|Steve Schmidt continues to reign
Folks have been traveling to northern Indiana for years. There are the perennials, the new youth, the groupies. It's as though it is a cult following. You wonder why but then you attend one of these early spring wonders and it is clear. These folks of Cedar, Indiana love us and can't help themselves from throwing the best party to kickoff the next sailing season. The hospitality is unparalleled.
Cedar Lake, Indiana is a small municipality which feels like a resort town. In July, the area is bustling with tourists, motorboats, concerts, outdoor dining. In May, it is tranquil with beautiful sunsets and a small yacht club that cannot be outdone. NEVER have you seen food like this. Friday night, breakfasts each morning at 7:30, huge lunches and a dinner of prime rib, shrimp and pork tenderloin prepared by chef Doug Carstens in white starched coat. Craig Parker is the emcee, host, chair, donor and he knows his Mount Gay Rum!!! Rum for Facebook prizes, rum for trophies, rum at the bar. He rolls out the rum. oops, red carpet.
It's early season but the Cedar Lake members are there for weekends before opening the clubhouse, show up to welcome us, stay to party with us. It's a family-affair at Cedar and it's a family of sailors who return and return and return. Tom Keenan, with a new used boat, showed his old finesse on the water but at awards mentioned he had sailed here with his father, his siblings and now his children. He sums it all up. Bob Biwer returned for his ???? year - folks have stopped counting. He is a much-loved picture here. That's the essence of the Icebreaker.
This year's race committee - PRO Larry Krause and windward mark set boat Mark Prange - return to the event in a new role. They were sailors enjoying the summer hummers only a short time ago. They were joined by Donna and Roger Growden who singlehandedly manage the RC work now. But Pat Kardos who has never missed an Icebreaker was on shore during off times and out enjoying every move on the water. It's in their blood down here.
So here's what special:
- Cedar Lake men standing in a pole barn all Saturday preparing the dinner meal. Craig is joined by brother Bob and Ben and Doug Carstens. It's hours of smoking, grilling, boiling shrimp.
- A couple who cook all the meals for the weekend. It's their service to the club since they spend the summers with horses also while adding sailing to their weekend fun. "This is the time of year we can volunteer so we enjoy this".
- Tad Dudley bartending morning, noon and night. Yes, complimentary Bloody Marys in the morning. Rumor has it he slept there due to the lengthy drive home and the too-lengthy enjoyment by the well-mannered sailors.
To the sailing -
- RC had a tough, shifty set of conditions despite an 11:00 start on Saturday. Two races and in for the Derby race. Sunday brought big wind with multiple mast failings and a great deal of fun as the thirds finally got on board.
- It was a two horse race on Saturday with Frank Davenport leading on Saturday night on a tie with Steve Schmidt. Schmidt seems to be cheating. He has taken the most experienced crew in the Inland due to the retirement of Mark Prange. Bob Stelter was resurrected as Schmidt's crew which seems like a distinct disadvantage to the other sailors.
- Bright new star Chance Dries was consistently there sailing the V-711 with birthday dad, Ron. Dinner conversation revealed Dad had studied the Melges sailing guide and determined the optimum weight was 470. Chance is 270 and Dad was not revealing his weight since he needed to calculate the beer on board also. Chance awoke on Sunday to find a toilet bowl (yep, the entire thing) in his cockpit. At least the Madden boat got a rest from the shenanigans this year.
- Jeff Doubek and family rented an RV 10 minutes from Ohare to come visit the old crowd. It was old home week with little ones running around at his camp area. Charlie Harrison returned as his sidekick. Just a great time with old friends and an outstanding RV. - All for the Icebreaker experience.
- Thirty-two boats --- hard to believe for May 2.
Results - C World will carry the full results but top ten were
1 - Steve Schmidt/Bob Stelter
2 - Dave Smith with daughters Alana and Bri
3 - Frank Davenport and Ron Jarecki
4 - Matt Prange with Charlie Meier
5 - Tom Keenan and Mike Keenan
6 - Dave Harris and Joe Byrnes/co-skip
7 - Danny Madden and Jaymie Youngquist
8 - Bob Biwer with Becky Biwer
9 - Jeff Doubek with Charlie Harrison
10 - Joe Schaub with Liz Weinstein
Another Icebreaker lived up to its tradition. There is a special place each year for this event. Thank you, Cedar Lake, IN, for giving so generously to the C fleet. You are an outstanding way for many of us to start the season. If you haven't tried this one, put it on your calendar for 2016. It can be cold, it can be a beautiful spring weekend. Temps may vary but the hospitality is a constant. It's simply the place to be on Derby weekend.