Freeze a Smile On
Published on March 14th, 2017
Iceboating has been quite the emotional rush this year. The conditions have been marginal at best, which in turn has made regatta planning that much harder. But in a twist of fate this past weekend, the Nite class were finally rewarded for its perseverance.
It all came together for their 2017 Nationals in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on March 11-12. A near record turnout came to a state that had never hosted the event, discovering a venue in Escanaba that was off the charts awesome. Combined with the support of the local sailing community, the iceboaters had as one sailor said an EPIC time….best ever!
A competitive field of 35 sailors included a bunch of National Champions and International Skeeter Association Champions. The conditions were near perfect with the surface being hard black ice with few if any hard drifts or obstacles. While the landings were a slight concern, they got everyone on and off all weekend. All boxes checked.
The racing on Saturday enjoyed good winds with big gusts and shifts all over the course to keep everyone on their game and focused. The opportunity to win big or lose big was constant. The two fleets moved through their rotations fairly quickly throughout the day, offering enough time for lunch from the exceedingly nice Escanaba Yacht Club with above and beyond food.
After Saturday’s races, multi-time champion Minnesotan Scott Brown was looking strong with Pewaukee sailor and Harken nice guy Will Perrigo right there as well. The show down would have to wait until Sunday.
The conditions on Sunday were a challenge and ultimately decided the regatta with light air, puffs, and shifts all getting lumped together. A great challenge to say the least. By the end it Mr Consistent Scott Brown that would win it all. Scott is now the second winningest Nite sailor ever with four titles. In the silver fleet, Dick Grota continued his streak with his second silver fleet title.
But the biggest winner was how iceboating is alive and kicking. There were nine first time competitors at the event, with Green Lake Ice Yacht Club represented by 13 competitors from a fleet of 21 boats they started just four years ago. By keeping people connected and excited, it helped bring 23 new boat owners into the class this year to freeze a smile on.
Source: J Hayashi, INCA Secretary