How the 2008 Challenge went down..

Thursday. The travelers from Poland, Germany, the East Coast and Central Regions arrive on thursday to a cold windy day. Like 10deg F and 20 gusting to 30mph. Like true iceboaters they go out and give a very detailed ice report (they rated it as a 6-7). There's a few ice heaves going across the lake. It is black clear ice with a orange skin surface, and small drifts.

us3535 and G107 on Friday Friday. The locals and the rest of the gang arrive to more cold and windy conditions. I went out with my gps and video and recorded a max speed at the top mark of 63.5mph. After catching three potential spins, I call it a day. Friday was a pretty good day out there. Scared myself silly. The snow hits on friday night.

Saturday. A little snow over night and the lake was looking good, with soft powder drifts that where getting deep (like 3") but you could puff right thru them in the strong breaze. That area in Minnesota is like the Atacama Desert for snow.. very strange.. It was really cold and windy in the morning. Of course the opti's went out and then the DN's followed them onto the course at around 12:00 noon. We shared the race course, the opti's having set up a different shorter windward mark. This allowed the parents of the optis to race in the gold and silver fleet races and it also included the opti's in the dn racing and rotation. In fact because this was the opti champs, we went opti-gold-opti-silver-opti.. and the opti's did five races (2 or three before the DN's showed up). So the opti's got released after their five races and the DN's stayed out till we got our four races in each fleet in. It seemed like it was getting colder after 2:30pm. It was a bright sunny, clear, cold day and the sun was just right so that when you were accelerating on starboard to go around the top mark you couldn't see anything through the sail window because of the glare. That was a little disconcerting. Then on the last race when you went around the weather pin, and as the glare blinded you, P55 popped into view sitting just below the weather mark without any wheels on, both of his chocks had come unglued.

Sunday. More snow flurries and strong wind and less then 10 deg F greated the sailors on Sunday. The opti's were the first out again and after some heming-and-hawing we decided to not go across the crack to the bigger ice sheet, but to go out to the opti course and see how long the course could be. When we got out there, the opti's had started a race, but had to abandon the races for the day do the high winds/low temp/bigger drifts. We setup the longest course we could (not to long, 5/8 mile maybe). We had lost some numbers due to it being Sunday, low temps, high winds, annd low visibility. It turned out to be a top of the fleet shootout. The racing was crazing when you would go through a drift and get a face full of it. On the downwind you could get in a lane, but when you got it wrong you would puff through a big drift. We did 3 Gold Fleet races and 2 silver and called it a regatta (3 lap races).

We got in all the races in tough conditions with out our big toe (JD). Right after we all came into the pit, I looked out to a nice sunny lake, no blowing snow, the wind had slackened, and was it warming up a bit? the 2009 Great Western Challenge was over.

Thanks for all of those that made it this year. I was sorry not to see many of the regulars, but hopefully we'll see all those guys who couldn't make it at the regional regattas. I was happy to see all of the members of the loosely knit Minnesota Ice Sailing Association really pull together and step up to get the regatta done. Thanks Guys. Everyone have a save travels home and we'll see you at the regional events.

Results are up


run this thru the google translater...

Polish iceboating site... From the polish point of view..

You meet the nicest people out there...

I had a great time, both on the ice and off. I was sorry to have to split early, sounds like Sunday was also rather sporty.

Seeing all the Optis ripping around was inspirational. The kids were always the first out there in some cold, windy conditions.

I wanted to personally thank Dick and Julie for lending me a new Sherry plank after I shattered a chock on mine (spinout at 60+). They also lent a hull to Mike Miller - I think I will be parking next to them at every regatta! And Mike D. for the pickled eggs, home made cookies, AND picking up dinner! I like the way you roll!

Now onto week 4!


Now that you mention Week 4

Green Lake looks quite promising... at least it's gray...

What a great weekend

The ice may not have been a 9 as advertised, but it was still the best big sheet in the state, when the decision was made. Fortunately we had the wind never dropping below 12MPH and many days in the close to 20 range. Hitting the soft drifts on Sunday was memorable of Dead Lake 2 years ago.
Friday I cracked my bow and steering post loosened up. Thanks to Julie Richards and husband Dick Wollem for loaning me a very fast hull for Sat-Sun. They drove over from Traverse City MI in a snow event and likely did the same on drive home, up over the top of Michigan. They were so generous in their loaning gear!
I checked in to the Americ Inn in Salk Centre on Monday night, where I stay each week for a few days for business.
I was upgraded to their luxary suite and given a box of candy. They all enjoyed the funny accents and nice people they met over the weekend!
The town of Osakis is still buzzing over the event. They can hardly wait to see their lake on Good Morning America on ABC.
I am sure The Ice Maker will post the date when he learns it. Thank you to Jim, Mark K., Mark C. and every one else who made this event possible.