Sailors in the Midwest race across Lake Michigan in the 79th Annual Queen’s Cup Distance Race, where North Sails clients proved to be fastest, finishing as dawn struck and on top of the leaderboard!
With ideal sailing conditions, the 79th Queen’s Cup was smooth sailing for 140 competitors. An annual distance race from South Shore YC in Milwaukee across Lake Michigan, North Sails Clients finished in the top three in 12 classes. A North U weather briefing was hosted by program director Bill Gladstone at 11:00 am on the morning of the race. In his presentation Bill suggested the bigger boats could pretty much stop paying attention after the midnight forecast, as the great majority of the fleet were expected to finish after racing 76.3 miles by sunrise. Well, Bill’s prediction was spot-on! The winds were nearly dead aft with an average around 15 knots; the ORMA 60 made it across the lake in just over 5 hours, and VO70 il mostro completed her crossing in just over 6 ½ hours.
Using the Sailing Weather Service forecast, Bill Gladstone ran a number of Expedition tracks for boats of various sizes and performance levels, to give sailors an idea of what to expect during the course of the race. Bill, who sailed on Dave Bohl’s Odyssey as navigator, has been briefing the Queens Cup fleet on weather and routing for three years and it is always extremely well received because he really knows his stuff! Expedition routing had nearly identical tracks for all classes; head South on starboard gybe until you were nearly on the same latitude as the finish, gybe onto port and in. Winds held at the predicted 15 knots with the occasional rain cloud causing velocity changes.
“As we hit the starting line in full flight with our spinnaker up, we knew the weather had lined up perfectly for us. I felt like if we didn’t do something special it was probably operator error. There would be absolutely no errors on the part of the humans on this night,” said Dave Bohl, skipper of Tartan 34 Odyssey, who took 1st on PHRF overall. “To average 6.4 knots of VMG on a 34-foot boat manufactured in 1972 is evidence of some pretty favorable conditions for her. There was enough wind for us to hit her hull speed, while the big boys would have benefitted from more. My little boat now can brag winning both the Chicago Mac and Queens Cup!
“I really feel like we are just hitting our stride, and I take great pride in the team that has come to surround her.”
Dave and the team on Odyssey race in PHRF with North 3Di upwind sails, and credit no special tricks to their success. “Practice helps a ton. Attending the North U. Race Week in Captiva made a huge difference this year. It knocks all the rust off and I always learn something important that I can use later down the line at regattas. We put Odyssey on the starting line exactly twice a year: for the Queen’s Cup and the Chicago-Mac (they are all my wife lets me do!), so to be able to say she has won both races is both great and extremely hard to believe. I recognize that far better sailors than me in far bigger and fancier boats spend their sailing lives trying to win one of these races and most never do.”
“An overall fleet victory in a big mixed fleet such as the Queen’s Cup requires many elements: A properly prepared and well sailed boat combined with sailing conditions that favor the particular size and type of boat. There are elements you can control and those that you can’t. The challenge is to do your part and hope the other elements fall into place. For Dave Bohl and the crew of Odyssey, this year it did.”- Bill Gladstone, Navigator onboard Odyssey
A very special congratulations to North clients at the Queen’s Cup: PHRF Overall Queen’s Cup winner, Dave Bohl, and his team on Tartan 34C Odyssey sailed well, and fast! ORR Silver Jubilee Trophy Winner, Mike Schoendorf, on his Riptide 41 Blue was also very fast, and his crew did an excellent job keeping him in the lead.