Unplugged Sailing

More than just a boat

2008 Lake Huron International Regatta Results

Yes, that’s the whole class.  Yes, nobody finished.  Yes, there was no wind.  Hopefully there’ll be a bit more next weekend. 

We did have a nice view before the sun went down friday night:

And, for the record, Unplugged made it 54 of the 60 miles before throwin in the towel.



July 6, 2008 Posted by | Humor, Race Results | 1 Comment

Mack Race 2007 Epilog

Yessiree, we gots our money’s worth.  74 hours on the boat.  It’s the same way that I feel when I golf – my cost per stroke is really low.  Our 2007 edition of the Mack race was one for the records.  Just getting to the starting line this year was a challenge.  Cancelled plane flights, blown tires on I-696 during rush hour, an overheating diesel engine on the way to the start line all consumed a good deal of our usual concentration and focus getting ready for the race.  However, we made it to the start line just in time, scoped out the competition, and got a pretty decent start. 

Beginning of the race, winds were out of the north and a good chop had built up overnight – a beat into these types of conditions is not Unplugged’s best point of sail!  This lasted most of Saturday and we beat up the side of the Thumb, continually tacking closer to shore where the seas were somewhat smaller.  We knew we were going to get passed by most of the boats, and we did.  By late Saturday, the bottom dropped out of the wind and the forecasted high parked itself over the middle of the lake which would sit there for the next several days.  This gave us a chance to fix the engine and replace the raw water impeller that had disintegrated. Everything seemed fine…..but not quite as we found out on the return trip. 

We sat in sight of Harbor Beach for what seemed like forever (well, 12 hours anyway).  GPS even recorded us going backwards for a while.  Mercifully, a bit of air got us moving and heading up the rhumb line and we were able to launch the spinnaker. Now this is where Unplugged starts to come into her own (remember, this is a Catalina 30) and the crew goes to work catching other boats.   We decided to go a bit east and see if we could pick up a bit more air and take advantage of the expected wind shift.  As we crossed the 45th parallel (as in latitude) we heard 3 boats in our class ahead of us during the call-in to the Coast Guard and expected a couple more were ahead of us that we missed.  By the time we reached the Weather Buoy our better position on the course had allowed us to move ahead of the other 3 boats and focus on the other 2 that we thought were ahead of us. 

A great breeze pushed us up the rhumb line to Mackinaw Island on a close reach and some of the finest sailing there is.  That lasted till Monday night and the wind, again, disappeared about 20 miles from Spectacle Reef (a lighthouse on a reef in the middle of Lake Huron which you don’t want to run into.).  Monday night we managed to eke out a few more miles to get close to Bois Blanc island and we entered the windless parking lot of becalmed vessels sitting on a perfect plane of deep blue glass.  We appealed to the wind gods, loudly playing authentic Dakota Indian war chants and were rewarded with a small bit of wind.  Most of Tuesday we fought for whispers of air, constantly moving sails to catch each zephyr.  Furoughed brows began to appear on the crew as our supply of Tootsie Roll Pops dwindled and we wondered if we would ever finish.  Finally, a 10 knot breeze came through the Straights and we finished to the cheers of the crowd that were already at the awards party.  We were pretty confident that we had earned a spot on the podium as James Brown’s “I Feel Good” blared on the speakers pulling into the docks right in with the GL 70’s!


August 1, 2007 Posted by | Captain Tim, Mac Race, Race Results | Leave a comment

The 2007 Mac Race

Ladies and gents, dogs and ponies, hamburgers and gravies… (gravys? gravy’s? gravii? Hmmmm…):

The 2007 Mac Race is here! Are you one of the TENS of people who visit this site? Are you one of the ONES of people who might mildly be interested in haphazardly checking in on our race progress? Are you a search engine spider looking for more material? Yes? WELL THEN LOOK NO FURTHER!

Unplugged’s 2007 Mac Race progress can be followed here. Will we survive the new, longer course? Will we throw a tow rope around an unsuspecting SC-70? Will our combat torpedos FINALLY ARRIVE IN TIME FOR THE RACE THIS YEAR? Only time will tell. And the local police wire.

I can promise you this much, we won’t get in as bad a situation as this guy.

We’ll have our sails up. We’ll have right of way. Idiot.

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Mac Race, Race Results, Video | Leave a comment

LHYA Regatta Weekend

Gather round children; let me tell you a story of sails and whales, ropes and dopes, waves and Daves.  This is the tale of the vessel Unplugged and her crew’s dreams of flags, battle scars, beer, and everlasting glory.  Two of these dreams came true this past weekend, the jury’s still out on the other two (but don’t hold your breath about the last one).

The LHYA (or LYHA as some t-shirts would have you believe) regatta was this past weekend, and Unplugged was entered in the Cruising Asymmetrical division.  Suprisingly, the latter part of the division name was not a commentary on the crew’s rather homely appearance.  These three unkempt, uncouth sailors had bravely navigated the boat south from Port Sanilac into the foreboding waters just outside of Port Huron.  Two other boats (Whitewater and On a Whim) had unwisely entered the same division as the mighty Unplugged and her unorthodox crew.  This unwieldly crew consistented of the relative greenhorn Dave and the relatively maniacal Brian.  As always, behind the helm (and the madness) was the relatively stoic Captain Tim. 

