Mills Race Tragedy: A Review of the Weather

Published on June 15th, 2015

by Mark A. Thornton, LakeErieWX
The 2015 Invitational Mills Trophy Race, organized by the Toledo Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, was held on Friday, June 5, 2015. The race includes three courses ranging from 37.7 to 70.9 nautical miles.

All of the courses begin near Toledo, Ohio, and continue east through Lake Erie’s South Passage, an area between the northern Ohio shoreline and the islands of South Bass and Kelleys. Turning north, the race finishes near South Bass Island, a popular destination in Lake Erie’s western basin.

The race begins at 5:00 pm with the participants expected to finish during the overnight or early morning hours. As an early season distance race, it is considered a warm-up to the longer, and more demanding, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron Macs held each July.

Strong northerly winds and steep waves battered the fleet as it sailed through the South Passage, and approximately 40 boats withdrew from the Race in response to the demanding conditions. Tragically, one participant was lost after falling overboard near Catawba Island.

This article provides an analysis of the wind and wave conditions near the location of the accident near Catawba Island and the entrance to West Harbor. To read on, click here.

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