By Steve Schulwitz, The Alpena News
This article is part of a collaboration between The Alpena News and Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television to bring audiences stories about the Great Lakes, especially Lake Huron and its watershed.
ALPENA — Thunder Bay was a flurry of activity Saturday, as 15 Yngling sailboats competed in the 2021 Yngling North America Regatta in Alpena.
Sailors of all ages strategically navigated their crafts around a course that changed from time to time to adapt to the ever-changing wind conditions.
The races on Saturday were delayed several hours, as there was little wind on Lake Huron, but once the horn sounded to begin racing, the breeze was more than enough to push the boats through the water.
Organizer Wayne Lewis said the race has been going on since the 1970s and it is a challenging, but fun, competition for the competitors.
“The course is set up so that the upwind mark is directly upwind from the start. Sailboats can’t sail directly into the wind, so you have to maneuver your boat along the course in the most efficient manner to get around the mark and come back down wind,” Lewis said.
The sailing began on Friday, and resumed early afternoon on Saturday, in total six races were completed. Another race was held on Sunday.
The overall winner was the crew from the boat Stinky, which was from the Minnetonka Yacht Club from Minnesota, crewed by Christine Kronich, Maxwell Kelley, and Cole Woerner.
The second, third, and fourth finishers were from Alpena.
The crew of Taboo — Tim Rumbles, Anna Rumbles, and Sam Rumbles — placed second overall, while Pandora’s Box, crewed by Wayne Lewis, Chad Lewis, and Eric Ferguson, placed third. The boat Whisper ended up in fourth place, with a crew of Walter Jacquemin, Joseph Jacquemin, and Katie Jacquemin.
The impressive performance from race teams in Alpena says a lot of the sport locally. Lewis said the local youth sailing lessons help prepare the kids for future competition, as well as a hobby they can enjoy the rest of their lives.
“It is kind of a feeder system, and this year we have a record number of kids participating,”. Lewis said. “A few of those kids sail with us now. Competitively our local group has a lot of fun, and, you know, it is all about having bragging rights when you get back to the dock. We have a lot of fun out there.”
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Featured image: Fifteen Yngling sailboats navigate around a course while competing in the 2021 Yngling North America Regatta in Alpena this weekend. As of Saturday afternoon, six races were completed. (Photo Credit: Steve Schulwitz/The Alpena News)