|District 4 Regatta Report|| |
Fri May 21st, 2004 through Sun May 23rd, 2004
| Tulip Tune-Up Race Report|
By Magnus Liljedahl
The 2004 edition of the Tulip Tune-Up at Gull Lake, Michigan, was held on May 22-23. Twenty-four teams were rewarded with spectacular winds and outstanding shore support during the five-race series. For those of you who never have made it to this event, I can tell you that it is something very special. Gull Lake, located about 3 hours by car, east of Chicago, is a spring-fed lake, surrounded by beautiful homes, leafy green vegetation and the friendliest atmosphere. It is awesome to have a sip of the lake water, while hiking up-wind. Or how about pushing off the dock 15-minutes before the start, with no check-in required?
My team mate for the event was the1993 Star World Champion, Joe Londrigan. It had been ten plus years since we last sailed together, so I didnít hesitate when called upon. Iím still eager to learn and Joe didnít let me down. Lake sailing is very different from the racing Biscayne Bay. I wasnít the only one sailing with a Londrigan. Tom Sr, Tom Jr. and Pat where there as well.
The wind started out light, but increased as the days progressed. The second and third race on Saturday had gusts over 20 knots. The conditions were very challenging. John MacCausland/Richard Burgess outsmarted us in the first race by figuring out which was the favored end of the finish line. Rob Main/Dar Barkausas impressed by some solid racing and good boat handling. Rob had not been sailing Star for almost a year, but somehow the entire fleet had to chase him most of the time. Five boats lost their masts while going down-wind, talk about excitement.
What a difference a year makes. The local fleet, headed up by the teams of Jon VanderMolen/Steve Ticknor and Tom VanderMolen/Dave Jackson vastly improved over the last year. The coaching skills by former Quantum sail maker, Tom Babel, were evident. Jon said: ďWe always make a list of goals prior to an event. We set five goals for Tulip and met all five. Our main goals were to be the top Gull Lake boat, and finish in the top 5 overall. On Gull Lake, Tom helps us differently than on open water. Here he works on drills; in Florida he helps us with the sail shape and conditions on different parts of the course, current, math, those typesí pre race things. On a cold weekend in April, Tom spent four hours on a cold Gull Lake working on starts only. We probably had 35 - 40 practice starts that day. All this practice makes a differenceĒ. Keep it up!
The wind started out light on Sunday morning, but increased throughout the day. Team Main/Barkausas finally held on to their lead in race number four, followed by team Tom Londrigan Jr./Chris Wallner. Joe and I had a two-point lead on team Main going in to the last race while Team MacCausland/Burgess were back another five-points. We decided to cover Team Main going up the first beat. Team MacCausland took the opportunity to get separation and it paid off huge for them. However, we kept a positive attitude and a fighting spirit like ďit ainít over until itís overĒ! Joe sailed very well down the last run in super gusty conditions to pass a lot of boats. Team MacCausland held on for the win, but we crossed the line in second just ahead of Lake Specialist, the father and son team of Gene and Glenn McCarthy.
Other notable efforts were performed by Rick Rundle, who substituted for injured Peter Wright, crewing for Danny Wright. The teams who lost their rigs, but made it back out the next day. Among them was the team of Don Parfet/Mac Waldorf. My hat is off to you for not giving up!
The regatta dinner on Saturday night was held as usual at the Golf Club. The appetizers included a driving contest which made the incredible buffet even better tasting. One of my thoughts during the evening (and throughout the weekend) was how privileged we all are to be a part of the Star Class family. We have a deep tradition which needs to be preserved. Some issues may have to be refined and we need to keep developing, but in general we have an unbelievable fraternity, which unifies people from around the world. Iím proud to be a part of it.
Special thanks to Kristi Tyler Regatta Administrator, Fred Buckley PRO, Eric Lind Protest Chairman and Mike Rossen, GLCC manager. You all make me want to come back to Gull Lake, each and every year.
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