Beauty and the Beast, Red Fox Regatta - Labor Day Weekend 2012

I was looking for something different to do out of town on our Ultimate 20 than the standard windward leeward racing when a few members suggested I head up north to do the Red Fox Regatta.  It is a two day regatta where on day one you race from Charlevoix across the lake to Boyne City with some marks thrown in to give the course some length and on day two you race from Boyne City back to Charlevoix.  So we packed up the boat rented a condo on Lake Charlevoix and headed up for some fun.
Saturday morning we are walking down the dock to the boat when I had to stop and look as the water is so crystal clear that I was able to see the bulb on the keel with all its imperfections.  The race on Saturday started out with light wind and filled in as the day went on. By the second leg we were beam reaching at 8 knots and got caught on the outside of the pin wheel at the second mark when, Dana, my wife, said here comes Equation. To my surprise, when I turned back to look all I saw was her bow sprit going across the back of my boat at 13.6 knots.  Someone on Equations sure made a gutsy call to go inside both the Person and us at the mark.

The majority of Saturdays race turned out to be upwind with huge wind oscillations and varying wind pressure which leads to my typical whining because we were the smallest boat in our class and I knew we had to get the kite up to have a chance of winning our class.  On the second to last leg of the race was a 2.1 mile reach where it was the crews turn to whine as the chute went up and down to many times to count. For day one, we ended up first in class to finish and corrected second in class for the day which I was pretty happy with as we beat 3 Sonars, 2 turboed S2 7.9’s, a Kirby 26, a J22 and a J24 to the line. That afternoon the party in Boyne City turned out to be great, with temperatures in the mid 70’s, delicious food, plenty of adult beverages and good conversation, fun was had by all and lasted well into the evening.
Sunday greeted us with another bright sunny day for the race from Boyne City back to Charlevoix. The race committee had a short three tenths of a mile beat towards Boyne City to give all the classes room to spread out before turning at the first mark for a great downwind ride across the lake.  After rounding the first mark and a short debate whether we could carry, up went the chute. It was a little tight but we managed to make the second mark where we jibed and came into the ride we all look for as we all piled into the back corner of the boat got up on plane and ripped through the spinnaker and jam fleets that had started before us by the next mark. Next was a two mile beat where we lost some of the big boats before turning down wind again for the rest of the race. The last eight miles are what we all dream of when you have this type boat, working the sails to see how long you can stay on plane.

After rounding the last mark it was all to the back of the bus for the ride in as we covered the last few miles as fast as I can remember.  Nothing better than getting a few tenths from the finish and having a J111 have to jibe and to see the look on the drivers face when he realizes he had to jibe for an U20. We actually jibed across the finish line to stay out of the way of the three melges 24’s that were fighting for first place.  Our results for day two were, first to finish in class, corrected first in class, first in class for the weekend and first corrected spinnaker boat on Sunday. What a weekend it turned out to be!
All this can’t happen without the help of others, so I would like to thank my crew which is my wife, Dana, which a lot of you may wonder how she somehow puts up with me all the time, fellow BYC member Bill Jenkins who I wore out on the last leg on Sunday, but what a ride it was and his lovely wife Lisa who allowed me to steal her husband on her birthday and anniversary weekend and was our shore support when ever needed.

Story by Keith Zeigler