Regatta Reports
2008 North American Championship Report
By Eric Lind and Barbara Beigel Vosbury
Sep 12, 2008, 17:54


September 10:
The Little Traverse Yacht Club and Irish Boat Shop have been marvelous hosts for the Star North American Championship being held this week on Little Traverse Bay in beautiful Hargor Springs, Michigan.

The event is being organized by the Gull Lake Star Fleet and chaired by Jon VanderMolen with racing scheduled for today through Saturday. Promising wind this morning got everyone out on the water, but a predicted breeze of 7 knots from the South never happened and the fleet of 30 Stars were towed in after about an hour. We are patiently waiting for some breeze and hoping to get one in today. Will let you know later if anything develops.

Quiet Harbor at Irish's Boat Yard

Afternoon report by Barbara Beigel Vosbury
How do you spell beautiful? We, those of us who were smart enough to enter the North American Championship, spell it Harbor Springs Michigan! It is fabulous here. We cannot say enough good about Dave Irish. He is the consummate host, with the cleanest boatyard and most outgoing staff you can imagine. AND he got to sail a Star for the first time the other day, returning to the dock with that smile we all have after our first time. We want for nothing.....except wind.

At 1100 we were under postponement. The Race Committee and some of the competitors witnessed a water spout. The seas and breeze were calm today. The RC fired two guns and hoisted November over Hotel and we were back at the dock by 1300. At 1305 Don Parfet was making a tee time. At 1430 we were abandoned for the day.

Kevin Farrell, Commodore, and the Little Traverse Bay Yacht Club membership are very excited to host a Star event. The Junior Program is putting on breakfast each day. Their Yacht Club is just next door and across the street making everything handy and tidy.

The temperature here is perfect.......mid to upper 40's at night and 60-70 during the day!

Jon Vandermolen, Tom Londrigan Jr. and the Gull Lake Star Fleet, and I mean ALL of the Gull Lake Star Fleet, have picked a perfect venue and done a fabulous job of coordinating and organizing. A thank you to our sponsors, North American Sailing Center, Bravo! beer and

Did I mention the beer truck? There are 14 kegs in there and it is a great end to a great day on the water!


September 11th - by Eric Lind, Race Committee Chair
WOW!!! This has to have been one of the best days on the water that I can remember. We got 3 races in just over 4 hours and everyone is back at Irish Boat Shop enjoying some Bravo! beer.

All 3 races were 4 leg W/L with a 1.5 nm leg. Wind was in the low to mid teens during the first race and maybe some higher gusts as one mast was broken while races 2 & 3 saw the wind subside to the 9 - 12 range. Star Class veteran John MacCausland from Cooper River in New Jersey and crew Kevin Murphy put together 3 strong finishes of 3, 1, and 4 for a total of 8 points and an 8 point lead over Rick Merriman and crew Phil Trinter. In 3rd place is Star Class President Bill Allen with crew Brad Lichter at 17 points. We are hoping to get 3 more in tomorrow and 2 on Saturday to complete the championship.

Day two report by Barbara Beigel Vosbury
The forecast was for the wind to build and rumor had it that the wind would then clock. As with all regattas and venues, “it’s never like this here“. The wind started out around 15 kts with higher gusts and diminished to about 10 with gusts, but not so high.

John Koopman, Eric Lind and the great RC got three races off yesterday, playing catch up for the day before. Did I mention yesterday that this is a great venue? The waves were challenging and the skies were beautiful blue with white puffy clouds. The puffs blasted down the course with determination and the water that hit your face was refreshing.

The carnage was minimal, one mast, one pole and a few bruised egos, but that is to be expected with a fleet like this. Not as many boats as we would like to have but the talent is strong and the racing is fierce. One mistake and well, you know the story.

One great thing about smaller events is the camaraderie. You really get to know your competitors. We have some new members here, Jack Jennings, Dan Coughlin and Dave Irish. I hope that they have found our class to be as classy, friendly and competitive as we feel we are. Dave Irish last night described his impression of the Star as ‘intimate’. Everything is compact and right at your finger tips and it is the only way two men can spend so much time with a feminine object and get away with it!

Rick Merriman and Phil Trinter were the recipients of the Jack Daniels Trophy as winners of the first race.

The dinner at Bay Harbor Yacht Club was traditional Michigan food, corn on the cob, ribs, corn bread, everything from here and very yummy! Thank you to everyone who helped put this together.

Today we will be taking any junior that is on the dock for a spin in a Star, should be fun!


Day Three, September 12 - report by Eric Lind
After yesterday’s wonderful conditions we awoke to light rain and cool, gray skies this morning with wind from the North. Reports that the wind was blowing out on the bay were not correct and we spent 3 frustrating hours with wind just not quite strong enough and not quite consistent enough to race.

We finally got a race started just after 2pm this afternoon. The wind was in the 7 - 8 range with some left over chop coming in from Lake Michigan. Lots of shifts brought lots of position changes between marks, but in the end the top 2 boats from Thursday, Merriman/Trinter & MacCausland/Murphy, fought each other hard for the top 2 spots.

The RC got another race off under the black flag after 2 general recalls and as the sky cleared the wind diminished making for more challenging conditions. Again it was Merriman first and MacCausland second and after 5 races with a throwout kicking in the standings show Merriman/Trinter in 1st with 4 pts and MacCausland/Murphy 2nd with 8 pts. In 3rd place, and leading the Masters Division, is Ched Proctor and Kip Gardner with 20 pts.

Tomorrow is the last day of the regatta and the wind is forecast at 6, building to 10, from the Southeast. With a 1400 cutoff time the chances of getting more than 2 races in are slim.

Day Four - September 13 by Eric Lind
John MacCausland & Kevin Murphy Win Star North American Championship

Wind for the day was predicted to be Southeast at 6 building to 10, but the 30 Star boats sailed out of the Harbor to find East wind at 12 to 13 that held for the duration. PRO John Koopman called for another 4 leg W/L and the fleet started clean with no recalls. Second place team of MacCausland/Murphy won the race and cut the 4 point lead of Merriman/Trinter to 1 point as they finished 4th.

With a 1400 cutoff time looming and with the conditions deteriorating it appeared that the next race would be the last. The start of the race was the defining moment as Merriman/Trinter were OCS and did not return. When they were notified at the weather mark they chose to head for the hoist. Knowing that Merriman/Trinter would have to now count their 14th in R2 and that they would only have to count a 4, MacCausland/Murphy chose to drop out the next time around and head for the barn with the championship.

Overall it was an excellent regatta and everyone raved about the great job that the Irish Boat Shop staff and Little Traverse Yacht Club membership did in hosting this event. Jon ’Who Has More Fun’ VanderMolen and the Gull Lake Star Fleet did a tremendous job of organizing even though the venue was 300 miles away and we are all looking forward to doing it again in the future.

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