2017 Lighthouse Regatta

“If we finish in fourth place, you get to write the recap.” -Guy Selsmeyer

But now, it’s a few days past (maybe more than a few by the time that I finish writing this), and all of my worries were put to rest with that first email. Whew! So much anticipation and anxiety eased.

32 hours, 9 minutes, 42 seconds later. New email.

I now find myself asking, “What angle am I going to take on this recap?” Do I make it strictly factual about the races? Nahh… there’s so much more than racing.

Do I write about the not-lighthouse lighthouse that was surrounded by a city filled with light… houses?


Welcome to the Lighthouse Regatta -- a love story between the Hearns and their favorite eateries!

Friday evening, Daniel, Brian, and I hopped into the car to go pick up some boats and make our way down to Racine. They told me about a surprise food stop that we were going to make, but honestly, I didn’t think too much of it on the way down. Well, at least not until they giddily started talking about memories of growing up in Oconomowoc.

Then, off in the distance, I could see a bright red sign that read, “The Kiltie,” a retro and bustlin’ drive-in diner, complete with cheery food runners, a dancing manager, and a plethora of stories from when Daniel worked there as a teen.

Daniel informed me that I absolutely HAD to order either an Up, an Up-Down, or a Whammy.

I ordered an Up-Down. Let me tell ya... never have I ever seen such physics defying frozen custard piled on top of a little wafer cone…

… and then I saw a Whammy being taken out to a car next to us. Imagine one of those ice cream cones that you would see in a cartoon, with ice cream piled so high that it was teetering back and forth on the cone. Do you have that image? Great! Now replace that ice cream with frozen custard, piled even higher, showing no signs of teetering on that cone (so imagine something completely different than what I previously described). THAT is the glory of a Whammy.

We continued on our way to Racine shortly after, rolled in around 9pm, dropped off the boat, and then the Hearns and I went to sleep on a fishing boat in the marina nearby.

Saturday, it was a beautiful morning, mid 70s and sunny. The breeze was light, but there was still enough wind to have a good race. We all rigged up, launched, and sailed out of the channel to Lake Michigan.

There were five races. The swells on the water were rolling. At the start of the first race, the fleet split -- some boats tried to find wind out towards the lake, others thought that there would be a stronger breeze along the shore. For the most part, people were staying inside the boats -- little need to trap out -- some people were even sitting on the leeward side to keep their boats moving.

By the last race, the wind had picked up a bit, favoring closer to shore for breeze, and most people were out on the wires during the gusts. What were rolling swells turned into chop that stalled boats when hit wrong.

CRAW members had a chance to sail around on some RS boats after the races. I managed to convince Frankie to join me, despite his desire to obtain a Kewpee burger. We had quite the adventure, barely making it out of the channel due to the wind shutting off, when the RIB caught up with us to laugh at our struggling.

Out on the lake, I turned to Frank and asked him if he wanted to capsize the boat. Of course he didn’t want to capsize! He only had one thing on his mind: that hot and juicy Kewpee burger. But I, again, convinced him, and we capsized the RS boat, FOR SCIENCE!

Frankie would tell you that was a terrible idea, but I would say otherwise. Frankie and I had a lot of time to bond as it took us upwards of 30 minutes to right the boat in the swells of the lake.

When our feet finally hit land, Frankie beelined for his car, determined to get his Kewpee burger. He came back 10 minutes later, burgerless. Kewpee’s was closed.

The rest of the evening was filled with lasagna (yes, that same lasagna that you ate in Green Bay), eating ice cream pie, listening to music from the party at the yacht club, watching the boat parade, swimming, and adventuring along the breakwall to the “lighthouse.” What a lovely way to spend the evening!

On Sunday morning, the air was still, the water was glass. It seemed unlikely that we were going to race, but around 11am, the wind started to fill in. Skippers voted to hold the races, even if it meant that the second start would be after 1pm.

We all rigged up in a hurry, got out on the water, and had a race with conditions similar to the day before. This time, the wind was favored out on the lake where the waves were rolling smoothly, while there was nothing but chop towards shore.

The second race started shortly before 1:30pm. We were all watching as an ominous, gray cloud rolled over Racine. No thunder. No lightning. Just rain. We sailed three legs of the course, and as the boats in the lead rounded the windward mark to start their final leg, there was a single clap of thunder. We abandoned the races and made our way back to shore to derig.

All in all, the weekend in Racine was jammed packed with new experiences, new adventures, and lots of sailing. I had a good time, but I’m not sure that Frankie will ever let me forget that I made him miss out on his favorite burger. Maybe next year he’ll think twice before getting on a boat with me. :)

Crawsailing.org features photography by Moving Target, © Copyright 2006 Geoff Sobering
Other content © Copyright 2009-2018 Catamaran Racing Association of Wisconsin
Site development and event data services by ...