Posts Tagged 'michigan'

greater detroit 2014 Sunfish race schedule

the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) has released their 2014 Sunfish race schedule (you can find it with additional information posted at their Yahoo Group).  you can also check them out on their Facebook page.

all Sunday races start at 12:30pm [uno]

I said this last year (and the year before), and didn’t get a chance, but I’m again going to do my best to meet up with this group for some races this year.  it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy summer already, though!

sailing Round Lake

thinking of warmer days, I stumbled on this photo of me getting ready to sail on Round Lake, south of Jackson, Michigan. we were at my friend’s cottage for a couple days, right on the lake. it was an amazing time.

I was taking out my brand new FRP daggerboard, and despite knowing there was a sandbar, I proceeded to strike it anyway, and chip the new board.

’tis the season

we spent a couple days at my parents’ house just before Christmas to celebrate the holiday with my side of the family.


luckily, we arrived after the bad ice storm that hit their area – and even luckier, they still had power!


branches were weighted down with a thick coating of ice, and various branches had snapped and fallen down around their yard, thankfully with minimal damage.


despite all the destruction, the ice storm aftermath makes for some amazing outdoor photography.  when the sun is shining, the ice everywhere can just sparkle and make everything glisten.  I spent a bit of time walking around outside with our silver lab puppy, Arwen – she loves exploring my parents’ yard.


I also snapped a couple great shots of the various birds that congregate at the bird feeders.


here is a great shot of a male cardinal hopping onto the bird feeder.


and a red-bellied (strange name, huh?!) woodpecker that was hanging out at the suet feeder.


all told, a beautiful few days spending time with family and celebrating the Christmas holiday, and enjoying the amazing power of nature intertwined with the beauty it creates.

merry Christmas!

[all photos taken with my Nikon D70 & a Nikon Nikkor 70-300mm F/4-5.6G-AF Zoom Lens]

PYC junior sailing

so earlier this summer, my 2 older boys (T2 & Noah) and a friend (Iyush) took 2 weeks of sailing lessons at the Pontiac Yacht Club Junior Sailing program.

IMG_2134Pontiac Yacht Club is home to the largest fleet of Lightning sailboats in the world (60+ registered boats). there are a whole slew of them at the docks, and a bunch more up on the shore on trailers.


my 2 boys had previously sailed with me on my Sunfish, but they had never tried to solo sail.  their friend Iyush had never been on a sailboat.  on the morning of day 1 – all three boys seemed just a tad nervous, but you could tell they were also excited.  I had stopped in to make sure they were checked in okay, but then had to head back to work.  later that afternoon, when I picked them up after lessons to head home, all three talked non-stop about how exciting the 1st day had been! (other than the boring “name-game” to learn the other students’ names.)


beginner sailing students at PYC start to learn in an Optimist sailboat.  the Optimist (or Opti) is the most popular racing sailboat for juniors, and is a pretty stable and simple boat that is great for children ages 8 to 15 to learn sailing.

the next option as students become more comfortable with sailing is an Open Bic.  this sailboat is more dynamic, with an open, self-draining hull – and is a nice step up from the stability of a learning boat like the Optimist but before they move on to a larger racing dinghy like a Laser.

the 2 younger boys – Noah (8 yrs) and Iyush (10 yrs) – both preferred to sail the Optimist, and in fact they ended up sailing together in one for most of the days, although they each did some solo sailing in both the Opti and the Open Bics.


my older son T2 (12 yrs) much preferred the Open Bic, and pretty much sailed that the whole time, other than a short time in the Opti’s on day 1.


when I picked up the boys after the lessons each day, they would all 3 talk almost non-stop for the 25-30 minute drive home about the sailing that day: who sailed what boat, what type of activities they did on the water, how many times each of them capsized, etc.  you could tell all 3 boys were having an absolutely great time messing about out on the water.  after a few days of lessons, the class was starting to have the students try to learn some of the tips for racing!  I remember the boys saying they didn’t do very well with racing at first.

