On a hot night a few days before the Commodore Perry Race, Tim Branson and son James spent four hours scrubbing the bottom of their sailing sloop, Jagen.
A clean bottom was only one of several factors that kept their 31-foot Hunter gliding smoothly in the doldrums, but it certainly helped them win the Jib-and-Main division overall award.
While many other contenders took two to three hours to reach the first mark of the course, a distance of 2.8 miles, Jagen breezed through four fleets and stayed in front all the way to the finish.
"Slime can slow you down a half-knot," Branson said. "When the air is light, it can stop a boat altogether."
That advice is valid for powerboats too, according to Scott Croft, of the BOAT US consumers group.
Slime, he says, "slows the boat dramatically and increases fuel consumption.
"A fouled bottom is like a dull knife. It takes a lot more effort to push it through the water."
In addition to keeping the hull clean, make sure your boat isn't loaded with extra weight. Water, for example, weighs more than eight pounds a gallon, so it's pretty "fuelish" to keep the tank topped off if you're only going out for the afternoon.
Also, check the galley. If you entertain on board, you'll probably find pots and plates, linens and other supplies that could be stored off the boat.
Inter-Lake Yachting Association member clubs will send their best young sailors, ages 7-19, to vie for trophies at the 50th West Marine ILYA Junior Race Week at Put-in-Bay, July 17-22.
Teen-aged youths will compete in the racing series that also serves as US Sailing Area E quarterfinals for the Smythe (singlehanded), Bemis (doublehanded) and Sears (triplehanded) championships.
The four-day regatta will include a racing seminar led by Skip Dieball, of North Sails, and video reviews and debriefings, as well as the Backus Cup Race, July 22.
West Marine has come on board as the sponsor of all three ILYA regattas at the Bay this year during the Junior Race Week, Senior Sail Week and the Powerboat Regatta.
ILYA's Optimist Class Championships are scheduled at Sandusky Sailing Club, July 23.
A reference in last week's column to the Detroit Mackinac Race should have said that although the number of entries this year was in line with the average registration, there appear to be fewer boats from Downriver Detroit and Lake Erie.
At Bayview Yacht Club's annual party for Mac volunteers on Sunday, commodore Greg Thomas said that some of the big grand prix boats will be missing because they are racing the Transpac. Among them is the 90-foot Genuine Risk, which set a record in the 2004 race.
Many Bayview sailors compete in Toledo Yacht Club's Mills Trophy Race, so there were lots of references to Toledo.
Thomas reminded us that his yacht Pendragon is a two-time Mills Race winner.
And Mills Race chairmen Don Wood and John Thompson held court at one of the tables.
The Chicago-to-Mackinac race starts tomorrow.
Area entries include Gary Hall's Moxie, of North Cape Yacht Club; Jim Frederick's Big Storm, of Put-in-Bay, and Bruce Geffen's Nice Pair and Bill Martin's Stripes, both from Ann Arbor.
15/17- Homecoming, River View Yacht Club
15/17 - The 2005 Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup Race on the Detroit International Speedway Course on the Detroit River near Belle Isle
18 - Port to Port Race, Monroe Boat Club to Ford Yacht Club
22 - International Order of the Blue Gavel District 25 Rendezvous, Kingsbridge Yacht Club
22/24 - Annual Regatta and Associated Yacht Club Poker Run, Monroe Boat Club
22/23 - Thunder on the River, North Coast Motorcycles (cars, motorcycles and powerboat show) at Promenade Park
23 - Race to the Sisters, Monroe Boat Club
23 - Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race, Port Huron to Mackinac Island, Bayview Yacht Club
23/24 - UIM/APBA World Championships for SST 120 and 45 Classes, Trenton, Mich.
24 - Ladies Day Race, West Shore Sail Club.