CASEVILLE 2…From the F18 Point of View
The second Caseville stop on this year’s schedule was CRAM’s premier regatta and signature event. It also served as the USF18 Northern Area Championship. 2014’s three day edition continued this tradition of excellence. Caseville is located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb on the cool waters of Lake Huron. The beach is wide and sandy with great water access for the boats. Sailing teams from as far away as Toronto, ON; Syracuse, NY and Memphis, TN made the trip to this beautiful venue. Another fun attribute was that all the regatta attendees were camping together in one section of the Caseville County Beach Park which made for some great BBQ’s, campfires and camaraderie.
Friday morning was full of brilliant summer sunshine and warm temperatures as people stirred out of their tents and RV’s. Many of the sailors went into town for breakfast at Walt’s, a local diner that served a mean omelet before heading back to finish rigging boats. Commodore Ed Cunningham called the skippers meeting to order and the day’s routine was announced. PRO Matt Bounds then went over the sailing instructions and general racing stuff before the meeting convened. First shape was at 1100.
With crews geared up and boats ready to be splashed the fleet proceeded to the race course. The winds were a bit light and fluky but eventually filled in to give the race committee something to work with. There were four fleet starts…F18, A Class, Low Portsmouth and High Portsmouth. Something for everyone in attendance no matter what kind of boat you brought. Racing was tight in the F18 fleet. There never was much separation between boats as we sailed around the course in a big clump. Positions were either gained or lost by only a few boat lengths in the light winds. Brightly colored spinnakers were flying while sailing downwind adding to the offshore spectacle. We completed four races before being sent to the beach. Friday’s leaders were Paul/Kim in 3rd, Claus/Jessica in 2nd and Laura/Andy in 1st. Friday evening found many teams enjoying dinner at the Riverside Road House in downtown Caseville before returning to the campground for a nice fire, lots of camaraderie and different types of libation. Andy’s Fireball Whiskey comes to mind. The perfect end to the day.
Saturday morning was a repeat of the previous day…vibrant sunshine, warm temps, Walt’s and a little bit more wind. Once ready to go, teams headed out onto the race course for an 1100 start. Four more races were completed in winds that allowed some of the lighter teams to trapeze going to weather and fly a hull downwind. The leader board did not change much with the only exception of John/Evan moving up into a tie for third with Paul/Kim. The evening dinner was catered with BBQ ribs, chicken, cheesy potatoes and many other delicious dishes. Good thing the pavilion was reserved by CRAM because it started to rain during dinner. The rain continued off and on throughout the night somewhat putting a damper on the evenings campfire activities.
Sunday was the last day of the event. The morning started out much different than the previous two. Cloudy, somewhat warm but windy. Walt’s again was the breakfast place of choice before heading back and breaking down camp. The overnight rain did leak into some of the competitor’s tents causing wet sleeping bags, blankets and clothing. But that did not deter the spirit of the camping experience. On the good side…there was a lot more excitement on the beach because the wind was up, blowing in the mid to upper teens, favoring the heavier crews. The sun came out brightly from behind the clouds as we made our way onto the water. Two more races were contested in solid double trap conditions with waves for some really fun sailing. The race committee then sent us to the beach to prepare for the trip home. The top five final F18 results had Chris/Christy in 5th, Dave/Colin in 4th, Paul/Kim in 3rd, John/Evan in 2nd and Laura/Andy in 1st.
Huge props go to the CRAM organization, PRO Matt and the many, many volunteers for hosting another great regatta. But most of all a big shout out to all the sailors who made the effort to come to this event. Without you, this would have not happened. This was Great Lakes sailing at its best.
I’ll see you all again on the water soon.
USF18 Vice Chairman
Hobie F18 USA413