"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester when asked why he carried so much alcohol on his solo sail around the world.

Friday, November 1, 2019


The mast is down and Bootlegger is finally put to rest for the winter. It took us three tries to get her out of the water: the first time was a no go because of high winds, the second time was a no go because of a death, and the third time was the charm. Always a sad time to know that Great Lake sailing is put on hold till next spring, but I think the time away makes me really appreciate the time when I am sailing. .

All that is left to do is to get the winter cover on her and then start thinking about next season. Hmmm....maybe another HOOK, a Super Mac and Back (1200 miles of solo non stop racing), Mike Kenny's Doublehanded Race and the 2X2/Solo Race, and .....

Friday, September 27, 2019

More Flying 60's

I just can't get enough of this stuff!! I wonder how the rigs hold up if they bury the bow at speed. Would think that there would be a lot of rapid deceleration trauma.

Monday, September 23, 2019

60 FT Singlehanded Boat Learns to Fly

This is absolutely amazing!! (Hit the bottom right button after clicking on "play" to see the video in full screen)


Monday, August 19, 2019

An interview with Mike Kenny about the 2019 Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society's Q Race

Below is an article from, the world's largest sailing network, about the Q Race that I just finished (2nd place in the solo class). The original article can be found at:

Original article written by:
by David Schmidt 14 Aug 08:00 PDT 
The usual suspect—Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society's Q Race © Image courtesy of Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society/Phil Bush (The picture above is actually from the 2017 LMSS Doublehanded race held in June. Matthew, my son, is 2nd row far right, I'm standing next to him. We finished 4th in class and 4th overall)
Ever since 1981, the Q Race, held (roughly) every other year on the waters of Lake Michigan, has been run as a single- or shorthanded freshwater distance race whose primary goal is to use one’s own self-reliance and sailing skills, rather than cutthroat competition, to safety complete the course. That’s not to say that the Q Race, which starts on Friday, August 16, and which is organized by the Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society, is a casual affair—it’s not. But rather, its primary goal is to help develop and encourage sailors, not over-escalated war-chest rivalries.
The Q Race starts off of Racine, Wisconsin, and takes racers some 70 nautical miles down Lake Michigan to NOAA’s south mid-lake buoy, which serves as the course’s turning point. From there, sailors spin their bows back towards the finishing line off of Racine.
I checked in with Mike Kenny, president of the Lake Michigan Singlehanded Society (LMSS), via email, to learn more about the 2019 edition of the Q Race.

Can you tell us a bit about the regatta’s origins? Also, how has the regatta grown and evolved over the years?
The LMSS Q Race is run on the odd years. It was originally designed to be a qualifier event for first-time racing solo sailors.
The course is about 65 nautical miles extending over 30 nautical miles offshore around a fixed weather buoy in the middle of Lake Michigan and back to the starting point on the West Shore. Satisfactorily completing the Q Race Solo will qualify you for the longer Solo Challenge that we run on the even years. The Q Race has become more popular since we started offering a Double Handed section several years ago.
Many [sailors] prefer the Q Race as it only takes one day to complete. This LMSS Race is graciously sponsored by the Racine Yacht Club. Race is run on a Friday with Awards on Saturday.

How many boats are you guys expecting this year? Also, how do these entry numbers stack up to recent comparable years?
We are expecting [that] 25 to 40 boats will enter the Q race in 2019. This is up slightly from the average. Weather and attrition has been a significant factor in the last couple years. But in the long term we are seeing a slight uptick in sail racing on the Great lakes.
I attribute this [uptick] to efforts by many organizations and yacht clubs that have beefed up efforts to promote sail racing to non-Racers and beginning sailors. Much has been done to simplify entry into the sport.

Can you describe the levels of competition that sailors can expect to find, once the starting guns begin sounding?
You will find no shortage of competition here. Everyone is in it to win it. Don't be fooled by what may appear as a cruising boat alongside that J/boat, we have some of the best sailing talent on the Great Lakes.

