Saturday at the Nite Nationals was a perfect combination of steady wind, sunshine, and fast racing. Congratulations to Chad Rechcygl who won the Gold fleet in a rather dramatic way and to Dick Grota, a literal Grand Master, for his Silver fleet win. It was an early-to-sleep Friday night in order to make Sunday’s first race scheduled for 8 AM. Despite my own groaning at having to get seriously moving before sunrise, it was the right call. Getting on the lake at 7 AM ensured that trailers were able to easily leave the landing before the ice softened too much, unlike last year’s Nite Nationals on Kegonsa where a bridge over troubled landing waters had to be deployed.
Lively winds and rutted ice put tremendous loads on the boats. Other than rigs coming down and a few mast failures, the competitors used good judgement and kept the racing safe. In race eight,Chad Rechcygl, who was leading the Gold fleet in points at the time, had something happen at the worst possible time, his hull broke. As the Silver fleet raced for the last time of the day, Chad faced the prospect of not being able to complete the regatta. However, Nite Class rules allow for equipment substitution. When Toledo Ice Yacht Club’s Alex Chabalowski finished Silver fleet race nine sailing in Nite Commodore John Hayashi’s canary yellow boat, Chad jumped in the boat for the last Gold fleet race, finished fourth, and won the regatta. During prize-giving, Chad credited the help he received from Tom Hyslop for his victory and what it meant to be able to sail with Pewaukee Nite guys Tom Sweitzer and Mark Prange. Another Pewaukee sailor, Dick Grota, made it look easy in both light and heavy air with his Silver fleet win. Also of note was the top female sailor, TIYC’s Anita Bersie Chabalowski, who placed third in the Silver fleet. I don’t think she ever stopped smiling all weekend.
The 4LIYC was represented with Daniel Hearn, Brad Wagner, Lars Barber, and Don Sanford. Daniel finished 3rd in the Gold fleet sailing Joe Norton’s boat. Brad Wagner, who is new to racing this season, won race four on Friday, placed fifth in the Silver fleet, and walked away with the top rookie award. Lars Barber’s mast was one of the casualties of the regatta but he was already making plans to check on the Sitka supply at McCormick Lumber this week for the next one. A big 4LIYC congratulations to Don Sanford who won two races in the Silver fleet and placed second overall.
Thanks to all the competitors, the Nite Class, the Green Lake Ice Yacht Club, John Hayashi, Joe Norton for everything, and to Todd Morgan who helped scout ice and gave a film crew a ride out to the course in his beautiful B Skeeter. A special thank you to Mary Jane Schalk who tabulated and published all the live results from the offshore office!