My Road to Nite National Champ

Published on March 26th, 2020

Twenty-seven competitors came out for the 2020 Nite Nationals in Green Lake, WI. Chad Rechcygl dominated the Gold fleet, and in this report he shares how he went from an iceboating novice to a champion:

Over the years I made note of my mistakes and implemented solutions. I watched footage to see where I could improve performance. I also tracked my races using the Ski Tracks App on my phone to study laylines, boat speed, and buoy roundings.

To simplify I followed three simple rules:
1) Learn Something from Every Race
2) Never Quit a Race
3) Apply new knowledge

If you have ever seen the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, I feel this will kind of have a similar play. I picked up key knowledge randomly throughout many conversations with many different iceboaters.

I soft water sailed from Optis to every Scow made to a few offshore opportunities, so I feel my boat handling skills are superior and my situational awareness was sharp. My first Nite Nationals was 2006 on Winnebago Lake. I was 24 years old. It was windy, real windy. At that time I had only spent the last ten years day sailing on Pewaukee Lake, seeing how long I could stay in a hike. I got pretty good at it. We even made a video. It’s embarrassing.

Grant Frautschi won that year, he was a humble, gracious champion, unlike a few Scow racer were. I could see a place in the Nite fleet for me. I unfortunately folded my mast in half in the 4th race and couldn’t sail the rest of the regatta finishing 31st overall, ouch. Of course at the time, I had rounded the leeward pin in 3rd and I was feeling the adrenaline pumping right before it snapped. That day I was forever addicted to the rush of racing at 50mph inches from other boats. I knew I would return with a new mast and a perseverance to improve. Full report.

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