizens of Acme find themselves needing to go through a long and expensive process of assembling that land as they start with a small park on the north of their coveted waterfront and a small state transportation roadside park on the south. The Acme Shores organization is in the third phase of their development program, a $1.6 million acquisition of a motel property and demolition of another motel and restaurant.

Acme leaders would look longingly to Muskegon, where the city over the course of generations acquired every inch of its Lake Michigan frontage – 2.3 miles from the Muskegon Channel on the north to Kruse Park on the south.

From 1890 to 1970, that has created Pere Marquette Park, Margaret Drake Elliot Park, Lake Michigan Park, the area now known as Dog Beach and Kruse Park, once called Bronson Park. It is an open beach area with clean, white sands, accessible to all for no charge.

“Acme Township is involved in purchasing a beachfront in order to become a ‘destination,’” Chris Willis wrote on Facebook recently.

She is a Beachwood Neighborhood resident and a crusader in the “friends of Dog Beach” group.

“We here in Muskegon already have our destination beaches. Are we using them for our best advantage, or do we take them for granted?” Willis asked. The Muskegon Chronicle and MLive series “Water Runs Through Us” is taking a look this week at the community’s crown jewel, Pere Marquette beach.

$3,000 then, $100 million now

Just how Muskegon is in the fortunate position of publicly controlling all of its Lake Michigan shoreline is a story that, like much in Muskegon, began with lumber baron and community benefactor Charles Hackley.


1890: Bronson farm at the end of Sherman Boulevard was purchased by the city for potential use as a water filtration plant site.

1924: The city receives 113 acres from the Pere Marquette Railway that eventually was dedicated in 1927 as Pere Marquette Park.

1933: The city exchanges its city yards at Morris Avenue and Second Street in downtown Muskegon with the Muskegon Gas Co. for a half mile of waterfront south of Pere Marquette.

1938: The city purchases the Meeske estate property, giving it an additional 2,450 feet of shoreline. the city forgave property taxes for property on Lakeshore Drive in exchange for the Clink estate property, 728 feet of waterfront north of Bronson Park.

1969: The city purchases an 18-acre site between Bronson and Pere Marquette parks from the CWC Foundry Inc.

1970: The city obtains the Bolt property through the Muskegon County Circuit Court, providing the final 11 acres to complete the entire public ownership of the Lake Michigan waterfront within the city of Muskegon.

Hackley initiated the decades-long acquisition in 1890 of the city’s Lake Michigan coastline with its sandy beaches and unspoiled dunelands. Instead of needing millions of dollars like the Acme Shores organization, Hackley spent $3,000 on the behalf of the city of Muskegon to purchase the Bronson family fruit farm for $3,000.

Located at the end of what is now West Sherman Boulevard, the waterfront property was initially purchased for the city to build a water filtration plant. The water plant was eventually built 40 years later on property north of the Bronson farm.

The original city parcel on the lake became Bronson Park and is now known as Kruse Park – which is the south end of Dog Beach and a park with a stunning dune walkway that overlooks Lake Michigan and a series of picnic pavilions for family gatherings.

Worth $100 million

That modest investment in 1890 has grown into the community asset held by the city of Muskegon today. On the real estate market, the city’s Lake Michigan parks and dunelands would have a conservative value of nearly $40 million. But those in the real estate business say the value could well be more than $100 million.

“I don’t think the average citizen appreciates that a city of our size has such a pristine and world-renown beach,” said Mayor Steve Gawron praising the community leadership that assembled such an asset. “It is now clean, free and open to the public.”

Land swaps, big projects

The slow and steady acquisition of the city waterfront continued three decades after Hackley’s first efforts. In 1924, the city received 113 acres from the Pere Marquette Railway, making possible the creation of Pere Marquette Park, which was dedicated on Aug. 3, 1927.

Prior to Pere Marquette, the community called the beach at the end of Lakeshore Drive where today it becomes Beach Street, Lake Michigan Park. It was a thriving recreational center served by an electric trolley train and boasted a huge beach pavilion and small amusement park with a roller coaster.

After the city received the beachfront property from the railroad, a paved road was constructed in 1926 creating “Sunset Circles,” which today is simply known as “the Ovals.”

By 1933, the waterfront assembly was given a huge boost when the city swapped land with the Muskegon Gas Co. The city received a half mile of beach south of Pere Marquette in exchange for the city public works yards at Morris Avenue and Second Street – now owned by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and planned for the Shoreline Market development.

The city established a campground at Pere Marquette in the mid-1930s as even city residents pitched a tent at the park for the summer to get out of the city and out to enjoy the cooler lake breezes, senior citizens remember from their youth. Camping was discontinued in 1951, reportedly as prostitution in the park became a problem.

In 1938, the federal Works Progress Administration spent $151,000 in Great Depression stimulus funds to create a “highway” from Bronson Park to Pere Marquette Park, today known as Beach Street.

Finally by 1970, the city goal of publicly owning all of its Lake Michigan waterfront was realized with the purchase of the Bolt property, just north of Bronson Park. The city acquired about 11 acres of beachfront and dunelands.

“Of all of the things you have done, this is one of the most significant,” then City Manager Robert Pulscher told city commissioners at the time that the Bolt property and another adjacent parcel owned by the CWC foundry were put into public hands.

Today, Gawron acknowledges the legacy of inspired community leadership when it comes to the city’s public ownership of its Lake Michigan waterfront.

“People have to pause and be thankful for all of the hard work and foresight to set aside and acquire such a magnificent resource for our community,” the mayor said.

Next “Water Runs Through Us” reports: Pere Marquette’s future with commercial development and one community promoter’s ideas for the city’s beach.


Facebook: Dave Alexander

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