2009 MC Blue Chip Championship Final Report

27 September 2009

Just after a week after our great MC National Championship down in Tulsa we have 31 of our Blue Chip Championship qualifiers here at Spring Lake, Michigan for the 2009 event. There were 100 plus qualifiers through 50 plus events held across the U.S. this year. Everyone here at the event is a champion or some sort at some level so it is a tough event. Sort of like the Nationals. While smaller in size there is no lack of talent.

One new face this year that we have not seen in a while is Doug McNeil from from White Lake, Michigan. Welcome back to the class Doug. Some folks thought he was the Mystery Guest.

Regatta co-chairs Glen Walborn and Brien Fox welcomed the group with a a 10 am skippers meeting today and then introduced our great PRO Steve Schiller, along with Pete Price, Nancy Price, Midge Verplank, Happy Fox and some more team members to help run our races. Many thanks to all of these volunteers first as these events just do not happen without a lot of help from high capacity volunteers like I just mentioned above.

The racing started with a 3-7 m.p.h. wind out of the southeast which actually works okay on this long river like lake. As the locals say "Where nature smiles for seven miles". A good starting line was in play for the first and only start we had today. 4 of us including yours truly were busted by the line cops and had to deal with getting back in light air to restart. The course was a W2 so it would be a downwind finish so that we could restart a 2nd race right away. This race was all about pressure and staying in the dark water. That was your tactic. Remember in light air "velocity rules over direction" where as when the breeze is up (you are on the high side consistently) then going correct direction rules. Jamie Kimball sailing his new 2478 led the group for a good part of the race having a good leeward end start, being covered by the over early boats and tacking to port right away in pressure and taking a long port tack up towards the 1/3rd mile beat. Jamie led most of the race only to be nipped out by Andy Molesta on a downwind finish.

The breeze went flat and in for lunch. Race 2 started in a light southwest wind of say 4-7 m.p.h. and we saw different look as we went to the east end of the lake and raced to a weather mark just up in front of the club which is in the center of the southern portion of the lake. Andy Gehl had a great start on the very good starting line up in the upper 1/3rd towards the committee boat, did two quick tacks and never looked back. He led this race bell to bell. Ted Keller, Cam McNeil, Doug McNeil and Rick Trester finished in that order behind Andy.

Race 3. Okay, so we have had two light air races and we start race three but this would end up being our light, light race. One of those spooky races where the 31 boats come around the top mark pretty well spread out from 1st to 31st but by the time we made it down to the leeward mark it was one big group except Brien Fox and Andy Gehl who were pretty well out in front of the group by a couple of hundred yards. This race was shortened much to everyone's liking. Squad Car Fink finished up third followed by Brian McMurray and EHood.

Next up was our Blue Chip dinner. Host Glen Walborn recognized past Blue Chip Champions, past National Champions, past Class Commodores plus current board members and future board members. A great dinner - early group out at 9pm, late group closed the restaurant and moved over to the north shore of Lake Michigan for further tactical discussions late into the night according to one of our, actually both of our regatta co-chairs.

Sunday. Big winds moving in just ahead of a big cold front hitting the Great Lakes on Sunday night. The early southwest fill at 10 a.m. gave us our first good medium air race followed by two very windy races for race 5 and 6. It was a great day of racing. Completely different race strategies today. It was all about being on the big lift and also trying not to cross from one side of the lake to get to the other side. The fast boats always committed. Far right, or center right, middle was tough, center left and far left. You had to be in one of those zones, tacking well and quick with the  shifts. Many or most of the top group took crews for race 5 and 6. The starts this week were great because we had people winning from the left end, winning from the right and some from the middle. Steve Schiller, Pete and Nancy Price along with Midge Verplanks crew did a great job of giving us good lines that really made you think about where you should start. Race winners today were Jamie Kimball with two hot races in race four and five. Race 6 went to Cam McNeil. The top two boats in this regatta had on the last all important day of racing a Cam McNeil 2-4-1 and Brian McMurray 4-2-4 in a tough crowd.

Top Master (welcome to the club) Rookie Master Douglas McNeil also 5th overall
Top Woman Lynn Walborn 24th (she also beat her brother co-chair Glen Walborn who may have strategized to much on Saturday night)
Top Grand Master Terry Mestan (19th)
Top Mega Master Bob Miller (17th)
Top Youth Chris Lopez  (22nd)

Score range 1st to 10th (21 to 59). 6 states represented. Oh, and the all famous Gutter Ball awarded to the sailor who does in fact sail all races but has the highest score went to Jennifer Jones of Lake Eustis, Florida. Jennifer did great in her first big event on a really small lake compared to her home lake of Lake Eusits where we hold the Midwinter Championship each year. Jennifer runs a great junior program at LESC.

For complete race results go to the MC Scow website. Also, be watching for the NORS for the 2010 Midwinter Championship and U.S. National Championship coming out around the first of the year. We have a great calendar for 2010 with no conflicts anywhere. Masters at Okoboji in June, Nationals in early October at Lake Lanier, of course the Midwinter's in March. Then you have the Westerns and Inlands the first two weeks of August. This year we still have the famous Halloween Regatta at Augusta on Oct.10-11 and then the S.E.Championship in November at Lake Eustis. Plan your calendar out a year in advance and don't miss the Nationals for sure. It looks like we could have 100 boats at both the Midwinter's and Nationals based on what we are hearing from lots of folks we have talked to already who are making plans.

Here is the finish order for this week. Cam McNeil, Brian McMurray, Jamie Kimball, Brien Fox, Doug McNeil, Andy Molesta, Ted Keller, Pat Flood, Rick Trester, Eric Hood, Dan Fink, Andy Gehl, Chris Craig, Todd Bosgraaf, Peter Toumanoff, Richard Blake, Bob Miller, Brett Hatton, Terry Mestan, Don Fancher, Bob Wynkoop, Chris Lopez, Dave Bedau, Lynn Walborn, Glen Walborn, Zach Grant, Doug Kiser, Jack Sanderson, Jim Grant, Julie Craig, Jennifer Jones.

Thanks so much again to everyone at Spring Lake Yacht Club. Next year the 25th Annual Blue Chip Championship. Be There!

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