Nite Nationals: What really happened?!!!

I wasn't in Madison so I don't know what happened. What I do know is that 3 races were completed on Saturday with 4 time defending National Champion Scott Brown of Upper Minnetonka taking a big lead in the standings. However, at some point the PRO tossed the 3rd race. Not sure how it happened since the 3rd race was completed, scored and no protest was filed. No racing took place on Sunday. Without a third race, the regatta was a deemed a non-event and Browner was denied a 5th straight National Championships. Looks like the lawyers in the fleet will need to sort this one out.

Minnesota sailors were also poised to do well in the Silver fleet, which only completed 2 races on Saturday. John Bushy of the Lake Riley Ice Yacht Club and Sugar Shack was leading the Silver Fleet having won the first race. Bll Reed, Commodore of the Bald Eagle Ice Yacht Club, took the flag in the second race and was sitting in 2nd. Congrats to John and Bill for stepping up on the big stage. Too bad the fleet was not able to sail a third race to complete the regatta.

Nite Results

Here is the official PRO statement

February 5, 2018

To the Nite Nationals Fleet
I am sending this note out since there was no organized gathering of the group on Sunday morning. I owe you all an explanation for the decision to not keep the scores for the third race of the Gold Fleet. When the race began, the weather mark was visible. After the leaders came around the leeward mark the second time we began to see how limited the visibility was becoming and discussion was held about abandoning the race. The race was left to run since the lead boats were on the last lap, this was an error on my part.

Throughout the remainder of the afternoon I asked a number of people what they thought of the conditions. I discovered that some people went slowly up the middle, some overshot the laylines to the west until they saw Picnic Point, some to the east until they ran close to the shanties, some overshot the mark to weather and followed the crack to find it, one person lost orientation to the wind and had to stop the boat to get correct bearings. A couple skippers retired, as a skipper can decide to do for any race. It was tough to sail and find your way in those conditions. I agree, I have done the same crossing Winnebago alone in a blizzard.

This is a National Championship regatta. To me, that means you want to see who can sail a Nite fastest around a course, not navigate in a blizzard. I do not feel the third race fits this requirement; the race was not a good race to keep for a Championship regatta. It was not a demonstration of skill sailing so much as finding marks by luck. That is the reasoning behind my decision. I had a tough time making this call. This falls in line with the rules of the National Iceboat Authority: Part IV Sailing Rules A. Fair Sailing. In all situations, the Judges, Race Committee, and contestants must act in terms of common sense, safety, and good sportsmanship.

If it is protested and overruled I am OK with that. You can dock my pay and we can all learn something from this.

I sincerely appreciate being asked to run the Nite Nationals for the third time. You guys and gals are a fun group to be with and sail with. Competition is keen and camaraderie is high. I try to do the best for you guys, I had a great and seasoned team to work with and I want to thank them – Deb, Loretta, Mike, Matt, and Mary Jane.
Andy Gratton PRO

Mike Miller