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augbug27 06-29-2012 11:08 AM

Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
For years I've been tossing around the idea of trying to start a long distance dinghy race in lake Michigan. Was wondering if anyone in the area would be interested, say from Muskegon to south haven or something like that, it looks as if the longest one world wide currently is 40 miles. Obviously I am considering that safety would have to be the cornerstone and I would have to find some volunteer safety vessels. But I would love some thoughts, I'm thinking a pretty unrestricted race in terms of boat design and maybe a total of 4 categories, multihull 16 and under, multi hull 20 and under, and then roughly the same for mono hulls, something to that effect anyway. Would just love to hear some thoughts, thanks.

paulk 06-29-2012 10:43 PM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
Maybe something like the Worrel (?) 500 , the catamaran race that goes up the coast in daily stages that end up totaling 500 miles? Everyone starts by pushing off the beach each day, I think. 40 miles in a dinghy in one swoop could be really dangerous if it got dark, or if nasty weather showed up.

augbug27 06-30-2012 07:05 PM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
Yeah that seems like a good idea, after talking to a few sailing friends I am thinking rather than a point to point race maybe a race to somewhere round a mark and back. I figure that would give less distance for safety boats to cover and a greater chance of other boats being in the area in case of an emergency. Also it provides more entertainment at the start/ finish. I am wondering if anyone can give some advice of required safety gear and rules to keep this a relatively safe endeavor. Heres the list I have so far.

Required on board:
PFD's worn at all times
VHF Handheld radios (JIS 7 or above)
Handheld GPS
Cell Phone (In water tight enclosure)

Boat Requirements:
Must be positively buoyant
Must be able to be righted by the crew that will be on board
Anchor and 100' of line
Lights for night (can be battery powered dinghy lights)+ fresh batteries

Race Rules:
Race officiants can make the call for any boat to suspend racing and remove crew or boat from a situation (weather or compromised safety for some reason)
Boats must call or radio in at a given time interval
Boats must not cross an exclusion zone set to be some number of miles off shore (about 5 miles)

Does anybody have any other ideas or modifications, I really would appreciate input. Thanks.

paulk 06-30-2012 10:33 PM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
It might be more fun to race somewhere, overnight there, and race back the next day. The party potential would be great since friends & followers could drive to the overnight site (a state park somewhere? an accommodating host club??) and have it set up before the racers arrived. You could do it over a weekend. The issue would be to coordinate with different classes at various clubs so as to not conflict with their existing race schedules. You'd also want to ensure their support to have enough boats in each class to make it interesting for everybody. Sounds like fun to me. Wish I had a suitable dinghy! (A Dyer Dhow would NOT be a good choice for this event.)

puddinlegs 07-01-2012 11:22 AM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
What about SH to M? Be nicer going downhill in a southwesterly. The 'stage' idea sounds fun too.

augbug27 07-03-2012 12:38 AM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
I think both the ideas of stages as well as taking advantage of more of a downwind course are good ideas. Maybe South Haven to Holland then overnight and on to Muskegon the next day? So is there anybody who would be interested, either in a support boat role or racing? I'm thinking tentatively July/ August 2013 to get as many people interested as possible and to try to get a few local sponsors. Should I maybe open it up to a few bigger boats as well and just have an over 20' class? Just to try and make sure the most possible people can get involved, after all its just meant to be a fun and slightly challenging race. Thanks for the input so far, please keep it coming.

SailMichigan 07-05-2012 09:53 PM

Re: Lake Michigan Sailing dinghy race?
There is a distance paddling/sailing event called the Tip of the Mitt (Michigan) Challenge. The course (300 miles) is from Oscoda (Lake Huron) to Manistee (Lake Michigan) through the Mackinac straights. I know of a Wayfarer (with a crew of 2) who did the event last year. There is also a 150 mile (shorter) course from Michigan City to Manistee. You can find out more about these events at:

There have also been a selection of regatta events/resources posted to the (Sail Michigan | Online Database of Sailing Lakes in Michigan | SailRatings™) website.

I think I may look seriously into these events myself.

Sailorseif 08-15-2012 10:15 AM

Muskegon to Holland would be a nice course. I'm sure that it's close to 40 miles so with good wind you could cover it in a day. You could then offer the option of having a race from Holland to South Haven the second day. I have a Hobie 16 on the beach in Muskegon and think that there would be a lot of interest in Muskegon to Holland. Numerous sailors have mentioned to me wanting to sail Muskegon to Grand Haven. With a good west wind on a reach that would be a fun race!

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