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

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

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

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?

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

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

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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Summer heat could produce more winter snow in Great Lakes region

August 14th, 2012

The record high temperatures this summer could mean some Great Lakes coastal residents will get buried in snow this winter.

“There’s certainly a lot of evidence to suggest that we will go into this fall with warmer than normal lake temperatures,” said Jeff Andresen, state climatologist for Michigan. “That could lead to an increase in the amount of lake-effect precipitation we see, but it isn’t certain.”

Lake-effect snow happens when cold dry air that moves south over Canada meets the warm waters of the Great Lakes, Andresen said.

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Tom Munroe Sr. Wins Melges 17 WMYA Regatta

August 14th, 2012

With only four completed races, congratulations are in order for Tom Munroe Sr. on USA-11 — winner of the 2012 Melges 17 WMYA Regatta! Brian McMurray came second, some four points behind followed by Deb Gluek on USA-218 overall.

Munroe Sr. dominated the twelve deep fleet maintaining an near flawless scoreline of 1-1-1-2, McMurray scored the last bullet of the series. Third place finisher Deb Gluek from Pewaukee was a tough competitor to finish third, followed by Melges 17 Commodore Mike Dow from Crystal Lake in fourth. Tom Munroe Jr. rounded out the top 5 overall.

1.) Tom Munroe, USA-11; 1-1-1-2 = 5
2.) Brian McMurray, USA-111; 2-2-4-1 = 9
3.) Deb Gluek, USA-218; 4-3-2-3 = 12
4.) Mike Dow, USA-205; 5-5-5-5 = 20
5.) Tom Munroe, Jr., USA-170; 3-7-6-7 = 23

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“Respect” the line?

August 6th, 2012

Why can’t sailing instructions just say what they mean and mean what they say?  If the sailors know what the race committee means to say, but they haven’t said what they mean, then what are the rules?  What the RC means?  Or what the Sailing Instructions say?  Of course, it has to be what the Regatta’s SI’s  say.  But when the RC can’t say what they mean, it frequently follows that is the SI’s are confusing, incomplete, self-contradictory, or just nonsensical.
Case in point:
The Sailing Instructions at a recent regatta I attended describe the start and the finish lines and then add this sentence in bold typeface:  “Before and After starting, Yachts shall respect the starting and finishing lines except when in the process of starting of finishing.”  (Capitalizations are theirs.)
One of the course diagrams is the following:

