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Founded in 1903, the Mendota Yacht Club is the oldest sailing club on Lake Mendota and Dane County. Our mission is to encourage the sport of sailing among young and old.

COVID-19 UPDATE

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mendota Yacht Club's racing rules have been modified to reflect adherence to Public Health Madison and Dane County’s Phase 2 restrictions. These modified rules will be in effect until Phase 2 restrictions have been changed to a different phase or lifted altogether. Please check the following link for the latest updates.

https://www.mendotayc.org/racing-rules-modifications

POP-UP REGATTA

By Stefan Schmidt
August 15, 2020
Burrows Park, Lake Mendota

The Mendota Yacht Club behind the efforts of Afan Ottenheimer and David Sebald decided a regatta should be organized in an effort to get some MC racing in during a time when our club suspends racing during originally scheduled ILYA championships with the hopes other clubs might have a need to attend a last- minute Covid aware regatta. As it turns out, many clubs DID race this weekend and our off-lake attendance did not pan out. We did hear there would be interest in our venue for events down the road.

What a day of sailing it turned out to be! Boats were rigged in rainy conditions, there was a brief postponement and the morning races got started around 11:30 by race officer Anma Ingeana with Don Sanford setting marks in a formidable 12-16 mph breeze from the NNW. The roster highlighted youngsters Billy and Mitch Fitton whose ages combined (15 and 12) was still less than a third of the eldest competitor. These lads beat the eventual event winner to the first mark in race #1 in challenging conditions.

The wind was brisk, wave sets were building and the course location allowed for interesting effects of wind curving out of Warner Bay around massive Maple Bluff menacingly close to the windward mark. For reasons unknown to this writer it paid big time getting close to the bluff, other times not so much. I wouldn’t call it a regular oscillating wind pattern but there were big lines of breeze coming in from both the right and the left sides very randomly throughout the day. The sky cleared at lunch break, the wind died and then filled in mightily for races #3 and #4 (13-18 mph, gusts at our University weather buoy reaching 21 the one time we checked). It didn’t take long for the waves to start building but they never became entirely unmanageable due to the northerly wind direction and our proximity to that shore.

Racing was extremely close and the lead changed regularly in nearly all races. At lunch break after two races 3 racers were tied with 4 points. The afternoon sailing was challenging and a couple boats split up their crews to sail with some of the lighter single-handed skippers. It didn’t help Afan Ottenheimer any when his hiking stick failed completely in race three. A line tied to the tiller made it possible to hike out or bear off but leeward roundings got a little tricky. Every neck and neck downwind run, upwind tacking decision or boat handling skills at roundings or in general really mattered all the time. Any of the top three racers could easily have won the event. It came down to the last race. We all knew we had experienced a great full day of sailing when we kicked back at Burrows Park.

This was a good first effort for our club to host a regional MC regatta. We would like to communicate with the MCSA to see if there might be a warm water date that would serve as a good fit for a possible Mendota/Monona shared regatta…perhaps alternating lakes. Lake Mendota is such a great venue offering a bigger lake experience and Monona has it going on with its smaller size, shifty winds and beautiful capitol skyline views. Both lakes are within an hour or so of many Wisconsin sailors. Thanks to the MCSA for all the help that was provided…Fleet 69.

Name

Boat #

Race #1

Race #2

Race #3

Race #4

Total

Place

Stefan Schmidt

2229

3

1

2

1

7

1

Timothy Elfenbein

2527

2

2

1

3

8

2

Afan Ottenheimer

2016

1

3

3

2

9

3

David Sebald

2663

4

4

4

4

16

4

Paige Fitton

2461

5

5

DNS

DNS

24

5

Billy & Mitch Fitton

1348

6

6

DNS

DNS

26

6

MC Drag Racing with Caption

UW LIFESAVING GETS A NEW RESCUE BOAT

As hard as it is to imagine right now, there will be a day when all of the Mendota Yacht Club boats will be on the lake and racing fiercely. When that day comes, there is bound to be a boat that will win the Tanglefoot Award. Everyone will laugh at the story as it is told at the Commodore’s banquet, but chances are it created a bit of stress in the moment. It’s also likely that the UW Lifesaving rescue boat was on hand to assist.

Mendota Yacht Club has always had the good fortune to have the UW Lifesaving Station’s watchful eye looking over it. Established in 1909 to provide lake rescue service for UW-Madison students, it is going strong over 100 years later. It provides rescue service not only for boaters and swimmers from UW-Madison, but also for the Madison community, including Mendota Yacht Club.

