2017-08-24 / Front Page

Ensign Fleet 31 Competes in Nationals

Racing Action at the Les Cheneaux Islands
By Shannon Henige


Instinct leads in one of several races in which they placed first, during three days of intense competition for the 2017 Ensign National Championships at the Les Cheneaux Islands last week. Instinc is skippered by Jonas Carpenter, with crew of Jason Dunn, Don Marszalec, and Benz Faget. (Photographs by Shannon Henige) Instinct leads in one of several races in which they placed first, during three days of intense competition for the 2017 Ensign National Championships at the Les Cheneaux Islands last week. Instinc is skippered by Jonas Carpenter, with crew of Jason Dunn, Don Marszalec, and Benz Faget. (Photographs by Shannon Henige) Emotions ran high last Thursday evening August 17 at the Les Cheneaux Yacht Club, during the awards banquet, which wrapped up three days of intense competition for the 2017 Ensign National Championship. This year’s championship ended with local boats from Fleet 31 taking the top two spots and an overall three in the top six out of 31 boats. The crew of Instinct, skippered by Jonas Carpenter, dominated the racing by taking first place in three out of the eight total races. He and his crew, consisting of Jason Dunn, Don Marszalec, and Benz Faget edged out four-time National Champion, Thomas LaBelle, skipper of Foxy Lady, and crew members Franklin LaBelle, Alix LaBelle, and Anna Scott.

16th place finishers from local Fleet 31, Lil’M, leads the pack coming around the upwind mark.16th place finishers from local Fleet 31, Lil’M, leads the pack coming around the upwind mark.16th place finishers from local Fleet 31, Lil’M, leads the pack coming around the upwind mark.National Championships typically run the course of four days of racing, with the desired number being nine to 10 races. During days one and two of racing, which were held in Wilderness Bay between Point Brûlée and St. Martin’s Point, wind was hard to come by, but improved as the racing progressed. Weather on day four of the schedule called for rain, high wind gusts, and small craft advisories, forcing the race committee to stop short after three days and eight races. Rankings are figured from adding a boat’s place scored in each race and allowing the lowest finish to be thrown out.

The successes of holding a national event such as this was evident by the number of people frequenting local establishments throughout the week, enjoying a ferry cruise throughout the islands, or partaking in a tour of the Great Lakes Boat Building School. Co-chairs of the event, Joel Birkmeier, Jason Dunn, Dave Parlin, Kip Horsburgh, and Tom LaBelle, did a fantastic job in accommodating visitors who represent some of the best sailors the Ensign Class has to offer.



At right: Heading to the downwind mark. At right: Heading to the downwind mark.

Chelsea Bohn (front) and Sarah Reilly, crew members of Breezie Weezie, hike off the side to counterbalance the wind for optimal speed. Chelsea Bohn (front) and Sarah Reilly, crew members of Breezie Weezie, hike off the side to counterbalance the wind for optimal speed.

1st Place Champions, Instinct, skippered by Jonas Carpenter (left), Jason Dunn, Don Marszalec, and (not pictured) Benz Faget. Behind them on the wall are portraits of past Les Cheneaux Yacht Club Commodores. 1st Place Champions, Instinct, skippered by Jonas Carpenter (left), Jason Dunn, Don Marszalec, and (not pictured) Benz Faget. Behind them on the wall are portraits of past Les Cheneaux Yacht Club Commodores.

2nd Place finishers, Foxy Lady, skippered by Thomas LaBelle (second from right), Franklin LaBelle, Anna Scott, and Alix LaBelle. 2nd Place finishers, Foxy Lady, skippered by Thomas LaBelle (second from right), Franklin LaBelle, Anna Scott, and Alix LaBelle.

3rd Place finishers, Lorelei, skippered by Bud Brown (second from left), Keith Hankins, Ted Wiedeke, and Eric Wiedeke. 3rd Place finishers, Lorelei, skippered by Bud Brown (second from left), Keith Hankins, Ted Wiedeke, and Eric Wiedeke.

4th Place finishers, Menekaune, skippered by Mike Derusha (right), Al McInally, Sita Daavettila, and Ben Diamond. 4th Place finishers, Menekaune, skippered by Mike Derusha (right), Al McInally, Sita Daavettila, and Ben Diamond.

5th Place finishers, The Other Woman, skippered by John Cutler (from right), George Dahmen, Ann Kitzmiller, and Carmine Iacono. 5th Place finishers, The Other Woman, skippered by John Cutler (from right), George Dahmen, Ann Kitzmiller, and Carmine Iacono.

Large gusts of wind are offset by the 1,200-pound lead keels of the Ensign sailboat, preventing it from capsizing. Large gusts of wind are offset by the 1,200-pound lead keels of the Ensign sailboat, preventing it from capsizing.

A crew member aboard Irish Ayes, 12th place finishers from Marquette’s Fleet 35, slips off the bow and is dragged a short distance. He quickly pulls himself aboard and gets the spinnaker pole set. A crew member aboard Irish Ayes, 12th place finishers from Marquette’s Fleet 35, slips off the bow and is dragged a short distance. He quickly pulls himself aboard and gets the spinnaker pole set.





A start during one of the races on day three. (Photographs by Shannon Henige)A start during one of the races on day three. (Photographs by Shannon Henige)
A start during one of the races on day three. (Photographs by Shannon Henige)

Return to top


Click here for digital edition
2017-08-24 digital edition