  I think this is all an attempt to say that the start/finish line is closed. “Closed”  is a commonly used expression meaning that boats racing cannot cross it when heading from one mark of the course to the next mark of the course. Closed lines are used for two reasons.  One is to make things easier for the scorer; when a boat crosses the line, write down the number; the boat is finished.  (Of course when that boat crosses the line again, someone has to sort it all out.)  The other is to minimize the interference of boats sailing in different fleets or on different legs of the same course.
Given that this instruction was written for a situation where up to 4 fleets would be on the same course, I think it is safe to say that there was an appropriate concern for interference between fleets.  My opinion is that careful spacing of the starts and the use of courses that separate fleets are far more effective tools to accomplish the goal, but many also use a closed line as a tool.  Even a closed line does not guarantee boats will not interfere with each other, but it should reduce it.  (For the regatta in question, the RC very successfully spaced the starts so there was never anything remotely like interference in the vicinity of the start/finish line.)
Although the goal of minimal interference is noble, and the closed line is a tool for accomplishing the goal, the Sailing Instructions still need to say exactly what is intended and prevent any unforeseen consequences.  Dick Rose does a great job of explaining all the possible unintended consequences and proposing sailing instruction wordingto avoid them. Just for fun, let’s look carefully at what these particular Sailing Instructions say and the problems they could cause:
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First, there are the problems with closed lines that Dick Rose points out.  e.g. A boat who believes she is OCS, but is not, and returns to the line has broken the rule.  The line actually becomes an obstruction for sailors except at a start or finish.  However, because safety is not involved, a boat cannot hail for room to tack at this obstruction, somewhat changing the RRS and possible racing tactics.
Then, “Before and after starting” means at all times except at the exact instant of starting.  This includes sailing in the prestart, sailing the course after the start, and all the time before racing, after racing and in between races – virtually the entire day.  Let’s just replace the phrase with “at all times.”  By making this provision in force at all times, any boat that crosses the line while sailing around in between races should be disqualified.  But in which race does the DSQ apply, the prior one or the next one?  This prohibition could apply even if no races are currently in progress.  Do they really mean this?  Could I have protested every boat that did this?  (I could have been the only boat left!)  A boat protested for this would have no way to exonerate herself, because it is not a Part 2 rule. 
Next, the word “respect” seems very peculiar, and I can’t recall seeing it used in a sailing context before.  “Respect” is certainly not a term defined in the RRS, so standard dictionary definitions apply.  The first definition in my Oxford dictionary (verb) is “regard with deference, esteem or honor.”  Should we salute the line?  The second and closer definition is “avoiding interfering with, harming, degrading, insulting, injuring or interrupting.”  Okay, it looks like non-interference is the point.  But must we respect the line, not the boats?  Is it supposed to mean “don’t cross the line” or “don’t interfere with starters and finishers?” If the intent is the first, why not just use the word ”cross”, instead of respect, like everyone else does?  If the intent is the latter, the rules become very problematic.  Would avoiding a starter or finisher override the RRS?  Imagine a starboard boat having to keep clear of a port boat.  Do they really mean this?
And the pièce de résistance is the combination of this peculiar wording with the course diagram above.  The diagram shows the second windward leg passing through the starting line in direct contradiction to what I think was intended.  This could have mattered in our regatta.  In one race, the first place boat informed the second place boat that the line was closed.  Both went around the line.  I was in third, didn’t hear and went right through the line.  Had I been disqualified, which I wasn’t, could I claim that I sailed the course as diagrammed and the other boats failed to do so, resulting in their disqualification and my reinstatement?
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In the regatta having these SI’s, I sailed over the start line …… I was not disqualified.  Why?  Was it because I saluted the line as I went through it or because I didn’t interfere with any starter or finishers?  Perhaps the use of the word “respect” was a clever way to leave the line open except when there could be interference with starters or finishers.  Probably it was because the RC was not keeping a close eye out for enforcing the rule at times when a closed line was completely unnecessary.   Why would the RC even think about it with boats spread out all over the course and no one interfering with anyone else?  Seems to me that selective enforcement, which creates a fundamental problem with any rule, could be a frequent result.
In general, I hate the whole idea of a closed line.  As we see here and in the Dick Rose article, it is difficult to write the SI’s to say what needs to be said.  It is too easy to create a rules disaster that may have no good resolution, and so it is too easy to cause selective enforcement.
I don’t like the idea of adding an obstruction in the middle of the race course.  Usually it forces an early commitment to picking one side or the other, not allowing the sailors to play shifts and puffs for a certain period of the race. 
And I think it is unnecessary.  It is the least effective of the available tools in preventing fleet interference.  Timing the starts correctly works very well.  If the RC makes a mistake, it can always abandon a starting sequence and start a new one when traffic clears.  Using courses that separate fleets also works extremely well.   Trapezoid courses and box shaped courses have separate windward- leeward legs so fleets do not run into each other.  My yacht club is using these course with great success; never any interference.
But if you insist on a closed line, for heaven’s sake, please write the Sailing Instructions properly and communicate clearly with the sailors.

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August 6th, 2012

Donnerstag, 2 August 2012 | english

Sailing under an almost full moon 

I love sailing at night. Actually whenever I have to cover more then fiftysomewhat miles I prefer leaving late in the afternoon, relaxing the day before and arrive at daylight between next morning and noon. That way I get it all: Terrific Stars in the total black of some nights, romantic full moon and somehow it is even a challenging fun to count flashes and blinks on buoys and lighthouses to make the way through narrow fairways. Often this is even easyer at night than it is at daylight. Finally not to forget the next morning: Sunrise and breakfast at sea looks and tastes like an adventure of its own.

Last time I did so was sailing from Drummond Island to Little Traverse Bay a few days ago. Leaving at noon arriving early afternoon. At midnight I passed the spectacular illuminated Mackinac Bridge and the narrows where Lake Huron becomes Lake Michigan and vice versa. A peaceful night and light winds.

Unfortunately most people consider night sailing as something to avoid, sometimes even as something dangerous one has to get around by pulling into a marina latest at sunset. No question: It requires some precautions. But then the night out is the key to a greater range, of way more then just hopping another 20 miles along the coast.

Glowsticks help to find boats in the dark and also make a good decoration 

As I love it and try to spread word of how beautiful it is I was even more surprised to find night sailing as a part of the local sailing school‘s program in Harbor Springs. At Little Traverse Sailors they do a Moonlight Sail. Sure, I felt sad for the poor power boater that was arriving that night and found himself surrounded by a dozen dinghies decorated by glow sticks. And of course sending out a bunch of adventurous young sailors having a fews safety boats slowly circling them like sheepdogs do a flock was a smart move.

Even though this way it is not the total „only you, the moon and the boat“-experience but still a great idea to introduce night sailing to the young and youngest sailors. And what a nice event it is to watch them, sitting in the cockpit well anchored in a mooring field nearby under an almost full moon.

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