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Archive for July, 2009

Operating in Fog Demands Boat Smarts

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Often, I chat with boaters regarding a wide range of boat-smart topics, fog being one. That topic came to the forefront after a fog bank shrouded the waters off Manistee during the Salmon Splash 333 fishing Tournament. The captains I spoke with emphasized safety and situational awareness when operating in fog: in other words, boat smart.

Manistee’s 2009 Salmon Splash 333 Best of the Best boasted a $10,000 first-place price. Needless to say, fog was not going to deter anglers from pursuing the grand price, even it meant running in fog, which they did on the second day of the tournament. In all, there were 58 boats in the tournament.

With that many boats picking their way through the fog in close proximity, the chance for collisions seemed imminent, yet none occurred, or at least none that were reported. Several captains I spoke with told me they lost fishing lines, severed when boats crossed their stern. “But that comes with the territory,” said one captain, referring to the fog, especially when fishing lines extend well off the stern.

What impressed me about the anglers I spoke with and the tournament guidelines is that safety ruled. Matthew Salerno and his brother Tony, who won the $10,000 prize aboard their boat Living a Dream, told me they troll at about 2.5 knots with a forward lookout at all times. Safety equipment is readily at hand and the crew is familiar with its use.

Communicating with other tournament boats is prohibited, whether it be a cell phone or marine radio, unless in the event of an emergency. These anglers were literally on their own and alone in the fog. “We kept our eyes on the radar at all times,” said Matt Salerno. Not all the boats, however, carried radar but still kept safe by following a basic navigation rule.

Rule 6 of the Navigation Rules states: “Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.”

One of the conditions addressed in the rules is state of visibility. Apparently, these anglers, some of whom were Coast Guard licensed captains, understood the rules and so complied. However, not all the boaters on the lake that day
were part of the tournament, nor exercising boat smarts: one such boater nearly slammed into one of the tournament boats.

“We were fishing a mile off Big Point Sable in a hundred and thirty feet of water, when out of the fog emerged this 35-foot powerboat heading right at us, pulling a dingy off its stern,” said the captain of the tournament boat Katch-Me. “We waved our arms and hollered as he bore down on us.” The captain figures the boat was traveling about 15 knots.

One of the crewman aboard believes the boat operator was not expecting to encounter in fog a fleet of boats on Lake Michigan on a Thursday morning. Thursday morning or Saturday afternoon has little to do with maintaining a proper lookout and using all available means to avoid a collision in fog. Also, towing a dinghy behind a boat in fog is not too bright. Another boat could run over the tow line and foul its prop(s) , or the boater pulling it might snag the towing line while backing down to avoid a collision.

What I find disturbing about this incident is that the tournament boaters were using all means available to assure not only their own safety, but that of their fellow anglers. Then, along comes a boater who seems oblivious to the safety of others. or worse yet, was just boat stupid.

I suspect it is the latter; until boaters are required to boat smart, those that do must keep a very sharp lookout fog or not.

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2009 Mac Race “THANK YOU!!!”

Friday, July 24th, 2009

A huge thanks to all of the racing reporters during the 2009 race.

I would like to individually thank the following boats: (more…)

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Strategy & Teamwork Make for Success in 101st Race to Mackinac

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) – The light air sailing conditions of the 101st Race to Mackinac meant strategy and teamwork were keys to winning the Race, held July 17-22, 2009. The skippers of Zoom, Asylum, and Nice Pair share their winning strategies for this difficult race that took the 337 boats entered an average of 80 hours to complete.

‘This is a great feeling. We never expected or anticipated this,’ George Miz, winner of the Chicago-Mackinac Trophy Division, explained. ‘This is my 21st Mac and we’ve only won our section one other time, but we’re very pleased.’

The Zoom crew of Chicago, is owned by Miz, Peter Dreher, and Michael Newman and they won the fast-boat division with a corrected time of 55:09:53. Miz credits their success to good advice from a weather advisor to sail up the west side to take advantage of the shore breeze. ‘We agreed that was the plan, and we we’re not going to bail on the plan, which paid off in the end.’

For Jon Weglarz and crew on the Mackinac-Cup Division winner Asylum, it was all about the proper alignment of preparation, timing, and of course, homage to the wind gods. When asked about Asylum’s navigational strategy, Weglarz kept mum.

