Junior Sailors Take on the Bayview Mackinac Regatta

Tommy Caulfield (8), Leo Buchanan (10), Stuart Fletcher (10), Colin Hexter (8), Ryan Hexter (10),  
Daniel Gerhardstein (9), are the Green Horn Kids. They'll be racing the Christina with a Sea 2.
 
Tom Caulfield fell in love with sailboat racing when he was eight years old. Now he’s helping his eight year-old son fall in love with the sport by providing an opportunity for junior sailors to compete on a big boat. This summer, the Green Horn Kids will compete in the 2014 Bayview Mackinac Race as part of Tom’s plan to promote sailing among kids while generating an interest within the sailing community to help develop the next generation of sailors. 
 
Tom has been racing big boats for years, but during last year’s America’s Cup he noticed a lack of American sailors. In a sailing article, Tom read that fewer children have exposure to the sport. He decided to change that. He put together a junior, big-boat program, the Green Horn Kids, to sail in the Bayview Mackinac Race. 
 
The team includes six boys ages 8-10 years old. They have all sailed Optimist dinghies and most have sailed aboard a big boat, but this race is their first opportunity to sail the boat, a Beneteau 49 named Christina with a Sea 2, themselves.
 
Their education began this winter when they worked on the boat while it was in storage. Then they met in each other’s homes for Sailing 101. “We did some light classroom stuff,” said Tom. “We went over a lot of sailing terms – starboard, port, head, clew – so when we’re racing, especially at night, they’re aware of the terms.”
 
The Green Horn Kids started training for the Bayview Mackinac Race
this past winter and quickly applied their knowledge on board.
 
They also spent some time at the Quantum® loft in St. Clair Shores, Michigan with Wally Cross and Gary Jacoby learning the ins-and-outs of sails. “We brought in the sails from the boat, and Wally and Gary took time with the boys, explaining why it’s shaped the way it is and how it creates lift. They even gave the boys each three feet of line and taught them to tie knots,” said Tom. “Gary is also planning on coming out with us to show the boys what to look for in the sails while sailing.”
 
When the boys finally made it to the water this spring, their abilities surprised everyone. “By the second time we went out, they were sailing,” said Tom. “They might have needed help grinding a winch, but they quickly grasped the concept.” Though the boys will be sailing the boat in the Mackinac race, their dads will be on board to make sure they arrive safely, and to help with winches as needed.
 
Tom said everyone is excited about the race and looking forward to getting on the water. “The boys are really excited about sailing overnight,” he said. “We’ve done it a few times at night, but never stayed out. They’re kids, so they’re also looking forward to getting up to Mackinac Island and eating fudge.”
 
Stuart Fletcher, Leo Buchanan, Ryan Hexter, Tommy Caulfield, Daniel Gerhardstein, and Colin Hexter
are ready for their first big-boat race.
 
 
Tom, however, sees the bigger picture. “I want them to understand the essence of a crew and team work, to learn how to help each other and overcome obstacles, but what I’m most looking forward to is watching them complete the race. I want them to be able to say they did it, and if we’re the last boat in but they want to go again next year, we’ve won.”
 
Quantum is proud sponsor and official sailmaker for the 2014 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race and supporter of the Green Horn Kids team.
 
To learn more about the Green Horn Kids, visit www.sailmacnow.com
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The Quantum® Team is at Your Service

Proud sponsor and official sailmaker for the 2014 Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race

Quantum Sails is pleased to offer service and support to all race teams in Port Huron and on Mackinac Island. Quantum® team members will be onsite in Port Huron near the Acura Oasis to field questions on sails, racing, strategy, weather, and more.

If you require sail repair services following the race, Quantum has you covered with convenient island drop-off and quick turn-around for sails needed for the Chicago Mackinac race the following weekend.

Shepler’s Ferry is providing transportation for all service sails, with a drop-box located at the company’s dock on Mackinac Island. You will be asked to fill out a tag with contact information and attach it to each sail.

A Quantum® service representative will pick up sails in St. Ignace and complete the work in Traverse City. Owners will be contacted to discuss repairs and return delivery details.

Before or after the race, don’t hesitate to contact one of Quantum’s Michigan representatives if there is anything we can do for you.

