August 15, 2010
The first part of the annual ILYA “Big Inland” was completed over 3 days and 4 light, hot and bumpy races. The first day of racing for the E Scows was cancelled due to no wind and with the heat index climbing into the low 100’s, many of the competitors took to taking a dip in the lake every 15-20 minutes to keep the core body temp into the normal ranges. And with the outside bar at LGYC luring many of the sailors throughout most of the day, it was a welcome relief when the final call was made at 4pm so the beer could really start flowing.
The forecast for day 2 was not much better as the heat was expected into the high 90s and figured to stifle any breeze. Thankfully when the competitors awoke, there was a nice 8-12 sw breeze on the lake and it was now up to PRO Russ Ackley to insure the racing got off in time before the breeze fizzled out. After a 30 degree right shift and a general recall on the first attempt, the line was reset and got off cleanly. I-49, I-2 and M-42 would get off the pin-end cleanly and work the left side of the course that looked great for most of the beat, but once the top boats approached the windward mark, the race would effectively restart with a another massive right shift which brought the back of the fleet to the front. For those who got stuck on the top left of the course, it was a long painful trek to the top mark. V-27 would lead the first top mark with many “contenders” and past champions deep in the fleet.
As the race progressed, the breeze settled a little bit, but there was still big variations in velocity and plenty of shifts. By the last bottom mark, M-42 would take the lead followed tightly by M-1 Rob Evans and GL-11, Mark Unicume. Evans and M42 would split halfway up the beat with Evans going left, and Rogers going right with the left winning out just by a touch allowing Evans to take the race lead.
After a 3 hour break between races 1 and 2 for storms that never developed, Race 2 got underway with a 8-10 SE breeze and a very skewed starting line and windward mark. For those who could pick up on it and execute, starting at the pin, and getting to Cedar Point which was 200 yards away was key. M42 was able to get a clean start at the pin, tack across the fleet and establish themselves in the front, but it was Jeff Solum on M-12 who went the furthest left, found a nice vein of pressure and rounded in first. Mark roundings would be a huge part of this race since many of the boats would arrive together and those who could set, and get away quickly would make huge gains on the other boats who were stuck together, suffocating the dying breeze. M12 and M42 were able to set and extend nicely, heading all the way over to the North Shore and gybing once they reached the piers off of Cedar Point.
Just as the top mark proved to be a place for huge gains and losses, the bottom mark was even more pronounced. Those who could carry their kites late, maintain speed, and round cleanly were able to break free from the pack in the dying breeze. Augie Barkow on V-37 was able to pick off 10-12 boats at the last leeward mark by carrying his kite until he was around the mark, maintain his speed and sail cleanly away, while the boats around him were basically glued to the water and preventing each others sails from filling. For the race win, M42 was able to get around M12 and hold on for the bullet. The RC was hoping for another race, but the threat of storms caused nixed that. 3 races would be needed to constitute an official regatta and with the forecast once again looking bleak, it was not looking good to have an E ILYA winner in 2010. M42 carried a small overnight lead over M-87 Derek Packard and V-37 Augie Barkow.
Just as Day 2 outlived the forecast, Day 3 provided a nice surprise for competitors as a West breeze at 8-10 had filled over the morning hours. For those who have been to Lake Geneva, it is a boating hotspot, especially on the weekends when the temps are in the 90s. Not only were 55 E Scows sprawled across the lake fighting for every ounce of breeze, but the competitors would also have to deal with massive amounts of power boat chop from the locals who did their best to make the racing as difficult as possible. Race 3 got underway with the sides of the course proving to be the places to be, and the middle of the course being like a slow, painful death. The boats on each side of the course waiting until the last possible minute to tack back to the mark, and once they did, the leaders on each side were basically bow to bow as they each prayed for some sort of angle change to get them to the mark in decent position. Just as things looked dire on the right, a nice little lift came down the course and allowed M42, TO-101 and V-37 to get across the boats on the left side.
It would be a battle to who could get to the right throughout the race, and as M42 did their best to stay near V37 to protect the regatta lead in the middle of the course, M-77, Kevin Jewett would extend to the right corner on the last upwind, catch a massive right hander and fly into the finish line to take the bullet. M42 would just barely get back across a few other boats who came in from the right to take 2nd place while V-37 dropped to 9th.
Headed into the last race, the breeze seemed like it wanted to freshen to the low teens, but just couldn’t settle in. We decided to take our 4th crew for the last race since we are one of the lighter teams, but as the gun sounded, the breeze lightened and we would be heavier than what would be ideal. After a terrible start, several leebows, ducks and close calls, we finally got to the right, and were able to break into the front group in 10th place. With Augie Barkow and his team on V-37 leading the race however, we would need to get no worse than the high teens to hang onto the regatta victory.
Augie established a nice lead, and once the race settled in, our team on the M42 did a great job of hanging tough and battling out of some very challenging situations to solidify our position in the top 5. As we approached the line on the last beat, the excitement started to build as we realized our goals of winning this years ILYA E Scow Champs were about to be complete. As we crossed the line, hugs and high fives were exchanged as our team of Tony Jewett, Chrisy Hughes and Lynn Jewett were crowned champs. It was a very challenging weekend of races and our team did a great job of keeping the boat moving at all times and sailing clean throughout the series.
The next E Scow “Major” is the E Scow National Championships, September 9-12 in Little Egg Harbor, NJ. The Nationals always serves as a battle of East vs West since it it the first time the West coast fleets match up with the very competitive East Coast fleets.
ILYA Results here
Photos and Video here
The A Scows begin their racing on Sunday afternoon, finishing on Tuesday, and the C Scow cap the long with with racing Thursday to Sunday.
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