(Port Huron, MI)- Frank Kern and crew on their J/120 CARINTHIA have been doing a lot of traveling and sailing on their boat over the past few years. After winters in the Bahamas, Florida and Gulf of Mexico, they all head back home to sail in the home waters of Lake St Claire and Port Huron. Here’s Frank’s blog report on their recent experiences sailing the Port Huron 100 Race-
“The Lake Huron 100 is a circle trip with 5 legs. Last year 33 boats sailed this race and with many more out of town boats there was a growth to 43 entries, proving that this race is starting to become popular. From the start at the base of the lake we traveled to the northern red channel buoy, northeast to Kettle Point buoy, north to the weather buoy, west to Port Sanilac, and south to the mouth of the Black River in Port Huron. We had a Saturday start at 17:10. The wind was gusting up to 15 knots out of the northwest with temperatures in the high 80s. The starting line was unfortunately misaligned with the buoy side nearly pointing toward the first mark. We had 7 J120s in the start so it created near havoc at the gun with the winner of the start gaining the valuable real estate at the pin. Flyin Irish and Carinthia got caught barging and had to spin out. Night Moves was on the pin side in the trap and fouled Hot Ticket. Soon after NM had to do her 720 penalty spin. At the start the wind came directly from the mark but soon went northeast. In fact the boats on the west side of the rhumbline got lifted and rounded in the front of the fleet.
With the wind shift the next leg was again a weather beat to Kettle Point. Halfway through the leg the wind again shifted, giving an advantage to the boats on the left side of the course leverage. Night Moves was the farthest north so she rounded ahead of the other J120s with a solid lead. With the new wind shift it was another beat to the weather broadcast buoy. At the bottom of the leg it was an even split but again the boats on the left side of the course were lifted to the mark when the wind shifted to the northwest again. Night Moves with their soothsayer navigator was on the correct side and bagged the lead again. Nautiboys, Carinthia, Flyin Irish, and Jayhawker were in the middle of the course and rounded close together. Hot Ticket and Irresistible had gone right and got the big suck rounding last. The top leg was a lot more fun. Carinthia put up our code 0 and went fast across to Port Sanilac. We managed to put Nautiboys and Jayhawker away but as the sun came up after Port Sanilac the wind took a vacation.
We tried to sail with our spinnaker but it got really slow….The wind shifted again from the Michigan shoreline and all boats were going south still slow. At this point FlyinIrish and Jayhawker had a solid 2nd and 3rd.
This is where Carinthia took a flyer. Reasoning that as the sun comes up there may be a onshore breeze, she went right toward shore. The farther south she went, the more of a lift she got. Eventually she put up a spinnaker and entered the St. Clair River ahead of the other two J120s and held the lead to the finish for second place. Irresistible followed Carinthia in and managed to pass Nautiboys in the end. Most of all Night Moves was so far ahead of everyone else all she had to do was not go aground.