2012-07-28 / Top News

Local Team Races From Chicago

Sailors Share Stories From the Race
By James Dau


Crew members Jason Dunn, Patrick Murray, John Birkmeier, Jonas Carpenter, Jonas Altmeier, Christopher Horsburgh, Samuel Lincoln, Ben Pendery, and Kyle VanEenanaam near Flash Gordon 5 before their departure for the race. “The crew represented the Les Cheneaux Yacht Club. (Photograph courtesy of Julie Van Eenenaam) Crew members Jason Dunn, Patrick Murray, John Birkmeier, Jonas Carpenter, Jonas Altmeier, Christopher Horsburgh, Samuel Lincoln, Ben Pendery, and Kyle VanEenanaam near Flash Gordon 5 before their departure for the race. “The crew represented the Les Cheneaux Yacht Club. (Photograph courtesy of Julie Van Eenenaam) With boats and crews coming from across the nation for the 104th Annual Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, one crew returns very close to home. While they now live in Michigan, Ohio, California, Colorado, and Illinois, Jason Dunn and the crew of Flash Gordon 5 all originally came from the Les Cheneaux Islands, a community that lies within sight of Mackinac Island.

“We’re all friends. We grew up racing together,” Mr. Dunn said. “Every summer we would go out racing Ensigns on the lake. It was how we spent our time and built our friendships.”

Most members of the crew have competed in the Chicago race before, but this marks the first time they all raced it together.

“We all wanted to do it. We live so far apart now. Some of us are still in the Les Cheneaux area but others have moved to San Diego or Denver, so we figured this would be a great reason to all come together again,” Mr. Dunn said.

Mr. Dunn and his crew chartered the Flash Gordon 5 from Helmut Jahn, who himself sailed the Flash Gordon 6. Both vessels competed in the Farr 40 section of the race.

“It was a great race,” Mr. Dunn said. “We had good wind the whole way and it was full of intense of activity.”

Competition in the section was fierce.

“There were five boats in our section that were all running neck-and-neck,” Mr. Dunn said. “It was real close and that always makes for a good race. It was hot out there, and with all the activity we were just dumping buckets of water over ourselves to stay cool during the day.”

Mr. Dunn and his crew placed sixth out of eight contestants in their section, crossing the finish line at around 5:30 a.m. Monday, July 23.

“We finished within 10 minutes of everyone but the winning boat,” Mr. Dunn said, “so that gives you an idea of just how tight this race was for us.”

Mr. Jahn’s Flash Gordon 6 won the section.

Victory would have only been a bonus for Mr. Dunn and his crew, anyway.

“This was really about getting a bunch of friends out to have a good time on the water and run a good race,” he said, “and that’s exactly what we did. It’s a tough race, but we all knew what we had to do and we had a great time doing it.”

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