Call it resurgent.

Two Wisconsin teams grabbed early leads at the 2023 I20 champs and hung on tightly to win the two races of the regatta, both in feather light winds at Indian Lake, Ohio.   It was the first time since 2016 that more than one Wisconsin boat finished in the top five.

PlaceNameSail #Race 1Race 2
1Aaron Lynn, Lizzy LynnJ1112
2Joe Ewing, Cole EwingID424
3Jeff Patten, Al PattenID833
4Andy Gratton, Pedro Quijano49971
5Eric Hall, variousL55
6Reid Gustafson, AJM147
7Stew Harris, Peter PietraPO806106
8Justin Harler, Tristan WrightPO 47988
9Emily Allen, Andy AllenWA57611
10Frank LevinsonM1299
11Tim FateID411210
12Andy Tudor, Geoff RigneyID161112

Friday.  Sept. 15. Aaron Lynn, with his 14-year old daughter as crew, escaped at the start and glided on easterlies that barely registered a ripple on a silvery Indian Lake. It was a decisive win, lapping some in the field.

Lynn is a six time national champion who thrives under the boom. He never left the leeward rail during the four legs of the first race, heeling his boat to a sliver.  Downwind, Lynn seemed to  conjure a private weather cell that kept his purple spinnaker inflated and pulling while others struggled to generate speed.

“Aaron gave us a master class in light air sailing,” second place finisher Joe Ewing said afterward. 

That win propelled Lynn to overall first place in the championship.

Whispering winds receded and would not appear again until Sunday.

Telltales began tickling midday, signaling the second and final race of the regatta.  The easterly filled in a bit, skipping across the lake to the boats assembled on the start line.  Pressure bounced between 4 and 8 knots, leaving holes that swallowed several teams. 

The start would be a gamble for Fondulac’s Andy Gratton and his pickup crew Pedro Quijano of the Potomac, who started closer to the race committee boat and tacked to port in search of clean air.  The leaders were piled up near the pin, a favorite start place for Lynn. Gratton had escaped by they time Lynn tacked to port.  Gratton mostly stayed on port hunting for pressure, which carried him to the corner layline.

Gratton’s yellow boat “Over Easy” was easy to spot up ahead, especially when he popped his yellow chute. On this second upwind leg, Gratton took the north north side of the course. A clean rounding and hoist put him in good position to consolidate his lead, finishing ahead of his Wisconsin neighbor Aaron Lynn, who was fast closing for a second place. 

Gratton’s win came in a 48-year-old Melges, with a vintage aluminum Proctor mast and Dacron main.   Set against a forest of carbon fiber spars, mylar mains, self-tacking jibs and new hulls with fancy self-dousing chutes, Gratton’s ride serves to remind that a new boat is not an automatic ticket to the podium in one design competition.

Jeff Patton of Indian Lake sailed a remarkable downwind leg that chewed through four competitors for third place followed by Ewing in fourth.

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One thought on “Lynn Wins 2023 Champs in Feather Light Air

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  1. Jane patten 10 months ago

    Great writing! Everyone really soldier’d up in no air!