‘What can I say, I’m old school. We didn’t want a tracker so to not anger the winds gods.’ The crew of Asylum has over 100 collective Macs between them, although none of the crew have ever won a first in fleet. ‘We only drink water from Lake Michigan during the race. So I guess you could day were a bit superstitious,’ he added. ‘For us, it was the race of a lifetime.’ Asylum won with a corrected time of 54:35:39.

Among the multihulls, it was finally wedding bells for Bruce Geffen and crew on Nice Pair. ‘We’ve been bridesmaid to Matt Scharl on Gamera four times, it was pretty awesome to break his streak,’ Geffen remarked. ‘We are close competitors and friends, and he was the first to call me up with congratulations.’

Nice Pair benefited from the thermals off the Michigan beaches north of the Manitous, sailing so close at times they were in only 8 feet of water, pulling the boards up to not hit the sand. ‘This was critical for us as we were able to make-up about 30-40 miles before we hit Gray’s Reef.’ Geffen co-owners Gary Hall, Bart Hall and Brad Glance of Ann Arbor, Mich. won with a corrected time of 62:29:49, and they continued on sailing the SuperMac to Port Huron, where they placed 2nd.

Be it perseverance, strategy, or superstition, each skipper gave overall credit to his hardworking crew. ‘Even though my name makes the papers, it’s the people who sail with me who really make it happen,’ Geffen concluded. Similar sentiments echoed among each skipper, illustrating how sailing the Race to Mackinac is truly a team effort. The other overall division winners were Skye, owned by Bill Zeiler of Wilmette, Ill. in the Doublehanded Division, with a corrected time of 59:52:53, and in the Cruising Division, Intangible, owned by Tom Falck of Hinsdale, Ill. won with a corrected time of 56:15:21.

For all results, including section winners, go to

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Congratulations to All Race to Mackinac Winners!

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009 (CHICAGO) — After one of the longest Chicago to Mackinac races in recent history, all the boats are in and the results are official.

The Overall Winners in the 5 Divisions are:

Chicago Mackinac-Cup Division Asylum, owned by John Weglarz of Chicago, Ill. with a corrected time of 54:35:39

Mackinac Trophy Division Zoom, owned by George Miz, Peter Dreher, Michael Newman of Chicago, Ill. with a corrected time of 55:09:53.

Doublehanded Division Skye, owned by Bill Zeiler of Wilmette, Ill. with a corrected time of 59:52:53

Cruising Division Intangible, owned by Tom Falck of Hinsdale, Ill. with a corrected time of 56:15:21

Multihull Division Nice Pair, owned by Bruce Geffen, Gary Hall, Bart Hall, Brad Glance of Ann Arbor, Mich. with a corrected time of 62:29:49.

The other two distinctive honors for the 2009 Mac go to the fastest racing boats to the Island.

Royono Trophy- First Racing Monohull to Finish Windquest, owned by Dick and Doug DeVos of Macatawa Bay, Mich. with an elapsed time of 47:57:40.

Rieck Trophy – First to Multihull to Finish Lucretia, owned by Fred Ball of Harbor Springs, Mich. with an elapsed time of 56:29:38

While 33 boats chose to retire, most citing reasons related to the slow conditions such as lack of provisions or crew commitments elsewhere, at nearly 6:00 am Wednesday morning the last of the fleet arrived on Mackinac. The boat was the cruising division boat the Hannah Frances, who starting on Friday, raced with an elapsed time of almost 111 hours. Congratulations to the crew of the Hannah Frances for sticking it out in a very tough race.

Please stay tuned for a follow-up release that recaps the race from the sailor’s perspective. For all results go to

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Torresen Marine Selected to Service Vincitore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

As impressive as the sleek, 52-foot sailboat Vincitore looks sitting in its cradle in front of Torresen Marine’s service center, the story behind the yacht is just as fascinating.That a wealthy owner from Chicago who lives in Zurich, Switzerland, would pick a Muskegon boatyard to prepare his new $1 million racing yacht for Great Lakes competition this summer speaks highly of Muskegon and Torresen Marine.Vincitore comes to Muskegon with a pair of highly experienced boat captains.

Colin Booth and partner Linda Blakeway have been renting a Bluffton neighborhood house since May while preparing for this weekend’s Chicago-to-Mackinac sailboat race.Booth — an international sailboat racing professional from New Zealand — said he had the choice of three Great Lakes boatyards that could handle a yacht the size of Vincitore. At 52 feet long, the carbon-fiber-hulled sailboat has a draft of 11 feet and a 90-foot-high mast.