but on the 2nd to last day, the sailing instructors set up a windward-leeward course and the students did their own little mini-regatta, with each type of boat sailing 5 races.  T2 raced against 2 or 3 other Open Bics – finishing 1-1-2-3-1, and tied for 1st place in overall points.  Noah and Iyush sailed together in an Optimist against 7 other boats, most with just 1 sailor – but even with the 2 of them in the one boat, they finished the five races 3-3-3-4-3, giving them 2nd place overall!  not bad for 2 weeks of lessons.


on Friday, I took a longer lunch break from work, and drove up to PYC hoping to take some pictures of the boys actually sailing out on the water as every other day when I got there to pick them up the sailboats were being put away for the day.  when I got there, the entire fleet of students was way out on the lake, nowhere close enough for me to take any pictures.  but the head of the sailing class radioed out to a coach, who came in quickly, and took me out on the coach boat to watch the boys sailing out on the lake.

it turns out that the wind was picking up quite a bit – and was the strongest it had been in several weeks, with wind speeds in the high teens (mph).  the sailing coach and I barely made it out towards the majority of the fleet before we had to stop and help a younger girl who was having trouble sailing in the heavier winds.  right about then the sailing instructors told the fleet to head back towards the more sheltered cove near the yacht club – so all the students turned their boats and headed that way.

I was able to snap this nice shot of T2 sailing downwind, with a larger capsized sailboat in the background behind him!


shortly after that, we caught up with Noah and Iyush – who were sitting there calmly waiting for Noah to bail out all the water… apparently they had bow-plowed, with the bow of their Opti dipping under the water as they rode over a large wave, and their boat was full of water.  we told them to just keep bailing as they sailed back towards the cove.

Img0238_039after we all got back to the more sheltered cove, the instructors let the students just free sail around the cove for the 15 or 20 minutes before they headed to shore for a lunch break.  I was able to snap a bunch of photos during the free sail.



after the 2 weeks, I’m pretty confident all 3 boys had an absolutely amazing time!


they spent a ton of time out on the water in the various boats, and are pretty comfortable sailing solo at this point.  overall, I was very impressed with the junior sailing program at PYC and it’s results!  I’m pretty sure we’ll consider it again for next summer.

a guy’s weekend

every fall, I join my father, brothers, and brothers-in-law (or those who can make it that year) for a men’s retreat at Camp Arcadia (I think this is my 18th year in a row!).  it is a Lutheran camp, and each year a new lecturer does a series of presentations, similar to an extended Bible study series.  mixed in amongst those lectures is a bit of golfing, a bit of silliness, sometimes some swimming and other water-sports on Lake Michigan, and always a lot of great fellowship with the guys of my family. [for the record, the women in the family do a similar women's retreat, but it isn't always at Camp Arcadia, and usually is centered more around shopping.]

as per our usual, we start the weekend out on Thursday, and we pick a golf course to play en route to the camp.  this year, we ate lunch first at Jamesport Brewing Company in Ludington, and then traveled a short way up the road to play 18 holes at Lincoln Hills Golf Course.  most of us are not really serious golfers – this was the 1st round of golf this year for most of the guys (including me!).

lincoln hills

photo by @dharns

after golfing, we got back on the road and headed up the coast towards Camp Arcadia, but made our traditional stop at Arcadia Bluffs (we played golf here once, but it is a bit $$ for our, um, caliber of play).  but it is usually a great place to watch the sunset and get a nice dinner (although this time it wasn’t great….)

photo by @dharns

Friday morning is traditionally a golf outing organized by the camp planning committee, but for various reasons, we decided to start our own golf outing this year: the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge.  there were several benefits to starting our own outing: we could sleep in later, the golf course was a closer drive, we had the course almost to ourselves, and we could create our own rules.  plus, we got lucky, and the course had delicious pulled pork sandwiches at the turn!

