Duane Burgoyne's favorite sailing competition is the Trans Erie Race from Erie, Pa., to Grosse Ile, Mich.
"My crew has a joke about it," he said. "We only do one race a year - the Trans Erie; the rest are just practice."
All that practice paid off this past weekend when Burgoyne's FlakBait won the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet Division Class E trophy. The C and C 33 finished the 140-mile trek in 25 hours and 45 minutes, adjusted (for handicap) to 20:02.
"Before the start we were apprehensive," Burgoyne said. "The forecast was for squalls up to 40 knots, but it never really happened."
Instead, the race started in three knots of wind and flat water.
"The wind was very shifty and our boat stood still twice," he said. "The first time, the wind was right on starboard. Then, after we rounded Pelee, a front came through and the wind shifted to the opposite direction."
"It was a sprint-type race, but the steering was tough," he said. "The guys who worked their boat the hardest won.''
Thirty-eight boats in four divisions started the race in Presque Ile Bay on Friday.
The fleet was the largest to date for the East to West version of the course, according to race co-founder Matt Dubois, of Grosse Ile. The race also was the second-fastest, he said.
Bill Braun's Horizon, from Vermilion Boat Club, crossed the finish line at 4:50.55 p.m. Saturday, with 23:35.55 elapsed time, corrected to 18:55.55, to capture first overall in the PHRF division and Class D.
Racer X, co-skippered by Dubois and Roger Pollack, was the top performer in Class C.
"We were the first boat to put up a spinnaker," Dubois said. "We popped an asymetrical chute and carried it until we got to Pelee, where there was too much wind on the nose.
"Once we got around Pelee, we were able to identify White Star, a new Beneteau 36 S/7. We were glad we got them this year," he said, "because once they get to know the boat better, they're going to be hard to beat."
"It was a good race," he said. "We're happy when the wind is blowing real steady and there are no shifts to play, but tactically, there wasn't much to it."
White Star, co-skippered by Rodger and Carol Dutton of Monroe Boat Club, placed second in Class D.
Bill Kruger, in Jabberwocky, won the Singlehanded Class, a new division under the direction of the Great Lakes Singlehanded Association.
Race chairman Kevin Lemonds and Tom Van Cleave took first in the Doublehanded division.
"It was a lot of work. We probably made 7 or 8 sail changes," Lemond said. "You had to keep changing sails whenever the wind changed."