Starting July 15, sailors in need of help will be greeted with a new rescue boat: a Metal Shark 32 Defiant. This boat was custom-built for UW-Madison and is a proven safety and rescue boat. Take a few minutes to view the video to get acquainted with the boat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrrgkRH-iNM

NOTIFICATION OF RACING RULES MODIFICATIONS

Hello members,

What a challenging year COVID-19 has brought us. Because the MYC board is striving to comply with the recommendations of Public Health Madison Dane County (MDC), we have divided the summer into a “Shorthanded” series and a “Fully-crewed” series for E-Scows and Keelboats.

For the “Shorthanded” series, the MYC Board has made modifications to the Racing Rules (e.g. E-Scows and Keelboats that elect to sail the MYC race course with more than two (2) individuals on board shall not be scored for the “Shorthanded Series”). For questions regarding how these modified rules apply to your fleet, get in touch with your fleet captain for further instructions.

The “Shorthanded” series shall remain in effect for the duration of Forward Dane Phase 2 and until further notice from the MYC Board. MYC plans to modify these rules to allow for fully-crewed boats as soon as Public Health MDC orders allow for sporting activities without strict social distancing requirements (hopefully Phase 3). MYC shall designate Sunday and Wednesday races conducted under this rule as a separate, “Shorthanded Series” and such races shall not count towards the regular Summer Sunday or Wednesday Series for E-Scows and Keelboats.

This modification also includes protocols for all MYC sailors and boats. For the full text of this modification, please click the Racing Rules Modifications link in the above header.

Stay safe,

Commodore Pete

2020 PAYTON REGATTA IS POSTPONED

MYC Vice Commodore and Race Committee Chair Charlie Goehring has announced that the upcoming Payton Regatta Mallory Cup (PMC) has been cancelled for the week-end of June 20 and 21, 2020, and will be rescheduled for a later date. This decision has been made in full consultation with Cruiser Fleet Captain Grant Frautschi and Commodore Pete Mooney.

This was a difficult decision and was influenced by Saturday's weather forecast and an anticipated low Cruiser Fleet turnout complicated by the closed Hoofer mooring field and COVID Phase II crew staffing requirements. MYC is concerned that should heavy weather befall the Cruiser Fleet (the fleet vying for the PMC), that safe boat handling might become an issue.

Next week, Charlie will convene a virtual meeting of the MYC Race Committee to establish a new date for the regatta that will also include a social event.

There will be regular club racing on Sunday, June 21.

A WORD FROM THE MYC BOARD SECRETARY

Dear MYC Members,

The Board met virtually yesterday (June 2) to discuss the racing calendar and how to begin racing at the earliest possible date while complying with City of Madison and Dane County guidelines, laws, and regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, Dane County is currently in Phase 1 of the Forward Dane Reopening Plan. During Phase 1, hosting of sporting competitions generally, and team sport activities specifically (except with household members) are not allowed as they do not allow for proper social distancing. As such, the Board determined that we will need to postpone any official MYC races until the next Phase, which will allow us to operate races in some capacity.

The earliest Phase 2 can begin is Tuesday June 9th. To date, Public Health Madison and Dane County has not released guidance for team sport activities or sporting competitions during Phase 2, but the organization is considering input from the community. The MYC Board will be developing guidelines in consultation with Public Health officials in order to allow us to operate races at the earliest available time. We are hopeful that this will be by Wednesday of next week, June 10th, provided that the county does not delay its planned implementation of Phase 2.

Stay tuned for more updates and additional guidance over the next week. Please note that City and County laws and regulations and MYC guidelines may require some limitations on number of crew, number of households per boat, social distancing and additional rules to help stop the spread of the virus and help us operate safely. Thank you for your patience. We look forward to seeing you on the water as soon as possible.

Best regards,

Matthew M. Barron

Secretary of the Board, MYC

MYC Board of Directors at Work

MEET COMMODORE PETE

Born and raised right here in Madison, Commodore Pete Mooney grew up remembering his dad as always singing. No matter where they were or what they were doing, there was a tune coming out of his father. Oddly, Pete’s family wasn’t particularly musical. He remembers a piano in his childhood home, but he can’t recall anyone ever playing it. There were also piano legs supporting a large table in the basement laundry room. “At some point in my family’s history, there must have been a musician,” he muses, “but I have no knowledge of who that might have been.”

