27 July 2009

News and reports are streaming from everywhere regarding the Melges 17 I.L.Y.A. Championship — this one from onboard Mike Dow's 'Flying Toaster. His lovely wife Stephanie gives us the low down on the view from the cockpit. Thanks Steph!

Minnetonka Yacht Club hosted this year's Melges 17 Inland Championship and indeed they were gracious hosts and hostesses. Hats off to the race committee for a fine job, Hans Dickel, the staff of the yacht club, Connie and Jeff Blanchard for dinner Friday night, and to the families who opened your homes for us to stay.

For those  of us who arrived early on Friday and sailed in the afternoon, we got a little feel of the shifty, spotty winds and boat chop of Lake Minnetonka. It was a great afternoon to sail and little did we know what was in store for us on Saturday.

Let the wind begin and did it -- right from the beginning of dawn and never letting up Saturday. However, it did not stop the Melges 17 from racing. The first race began and of the 19 boats there to race, not all dared to go out in the winds that averaged 18 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

The youngs guns showed their stuff on Saturday and the old guns hung in there tough. As the racing continued, it was obvious there were less boats at each start of the 4 races held.  Yes, there were disasters --  boats  tipping, a mast breaking,  boats taking on water pretending to be submarines, bumps, bruises, and, oh yes, stitches! The brutal day ended with drinks and a wonderful Caribbean dinner put on by Connie Blanchard and her crew at the yacht club on Lighthouse Island. It was exactly what everyone needed along with a striking orange/pink sunset.

After a great night of sleep, Sunday morning brought blue skies and the fleet was much bigger and winds much lighter, 0 to 11 mph. Sailing began at 9:30 a.m. sharp. During the first race, the wind in places was much too light and in other places boats sailed the sweet spots. Due to no wind at the finish of the first race, the start of the second race was moved down the lake toward the yacht club. The wind filled in to a solid 8 to 10 mph and great sailing was had.

Flying Toaster would like to thank Mark and Sandy Christensen for their great hospitality, the Minnetonka Yacht Club, the race committee, and Hans Dickel. See everyone in two weeks at the Western's at Torch Lake Yacht Club.

For results see


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