My Vote: Solid Water 12 Months Of The Year!
by Steve Orlebeke, Director of Engineering, Harken USA
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Whisper it with me…black ice. One more time…black ice. I have a confession to make: I dream about black ice — even sometimes in July. Occasionally, even when I’m in a bunk on a boat sailing in soft water.
Like a lot of us here in Pewaukee, I’m a lifelong sailor. Maybe less like most of us, my favorite sailing is done where you really hope you never get wet. For the last several years I’ve been working as hard as I can in the Skeeter and DN iceboat classes. I descend from a grand Harken tradition. Get them in the right moment, Peter and Olaf might let slip that they like iceboating best too. Iceboating requires a precise combination of fitness, technique, technical understanding and boat prep that really appeals to me.
Last weekend I got back from the 2019 DN Gold Cup and North American Championships — which ideally would have been sailed in the same place. First the Gold Cup…which is akin to our World Championship. This year it attracted 110 sailors to Indian Lake, Ohio, from February 17-19. 110 sailors is a great field. Almost everyone was able to make it. Included was a great group of very accomplished Polish sailors who arrived ready to compete. One problem: their boats were stuck back at the airport — in Paris! No way were they going to arrive in time. So we did what sailors do. We got them boats. And in the process, we set the scene for an epic story. Michal Burczynski won the Gold Cup with a loaner from our Western Region Commodore Dan Hearn who I’m proud to say is a Cheesehead!
This has been well reported, but I loved Michal’s post-regatta quote so here it is again:
“Daniel Hearn, thanks to him I had the chance to compete in the Gold Cup 2019.” “Our equipment did not arrive for regatta. Daniel supported me with all his best equipment and he took his practice boat. There are no words to express the amount of appreciation I have for this guy. He has a great heart and 100% honest game! This year we have two world champions: Daniel and Me… thank you!”
DN sailors are very close. We travel together. We wait to find out where the ice is together. Things like this make me happy to be a DN sailor. I was 11th in the Gold Cup, the third American. It was not what I had set as a goal, but that’s sailing.
Then it snowed. So we moved to Lake Wawasee, Indiana, where 91 of us sailed the North Americans. Ron Sherry, who is a legend, defended his 2018 title beating Gold Cup champ Burczynsk by seven points. This time I was the second American, finishing in 9th place. Better, but still not the ultimate goal. Overall, I’ll remember this year for Dan giving up his best boat for a friend, and the friend returning the favor by winning. You can’t make up stuff like that!
Today it’s well under freezing, which is good. I hope we have a LATE Spring this year. And I hope you enjoy this March edition of “At The Front.”
These beautiful images are courtesy of Gretchen Dorian. Please explore more of her work at:
Enter Harken's "Images At The Front" Photo Contest!
Win a “Pewaukee the Way Cheeseheads Do It" Weekend
At The Front of sailing can be blasting downwind through the Golden Gate or threading an ice-packed harbor in Maine, it’s anywhere sailing is at its most stirring. Harken wants you to take us there with the Images At The Front Photo Contest. Transport us to the middle of the action.
Your winning photo transports you to Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA! One grand prize winner will experience a beautiful fall weekend at a Mecca of Midwest sailing and Harken’s world headquarters. Prize includes transportation and accommodations. Take a private tour of Harken. Imbibe in age-appropriate beverages among Harken greats. Do a fish fry like we do. Drink in the atmosphere of the 2019 E-Scow Blue Chip Regatta from the water and attend regatta festivities at the world famous Pewaukee Yacht Club. Your photo could win you the weekend of a lifetime!
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