Get Ready for the Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac-Watch Systems

By Wally Cross


Setting up a Watch System

We all tend to feel sleep is over rated and usually it is, but in a Mackinac race the well-rested teams sail the best near the finish. I highly recommend teams set up a watch system and begin using it four hours after the start of the race. Here are few ways to structure your system:

  • Buddy System-Pair off each crew member with another to make sure each are responsible for the other in bad weather. You can also have each pair agree to set up their own rest system separate from the rest of the crew (only in a short race).
  • Moving Two-Two crew changing every two hours. Based on size of team, have two, new crew come up each hour–or every other hour–to enable the entire team to sail together throughout the race.
  • Four On – Four Off-This is the system I use in a longer race. Split the crew into two teams and sail for four hours on and rest for four. If the race is only a day, I prefer changing it a bit to sail for four and rest for three.

Regardless of your approach, make sure it is systematic and consistent; do not allow it to break down. Also during the sailing time, make sure everyone sailing changes his or her role hourly. The helmsman should not steer, or crew members trim, for more than an hour at a stretch. Keep all the roles fresh and the boat will be sailed to its potential.

By this time, your to-do list should be getting shorter. With entry details and boat prep squared away, now is a good time—if you haven’t already—to schedule a meeting with your crew to talk about your approach to racing that will include:

  • Information (Internet, clouds, competition, crew)
  • Sail selection and trim
  • Safety gear and location
  • Sailing rotation
  • Rest rotation
  • Night sailing (light up sails and trim stripes)
  • Progress relative to competitors

Next time, I will cover decision-making and describe how to race based on real-time weather on the course.

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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Enter to Win The Bayview Tour of Michigan VIP Package

Now is your chance to enjoy touring Michigan in style by entering to win the Bayview Tour of Michigan VIP Package. Thanks to participating sponsors Quantum Sail Design Group, Acura dealers, Bell’s Beer, Grand Hotel, and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, for their contribution toward an amazing adventure package.

Prize Includes:

  • Drive an Acura for a week + $1,000 Gift Card
  • Bell’s Beer VIP Tour + Concert tickets
  • Two nights at the Grand Hotel
  • Two nights at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, plus spa and restaurant certificates
  • Special sailing experience including lunch at the Bayview Yacht Club and Quantum apparel package courtesy of Quantum Sail Design Group

To enter, visit www.BayviewTour.com or fill out and deposit an official entry form at any participating Metro Detroit Acura Dealer, at Bell’s General Store in Kalamazoo, at the Grand Hotel, at the Quantum Sale Design Group, and at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.

LIMIT: One (1) entry per person regardless of method of entry. Subject to restrictions and limitations. See complete Official Rules at participating locations and online at www.BayviewTour.com . Void where prohibited. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY. Open only to legal Michigan residents, 21 years of age or older.

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Get Ready for the Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac-Packing Light

By Wally Cross

Packing Light

As the race nears, make sure you prepare your boat to race and not cruise. It seems like many people look at sailing long distance as vacation vs. a challenge. I think it’s fun to look for ways to shed excess weight through food and gear choices in order to give your boat the best chance to sail fast in potentially light conditions. Remember, if your boat is light and the bottom clean , your chances of sailing fast are greatly improved. Most people will clean the boat bottom, but few push the weight limits. Here are some suggestions based on my offshore package:

  • Compact boat stove
  • Stainless coffee pot
  • Stainless thermos secured to bulkhead with shock cord
  • Water filter
  • Shoe pocket organizer for cups and hot sauce
  • Individual stainless cups for each crew
  • Freeze-dried food, powdered coffee, soup, and energy drink

This package is lightweight and does not have an expiration date.

For individual gear I recommend lightweight, but warm layers. I am not a fan of boots or heavy clothing to stay warm because of the weight and t he fact it is harder to move. I prefer wearing multiple layers of thin camping cloths and a good quality outer layer that is lightweight, waterproof, and flexible. Each person’s gear should fit in a normal backpack with all packs placed on one bunk for the entire crew.

In addition to light food and sailing gear, keep spare equipment to a minimum. One extra sheet, a small tool bag, sail repair kit, first aid, tape, sunscreen, bug spray. Also bring two to four light blankets to stay warm when sleeping.

My list may seem short on comforts; but then again, the faster you sail the sooner you’ll be able to savor that hot shower and cold drink on the other end.

Next time I will cover options for establishing a watch system.

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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