Team Blue Flash Races in the 2014 Chicago-Mackinac

July 18th, 2014 by admin

The J/105 Blue Flash owned by FWBC member Dr. Matthew Arno competed in this year’s Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac.  The crew was Dr. Arno, Heath Power, Scott Hurst, Aaron Noble, Ken Davis (former FWBC member), and Roger Gatewood.  Dr. Janine Arno and Shelley Power provided shore crew support.

The race started on Saturday July 19 just before noon in light winds of 3-4 knots.  The J-105 fleet was represented by 20 boats, most of which were local boats that had sailed the race before. Blue Flash had a good start off the line near the front of the fleet.  They jib reached in third place until evening when the wind went aft enough to put up the reaching chute.  A few hours later, the wind had gone far enough aft that they put up the runner chute.  This sail remained up for the rest of the race.  Out of a 52 hour race, a spinnaker was up for all but about 4 hours.  The weather was nearly ideal for the whole race, no rain, wind aft of the beam, moderate temperatures, and there was always enough wind to keep moving.

Sunday morning, the wind finally picked up about sunrise building to 8-10 knots.  The wind slowly built for the rest of the race with Blue Flash keeping decent speed broad reaching with jib and spinnaker.  Sunday night, the boats converged to pass between the Manitou Islands along the rhumb line, at which point Blue Flash was in 8th place among the J/105s.  The wind continued to build overnight and into Monday.  The last 8 hours of the race were the most exciting for the Blue flash team with the wind building into the 20s aft of the beam.  From the slow start of the race sailing at 2 knots, Blue Flash finished the race doing 11 knots blast reaching under spinnaker for a total elapsed time of 52 hours and change.  Blue Flash finished in 8th place out of 20 J/105s and 53rd out of 132 in its division.