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Did the HOOK race

Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Last week a WYC buddy asked if I'd crew on the Hook race, a 190 mile race from Racine Wisconsin around the Door County peninsula to Menominee Michigan. As the only distance race this year on Lake Michigan or Superior, I said 'Hell yes!'

We'd be part of a pick-up crew racing a Tartan 10, a 33 foot racer that is popular in the great lakes. Indeed, with the Mac race canceled there was going to be 10 of them in the 100 boat Hook fleet.

The race was last weekend and was on T10 (actually an LS10) Winnebago with a crew of 5. Weather was predicted to blow hard from the south for days, but due to heat thunderstorms were predicted. Started in perfect conditions; S12 knots and sunny and hot. We were far enough ahead (early sequence start and we got away well) to be on the north side of Milwaukee when the first storm hit there, forming over the city and them coming over the water.

We could see wipeouts and all manner of disaster behind us (5 dis-mastings) as storm decimated the fleet and then the wind came north to us. We were leading the race with another T10 and played a game of chicken with them as to who could leave the kite up longest. Hard to take it down, as we were flying (OK T10 flying) in the 30 knots and following seas. We blinked as the breeze built to over 35, and they dropped 2 minutes later. We beat our spin speed max (12.5) under jib and main (13.5) while the storm blew through.

Bit of a lull in lumpy seas after the storm passed, good time to break out the grill for dinner. Pressure back on and we clicked off the miles under spin and a starry sky. Around Sheboygan the sky started to darken and we could see but not hear lightning everywhere. But we were flying at 10+ knots so all good, press on. Then we could hear the thunder, and the rain started. Kept the kite up as long as it seems sane, and lucked out and dropped it just before the crap started to hit the fan. Driving rain and 45 knots of wind, so manageable and still making good VMG. 45 minutes of this and a tiny bit of a lull, so we gamble and put up the jib. On queue, it then gets absolutely atrocious, continuous lighting and 65 knots of building breeze. We tear down the jib and sail under full main in basically survival mode. Wind clocks through every direction as the storm rotates above us. 15.5 knots of max boat speed but not sure in what direction.

Finally it gets less crazy, and we can turn towards the turning point at Porte du Morte, about 30nm due north. Another lull at dawn, some rain, and life is feeling pretty crappy. But then it fills in from the west, and we close reach to the turning mark, a USCG buoy that amazingly wasn't there. Through the Porte and it looks like a champagne sail into the M&M YC, but christ there is another T10 200 yards behind us, and we dual fangs out the 40NM all the way to the finish.

7th overall. Got 1 hour of actual sleep. Drove 75% of the race, doing that unless I needed to do foredeck to jibe the pole, not sure how I got that job. Great times!

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Last edited:
Feb 20, 2011
7,760
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Jebus. 5 dismastings.
May I suggest you use more paragraphs?
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,751
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Was a crazy time. This J/111 was parked next to us before the race.
View attachment 182669\

I inserted some blank line to help readers.
Thanks the extra space;-). This boat started out with a broken mast?

A buddy of mine regularly sails in thr Hook, but the boat owner he crews for decided not to participate this year due to COVID-19 concerns and crowds.

Greg
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
This boat started out with a broken mast?

A buddy of mine regularly sails in thr Hook, but the boat owner he crews for decided not to participate this year due to COVID-19 concerns and crowds.
No, but they didn't get far! It failed in the 1st storm by Milwaukee.

Yes COVID was a hot topic. Was a bit of a risk for sure. Some boats sailed with crew 'zones', not sure how that worked. For me, two new people into my bubble. Generally I'm a big fan of doing everything to bring down the curve. But sometime you have to factor risk vs living life.
 
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Apex

.
Jun 19, 2013
1,022
Oday 28 Traverse City
Congrats on racing the hook JD. I will not be able to race this weekend in Charlevoix. :O( Other life commitments. I never did check the weather for what would have been the mac....hopefully terrible

It's always hard to drop the chute when haulin like that isn't it. All good until it isn't, playing the level of risk in high winds is just part of racing that really is fascinating.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Congrats on racing the hook JD. I will not be able to race this weekend in Charlevoix. :O( Other life commitments. I never did check the weather for what would have been the mac....hopefully terrible

It's always hard to drop the chute when hauling like that isn't it. All good until it isn't, playing the level of risk in high winds is just part of racing that really is fascinating.
The Mac and the Hook are always the same weekend and start at the same time, so they would have had the same weather, but would have been 10 hours sailing south of the hook fleet. Overall it was perfect conditions; a strong southerly blowing 20 and clear skies. Except for the storms of course.

Our mostly WYC crew was pretty strong. I was the only member without T10 experience, but its a really simple straightforward boat. Its really rigged like a big J24. Our drops were quick and orderly, and we felt ok with the kite whenever it was up, even when we took it down. But we knew it was going to get worse before it got better, and at some point it would take itself down! ;^)
 
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PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
748
Sabre 402 Southport, CT
Ran into some weather like than on a CHI-Mac - 8 knots under bare poles - but not quite as nasty as what you had. We were glad we were in something bigger and heftier than a T-10.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
Same crew (swapping 1) is going to do the WYC U-gotta Regatta in two weeks. On a J24. Should be a hot regatta, the only big Jboat (j24 j22 j70) regatta in the mid-west this year. Expect a fun report!
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
We got the bottom of J24 MOTORHOME spotlessly clean and wiped down with McLube Hullkote. 2 former world champions in the regatta, you have to go to this level to compete.

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PaulK

.
Dec 1, 2009
748
Sabre 402 Southport, CT
The trick now would be to paint a waterline a few inches up from where it actually is. People will think your boat is too light and have the RC make you weigh it ;)
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
The trick now would be to paint a waterline a few inches up from where it actually is. People will think your boat is too light and have the RC make you weigh it ;)
OD racers want NOTHING to distinguish their boats. Makes getting called for OCS that much harder. Its why bow numbers exist for bigger regattas.

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