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Published: Sunday, 6/20/2004

Orange Crate best in Buccaneer A

BY SHIRLEY LEVY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

They should have shortened the name of Jolly Roger Sailing Club's Buccaneer Race to just plain Buckin'.

One sailor compared it to riding the mechanical bull at Gilley's country-and-western bar in Texas.

Twenty-eight boats in two divisions sailed in winds that shifted all over Lake Erie.

Performance Handicap Racing Fleet competitors competed on a 25-mile course; boats in the Jib-and-Main division raced 17 miles.

"The wind was up and down and left and right," said Jim Davis, co-skipper of the Jib-and-Main division overall and Class A winner, Orange Crate.

"It was really a screwy day for a day with a lot of wind. We actually had a 50-degree shift.

"You had to steer very tentatively because you knew you could get an 'autotack' any minute," he said.

"Those kinds of shifts can slam you in the back."

Despite choppy waves that made it impossible to sail a straight course, Orange Crate beat Asylum, its closest competitor, by nearly 14 minutes on adjusted (for handicap) time.

Its biggest gains were made on the weather leg, Davis said.

"The whole weather leg was sailed in a 30-degree wind shift," he said. "About halfway up Asylum got fairly close, but we had set parameters about how low we could go and we stuck to it.''

Jump II, skippered by Ron Schebil, topped the PHRF division and Class A. Mark Melchior's Full Tilt was second overall and first in Class B.

The Buccaneer Race was the second event in the three-race Lake Erie Race Week.

Ottawa River Sailing Club's TI-MI Race, scheduled at 10 a.m. today, will conclude the series.



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