If music was an elusive part of Pete’s childhood, water was not. His dad loved to swim in Madison’s lakes and he frequently took the kids with him. Pete remembers learning to swim at Tenney Park at a very young age. He was also a scout, joining in 1957 and remaining active throughout his early adulthood. He was an Explorer Scout Adviser for much of that time.

Pete’s other interest as a young boy was in mechanics and electronics. He would take apart anything he could get his hands on—clocks, bicycles—to study how they worked. It’s this interest that led him to enroll in the Computer and Electrical Engineering department at the University of Wisconsin Madison—something he knew he wanted to do even when he was in grade school.

Once at UW, Pete laughs that he didn’t take his first year seriously. At the end of the less-than-stellar year, he was drafted. To pre-empt the draft, he enlisted for three years and served in Alaska working with Ground Surveillance Radar. He also served in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Washington State.

When he was released from the Army, he returned to UW and became a serious student. He also became an active tech dinghy sailor at the Hoofer Sailing Club. When he wasn’t in class, doing homework, or sailing, he had a part-time job with Wisconsin Public Radio fixing their electronics and running their main control operations. He graduated from the university in 1978 with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

His first job after graduation was in Boston for a company called PR1ME Computer where he designed and tested controller boards for computer peripherals. PR1ME’s clients were mainly universities and hospitals. After three years, he had an opportunity to move back to Madison, where he worked for Amtelco building a small computer that was used by telephone answering services. He also developed peripherals and worked in quality assurance. Five years later, he moved to a company called Astronautics Corporation of America, where he did mostly quality assurance. He was there for four years. His final job before retirement was with PIC Wisconsin, a medical liability insurance company, where he worked in sales and marketing. Pete currently volunteers at the VA Hospital and at the Hoofer Sailing Club.

Regardless of where he lived and worked, the water was his second home. While working in Boston, he crewed on keelboats in Long Island Sound. Upon returning to Madison, he re-joined Hoofers where he crewed on the keelboat Maria, raced 470s, skippered E-Scows, crewed on M-20s, windsurfed, and was both skipper and crew on Soma. He also became a Hoofer instructor and taught people to sail on the Tartan-10, New York 36, Mull 33, Santa Cruz 33, E-scow, C-scow, M-20, 470, Tech Dinghy, and Windsurfer. He was particularly proud of his work teaching deaf students how to sail. Over the past 30 years, he has been a well-known personality at Hoofers.

Pete has also skippered and crewed on many charter boats that have cruised lakes and oceans around the world. It was bare-boat sailing where Pete and his fellow sailors did all the work including their own cooking, cleaning, navigating, skippering, and maintenance. The boats have ranged from 33 to 44 feet. He has sailed in the Apostle Islands, British Columbia, down the east coast, in the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic from South Carolina to the Azores Islands. He has also raced on Lake Michigan many times including a couple of races from Chicago to Mackinaw Island.

When he sailed the 3,000-mile Atlantic crossing, it was just Pete and two other sailors on a 35-foot boat. They sailed through four days of storms where the waves were as tall as the mast. They made the crossing, landing in the Azores, and after a brief stay, Pete took non-sailing transportation back to the United States. When asked if he ever encountered pirates on any of these cruises, he says that they did not, but on their Caribbean cruise, the boat was robbed while they were on shore. Oddly, only the film and camera were taken. All of the valuables were left on the boat. (Pete’s crew had possibly photographed some drug runner boats.)

Pete raced in MYC as a Hoofer crew on S/V Maria in the ‘80s. Pete’s more serious association with Mendota Yacht Club began when he joined around 2010. At that time, he was campaigning the Hoofer boat Soma and then later the S/V Decoy. He currently races the Hoofer boat Siege, where his crew is often composed of students who are taking a sailing lesson. He joined the MYC Board of Directors about six years ago when he was nominated for a position and accepted it in what he calls a weaker moment. He says it has been a lot of fun for him and he’s happy to give back to the club that has given him so much enjoyment and comradery. He believes MYC has great people and he is glad to meet them through his Board position.

