East Tawas, Michigan
August 22, 2020
Covid has had most sailors locked down, but a brave few gathered at Tawas Bay Yacht Club this past Saturday to compete in the 2020 J/22 Class, Michigan Championship Regatta. For many, this is and always will be The Bay of Pig’s regatta!
We were not quite sure if or how we were going to do this event. Covid changed a lot of rules. Our kitchen is not open, and our bar has limited rules and was also closed for the weekend. God decided to raise Lake Huron a few more inches making our lawn a swamp and breeding ground for Hannah’s favorite treat. Frogs! Ok, sorry, Hannah is a dog. Where was I?…. If it were not for a last-minute Rum filled meeting out on the south wall, citronella candles flickering in the wind, with hushed tones of panic.. Should we?… Could we?…. Who can we get at this last minute to run RC?… We can do it without mark boats if we have to….. Before the night was over, Tony Kus agreed to run the RC as our PRO. He thought he could get a couple people to help him. By Monday afternoon I had William Busch volunteering as mark set boat with help. By the start of racing we had two more boats show up to help if needed. I love this place and these people!!! Did I mention this was 6 days before the event?
From all the sailors, a big thank you to: Tony Kus – RC PRO and his boat, Kalfou, was the platform. Helping him were James Miner, Dave & Cristi Gettel, Frank Fitus and our Vice Commodore, Jane Olgaard. They ran great square races all weekend.
Mark set was: Whisper Busch, August Busch, and Truman Barbier. Mark set 2: Richard, Anne, and Matilda Main. Mark set 3: Peter Barbier and some broad.
I went to bed Saturday night and checked the forecast one more time. SW at 10-12. Great, we have seen a lot of this all summer, and it is a fun wind and wave pattern. Woke up at 8am and checked it again, same. Forgot to see if it was updated and it was not, DAMN IT! At 10am I check it before meeting with the PRO and his team along with Bill Coberly our resident PRO and RC guru. Crap! 2-5 knots for most of the day… after a discussion was had and we talked to our guests from the Charlevoix fleet, we decided to postpone on the RC boat in the harbor until the wind came in enough to sail. After one hour we started sailing out of the harbor, AP came down and the RC boats went to station.
Conditions were light and we had a hard deadline of no more starts after 1530. So, course was short. Wind was light but not awful 5-6 knots for race one. The boats were very tight especially on the first two legs, with overlaps all around. Evil Dr. Pork Chop (USA 1552) led the way with Jennifer and Jenna Princing doing the work. Tom Barnes and his A-Team out of Charlevoix, Green Eggs and Ham (USA 483) was right with them and so was the old veteran Bill Coberly and the team on The Other White meat (USA 275). Those slippery devils on USA 483 and USA 275 got around USA 1552 and the race one win went to Tom Barnes, the former Cranberry cup winner. USA 275 came in second and USA 1552 came home third.
Race two was similar with a slight increase in wind and the start of the increase in chop. This time USA 1552, Evil Dr. Pork Chop held them all off and won with USA 275 following and USA 483 in Third. Behind them was a tight group of boats like Mark Olgaard’ Pygmalion (USA 430), Chris Shadek (USA 884), Jon Banner on Pigs in Space (USA 838, Michigan Champion in 2018), Derek Carrol and his sons on Mall Cop (USA 799) and Mike Scott and his sons on Squealer (USA 454, 2019 Michigan Champion)
Race three saw the chop getting a lot bigger, it also had the most crowded weather mark and leeward mark rounding’s of the day. It seemed like the entire fleet showed up at mark one at the same time and then re-convened at the leeward mark, but then it seemed to scatter. USA 483 and USA 275 were up front again… with USA 884 and USA 430 right behind them. Down the run half the fleet bore away the other half jibed inside. We all seemed to get to the leeward mark at the same time. We slowed down with two boats to our inside and were able to round the mark into a tack with a gap before the next boat and put the hammer down. The leaders were off to the right, but we must have gotten a little more breeze on the left, when we came together, the leader, USA 483 crossed us by a boat length. So first around the final weather mark was USA 483 and followed by USA 1552 and USA 275. Here is where is got tricky. The waves were bigger than the wind and, on our boat, we could not figure out if we needed to heat I up or soak it down, the kite was very bouncy. USA 483 had it rolling in these waves and USA 275 with Obi Won Coberly sailed past us too. Winner was USA 483 followed by USA 274 and USA 1552.
