2013 Cowtown Classic MC Regatta May 4-5 Lake Hoover - Columbus, Ohio

6 May 2013

Eric Hood - Spring has sprung for sure and spring brought some big unstable windy conditions this year to Lake Hoover just outside Columbus, Ohio. Thirty-one MC teams made it to this annual fun event on one long, skinny lake. This lake is a couple of miles long running north and south but only a couple of hundred yards wide. Like most spots in the upper Midwest normal winds usually consist of southwest winds or southeast winds in the spring and summer but not for these two days. The unstable cool weather out to the west that dumped spring snow on a couple of the northern states was doing battle with warm air coming up from the southeast. Results for our group is that we had ESE winds on day one with a wind speed range of 15-20 knots. Day two conditions were much the same with wind speed ranging of 5-18 knots. The challenges though both days were the big shifts coming in from the east. Again, not a normal situation for this fun flat water lake.

The Courses
We had two W5s and four W7s. Starts were tight with lots of action. Probably the biggest gainer for most people was making their final upwind strategy for at least the first couple of minutes in the last 60 seconds before the start, maybe 90 seconds. If a competitor picked the wrong end, they fell behind quickly. The water was flat, as mentioned earlier.

The Learnings
As we travel from large lakes to small lakes one thing does not change when you have big shifty conditions and that is good boat handling. Boil it down even further and I would say what won this regatta and put four boats squarely up front was the ability to tack quickly, have the boat instantly on the correct angle of heel, vang on hard, then board up after the boat is level and sailing. This really is what allowed teams to fire off the line, get a boat length or two of margin to catch the first big shifts. The shifts you could see but sometimes they developed so quickly you had to really be able to react fast, survive and then still be fast. Sailing downwind, sailors had nice gains by simply paying attention to the quick bombs coming behind the boat. With legs that were only a 1/4 mile teams had to work hard coming around the top mark to keep from getting passed by a group of boats or to make a big gain yourself. The opportunities were there every race. A number of sailors talked about fighting till the end and never giving up because big gains were always possible. The other big learnings were simply being prepared for those conditions, which were not normal as I mentioned. Pre-race practice was really important to understand the challenges of the day.

The Race Winners
Race 1 – Chris Craig - Lake Fenton
Race 2- Chris Lopez - White Lake
Race 3- Ted Keller - Torch/Hoover
Race 4- Bob Cole – Keuka
Race 5 – Bob Cole – Keuka
Race 6 – Ted Keller – Torch/Hoover

Final Results
The final results can be found on the MC Facebook Page and the MC Website but here are the basics. 1st Ted Keller, 2nd Chris Lopez (Top Junior), 3rd Eric Hood (Top Master), 4th Pete Comfort, 5th Bob Cole (Top Grand Master), 6th Casey Christensen, 7th Jake Erdman, 8th Chris Craig, 9th Clark Wade, 10th Chris Hawk. 

Regatta Champ Ted Keller was solid throughout the event and even found himself at a gate split like he had with Kenny Wolf down at the Midwinters. Fortunately, Ted got back on Pete Comfort pretty quick not risking disaster like the Midwinters. Ted will be a contender for the title this summer in Iowa. Ted also had the opportunity to sail with his daughter Casey and it was her first time racing with Ted in a MC Regatta. Always excited seeing young sailors coming on board in our class. Speaking of Youth or as we all cheered at the awards ceremonies "Yout" we saw Chris Lopez from White Lake really sail well this week and he enjoyed the rough and tumble conditions the spring weather brought.

Other News
The National Championship is just 6-7 weeks away at Clear Lake, Iowa. Word on the street is the Texans are coming to take away all the hardware. Seriously, we have some really strong teams coming and this will prove to be one of if not the toughest Championship of the year. Please, please help the regatta organizers by signing up today if you know you are coming. Word from downtown Zenda is that boats are still available but you need to call now before it is too late. Also, it seems like a big year for Iowa as we have the ILYA Championships there too. Lots of great spring and summer regattas but let's make sure we support the majors like the Nationals, ILYA, WMYA and those three great venues this year. Next available hull number is 2592.

Last but not least please make sure you sign up now for the Masters Championship being held here at Hoover. One thing we know in a 3 day series you will have some nice summer weather. This weekend was really an unusual weather system and not the norm for this fun sailing lake. I know Richard Blake, Jay Huling and a large cast of others from this club will roll out the red carpet for you this summer for the Masters Nationals Championship.