The Mighty Meltdown Sweeps Nationals

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The 2018 Catalina 30 Nationals were held at Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago the middle of August. The mighty Meltdown walked away with five bullets. Besides the thrill of sweeping the series, it was a fabulous adventure all the way around.

The fun started with the delivery down to Columbia from South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee. Choosing the weather window is always key and also Murphy’s Law of the delivery is that the wind will be on the nose. Murphy took a powder on this one. The breeze was predicted to be light, behind us and with minimal waves. A dream come true on paper. We left in the middle of the night to arrive in Chicago before the weekend traffic got too crazy. The Delivery Gods were giggling on two fronts. The wind was so light it was barely noticeable. Buckets of water over the head were in order to keep the swelter at bay. There was only one bucket onboard and I surely hope it was only used for cleaning. We arrived in Chicago to the sound of thunder. Thunderbirds! It was the Chicago Air and Water Show weekend. Who knew? There were boats everywhere and very few were concerned about the rules of the road. After we picked our way through the crowd, we arrived at the yacht club with one small space left on the dock, requiring parallel parking. So much for sneaking into town early and quietly.

At check in, we were informed that Meltdown was the only boat who signed up to be in the spinnaker division. Our crew consisted of six adults and one child to accommodate sailing with a kite. The choices were withdraw and be refunded the entry fee or join the jib and main ranks. Join we did, with a very large crew for JAM sailing. Day one was heavier air out of the Northeast at 15-17 knots, so having extra “ballast transfer engineers” came in handy. It was pretty amazing sailing in Chicago with their beautiful skyline and the air show above us. Don’t think we didn’t consider flying our spinnaker on the way in, just because we could, but we decided to keep it classy. Three races and three first place finishes later we headed back to the dock for beer, a wonderful dinner, a band and dancing. Columbia Yacht Club knows how to have a party! Pre-party we were able to take a swim right at the dock. It’s usually not advisable to swim at a marina because of the risk of Electric Shock Drowning. Columbia not only has updated all of their shore power because of the risk, but they have a designated swimming dock complete with a floating water voltage detector!

Day two brought light air, East Northeast at 4-7 knots. There was a lot of speculation from the other boats if we could be competitive in light air with such a big crew. Meltdown rose to the occasion with first place finishes in both races. Back at the dock, there was a lot of good natured ribbing that we must have something illegal on the boat. A hidden secret weapon of some sort. The Catalina family was so much fun to be around, great sportsmen and really fun people. After the presentation of trophies and another swim, five Meltdowners headed for home via land and two of us headed out to sea to return the Mighty Meltdown back home. In true Murphy fashion, the wind piped up to 18 knots right on the beam, with big rollers. Did I mention, no auto helm?? After a quick fuel stop at Belmont Harbor, we motor sailed our way back to Milwaukee, another grand adventure in the books.

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