Sailing Races

Posted at: 06/07/2013 3:54 PM
Updated at: 06/12/2013 10:51 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

Many of us long for summer sunshine, but it's the windy days that get local sailers excited.

Fleet 165 is made up of Duluth Yacht Club members and their boats. They've been competing in the yacht club's weekly Wednesday night races for years.

But on this Tuesday evening, they are setting sail for their own contest.

It's a J/24 race, a class for small or midsize recreational yachts. They usually race between one and four miles. Ben Stauber is the fleet captain and owner of "Insatiable." He says sailing is all about strategy.

"It's a chess game because you're crossing tacks with everybody front and back, all the way up and all the way back," Stauber said. "You're trying to get on top of the other person's wind."

Craig Modean is part of the crew on the "151." He says the Tuesday night races are a great opportunity for new sailers to learn the ropes. Out on the water, everyone has a job.

"We've got a skipper or a driver, a trimmer who takes care of the jib sail which is the front sail, a midship person who takes care of all the rigging, the spinnaker and so on and so forth," Modean said. "And then usually a person on the foredeck who is responsible for moving things around up there."

As more boats join the local fleets, racing around Lake Superior has become even more competitive.

"It's one of the most competitive sports you can do," Stauber said. "I mean we're going to be racing inches from each other, it's like NASCAR out there on the water. Very competitive."

But it's the teamwork and the camaraderie that got these crews hooked.

"It gets me out on the water, some socialization, it's a good group of people, something to keep yourself involved and busy," Modean said.

"It's a blast. Big waves sometimes, big wind sometimes," Stauber said. "This time of year is a little bit cold. but that's all right, we're hearty. "

The Duluth Yacht Club is always looking for new sailers. If you're interested, visit http://www.duluthyachtclub.com/