Algoma Sailing Club
St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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(Newstory article reprint, as our club members make the news).

Pieri Sails Adagio To Win
By Amy Polk, August 3, 2006, St Ignace News - www.stigacenews.com

Leroy Pieri of Cedarville won first place in the racing class of the Mackinac Island to Manitoulin race.
Leroy Pieri of Cedarville won the racing class in the 2006 Mackinac-to-Manitoulin Yacht Race, which took place Wednesday, July 19 through Friday, July 21. He and the crew of the 29-foot Adagio won the Mackinac Island Yacht Club Cup. It is the second year in a row that a Cedarville vessel has won the racing division, Mr. Pieri noted. Al McInally of LaSalle Island won in 2005 with his boat, Attitude.

"I was very fortunate," he said. "The first 13 hours were the roughest."

The race takes sailors on a course from Mackinac Island east through the Straits of Mackinac, through Mississagi Strait between Cockburn and Manitoulin islands, into the North Channel, ending in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. The second leg of the race continues through the North Channel, from Gore Bay to Little Current. Mr. Pieri and his bi-national crew, Joe Cardoso and Brian Trudel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Dewey Lopes won first place in both legs of the race to take first place in the racing class. There are about 100 miles of water between Mackinac and Manitoulin islands and about 30 miles between the towns of Gore Bay and Little Current, both on Manitoulin Island. The Little Current Yacht Club of Ontario sponsors the race.

The crew of Adagio, which won the racing class in the Mackinac to Manitoulin Yacht Race, are (back row, from left) Joe Cardoso and Brian Trudel, both of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and (front) Dewey Lopes and Leroy Pieri, both of Cedarville. Mr. Pieri holds the Mackinac Island Yacht Club Trophy, given to the winning racing class crew, which Mr. Pieri called a "true bi-national crew for this bi-national race." (Photograph provided by Leroy Pieri)
"It's a fun race to do," Mr. Pieri said. "The North Channel is considered one of the top places to sail and has lots of places to anchor and towns to visit."

He noted the North Channel is also considered one of the top 10 places to sail in the world because of the stable Canadian government surrounding the sailing area. Peppered with hundreds of islands and dozens of little towns, the North Channel is separated from northern Lake Huron by Drummond, Cockburn, and Manitoulin islands, and makes for one of the most geographically interesting races on the Great Lakes. Manitoulin is the largest island in Lake Huron, as well as the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world. Mr. Pieri said race participants enjoy arriving in the towns of Gore Bay and Little Current, where residents are enthusiastic and warmly welcome the racers.

Yacht Club Commodore Don Gray noted in his post-race report that, despite a major storm and power outage the night before the sailing fleet arrived, the Gore Bay community managed to pull off its fish fry, breakfast, and hospitality center. Little Current hosted a barbecue and breakfast for the crews.

Mr. Pieri has been sailing for more than 30 years. He took fourth place in the Mackinac to Manitoulin racing class in 2004 and 2005. He is a member of the Algoma Sailing Club of Ontario, and sails Adagio, which is moored off Hill Island in Cedarville. Originally built with a racing hull in the 1970s, the 29-foot vessel's cabin was raised to make it a cruising boat. The boat is primarily used for pleasure sails, with family members, and his daughter, Emily has accompanied him in previous races.

Mr. Pieri sails within his club and has also sailed in the local Ensign Class 31 races in the Les Cheneaux Islands. He has participated in as many as six to 10 races a year.

Although the Mackinac to Manitoulin race pits sailors against each other, "the biggest challenge is against yourself, and it's a challenge just to be out there and to finish it," Mr. Pieri said.

"I always remember this quote from a former member of the club: 'we put the sails up, but God can take them down,'" Mr. Pieri said.

The Mackinac to Manitoulin Race was founded by the Little Current Yacht Club of Ontario to create an international sailing race among northern Great Lakes sailors. Proceeds from the race allow the Little Current Yacht Club to provide recreational opportunities for Manitoulin Island youth. The club's youth sailing program will train 48 young students between the ages of eight and fifteen this summer.

All sailors are welcome to participate in the race, and can register at the Little Current Yacht Club Web site, www.lcyc.ca.

Mackinac Island Yacht Club members Jerry Archer of Mackinaw City, Brent Murphy of Savannah, and David Rowe of Flushing also participated in the race in the cruising class. Mr. Archer took third place and Mr. Murphy took sixth place in the cruising class.


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