Algoma Sailing Club
St. Mary's River,  Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

  | Home | Contact-Us | Memberships | News Bulletins | Events & Races | For Sale |  


Sault Star, News Local

Sault sailors set course to MacMan Challenge
By Brian Kelly, Sault Star
Saturday, July 17, 2010 3:10:00 EDT PM

Sailing the MacMan Challenge could be a breeze for Gordon Simpson.

All the Sault Ste. Marie skipper needs is a wind speed that's not too light or heavy, the knowledge of where to continually place his sails hour after hour and how to best chart his course over about a 200-kilometre stretch from Mackinac Island to Little Current, Ont.

Easy, right?

"We're trying to figure out wind shifts, where the wind is and where it's going to be in the next half hour, the next hour and the next three hours and hoping you can guess that right," said Simpson, 68.

"That's so important - to try to go the right direction at first so that you're in better shape later."

This year's race, which begins Thursday morning, is Simpson's fourth. His best showing was in 2007 when he finished first in the first leg and second on day two.

The top finish was "pretty exciting" and a nice reward for a competition that is usually tense from start to finish.

"It's open water. You're going to get weather changes," said the retired Algoma Steel worker.

"(You're) trying to draw the line between the shortest course and the most efficient course depending on wind conditions. Those things are multiplied as soon as it gets dark."

Greg Barrett, Phil Routh and Simpson's son, Glenn, round out the crew on Simpson's 32-foot C&C sailboat, SkyShip.

Andrew Hallett was a member of Simpson's crew for three years before entering his own craft, Natural High, in 2009. He placed third in the race's second leg.

The event offers plenty of perks for the PUC Services engineer including top-notch talent and a chance to better his sailing skills.

"The competition is pretty fierce, but that's something we enjoy too," said Hallett, 40.

Tom Carmichael, Chuck Holgate and Jack Rice are also on board Hallett's 33-foot fiberglass sailboat made by Abbott Boats of Sarnia.

His approach to racing is capitalize on Mother Nature's offers.

"We take what the lake gives us and we take what the weather gives us and make the best of it," he said.

Hallett charts his position on the water every 30 minutes and, like Simpson, plans his strategy based on factors such as the weather and where, and what, other boats are doing.

"You're watching a whole bunch of things all at the same time," he said.

Boats captained by Ben Leeuwestein, Chris Gotmalm and John Rilet from Hilton Beach will also participate.

On the web:

Website hosted by Stoney Creek Solutions June 1, 2007
Last Update: Updated November 23, 2012
Copyright Information and Picture Viewing hints.