Conditions-wise, what’s typical for this regatta? Also, what are the best-case and worst-case scenarios?
Being a mid-August event in the Midwest the temperature is usually ideal. Personally, I like to see 15 - 20 knots from the north or south (Course is roughly W > E > W) but it often starts out very light from the WNW and clocks toward the North.
Worst is the stormy years when waves can quickly exceed eight feet and/or water spouts form nearby. As an offshore race, those are the times that can really test your skills.

Do you have any advice or insider tips that you’d like to share with first-time racers? What about returning racecourse veterans?
The LMSS Q Race is a wonderful event for anyone interested in solo and short-handed sailing. We are a very friendly group of sailors with a primary focus on everyone's safety and a secondary focus on fun.
My best advice is stop thinking about it, signup now and see for yourself.

Looking at the entry list, do you have any pre-race favorites? What about any intriguing dark horses?
It's still too early to speculate. For sure there will be plenty of competition. However, I like to keep the sections small so there are more winners. There is nothing like the thrill of bringing home your brag flag

Can you tell us about any steps that you and the other event organizers have taken in the last couple years to help green-up the regatta or otherwise lower its environmental wake?
Our biggest efforts have been working towards zero plastic on the water. Sailing offshore on the Great Lakes offers an endless supply of freshwater that’s easily and safely filtered on board at a very low cost. This completely eliminates to need to carry any plastic water bottles.

Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?
Please visit our Website at Sign-up on-line and see for yourself.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Miracle Rescue: Man Overboard During Storm Survives

This is an incredible story of survival. We went through this same system while racing in The HOOK Race which starts on the same day as The Chicago to Mackinac Island Race.

Lots of lessons to be learned.

To read more about the rescue and the circumstances that led up to Mark going overboard go to:

Monday, April 29, 2019

Text a Great Lakes buoy, and it’ll text you back with the latest water conditions

The original, and complete article, can be found at:

Want to know what the water — or weather — is like on a Great Lake? Text a buoy, and it’ll immediately text you back with:

Want to know Lake Erie conditions? Text a buoy at 734-418-7299!
  • Wind speed
  • Water temperature
  • Air temperature
  • Wave height
  • And more
You can find a list of every buoy in the Great Lakes here. Text the buoy number of your choice to 866-218-9973 for the latest observations. Though you can’t text every buoy and get a response; only buoys with all-numeric names.

UPDATE: This story generated so many texts that it crashed the phone number. Also try texting the buoy number to734-201-0750.

Lake Erie has 20 such buoys, some privately funded, some public. Limnotech, a science innovation company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, owns and maintains three buoys off the coast of Cleveland with funding from the city, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Observing System and LEEDCo., which is developing wind turbines for the lake.

In July, Limnotech scientists Ed Verhamme and Greg Cutrell took me out in a boat to check on the Cleveland Division of Water buoy near the Cleveland Crib water intake pipe.
“It measures the pulse of the lake, what’s happening,” Verhamme said.

Each buoy costs about $50,000, about $20,000 of that in underwater sensors manufactured in Yellow Springs, Ohio. One sensor tracks waves using the same kind of technology in a fitness tracker that measures steps.

The buoy just detected the beginnings of a dead zone, where warmer water stratifies from the colder water below and the oxygen gets used up by decaying organisms, Verhamme said. That means water can absorb manganese, which the Cleveland Division of Water would treat for.

Hypoxic water is just one metric the buoy measures.

A buoy about 10 miles north of Cleveland tracks fish movement and records sounds underwater for LEEDCo. Together, the 20 buoys in Lake Erie help experts consider the lake as a whole, said Bryan Stubbs, executive director of the Cleveland Water Alliance.

The nonprofit Alliance works with Northeast Ohio corporations, universities and government agencies to promote the value of clean water in the region and drive economic development through water innovation. The Alliance sponsors a competition called Erie Hack to award thousands of dollars in prizes for inventions that make it easier to detect and treat contamination in Lake Erie.

“Every city out there wants to be a smart and connected city,” Stubbs said. “We think through our efforts in Cleveland we can create the first smart and connected lake in Lake Erie… to tell the whole story of the current status of the lake.”