BLACK BEAR YACHT RACING ASSOCIATION
WHITE BEAR LAKE, MINNESOTA
Volume 19, Issue 1
The favored end
The Commodores’ Corner
By Brian Mathewson
Commodore's Report Dec. 2015
This past year was definitely a year of ups. Participation, enthusiasm, and lake level are all up.
To me it seemed obvious that participation was up, but I was surprised when I did the math. Comparing 2015 to
2014, the number of boats per race was up 26%. Congrats to our PHRF fleet, where most of this increase occurred.
A great example of this was the last race of the year, the last "Frozen Finger" race, attracted 11 boats.
The club's purchase of a new race committee boat brought a new enthusiasm to the BBYRA with regards to race
management. Not having to worry if we would be able to race was definitely an "up". And a huge thanks to those who
contributed to make this possible.
With the completion of the boardwalk and the new community room, the West bay has been transformed into
another "up". As a boating centered/White Bear based/non-profit, we are listed as a top priority when it comes to use of the
new community room. We enjoyed a great Tuesday night post-race party in the fall, and it looks like we will be able to take
advantage of this amenity again in 2016.
Once again, we had great socials at the Newell's and the Klopp's, and I'm sure this will carry on. We continue to
have offseason socials on the first Tuesday of the month, that are well attended.
I'm sure the VFW appreciates the support our club gives, especially on Tuesday nights. there were many informal
get gatherings that made for some fun and camaraderie.
Please visit the BBYRA Website!
On the website you will find up to date listings of our race schedules, socials and other events. Be sure
to bookmark www.bbyra.com!
BBYRA Google Groups
As many of you know, a broadcast email from the BBYRA Google Group is one way to make sure
information is distributed to BBYRA members. As racing season approaches please be sure to check
your email on race days for any last minutes news or updates.
January 2016 Page 2
The new board met November 29th., and our social chair, Peg Witthaus had many things planned, (talk about
enthusiasm). Aside from the offseason gatherings, she's talking about a club trip to the Winona Maritime Museum. Sounds
Another up is the lake level. At last report, (12/22/2015) White Bear is higher at this time of year since 2007, and
the trend is upward. I know I may be over optimistic, but I think we're heading in the right direction.
As it looks like things like things are looking up, I look forward to being your Commodore next year.
Can't wait to see everyone.
[email protected] - comments, questions and complaints are welcome
BBYRA Fall Banquet Minutes
Indian Hills Golf Course
November 7, 2015
Fall banquet meeting called to order by Commodore Heubsch at 6:33 PM.
Recognition and appreciation was given to the current Board of Directors. Each Director was called by name to stand and
Larry Sagstetter provided an update on the BBYRA website, which has been redesigned in WordPress. He noted the
previous version was difficult to update and lacked mobile readiness. The site was inaccessible to cell phone users.
Members had wanted mobile access to the website for some time. Most web traffic now comes from cell phones and
tablets. The site needed to be updated to provide this feature, as well as better links to a race schedule and Facebook. At no
additional cost to the club, the redesigned site provides all of this, with updated photo galleries. WordPress makes it easier
to update the site and keep it current.
Cathy Heubsch noted that dinner door prize ticket proceeds will go into a Committee Boat maintenance fund. She pressed
the need for more contributions to fund Committee Boat operation and maintenance for future years.
A humorous video was shown on the effectiveness of an inflatable life vest.
Tom LeVere gave the bursar’s report. Total 2015 income through 10/31 was $23,382. Total expenses were $26,684.
Expenses exceeded income by $3,282, with fall banquet expenses yet to be accounted for.
One-time donations and expense for purchase of new Committee Boat skewed the financial report from its normal levels.
John and Judy Currier were recognized for their 50th wedding anniversary.
A Committee Boat judges photo was give to Mimi and Carol Robertshaw.
New Board of Directors was unanimously approved. It includes Brian Matthewson as Commodore. Peggy Witthaus will
be Social Chair. Tom Le Vere continues as Bursar. Eric Hegland is Director of Boat and Equipment. Paul Peloquin is a
new director. Larry Sagstetter continues managing the website.
January 2016 Page 3
Winches Trophy – Carol Roberts-Shaw
Nelson Cup – Craig Witthaus
Brisson Cup – Echo II
You Can Take It With You Trophy – Tom Foolery
Bergquist Steadfast Sailor – Tom LeVere
Sportsmanship Trophy – Tom LeVere
Commodore’s Cup – Lisa Mathewson
Capri 22 Fleet Championship Trophy – Echo II
PHRF Fleet Championship Trophy – Ideal 18’
All series race award winners can be found on the Race Scores page of www.bbyra.com
Meeting adjourned 8:25 PM.
Start of a sailor’s life on White Bear Lake
As a south shore kid (Birchwood), my family and I were ‘Lake People’ and it was skating-skiing in the winters... and
swimming and SAILING in the summer months. We Witthaus children started in X boats, and I have sailed nearly
everything that floats on White Bear Lake at one time or another. Our family boat was primarily the C scow, Dad- Mom
as primary crew. … and for me, it has been a long progression>> M16, X, C, E, A’s... several catamarans (Trac 18,
Supercat 20, Nacra 18 square)…then into keelboats with BBYRA… and more. Let’s see a few old photos first, then some
of my “why sailing” story>>
Lise, Marc, Craig and Marni>> You get to pick which twin is which
(one hint, we aren’t the ones wearing dresses!)