Traverse City
TJ Craig, 231-632-5683
Jason Massaroni, 231-492-7797

Detroit
Wally Cross, 586-776-1330

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Get Ready for the Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac-Weather Clues and Routing

By Wally Cross

The summer is heating up and so is the water and land. It is time to consider all the options when deciding on your course or route.

Sailing software like Expedition and Deckman provide clues on the best routes based on a combination of your boat's performance (VPPs) and the predicted weather. This information is a good clue but not hard fast. In the past we would pay for weather, thinking it would provide secrets to this race, yet in reality it was no more valuable than the information you can get online.

Get Information First

  • Make sure you can get internet service the entire race.
  • Download Yellow Brick and view every four hours.
  • Look at weather one week in advance in all locations on the lake.

Clues

Morning Weather

Look at weather early for possible clues on how the wind direction and speed change based on the time of day. Cold water and warm land will affect the direction and wind speed along the shore. The map is in the morning with a south wind direction.

Afternoon Weather

This map is from 2:00 pm mid-day after the land warms up. Both shores are producing a thermal wind direction. Each shore line would have more wind speed with an east wind on the US shore and a west wind on the Canadian shore.

Night Weather

This map is at 1:00 am after the land cools. The land breeze or night thermal is only on one shore. This new wind direction is affected by the land temperature relative to the water and the direction of the upper gradient wind direction.

Weather information from various buoys on Lake Huron is available on the Great Lake's page of NOAA's National Weather Service website. Access this information during the race for clues about what's coming.

Bookmark all your online weather sites for easy access. Every four hours, check to see if the weather is following the pattern from the last forecast. Check out Yellow Brick to monitor your progress relative to your competitors.

Weather Decisions
A good strategy is to think of the race in quarters, evaluating the weather and planning individually for each period of time.

Quarter One is during the first day with a combination of sun, cold water and warm land. Usually there is some land influence during this period. Look for clouds along the shore to determine if there is a thermal; if so there will be more wind closer to shore.

Quarter Two is the first evening. The shore boats need to make a decision on how far offshore to sail while boats on the Cove Island course need to determine how far west or east of rhumb to sail. The shore course boats need to assess whether the gradient wind will line up with a land breeze off the shore. The Cove Island boats will decide if the new wind from the west is better than sailing in the old wind that will travel east. General rule of thumb is to race for more pressure.

Quarter Three is the first morning and mid-day. The land will be cool so it is all about finding the gradient wind. This period is also a good time to set up for the afternoon thermals along the shore course. Cove Island boats now are deciding whether to sail more south if the wind is more from south or east, or a northern route if the wind is more from the west or north.

Final Quarter is the finish area. Based on the timing, all of the land around Mackinac Island can influence not only the wind speed, but also direction. If arriving during the day, the shore lines are good; at night mid-water seems safer.

Quarterly Decisions

  • Determine if the wind is a gradient wind direction or a land thermal breeze.
  • Make a decision about the breeze of the first evening based on wind direction aloft and the day's thermal breeze.
  • Use all your clues from the buoys to the north, the weather to the south, and your current conditions relative to early predictions.

Sailing the Circle Fast

  • Draw a circle up the course every 60 miles with a 5-mile diameter on rhumb line.
  • Based on your current wind direction, decide what course will allow you to enter the circle first.
  • This system will allow you to climb the north ladder faster than just sailing a rhumb line course.

Note: Have questions on circle sailing? Give me a call at 586-776-1330.

Rules of the Road

  • Research weather one week in advance.
  • Understand your boat's polar speed and angles.
  • Visualize now at home how you would sail the race in current conditions.
  • Make a plan Friday night and then again Saturday morning.
  • Base your start on your first quarter plan.
  • Check your results visually early on, and later with Yellow Brick.
  • Sail fast all the time….5% faster than target speeds.
  • Make course decisions based on your boat's best course.
  • Use circles to keep you from sailing too far off course.
  • Win by sailing fast/smart yet within the circle.

Quantum's Wally Cross is a 45-year veteran of the Bayview Mac Race. Over the coming weeks, Cross will provide information and tips to help teams prepare for a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Wally is available for in-person or phone consultations with interested boat owners. To review your program or for more information, contact Wally at wcross@quantumsails.com or 586-776-1330.

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