Big Cedar , Wisconsin. Now for those of you who have not been to Big Cedar it is not all that big. However, it is a very challenging and fun one-design lake in the heart of Scow country in S.E. Wisconsin. A rich history that dates back to 1899. This club also has a whole crew of great scow sailing families some 4 generations now and many are represented here this week. So many of the classes we build at Melges have great venues all around the world but at the end of the day there is nothing quite like a great inland Scow lake and club for a major event.
The Conditions for Day 1
Wow , now think about this we have a lake that runs NNE to SSW. The lake while technically long only has about 1 mile max in length on the north south part of the lake and the East/West part is only a 1/4-1/3rd of a mile wide. So wind direction has to be perfect for great large fleet racing like we had with 65 boats today. Served up were two perfect North wind races today. It could not have been better. Also, I think most of us were expecting 90+ degree temps and the front that moved through last night gained some strength and we only got up into the low 70s and then we had mist all day . So cool conditions which was great. Then we had great velocity to boot. First race 9-12 mph and the second race 12-18mph. So race one most Mcs single handed, race two we saw a lot of crews jump on and we saw a lot of the 200+ skippers smiling.
Biggest laugh of the day was actually on us , that is those skippers who did not throughly read their Sis . So PRO Chip Mann (great PRO who is also running our MC National Championship soon at White Lake) puts up a W 11. So many , me included thought it meant 11 laps or 22 legs. A quick check of the Sis confirmed that it meant 11 legs or a W 5&1/2 laps. Then race two was a W7 or a old school W3&1/2. Single line no mid boat and I must admit it was cleaner starting than I thought. Mid-line sag was there both starts and that is something you do not see when the mid-line boat is present. Great starting lines on this small lake. Almost the full width of the lake.
Wow, clearly getting off the line was the secret to success for both races. The ends produced the top ten to the first mark on both races. From there the rich got richer. Clearly there were groups that formed up. Smartest thing to do was to try and win your group or if you were feeling bold try to move into the next group forward of you. Most of the first several groups seemed to be traveling in groups of ten or so. Breeze both races presented us with shifts up to 30 degrees . However they were all on the water and relatively easy to read with the good velocity. Sometimes with large fleets and when boats gather the ability to read the water goes away. So dark water, big velocity were key for the lead boats breaking away in each race. Then downwind , I have said it a thousand times, don't rest , get to work. Big gains downwind today if you worked the big shots coming down and you were good with your gybes.
Okay – Race winners and both were bell to bell so big congratulations to David "Kinky" Koch of Pewaukee, WI and Stu Oltrogee of Clear Lake, Iowa. Both have to wear bullseye Wisconsin style race shirts the next couple of days as race winners. Large bulls eyes easy to spot.
Here are the top ten.
Stu Oltrogge – Clear Lake 5-1=6
Dan "Squad Car" Fink – Pine Lake 7-3=10
Dave "Kinky" Koch – Pewaukee 1-10= 11
Rick Trester –Cedar Lake 6-5= 11
Bruce Rosenheimer – Pine Lake 3-9 = 12
Noel Neuman – Upper Minnetonka 12-2 =14
Eric Hood – Lake Eustis 10-7 = 17
Bruce Gallagher – Pine Lake 14-6 = 20
Craig Thompson – Okauchee 9-12= 21
John Hans – Eagle Lake - 18–4 = 22
Others in order 11th on Tim Fredman, Jack Kern, Kurt Stadele, Peter Toumanoff, Bob Cole, Peter Dobbeck, Chris Brooks, Bil Biersach, Al Haeger, Stefan Schmidt, Richard Blake, Peter Ziegler. Final for everyone will be posted Saturday night.
Wow what a crazy race three we had on day 2 here at the MC Nationals. Stu Oltrogge and 5 others survived a crazy wild shift in the first two minutes of the start of todays race that was a game changer for many today.
The Conditions for Day 2
Really nice , some said nicest day of the summer. For sailing it was a cautious but okay looking day. The breeze had good velocity but was unstable with its direction. One thing though and the great thing about our sport is we all have to face those conditions when they come good or bad. High seventies, ENE winds ranging from 3-12 mph. ENE winds on this smaller lake as I mentioned yesterday that runs North and South in length makes for some unstable conditions for sure and that was the case today.
First a general recall as a very large group was over at the top end and now with some reflection you could say the same thing happened in the general recall start that happened shortly after the start of todays only race. A big , crazy Ivan right hander came in and it was pretty much game, set , match for most of the fleet. The line though for 20 minutes of pre-start looked great from PRO Chip Mann and his crew. So no flaws or errors there.
No matter what I think you could easily say that giving yourself options with 2-3 minutes to go on getting to either end of the very long starting lines (minus mid-line boat) would have been a big lesson today for many. Really, really studying the breeze on the water which was different today than yesterday probably was a game changer. Yesterday as I mentioned the wind was on the water all the time. Today on the east shore from the starboard end of the starting line all the way up to the weather mark for this W7 course the wind was not always on the water. So only clues you had 100-200 yards off the windward shore was other boats sailing . So if you did not study the boats ALL THE TIME , turned away for any period of time before pre start you missed the obvious shift that was developing but not showing. So a fun lesson but tough lesson for many. One thing for sure though and you could see from front to back was there was some great side by side racing. The crowd cannot complain about hard and competitive racing.
