Nitemare wins Port Huron Mac - GL 70 class

I am operating as shore support (known in the UK as 'trolley dolly') for the Nitemare Team here in Mackinac.  Flew from San Franisco where I was working all weeekend and volunteered to speak to the Sea Scouts Regatta among other things.  I landed at Detroit Metro at 6pm and got to Mackinac City at 2 am and now am on  my way over to the island to catch up with the team who finished in the wee hours.   Looking forward to getting all of the details. Nitehawk is looking good for this race as well - below is a report from last week's Chicago Mac.

Congratulations to Chris Saxton and his team aboard Nighthawk a C&C 115. They won Division 5 of the Chicago Mackinac last weekend, representing North Star Sail Club. I coached this team a few weeks ago on Lake St. Clair.  Their long-term goal is to compete in the main long distance races in the US including, the Mackinacs, Transpac and the Newport to Bermuda Race.  While their focus is on distance races we talked about the fact that in many of these races, the maneuvers are performed the same as if you are sailing around the buoys so is it desirable to be able to perform a set or a peel or a tack or a jibe as well as if you were match racing on a 1 mile leg.  Also the Mackinac races are normally ‘sprints’ of distance races.   This year I was wrong – it was one of the longest races in history and they didn’t finish until Tuesday mid day!

Even though, the reports back from the boat were that the work we did on jibing and tacking helped them as well as the work on the communication loops so that everyone was focused on getting the boat to be moving at optimum speed at all times … even if that speed happened to be 1.2 knots.  One new/old twist that most of the world would not have in their repertoire and Nitehawk used to their advantage was to drop the mainsail in ultra light air.  This is something that my Dad, Chuck Riley used to do ‘in the day’ when sailing downwind angles in uber light air.  Todd, my brother was onboard and introduced it to the Nitehawk team.  The theory is that the main is just hanging there blocking the wind from getting into the light/code 0 type of spinnaker.  The wind is not strong enough to accelerate between the two sails, the boat is not an ultra light so it is not going to accelerate on a zephyr.  Drop the main, give the spinnaker full opportunity to pull the boat along and you gain 100 yards here and 100 yards there – in the light air that is a huge amount.  Their code name for this move “The Chuck”.   Now they are off to do the Port Huron Mackinac and hope that they don’t have to use this move – but they will be ready.

Congratulations to Chris and his team of:  Jim Thompson, Todd Riley, Gretchen (14 years old!) & Dave Bauermeister, Rick Johnson, Marc Russell, David Skupien, John Thompson & John Hayes.

Road NotesChristin