Patryk and his father Pawel are great friends of LCSS. Pawel was kind enough to share the wonderful sailing adventures Patryk had in 2017.
Patryk had a good year in 2017 - that is an understatement...
Let’s face it, sailing is a big part of Patryk's life. Like his two older brothers, he started at LCSS just short of 6 years old and before that he sailed with me and his brothers.
This past summer he sailed every session of the LCSS Opti Racing program and competed in the local TCYS regatta series. After a summer of solid results, he was invited to the Red White and Blue Chip Regatta near Milwaukee, WI. He gained valuable experience in a very crowded field, not to mention winning the egg toss competition afterwards.
The season was memorable and we had plenty of fun along the way.
We visit Duluth and Lake Superior each summer and Patryk decided this year that he wanted to sail his Optimist on the big lake.
We had a good weekend when he sailed from downtown Duluth to the lift bridge and entered the port of Duluth. He waited his turn and when the bridge went up, he sailed through the channel. The Duluth port authority was pretty sure that it was first Opti to do this. He had his usual safety gear, survival pack and marine radio. Weather was great, wind mild and later we discovered that lift bridge could have stayed down :)
At the end of the summer we went back to Lake Superior, this time in the area of Madeline Island. We usually charter a keelboat for a few days of sailing and vacation. Inspired by our Duluth adventure, we brought the Opti again.
Patryk brought safety gear, extra food, water, a survival kit, extra clothing, and a marine radio in his Opti.
The “big boat” followed behind while Patryk made his own sailing decisions.
It was always clear that skills learned at LCSS completely prepared him for competent sailing and many other boaters later commented on that.
A few days later we were far out at the edge of the Apostle Islands and Patryk decided that he wanted to sail between islands solo and with his own navigation.
We prepared the plan, equipped the boat and added an extra radio just in case. The wind was around 20 mph and open lake waves were big, with white caps forming.
The crossing was between Raspberry Island and Devils Island took almost 5 hours and he tracked about 16 miles. Needless to say- he was pumped up. He ate all the onboard chocolate and took some breaks.
It was a great adventure and certainly it was quickly obvious (despite my trepidation - of course I did not share that with Patryk :) - that no matter what the conditions were - he was ready and had the skills.
Incidentally, a Coast Guard vessel was near (unnoticed by us) and next day in Bayfield, WI they commented on the achievement when we were walking from the city marina to get some dinner: “we don’t think that an Opti has ever sailed here before!”
We thought the season was over as the school year started but as it turned out, there was one more trip yet to make. The High School Shepherd regatta in downtown Chicago added Optis to their lineup - so off we went before Thanksgiving.
Well - at this point we are putting away sailing gear and pulling out the ski gear - can it get any better?