How 'Bout Those Michigan MC Boys!
Western Michigan Sailors Take the Top Four Spots at the 2006 MC National Championship

Congratulations to Spring Lake's own John McNeil for winning the 2006 MC Nationals at Lake Norman, North Carolina. John sailed a very strong event with Burdick-like consistency in a wide range of very trying conditions and a 92 boat fleet.

His traveling buddies and Spring Lake brethren added to the party by taking the next two spots with Melges' Jamie Kimball finishing in second and Dave Fox finishing in third.

And, for good measure, Ted Keller from Torch Lake (and adopted by Spring Lake) finished in fourth place to make it a Western Michigan sweep.

The racing could not have been more of a true test of sailing ability in all conditions, or who wanted it the most. Light air and radical wind shifts made up the first day's two races with Dave Fox commenting, "this place is like a giant Reeds Lake!" Suffice to say our heroes hadn't made it to the front just yet.

Day two was one of the bleakest sailing days in recent memory. Moderate breeze was accompanied by steady, continual, relentless rain all day long. Three races were completed, with a total of eight hours on the water. Remember how to sail with the telltales stuck to the sidestay??

Joe Rotunda and John McNeil decided to come to the regatta at the last minute and kind of came 'ski bum style' so they took on the elements with a fleece top and shorts.

And the championship would be decided on day three with 15-20 mph breezes building to well in the twenties (maybe thirty??) for the final race. John McNeil decided he got a little too cold the day before and sailed in jeans instead. Andy Burdick called father Doug from the motor boat to say ''you've got to get this kid some foul weather gear!"

John sailed solo in the big breeze to another top ten finish to keep his title chances alive. The sailing of a seventh race would add a drop that could change the scores dramatically. In a move of amazing solidarity and Spring Lake brotherhood, Joe Rotunda had his crew sail his boat to the dock as he jumped on with John McNeil to help bring the title home. And who were they locking horns with? Their best friend Jamie Kimball.

In the end, the boys got it done. With a couple of points to spare... Both the Spring Lake family and the Western Michigan family ought to be proud of the efforts of these four sailors.

Now that John is the National Champion, maybe he can get some foul weather gear company to sponsor him. The rest of the group is starting to think about sailing in jeans...

- Ted Keller, Rear Commodore WMYA


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