The Upcoming Final Day
The good news is we have a chance at some 10-20 SSW mph winds in the morning and could possibly get two races in before the noon cut-off. Racing times have been moved forward to take a shot at getting two good ones in tomorrow morning. The first five sailors have a shot at winning the event so that is exciting. There are four Grand Masters practically tied for that section and anyone of them can win that category tomorrow. We have a Mega Master Dr Jack Kern in the top 20 of this 65 boat fleet. It will be a great day for sure.
The Results after 2 Day, 3 Races
Stu Oltrogge - 5–1-4=10
Bruce Rosenheimer 3-9-3= 15
Noel Neuman 12-2-2 = 16
Dave Koch 1-10-9= 20
Bruce Gallagher 14-6-1= 21
John Hans 18-4-10= 32
Craig Thompson 9-12-16=37
Peter Toumanoff 2-27-12 = 41
Al Haeger 20-16-5=41
Bill Biersach 23-13-6 = 42
Dan Fink 7-3-33= 43
Tim Fredman 8-17-19= 44
Eric Hood 10-7-29= 46
Kurt Stadele 4-24-20= 48
Stefan Schmidt 26-11-18= 55
Others in order -Peter Dobbeck, Peter Ziegler, Bob Cole, Steve Rotier, Jack Kern, Richard Blake, Fritz Seidel, Mark White, Danny Ziegler, Chris Brooks, Rick Trester. Full results will be posted tomorrow .
Our final and third day of racing at the MC Masters National Championship delivered some big surprises much like days one and two. Solid racing in great conditions today for races four and five.
What Was On The Line
Five sailors survived the first two and tough days of races one through three and had a real shot at winning the overall championship going into the last two races today. Also, some shootouts for top Grand Master were on the line with the top four GMs all within two points of each other. Then there was a shootout for top Old Salt between Salty Schwarting and Dick Booth on the line. So lots of things for the spectators on shore and in the spectator fleet to watch. Certainly the competitors obviously knew the scores as sailing was tough , fun and fast today.
SSW winds ranging from 7-18. Shifts were for sure on the lesser side of what we saw on day one and two. We had steady breeze of the once again great lines from PRO Chip Mann and his solid team for both of the back to back races. Middle of the course was steady and at the top it got tricky each of the beats for both W7 courses today. So really it was the same thing for each of the 8 windward legs. For each of the 6 leeward legs though it was not shifts but velocity you had to watch out for top to bottom.
The Lessons Of The Day
Starting and pacing out in the first two minutes was critical to be in a lane to take the long boat speed starboard tacks up the first two-thirds of the beats. Anything less than a start without a lane of clear air to develop some boat speed quick really made it tough to be in that top group early. Being flexible at the top 1/3rd of the course and not being afraid to take almost every 5-10 degree shift in those last couple of hundred yards was key today. Staying in the dark water downwind and being aggressive on the corners fighting for every inch was big. Lots of money to be made today on the corners with good gate choices and sailing fast right up to the mark and making some moves with focus.
The Big Cedar Shake-Up
So like day one and two there were some shakeups for sure with some skippers taking big steps back and some folks taking big steps forwards. So to give you an idea only one sailor had all top tens and that was Dave "Kinky" Koch. Only four others Bruce Gallagher, Stu Oltrogge, Bruce Rosenheimer and EHood had four of five races in the top ten. So almost everyone I will say had a Cedar Shake-Up race except our top two finishers in this record 61 boat Masters Nationals Championship.
So hopefully you have a little suspense and are saying like EHood tell us who won. When it was all said and done Bruce Gallagher from Pine Lake is our new Masters National Champion for 2012. He survived the day with a 1-6. Dave Koch had a 3-8 to finish second and Stu Oltrogge had the Cedar Shake-up with a 23-2. Noel Neuman who was in the hunt for the championship experienced the Cedar Shake Up today as well with a 7-21. Biggest movers today EHood with a 2-3 then Dan Fink with a 16-1 and Bob Cole with a 9-4. Kurt Stadele also had a solid last day with a 4-10.
Here are the scores for your top ten and full scores will be posted on www.mcscow.org
Bruce Gallagher 14-6-1-1-6= 28
Dave Koch 1-10-9-3-8 = 31
Stu Oltrogge 5-1-4-23-2= 35
Bruce Rosenheimer 3-9-3-15-5= 35
Noel Neuman 12-2-2-7-21=44
E Hood 10-7-29-2-3 = 51
Dan Fink 7-3-33-16-1 = 60
Craig Thompson 9-12-16-11-12=60
Kurt Stadele 4-24-20-4-10=62
John Hans 18-4-10-5-31=68
Also Top Grand Master went to Bill Biersach, Top Mega Master to Dr. Jack Kern and top Old Salt to Dick Booth.
Many, many, many thanks to an incredible team of volunteers at Cedar Lake Yacht Club. Everything was as Dave Koch said at the awards ceremony A+. Also, Salty Schwarting mentioned to everyone that while we do not have that many Old Salts sailing (80+) that everyone should know it is possible as he sailed his first regatta post WWII at Big Cedar Lake with 85 C Scows (including a kid named Buddy Melges) and that this was his 66th year of sailing and to be back at Big Cedar was great. Way to go Salty and way to Dick Booth !!!
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