So now we are against the clock, time is ticking down. Will they get another race off before the deadline or not? The top three are: 1) USA 483 with 5 points 2) USA 275 with 6 points 3) USA 1552 with 7 points. On our boat we had a pow wow, that I am sure went like this: “you (meaning me) should just listen to me and do your job!” …. Horn sounds off and flag goes up. You mean we have a chance?
Race four gets rolling. The boat had been slightly favored or so we thought, but felt we still wanted to go left for nothing else but a little relief from the waves. As it turned out USA 275 won the pin, on his hip was USA 483 and we were on their hip. Our decision to tack away seemed risky at first, but I felt like we could rumble, especially into the waves. So, with a slight knock, we tacked away first. I do not remember much after this, just that I thought the boat was going well and was surprised when we rounded the weather mark in first. Now to just keep those greased pigs behind us! Jennifer’s little pep talk before the start paid off, we were sailing lower and faster and I did what she said. Our PRO on the bow is 14 years old and just killing it up there! We held them off and onto the beat where I felt rather good about our speed, we loose covered and hoped Obi Won Coberly could keep the Rotten Eggs and spoiled meat behind them. We sailed as deep as we could, gave away some distance for positioning and won the race, but more importantly, USA 275 finished second and USA 483 was third. Three Little Piggies all tied up with 8 points each: 1) USA 483 1, 3, 1, 3 1) USA 275 2, 2, 2, 2 1) USA 1552 3, 1, 3, 1
How fun is that!! It came down to a tie breaker. I am grateful that we were lucky enough to come out on top of this one. Racing against Tom Barnes and Bill Coberly is probably one of the funnest things to do, they are extremely fast, very smart and they also deserved to win this year. (Tom and Bill are also two of the biggest promoters of the J/22 class and one design sailing and through them, more young people have been exposed to our fun little boats!) I think if you look and see two other past winners in the fleet you can see how good of a day these three boats had!
So that is how I saw it. Thank you Jennifer and Jenna Princing my amazing wife and wonderful daughter. I am lucky to sail with them, whether through the Covid thing or not. Watching Jenna grow up the J/22 has been amazing, and I must thank all the other J/22 owners who shared their stories of their kids on the J/22 when Jenna was too little to race. We also had a few more Family teams out there this weekend:
USA 884 Chris Shadek – I believe has 3 of the 4 were family members
USA 483 – Tom and his daughter Lexi and her husband were sailing together, and Stan has been around so long he may as well be family.
USA 454 – Mike Scott always sails with his son’s matt and Tim
USA 799 – Derek Carrol is racing this year with his sons, Riley, Jacoby, and Tristan (Chewy) I am quite sure they win the prize for having the most fun!
I believe if things get back to normal, next year we will once again host the Tawas Bay of Pigs Regatta and J/22 Michigan Championship. It might even be a two-day event and attract 20+ boats because you know what is coming in 2022?!
2022 J/22 North American Championship
Tawas Bay Yacht Club
September 13 – Sept 17. 2022
2020 J/22 Class Michigan Championship
1) USA 1552 3 1 3 1 8.0 points
2) USA 483 1 3 1 3 8.0
3) USA 275 2 2 2 2 8.0
4) USA 838 4 4 4 4 16
5) USA 454 6 5 5 5 21
6) USA 430 5 6 6 6 23
7) USA 884 7 8 7 7 29
8) USA 799 8 7 8 DNS 32
9) USA 121 DNS DNS DNS DNS 36
10) USA 48 DNS DNS DNS DNS 36
11) USA 695 DNS DNS DNS DNS 36
J/22 Fleet #44