It was 1961 or 62 or maybe a little bit before, when I first started sailing on White Bear Lake. That was a time when there
wasn’t nearly as many other conflicting things to do in the summer, and White Bear X- fleet (the kids) was divided into
two divisions because there were so many kids in too many Johnson X boats. I certainly can’t say that we were the top
sailors, or even near the top, at that time. Of course we have outlasted a lot of the competitors that I’ve met along the
way… For example, the Zaks (especially Bob and Doug… Patty was much younger then we were), Helms, Bartholdi, Joe
Souceray, and lots more were the older sailing kids that we all looked up to and tried to keep up with on the water
January 2016 Page 4
Start of a Sailor’s Life—continued
(maybe we should put Joe outside of the ‘positive mentor’ category?). Many of the top sailors in our E and A fleets currently,
were possibly still in diapers when my family was active with the X boats.
My father, Dr. Mel Witthaus and mother Donna got us an old wooden Xboat. Then we had a new one built later at Johnson
Boat Works, which we sailed up to early high school... when Marc and I switched to crewing on larger scows. Early college
years, he skipped a C boat (Belladonna), while I moved out to Oregon.
Later on return to Minnesota, I had a foray into M 16s, my mother, Donna and I sailed a wooden Melges M boat for several
years in early 1980’s. We were ringside to be trounced by first Brian M (moving over from Lake Harriet), and then watched
sadly as Lisa Klopp made her march to top-sailor in that fleet… shades of things to come?
In the beginning, I grew up in the heart of Birchwood’s south shore. My parents sailed in the classy and beautiful wooden C
scows… Johnson Boat Works, of course!! As children (there were 4 Witthaus tykes) we even thought being tasked with
crawling all the way up into the front of the boat to sponge all the water dry after each race, was part of the adventure. After
lots of time with the scows, I was one of the few scow people to switch over to multi-hulls in the 1980s…our friends, the
Freebergs were there as well. Several catamarans later, we switched to keelboats as primary race boats… J22 first as Marla
Waters’ crew, and then our own J 431 (also hausboat), then to Capri 22’s as the spin-fleet came into being within BBYRA.
About Cats? Had some reasonable successes... and because of my competitive nature? Multiple spectacular flips from all
January 2016 Page 5
Start of a Sailor’s Life—continued
A quick catamaran story to show the dramatic differences from catamarans to lead bellies. When we first began on the j22,
hausboat, I sailed that boat in a very competitive Black Bear fleet… And then switched over and sailed on a Nacra 18 square
on Wednesday and Sundays with the WBYC. The variety certainly made me a better sailor, but it was difficult to throttle
back and stay behind the starting line for me with the 18sq. Sometimes with catamaran sailing the way you start in your first
upwind leg can be decided by whether you take 2 tacks... Or 3? Before the first weather mark. I was fairly notorious for
doing well the first upwind, turning the top mark near the lead and at full-speed… and then proceeding to peel off at full
speed and probably doing a ‘cart wheel’ occasionally to move myself right from the top of the fleet to the middle of the fleet
in a hurry. However, through all that it was a very exciting time… Perhaps with a few ego bruises that may never heal.
Cartwheel= accelerate to 15+ knots, your bows dig in… and up becomes down immediately.
The “Arc”= radius of your trapeze wire in relation to your cat hulls, the “arc” you will travel as the boat hulls joy
ously cart wheel to an immediate stop.
“being wired”= in the process of cartwheeling, your forward projectile takes you right through the stays, sort of
like a modified cheese slicer?
Righting line= the necessary tip over aid that attaches to your mast to help you with righting the cat once the hulls
are rolled over. This crucial preplanning step… I never quite mastered.
J22 is probably my favorite race boat, because of the maneuverability, size and speed for our lake sailing. However, the
Capri does quite well too at much less cost… and a bit more comfort for those pleasure-cruises we never seem to get to do.
One exception would be>> a dark blue older 505 I had...years ago (but, that would make this another story).
Over the years I’ve sailed nearly all the types of boats raced on White Bear Lake, either as crew or skipper. Having enjoyed
it all, I continue to see sailing is one of the few sports in life where no matter how badly things go, next weekend you get to
start over… or the next Tuesday in our case with BBYRA. Sailing, in the most poetic way, is all about where the water meets
the sky. I’m sure sailing, which I see as a sport and interesting part of life, will be with me, my friends, and of course Peggy
for a lifetime.
Our A scow (marc, Craig, and peg) Belladonna... W 1…and the 2 phases of A scow speed sailing... picked the M100 picture
as that’s one of our spinnakers that we “blew up” year #2 in one race... an expensive race for us.
HAPPY SAILING... Craig Witthaus
January 2016 Page 6
BBYRA IF YOU HAVE NEWS OF A SAILING VARIETY you’d like to share
with our members and friends, please send it to
Black Bear Yacht Racing Association [email protected]
White Bear Lake, Minnesota All submissions are welcomed!
Commodore: Brian EVENTS
Join us for our next Social is Tuesday, Feburary 2nd at
P.O. Box 10802 Mad Jacks Sports Bar, 935 County Road E East, Vadnais Heights.
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
Come on out and join the fun!
WWW.BBYRA.COM Don’t forget The “Fire & Ice” celebration on Ferburary 27th at
Website Editor: Larry Stagsetter
The White Bear Boat Works