Mother Mille Lacs, even when graced with an eagle's presence on Saturday, denied us our crossing, but fed us with everyone's safe return to shore and opportunity for epic bump and jump at the south end of the lake.
It seemed like we were half way across the lake given the level of exhaustion from going from 15-25 to 25-35MPH winds. The larger sails were blowing up on us. Kevin Gratton seemed to be the only sailor out there who wasn't getting it handed to him at some point. Major hats off to the support crew that had the chutzpa to weather the lake in those conditions and the wisdom to call the race when they did. All made it back safely without injury and many of us headed south for some good 'ol comfortable freesailing at Izaty's. Jerry and Jim (?) had been out all day of 5M and it looked like it just picked up when we arrived around 4pm. Ryan and I rigged 4.5M, Kathy 4M and Eric 4.5M (?) Herve a 4.5, and it was a little light at first, but then picked up to perfection within minutes. This was Mille Lacs heaven, as gift for the trouble she gave us earlier in the day. Unlike the violent spray gusts of last Wednesday, today was filled with massive rolling swell you could ride forever, and still have room to work upwind for more. For the first hour port and starboard ramps were everywhere, Ryan taking advantage of both and me facing port ramp heaven. Kathy sailed in full style on her Sexxo and 4M loft after getting tossed around on the aborted Crossing, Jerry has the wavesailing thing dialed from all his board crossover skills, and Eric....you're the slasher and basher that just keeps sailing like that Duracell bunny rabbit. The wind kicked up to 4M as the day went on and clocked more northerly, so we had these awesome ramps and lots of wind for the major sky high jumps, but the angle on the waves just wasn't there for it.
We left Eric at sunset as he jibed around the channel marker and headed out for more. Jerry, how many hours did you put in?
Sounds like Father Hennepin was at its best as well. It was so great to 'follow the leader' on the swell riding. Ryan would rip an off the lip, I'd grab the following and look behind and there's Eric on the swell after mine. Felt like formation swell riding. yep, wound up 4.5M on Lake Mille Lacs is as good as it gets in my book.
Couldn't believe it when I heard the support crew was willing to go out for another Crossing on Sunday. These guys are unreal with huge heart. It was a Crossing with something for everyone. Little wind, strong wind, waves and no waves, windshifts and extreme pointing. I broke my centerboard mid way on a 12' board, was two meters too big in sail size and resolved to just getting to the other side. Fortunately, I decided to relish the beautiful scenery and the experience and made it in for the happiest news of the day...Ryan came in 4th in his class and 5th overall...his first Crossing ever!!! It was real magic before my eyes, cause this race was a grueling as they get and he finished in league with the area's top sailors. Eric took third in his class. Kevin Gratten’s won, and justifiably, because he was well on the way to winning it on Saturday before it got cancelled. Stellar sailing by all and so wonderful to be part of this outrageous sailing community.
Mike Fox and Fleet 8 crew deserve huge gratitude for an event that once again goes off in the face of incredible odds. It's experiences like this weekend that take us outside the realm of time and space in full raucous scream to this gift of life.
Share stores of your big days, soul rejuvenation experiences; moments that defy time.
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