Harbor at Sunapee Yacht Club

Newport, New Hampshire

This weekend I participated in the Lake Sunapee Open in the Star Class. The northeast has a long tradition of Star Class racing and Lake Sunapee has had Star racing since 1939.

I have long wanted to experience racing on these lakes and finally my opportunity came. John Chiarella, a Star sailor for the past 65 years, invited me to come, race and give a presentation at the Saturday night dinner.

First of all, these lakes in the northeast are spectacularily beautiful! It is amazing to race in fresh water. No rinsing off the boat and gear. The lake is ringed with line trees and the air has that smell that reminds you of camping when you were a kid.

Now, what goes along with that beauty is lots of wind shifts.  You know the game “Shoots & Ladders”? That’s racing on Lake Sunapee…probably all the lakes.

imageStar #1631, classic.

The fleet of 22 Stars had 4 races over the weekend, all with decent breeze. 7-12 knots was the average and 30 degree shifts were the norm.

At the Saturday night dinner, I told the audience that despite racing around the world twice and a few other sailing experiences, I actually learned to sail on a lake in downtown Oakland that did not measure 1 mile in any direction. So I was good at “Shoots and Ladders” at one time!

John MacCausland, whose father we were honoring all weekend, jumped out to the early lead on Saturday with Lauren Barth with her dad crewing, sailing well to run in second place.

Sunday’s stars were Andy Mac Donald and Brad Nichol who got a 1, 2 and won the tie breaker over MacCausland/Burgees to take the Open Championship.

Nat Cook was generous enough to lend me his boat and thick skinned enough to crew from me. Saturday was a little trying, getting used to a borrowed boat and new crew not to mention the shifts. Sunday we found our stride and got a 7 and then a nice 1 in the final race of the regatta. We finished 4th over all behind Author Anosov and Josh Revkin in 3rd.

There were two father/daughter teams sailing! Yep, not father/son teams. I love seeing that! I am planing on crewing for my son in Vancouver over Labor Day weekend for the 6th District Championships.

What you realize when you come to places like this and Lake Peewaukee, Wisconsin, where I sailed last fall, is there are many beautiful spots in this very large country of ours. You just need to discover them!