The start of a Wednesday evening race aboard Betsea in heavy traffic on the Saginaw Bay in Bay City, Michigan on August 10, 2011. Betsea is a Catalina 30 and was captained by Kent Miller and crewed by Brian Donaldson, Bill Kaiser, Mark Neitzke and Tayler Donaldson.
Category Archives: Sailing
Me (left) and my crew aboard BetSea (a 30 foot Catalina tall rig) just after a main and jib race on the Saginaw Bay July 8, 2009. I love this photo for two reasons, the guys, and the speedometer that reads 6.5 knots. That’s just 2/10 of a knot less than hull speed (meter is at lower left corner).
I have an amazing crew!
Starting from far right, if I had a first mate, it would be Brian. I can always count on Brian to be there every Wednesday evening. Brian has lots of experience sailing and being on the water. He did the thankless job of removing the previous name, “Seagull Surprise,” from the boat. We raced to Tawas together a couple of weeks ago and had a blast. Whenever anything happens to the boat regarding repairs and whatnot, I always call Brian and fill him in and get his feedback. Next to me, no one knows BetSea better than Brian.
Next is Bill. Bill is one of a kind. He has lots of sailing experience. He works so hard to accomplish everything I ask of him. I know he gets tired of cranking those winches (as does everybody) but he never complains. Bill came on as crew last year while I was in Alaska. Best thing Wade ever did for us.
Next is Rob. Rob knows more about sailing than all of us put together. He has taught me more than anybody about racing by just being there and suggesting among other things, adjustments to the rigging. We are so fortunate whenever he joins us.
Then there’s Wade (next to me). Wade has a pure spirit when it comes to racing. He doesn’t care how things work. He likes to come aboard, take care of business and have fun. He is always determined when sailing but better than that, he is always making the crew laugh.
Lastly, our newest crewmember, Josh. Josh is behind the camera and made these photos (thank you, Josh!). Josh is one of my best photojournalism students (see more of his photos here: http://joshkodis.blogspot.com/2009/07/blown-away.html). This was his second time aboard BetSea (and any other sailboat for that matter). His immediate enthusiasm for sailing is contagious. He reminds me of my early days of sailing and how excited, intrigued and fascinated I was. One day he will be training another new crew member.
The best thing about my racing crew is that each individual adds to the fun. OK. So we come in at the back of the pack most races. But we bond. We work hard. We laugh a helluva lot. It mean a lot to me to see them Wednesday nights.
From foreground, Brian, Rob and Bill work to bring in the sails so we can pick up speed, just after a tack during the race last night.
Brian and I raced to Tawas on Friday evening June 26 starting at 7 p.m. aboard BetSea with 15-20 knot winds. Had great wind and sailing until we approached Au Gres. The wind slowly died. By 2:30 a.m. the wind died completely. We gave up, started the motor and got to Tawas at 6:30 a.m. I fell asleep against the bulkhead for about two hours. Brian slept for about an hour while we were on auto-pilot. We finished as a DNF (Did Not Finish). We would have pulled into Tawas at noon otherwise.
Met Jessie, Betsy, Jamie, Jeanne and Tayler at about 1:30 that afternoon. Had fun on the beach. Went to dinner at G’s. Jessie, Jeanne and Jamie went home to Bay City and the girls stayed overnight with us at the dock in Tawas.
Headed back to Bay City at 9:30 a.m. The wind was right on our beam at about 15 knots. Perfect! Didn’t last too long as the wind shifted to our bow and gained strength. We were heeling so bad that it became uncomfortable for the kids so we motorsailed the rest of the way home. Gusts up to 25 knots. Got back to Bay City at about 6:30 p.m. A great time!
Producer Courtney Brooks, of WCMU’s Inside Central, interviewed me as part of a feature, “Gear up for Summer.” I get to speak about my passion for sailing. Many thanks to Courtney and all those involved for producing such a professional and engaging show. To see the full version, please click here.