As Commodore, he hopes to accomplish four key goals:

  1. Create more cohesiveness between the keelboat and scow classes during social events. To this end, the club is having Fleet Meet-Ups one Wednesday night each month this summer. In June, July, and August, one fleet captain will choose a venue where sailors from all fleets can meet and socialize after the race.
  2. Coordinate and promote youth sailing. This summer MYC will participate with the youth sailing club in their awards banquet. We will also encourage members to donate to the youth sailing club.
  3. Get a smooth website up and running. You are reading this article on the new website, and we hope to have many updates and improvements throughout the year.
  4. Research the possibility for having a meeting space where club members can congregate, and the youth in our club can come and learn to sail. The board is exploring options.

As if these goals weren’t challenging enough, Pete now has the dubious responsibility of navigating our club through a year when the coronavirus has changed the way we live and the way we congregate. There is no question that he is up to this challenge.

Commodore Pete with Bucky Badger in the Time of COVID

AN UPDATE FROM YOUR COMMODORE

Greetings Mendota Yacht Club Members,

The MYC board met online on April 21, 2020 with only one member absent. We are hoping that the pandemic will be easing and that we can at last go safely sailing. With Governor Evers’ Safer at Home policy being enforced through the end of May, we have made the following changes to the 2020 calendar:

The following events are CANCELLED

  • Spring racing series
  • E Spring Regatta
  • Memorial Day race
  • Bloody Mary party

The following events are RESCHEDULED

  • Burrows Park Pier-In—May 30 (unless the Scow Fleets contract with a third party to install earlier)
  • Keelboat Crane-In—May 30 (please coordinate with your fleet captain)
  • RC1 Clean-Up work party—May 31
  • Beginning of Summer Racing Series—June 7

The following events are still ON THE SCHEDULE, but we are keeping a close watch on the COVID situation and will make adjustments if necessary.

  • After-Race party at Shorewood Boathouse—June 7
  • Fleet Meet-Up at Bear and Bottle—June 10 (this is an all-fleet after-race party with the venue chosen by the MC fleet captain)
  • 2020 Payton Regatta—June 20-21
  • Payton Potluck at Maple Beach Boathouse—June 20 (this party will be changed from a potluck to a catered event for food safety reasons)
  • Payton Awards party at Burrows Park—June 21

The MYC Directories will be available for pick-up at the June 20 Payton dinner at the Maple Bluff Beach House. Any remaining MYC Directories will be mailed after the June 20 party.

The MYC board will remain flexible and we’ll make calendar adjustments if needed. You can view the full calendar at www.mendotayc.org.

Stay safe,

Pete Mooney
MYC Commodore

Coronavirus Infects Spring Sailing Season

Novel coronavirus illustration m

The MYC spring social calendar was shaping up to be a fun and exciting beginning to the 2020 sailing season. The social committees of four boating clubs (MYC, Four Lakes Yacht Club, Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club, and Lake Monona Sailing Club) had plans to convene the clubs on March 21 for a March Madness party. And things were looking promising for our Wisconsin Badgers as they were the #1 seed in the Big 10 Tournament. Additionally, Dave and Lori Gorwitz had agreed to host the Spring Banquet in their home once again.

As the social committee finalized the schedule and submitted it to the Board of Directors for approval, news started appearing about a disease outbreak in Wuhan, China. Then it was in Italy and Iran and South Korea. It was only a matter of time before the coronavirus hit our shores in Washington State. As the virus moved throughout the United States, large gatherings started limiting or prohibiting spectators. The Big 10 started its tournament as normal on March 11, but then announced it would hold the rest of the tournament without spectators. The next day, on March 12, before any further games could be played, the entire tournament was cancelled.

In the meantime, the social committee of the Four Lakes Yacht Club weighed the situation and determined it was too risky to hold a large gathering (last year’s Tropical Party had 90 attendees), and cancelled the March Madness party.

The MYC Board and Social Committee remained hopeful that the Spring Banquet could still take place on May 9. But as the virus spread and governors and mayors began announcing shutdowns and limits on the size of events, the Board decided it was time to cancel the banquet. We are hopeful that, as the virus runs its course, we can reschedule a fun event later in the season.

However, the remaining social schedule remains in limbo as there is no clear idea how long the virus and its accompanying restrictions will last. The social schedule is posted on this website as originally planned, and we will keep you informed of the status of each event as the date for it nears.

In the meantime, stay safe and wash your hands!

Upcoming Events

Thu 1 Oct
Sun 4 Oct
Sat 10 Oct
More details to Come
Fri 23 Oct
Save the date for the Commodore's Banquet. Location is not yet planned as we are waiting to see how the coronavirus restrictions are proceeding through the fall months. Keep checking this website for updates.