In the Hunt @ the Western Challenge

Western Challenge Puckaway

In the hunt. Photo borrowed from Puckaway Ice Sailing Squadron group on facebook. Return the favor and like them @

Saturday morning brought a total of 56 sailors to the shore of Lake Puckaway with grade 7 ice. As predicted the breeze was a steady 10-12 with puffs to 15. Two fleets were raced with T, Chad, Jeff and Greg in the gold fleet and Chris, Bill, and me in silver.

The first race was called for 11 am and each fleet did a total of five races for the day. I can’t find the days results online to confirm, but T and Chad had great days with T getting two firsts and finishing the day in first place with a one point lead over Ron Sherry. Chad had a very good day ending in 7th place Jeff raced two or three races and was top ten in those races. Greg was just back to racing after two years and some knee issues and also ripped it up.

In the silver fleet, the breeze was on for Chris Gordon to crush with five bullets…Way to go Chris! And Bill, who we are all hoping switches from the skeeter fleet to the DN fleet on a more regular basis, gave Chris a good run for his money and was right on his tail, finished the day in 2nd place.

Way to go NEIYA!

For me, as a new racer with several hiccups last year, I was extremely nervous before the first race. I call it vomit nervous. But I got on the line, pushed and did my best to get a feel of my new boat and move my head around a lot to watch other boats. My goal for the day was to be very aware of others at all times, stay in my boat, keep my mast up, not do what’s a called a superman at the start, and be conservative around mark roundings. That’s especially hard for someone who has been a pretty aggressive laser sailor and have found mark roundings a great place to make gains.

My best race of the day was a 9th out of 25 boats. That race was about getting a great start the left going to the lay line and finding a good-sized hole to tack over when all the other boats were coming to the mark on starboard. After that race, some rig adjustments were made to adjust for heavier breeze and I just had a bit more trouble getting up to speed. By the end of the day, I landed in 16th in my division out of 25 boats. Respectful for my first big regatta.

After racing, T And I stayed out for about two more hours with me just doing lap after lap after lap. It was the absolute best to sail the course without the distraction of other boats because you can go all out and really dig into the speed. I am quite sure I went faster than I have ever been in my boat as I was going around the windward mark a few times. I’m hooked!

Today lighter winds are predicted…wish us all luck!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

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