the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge couldn’t have ended any better: the 1st foursome was my brother and a few of his friends for the Chicago area (Team St Peter) and the 2nd foursome was me, my brother-in-law Dave, my Dad, and another friend from my Dad’s church (Team St Matthew).  with Team St Peter watching, our group got a bogie on #17 meaning both groups were tied going into the final hole.  both teams shot decent drives to start #18, but Team St Matthew’s 2nd shot was on the green, and closer than Team St Peter’s 2nd shot out onto the fringe.  but St Peter put on the pressure by sinking an amazing putt from the fringe.  my Dad lived up to the challenge – sinking our 12-ft putt to again send us into a tie.  for a tie-breaker, we just walked back 80-ft or so, took a drop and chipped towards the #18 green again.  Dave started off Team St Matthew with an amazing iron shot – stopping 3-ft from the cup.  again, though, Team St Peter was our equal, with a decent chip shot, but then able to sink a long putt.  at that point we called it a tie – a fitting conclusion to the 1st Annual Juniper Challenge.


after golfing, the 1st lecture is Friday afternoon, followed by some free time – and we played some of our invented game: Tennyball.  Tennyball is a simple (and yet complicated?) game combining tennis and volleyball, with a mixture of insanity. with only 2 vs 2 in this video, it’s hard to tell it is much different than doubles tennis… but trust me, it is most certainly is.

during Tennyball, it was pretty sweet to see one of the other campers out on Lake Michigan trying to kite surf.

Friday evening is the 2nd Bible study and vespers (or a short sunset prayer service) at the recently completed Chapel on the Beach at Camp Arcadia.  my brother-in-law Dave got yet another great photo – it might help to click on this one to enlarge the picture for full effect.


photo by @dharns

Saturday morning is the final Bible study, and the afternoon usually has some free time.  this year we decided to drive up to the Betsie River near Beulah and watch the salmon swimming upstream, and trying to jump the dam across the river. it was amazing!


in addition to all of that mentioned above is great food served by the Camp, plus the incredible atmosphere with the setting right on the shores of Lake Michigan. the shipwreck Minnehaha was incredible as well:

once again, an incredible weekend of fun and fellowship.

september 2013 sunfish midwest schedule

there are (3) Sunfish races in the Midwest Region during the month of September.

Saturday, August 31st and Sunday, Sept 1st – GDSC Open Regatta – Labor Day

the Greater Detroit Sunfish Club (GDSC) (also check out their Yahoo Group, it’s sometimes a bit more up-to-date) hosts an annual camping trip with Sunfish racing to be held over Labor Day weekend.  they are repeating things from last year, with the event being held at Tawas Bay, Michigan, with racing to be held on Tawas Bay which is part of  Lake Huron.  many from the group will be camping at the Tawas Point State Park, but the group will be launching their sailboats from the public ramp next to Timberlane Resorts, where some of the group is also staying.

Lake Huron at Tawas Bay

my family camped at that state park a few summers ago – it is a pretty nice park, and a absolutely beautiful area, but sailing is not really feasible from the state park and campground area, as the water is very shallow for several hundred and up to a few thousand feet off the shoreline.  I also sailed on Tawas Bay that weekend, launching from the same ramp the GDSC will be using.

Saturday, Sept 14th and Sunday, Sept 15th – Midwest Sunfish Regional Championship #3

this event will be held at Devils Lake Yacht Club in Manitou Beach, Michigan.  it is the 70th annual “Bruce Goldsmith Memorial Regatta“, and typically includes 2 fleets – Sunfish and Lightnings.  this is the event I was able to attend as a spectator (and photographer) in 2009.

Saturday, Sept 21st and Sunday, Sept 22nd – Clark Lake Fall Regatta

this 2-day event will be held by Clark Lake Yacht Club in Clark Lake, Michigan.  a couple things from the notice of race:

Note:  5 boats minimum required for individual start –3 boats minimum for a fleet! Rebels, Interlakes, Sunfish, Wayfarers, Buccaneers, and Snipes!

sounds like a great time!  the official notice of race can be found here (.pdf file).


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