Tom Sweitzer wins Nite Nationals
Published on March 4th, 2018
In the iceboating world, the onset of spring means get your regattas in or pack it up. The normal drill is keep heading north until you find ice, but 2018 Nite Nationals on March 3-4 bucked the system and went south instead to Green Lake, Wisconsin – a small town on a big lake.
With a good base of ice and access still remaining to launch boats, the local fleet of 23 Nite sailors in the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club pulled it all together and came up with ramps and improved access which is the key to iceboating in the spring.
This year’s event had 33 sailors competing in two fleets – gold fleet of 22 boats and a silver fleet of 11 boats. The two largest fleets participating were the Pewaukee Ice Yacht Club and the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club, but sailors from Mennekaunee and Four Lakes clubs were represented as well. This made for a great mix of younger sailors and older sailors, male and female.
The first day of sailing brought moderate winds with softening ice as the sun rose. The swing in conditions made it an extreme test of ability and skill sets. There are hard ice sailors and mudders, and day one became a mudder’s day with a total of five races completed – three gold and two silver. The race positions were all over the place but that makes the event all the better and interesting.
With an early start on day two, all the pieces came together. Hard ice and a good breeze gave us our third race for the silver fleet which also eventually sailed four more races for the day. In the gold fleet, they completed four races with a couple of sailors finding the right groove to win multiple races each.
With no finish worse than fifth, Tom Sweitzer took the title with local sailor Peter Vandervelde in second and the popular Harken guy Rick Wilfert in third overall.
In the silver fleet, one of the oldest sailors of the class, Dick Grota, came out on top again. He sailed the perfect regatta after a throwout with six bullets in total. In second was Don Sanford and in third Kenny Kreider, their positions decided on a tie breaker.
The top Grand Master was Dick Grota, the top Master was Tom Sweitzer, the top female was Maureen Bohleber, the rookie of the gold fleet was Jeff Ragain, and the top rookie of the silver fleet was Lars Barber.
Source: John Hayashi