Read the rest of this article online from the Muskegon Chronicle >>

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Record Gathering of Perini Navi Yachts to Race in Porto Cervo

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Close to two dozen Perini Navi sailing yachts will grace the quays of Porto Cervo’s New Marina for the third edition of the Perini Navi Cup scheduled to take place from September 3-5, 2009. The event, which combines a rendezvous for owners with spectacular racing aboard these technologically groundbreaking sailing giants, has seen highly successful editions in 2004 and 2006 and in 2009 will be organized for the first time by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

The fleet of superyachts will range from the 24.5 metre Elettra, launched in 1987, to the incomparable 88 metre Maltese Falcon, launched in 2006, with 20 of the participating yachts measuring more than 40 metres in length. The striking Maltese Falcon boasts a revolutionary free-standing square rig that sees three 55-metre tall rotating masts carry the yacht’s 15 sails which can be independently furled and unfurled using computer-operated winches. The Maltese Falcon is the embodiment of the Perini Navi philosophy which marries cutting edge technology with superior standards in design and comfort, eliciting numerous international accolades for both her engineering and interior design.

The fleet will also include the very latest Perini Navi design: the 56 metre aluminium ketch Riela was launched in April and officially handed over to her owner on June 4 and will be cruising in the Mediterranean before attending the Perini Navi Cup. The 40 metre ketch Clan VI, launched in 1984, is the archetype of the Perini family and will be participating in Porto Cervo after having recently completed a round the world voyage.

The Perini fleet will take part in two days of racing on the crystalline waters of Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. Coastal courses will be set using the many granite islands and islets of the La Maddalena archipelago as natural marks. The prevailing Mistral winds which have made the regatta course off Porto Cervo one of the world’s most famous, combined with the stunning natural backdrop and a record gathering of Perini Navi should certainly make for magnificent sailing. Once ashore, owners, guests and crews will be kept busy with a full social programme that includes a welcome cocktail reception, a cocktail competition among onboard chefs, and a gala dinner and prize giving ceremony at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Clubhouse.

Marina Yachting, Rolex, Axa, Acqua di Parma, Pommery, Icet and Audi are sponsors of the Perini Navi Cup 2009. Yacht Capital is media partner of the event.

Perini Navi: with a fleet of 46 sailing yachts cruising the world’s oceans, Perini Navi is a leader in the design and manufacture of blue water sailing yachts. Famous for revolutionary automatic sail handling systems and for their unique aesthetics, the Perini’s are among the most celebrated vessels in the world.

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Wrapping Up Reporting

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

6:30 am island time - 07/22/09
The boats are mostly here, appears there is only one left unaccouted for at this point in time. 
Just in time for the tent to come down and to be kicked out of the municipal marina at Noon today.

I am taking to 8am ferry to start my travels home.  There will be a “wrap-up” report as well as additional pictures posted over the next few days.  Please check back.  The race is over, but the information isn’t. 

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Zoom, Intangible, Skye named Divisional winners

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Overall winners have been named in the Mackinac-Cup, Cruising and Doublehanded Divisions. The remainder of the results remain preliminary, as a third of the fleet in the 2009 Race to Mackinac have yet to finish. (more…)

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Torresen Marine Earns Clean Marina Designation

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Torresen Marine has been certified as a “Michigan Clean Marina.”

As impressive as the environmental enhancements at the boatyard are, it’s just one sign of the expansion and new developments planned at Muskegon’s “sailboat specialists.”

The family business founded by Gordon Torresen in 1965 has grown to not only handle sailboat repair and storage from all over West Michigan but it has begun handling some of the largest racing sailboats on the Great Lakes.

In addition, the Torresen name has become synonymous with hard-to-get boat accessories and parts across the globe based on its highly successful e-commerce Web site.

Read the rest of this article from Muskegon Chronicle Online >>

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PreParty Update

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Currently it is sunny, windy, cold, cloudy & raining. Somehow all at the same time.

The Tartan 10′s have started to arrive. The Bushico arrived at 11:25 am island time, followed by Norboy at 12:53pm & Erica at 1:24pm.  At least one boat has finished in every class, with the exception of Sections 9 & 10. (more…)

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