2004 Richardson Trophy
YRUGL Match Racing Championship

Lake Michigan wins the 2004 Richardson Trophy.

Racine Yacht Club
Racine, Wisconsin USA
October 8 - 10, 2004
Justin Hood and his LMSRF team, sailing for Spring Lake Yacht Club and Lake Michigan, successfully defended the Richardson Trophy in the 65th running of this YRUGL Great Lakes match racing championship series October 9 – 10, 2004, hosted for Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation by the Racine Yacht Club in Racine, Wisconsin.

The Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes rotates the hosting of the Richardson Trophy Regatta annually between its 6 member lake racing associations, and this year it was Lake Michigan’s turn.   The regatta committee of the Racine Yacht Club showed what terrific event organization and a great venue its membership is capable of providing.

Six teams, each chosen by sail-off qualifier to represent Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, the Detroit Regional Yachting Association, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario respectively competed in (4) matched S2 7.9 Meter boats (same boat used in Sarnia, Ontario last year) just off the Racine Harbor entrance.   Lake Michigan was defending the Richardson Trophy, since Sarah Buckley of Sheridan Shore Yacht Club and her team won the trophy sailing for LMSRF last year, the first win for Lake Michigan in the annual Richardson series since 1967.

The competition in YRUGL’s Richardson series has historically been rather fierce between the Lakes.   After last year’s Richardson, Marc Hollerbach, YRUGL’s VP for DRYA and a two-time Richardson winner, made the observation that the level of competition has recently been on the rise.   This year that trend continued.   The 2004 Richardson teams competing in Racine included three North American one-design class champions, two 2004 US Sailing Prince of Wales Bowl match racing championship finalists, a past POW regatta champion, and a team whose crew competed in the 2001 and 2003 Canada’s Cup Match Racing Challenge.

Saturday morning, after an early skipper’s meeting which included a greeting by RYC Commodore Charles Gagnon and the boat draw, the regatta fleet that included the competitors, six RC and support boats, umpires’ boats, and a number of spectator boats headed out to the race course.   There they encountered nearly perfect match racing conditions, with a fairly steady 12 to 16 knot breeze offshore from the west northwest off Racine’s North Beach.   Once the equipment failure on an RC boat was resolved, racing got underway with 0.3 mile windward-leeward courses.   By early Saturday afternoon the competitors were settled in and focused on their pre-start maneuvers, engaging each other around any nearby handy boat or obstruction.   One of the matches displayed a cat-and-mouse chase that circled the RC signal boat 4 times.   With only several notable exceptions, the team that won the pre-start won the match.

The RC had two round robin stages to run Saturday and Sunday, including 16 flights with 30 matches.   As the afternoon wore on Saturday the wind steadily decreased to 6 - 10 knots later in the afternoon.   Chief Race Officer Dick Schweers of the Chicago Yacht Club was able to complete the first round robin stage and got a completion on the first flight of the second round robin before sending the fleet back to the harbor to tie up before dark.

Chief Umpire Cliff Black led the de-briefing with umpires, using white-board chalk talks that discussed the issues and calls of the day, with especially active participation and contribution by skippers and crew alike, particularly by Nathan Hollerbach of the DRYA team.   Chief Umpire Black was utilizing this event as a training vehicle to develop Midwest-based certified match race umpire candidates.   Then it was time for the Saturday evening barbecue and blow-out, with a good time had by all.   Not very many regatta participants got to bed on time.

The entire regatta fleet returned to Lake Michigan early Sunday morning to take up where things left off.   However the 2 - 4 knot easterly wind accompanied by a subsiding short, confused 1-2 foot chop from the east was too light for match racing, never sustaining 5 knots or above for more than several minutes at a time.   At about 11 AM the Race Committee hopefully watched the sky as fluffy clouds started to develop inshore, signaling the possibility that an onshore thermal was setting up, only to see those clouds disappear.   After the competitors had been waiting out on the water three hours for wind and action, racing had to be abandoned and the regatta was scored based on the round robin that was completed Saturday.

RYC Regatta Chairman and Rear Commodore Mark Rode awarded nice embroidered sailing gear bags to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place team skippers and to the winning team’s entire crew.   In addition, the 2004 Richardson Trophy Regatta Champion Justin Hood received a 15 x 12 inch richly varnished rosewood keeper trophy plaque, featuring a sectional rendition of the Richardson Trophy with engraved plate, along with the Richardson Trophy itself, a handsome Tiffany-crafted silver canoe cup.

YRUGL President Scott Spaeth addressed the awards ceremony’s assembly and spoke of his vision in the not-too-distant future for a consortium of substantial sponsorship support for YRUGL and its Great-Lakes based competitive sailing programs, which could provide for the Richardson to be sailed in YRUGL-owned boats.   Then in accordance with a long-standing YRUGL tradition, the Richardson Trophy was filled with Stingers by the new 2004 Richardson Champion, and all those present were obligated to help with emptying the cup before it was put away in its case.

During much of 2004, the Richardson Trophy along with its base and carrying case underwent a much-needed $2,400 restoration, managed by LMSRF Executive Secretary Don Glasell and YRUGL Treasurer Glenn McCarthy.   The restored Cup looks terrific indeed, and the base now has enough space for winners’ plates through the 2016 Regatta.

In 2005, The Richardson Trophy Regatta will be hosted by DRYA, and Lake Michigan will again be defending the Cup.

2004 Ranking after tie-breakers to break ties for both 2nd and 3rd places:
1.   Lake Michigan, Justin Hood, sailing for Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation and Spring Lake Yacht Club.
2.   Lake Ontario, Kevin Doyle, sailing for Lake Yacht Racing Association and Buffalo Harbor Sailing Club.
3.   Lake St. Claire, Chris van Tol, sailing for Detroit Regional Yacht-Racing Association and Bayview Yacht Club.
4.   Lake Huron, Tyson Connolly, sailing for Lake Huron Yachting Association and Port Huron Yacht Club.
5.   Lake Superior, Lars Hansen, sailing for Lake Superior Yachting Association and Wayzata Yacht Club.
6.   Lake Erie, Kevin Thomas sailing for Inter Lake Yachting Association and Bayview Yacht Club.

2004 Winning Team LMSRF:
  • Justin Hood, skipper
  • Ed Furry
  • Tac Boston
  • Mike Hill
  • Gary Waldron
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