Between the blackout and the Trans-Erie Race, Kevin Lemonds hasn't been getting much rest.
The Grosse Ile Yacht Club sailor works for a Detroit power company and - along with Matt Dubois - is co-chairman of the Trans-Erie Race. He's also the co-skipper of a Henderson 30 that will compete in the performance handicap racing fleet division class A.
“It's been an interesting week,'' Lemonds said. “For a few days I hardly got any sleep, but I think it's under control now.''
The 140-mile race will start tomorrow two miles northeast of the Detroit River Lighthouse and finish in Presque Ile Bay, Pa., off Erie Yacht Club.
Weather forecasts call for northerly winds. “It looks like 10-15 knots and a beam reach” Lemonds said. “The boats should be in Erie the next day.''
As an offshore event, the Trans-Erie is something of an anomaly in the sport. Despite the lagging economy and job insecurity that makes it difficult for sailors to commit to a 3-day event, the race has grown steadily since its inception in 1997.
This year the event, which reverses direction every year, has attracted 46 boats, a dozen more than last year and five more than in 2001.
“Every time it runs from Michigan to Erie, participation goes up. When we reverse the direction, it goes down,'' Lemonds said. “But the good news is we're still growing.
“The secret of our success, is we're not trying to make money. We're trying to give a lot back, like having small classes so everyone has a good chance of going home with a $150 [trophy] flag.
“And it's just Matt and I, so skippers don't have to go through a million people to get answers to their questions.''
A 46-boat field isn't large, compared to the Mills Race or the Mackinacs, but it's a quality fleet, with boats coming from 18 different clubs.
Many of former winners will be returning, including Racer-X, skippered by Dubois and Roger Pollack; Bob Coleman's Hellion; and the 2002 overall PHRF champion Gus, skippered by Jim Bourgault, all from Grosse Ile Yacht Club.
Other top performers include Lemonds and Tom Van Cleave's Say Uncle and Bill Bollin's Stand Aside, of North Cape, in Class A; Jerry Frabutt's Jazzy of Grosse Ile in Class B; and Mike Deye's Menace, of North Cape, in Class C; John and Judy Greiner's Red Cloud, of North Cape, in Class D; Russ Atkinson's Wildcat, of North Cape, in Class E; Ted Wagner's Cal Girl, of Ford Yacht Club, in Class F.
Boats to watch in the doublehanded division include David Lattie's Patriot, of Bayview, and Rich Potcova's Short Bus.
Ryan Howe's Earth Voyager, the 60-foot trimaran that set an elapsed time record at the Port Huron to Mackinac Race, looks like a good bet in multihull.
The 33-foot Gus, skippered by Jim Borgault of Grosse Ile Yacht Club, has been named the winner of the performance handicap racing fleet division in the Inter-Lake Yachting Association Championship, held at the 110th ILYA Regatta at Put-in-Bay.
He will be awarded the Blue Gavel Trophy for first overall during ILYA's Fall Meeting at Independence, Ohio.
The naming of an overall PHRF division winner was delayed as a result of a controversial decision to shorten the course for some classes in the final race due to light air.
“After consultation with the ILYA Regatta judges, it was decided that scoring all boats' overall fleet position at the M Mark and using that with the overall position of the first two races would be the fairest way to score the series for the purpose of the championship.''
wTom D'Eath, president of the Detroit River Regatta Association, has firmed up plans for a three-day Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup event, beginning tomorrow.
The program will include the famous Gold Cup race, a sweepstakes/free-for all-race for any racing hulls between 17 and 27 feet, jersey speed skiffs, vintage fly-bys and extreme water sports exhibitions.
“The Detroit Yacht Club has offered the Silver Cup for the winner of the Sweepstakes/Free-For All Race, so we will be awarding two very prestigious trophies in another nod to history,'' D'Eath said.
OTHER AUGUST EVENTS:
22/24 - RiverFest, Wyandotte Yacht Club
23 - 25th Annual Irene Southworth Memorial Race for Women, North Cape Yacht Club
22/24 - Regatta, Catawba West Harbor Yacht Club
22/24 - Regatta, Point Place Boat Club
24 - East vs. West Race, Jolly Roger Sailing Club
30 - Port to Port Race, West Shore Sail Club, 734-675-1497
30 - Funday Race, Sandusky Sailng Club to Port Clinton Yacht Club
30 -Dedication Day Race to Port Clinton Yacht Club, North Cape Yacht Club
30 - Back From the Bay, Toledo Yacht Club
31 - Green Island Race, Port Clinton Yacht Club; Park McRitchie, 419-734-2424, or www.portclintonyachtclub.com