Minus Brian (Thank God)

The races began and Unplugged took an early lead, winning both of Saturday’s races.  The crew then took an unplanned victory lap due to an inability to listen to the radio or understand the flags on the committee boat (both of which stated that the day’s 3rd race had been canceled).  After this minor setback, Unplugged set sail for port with James Brown’s “I Feel Good” blaring through her shiny new outdoor speakers.  After docking, many beers were drank, and it was noted that the local band played “Sultans of Swing” at least 3 times.  There was also a lengthy debate regarding whether certain specialized fireworks were spherical or planar in nature (signs pointed to planar).

Day Two began with pancakes and AC/DC (a potent combination).  Unplugged approached the startline blaring “The Razor’s Edge;” her crew unable to foresee the giant dose of irony that was being delivered at 100+ db.  Captain Tim skippered Unplugged out to an early lead in the third race, but, on the second leg, the cruel mistress that is the spinnaker was hoisted to her throne at the bow of the boat.  Some rather avant-garde spinnaker packing resulted in a finely shaped hourglass of blue and yellow just off the bow.  As Brian took the wheel (this should be a sign to those familar with Brian’s helming abilities), Captain Tim raced to the bow to “fix the glitch.”  The spinnaker was freed from her prison of tanglitude, filled with wind, and released her fury upon an unsuspecting Dave.  Determined to break free of the ropes that bound her, Spinnaker pulled with supernatural force on the sheet being tended by Dave.  As the rope turned to razor blades his hands, Dave decided that the pain was merely a sign he should hold the rope tighter.  Dave’s reward for his stubborness?  Two fistfuls of blisters and cuts.  Dave adopted a hockey player’s mentality towards this gentleman’s sport and proclaimed “I can still race.” 

 S'all Good

 Due to his unspecificed upper-body injury, Dave was relegated to minor rope-release duty.  Whitewater took advantage of Unplugged’s moment of weakness and snatched a first place.  Unplugged took the downtime inbetween races to regroup and thoroughly bandage Dave’s hands:

5 for 10!

 The fourth race, Unplugged was back to her old self, screaming across the finish line with Brian screaming on the bow as he forced the pole to keep the jib in it’s proper shape.  Unplugged won this 4th and final race of the weekend, and again, the boat and her crew celebrated with the soulful sounds of the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”

The crew attended the awards ceremony and Captain Tim accepted the flag for first in the Crusing Assymetrical division.  Congratulations were shared and the beer flowed. 

Later that evening, Dave and Brian visited Meijer and Dave performed the Ointment Dance.

The sulltaaanns of ointment 

I know; I promised you whales.  But, it’s the great lakes; c’mon guy.

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Race Results | Leave a comment

The 2007 season has begun…

May the madness continue.


June 10, 2007 Posted by | Chris, flickr, Humor, Photographs | Leave a comment

The OFFICIAL Unplugged Mac Race 2006 Poster

Featuring my photography and Brian C’s photoshop skills, the first ever Unplugged Mac Race poster is here. It’s ready to be uploaded to the online poster printing vendor of your choice. Click here for large resolution .jpg, or email us for another file format.

August 7, 2006 Posted by | Chris, Mac Race, Photographs, Tyro | Leave a comment

Oh We’re Fancy; We’ve Been Blogged!

The cool photoblog Michigan in Pictures has featured my shot “The Double Horizon,” as well as my Mac Race 2006 set, as their August 4th, 2006 entry. Yet more proof that everyone loves Unplugged! Stop by and check out the site; it even has some cool pictures that AREN’T Unplugged related. Shocking that such things exist, I realize…

(Did I do enough hyperlinking in this post?)

August 4, 2006 Posted by | Chris, flickr, In the News, Links, Mac Race, Photographs | Leave a comment


Google has defined us as more of a reference for the 2006 mac race than the Bayview site… You can color me unsurprised.

July 29, 2006 Posted by | Mac Race | 2 Comments

Mac Race Track

Our track to 3rd place.  

Mac Race Track

Starting out from Port Huron, we were able to carry a close beat up the lake to about Port Sanilac. From there, we broke out the chute as the wind backed and we jibed up the lake passing Yare and Talaria in the process. We arrived at Harbor Beach in time to see the fireworks which is always pretty cool to see from the water. About that time, the wind piped up to upper teens/low twenties out of the south and we went on a sleigh ride up the lake rarely falling below 7kts. We decided to stay offshore hoping for the stronger winds, which seemed to bear out. We had to drop the chute to reach towards Thunder Bay light but it came up shortly aftwards as the wind backed further and we ran under the spinnaker continuing at 7+kts until Presque Isle.

Then the wind disappeared.

Late Sunday afternoon and through most of Sunday night we fought to find wind and keep the boat moving. At one point, we had a south wind with mid-80’s temperature and the next moment a north wind at about 50 degrees. Winds came from every direction except the one that was forecast. Finally, the wind filled in from the Southwest and we were on a beat to the finish.

After 200 miles, dawn’s light revealed the top 4 boats within a few hundred yards of each other. We carried a beat into the finish with all crew on the rail in 20 kts of wind.

The Captain

July 25, 2006 Posted by | Captain Tim, Mac Race | Leave a comment

Double Horizon

The windline gives the impression of a double horizon. Good thing we’re on the right side of it.

July 24, 2006 Posted by | flickr, Mac Race, Photographs | Leave a comment