The Walleye Wagatta has been around since 1987. Originally it was run in conjunction with Fond du Lac’s Walleye Weekend (hence the name). Walleye Weekend is a fun Family festival tied in with Mercury’s National walleye tournament held at Lakeside Park in Fond du Lac. Since 1997 the Walleye Wagatta has been held at Roosevelt County Park across the street from Wind Power. Back in the Walleye Weekend days there were up to 100 racers with 3 race courses. Olympic members from the US and Canada competed along with the US Olympic Windsurfing Coach Major Hall.
This year we were happy to have 27 competitors from Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, and of course Wisconsin. We were also blessed with the appearance of Tara and Ted Schweitzer, the children of Hoyle Schweitzer the co-inventor of windsurfing.
Ted was ripping the course up on a vintage original Windsurfer. Andy and Kevin Gratton joined him on the Waylers they learned how to sail on in the early 80’s.
Check out Ted’s web site the original windsurfer. Thanks to Ted you can now buy a brand new original windsurfer! Check out his really cool Original Windsurfer website: http://www.originalwindsurfer.com/ there are some really nice pictures and stories about the birth and growth of our great sport.
Front row: Kevin Gratton, Jennifer Wettstein, Tara Schweitzer, Andy Gratton, Phil Sage (MoWind President)
Back row: Ted Schweitzer, Tim Cleary
Arden Anderson E-11 the Race Director of the 2010 Walleye Wagatta hasa synopsis of the race from his perspective posted on the MoWind site. Arden Anderson took over as Race Director the last 2 years and has done a great job.
Look for his race by race commentary on the MoWind web site: http://www.mowind.org/wp/?p=864
He has also posted some pictures & videos which are also on youtube. Check them out!. One of Arden’s goals is to make it a really affordable regatta and pass any profits to the MoWind Association. I believe this year he donated $100 to Mowind! I would like to thank Arden and his family for running the great event, making everyone feel comfortable including those whom it’s their first time. He raced everyone hard yet maintained the huge fun factor. I’m looking forward to working with them next year!
There was also a MoWind raffle which brought another $63 to MoWind. Tom Stokes from Indiana is the raffle winner and he will be a finalist for the Final Raffle in Sept. at the Wind Power Champs held again in Fond du Lac, WI.
The forecast was for light winds Sat. & Sun. but the wind Gods looked in our favor. We had decent wind for the 3 course races before lunch at which time the wind died to a vacuum. After lunch the wind picked up enough to do some figure 8 slalom in front of the beach. I finally was caught up with my shop duties and had a chance to get out myself. My brother Andy had rigged up a Wayler One-Design (the board we both learned on in the early 80’s) for me and himself. It was the first time on the race course for me in several years after having shoulder problems. Last Dec. I finally bit the bullet and had shoulder replacement surgery. So after months of great therapy at Back-In-Action I was ready to test my new shoulder out. I have to say it works much better and I really enjoyed getting back on the race course. Now sailing on ancient equipment was a relearning experience. The sails don’t pump the same, but needless to say I still had a blast. Ted, Andy and I had a great time in the Vintage Class. For the Slalom races a Bald Eagle sat in a near by tree and watched intently. What an awesome sight for the Eagle and us.
Saturday night after supper (many went across the street to the Sunset Supper Club) everyone enjoyed the typical bonfire. Due to late night partying the night before, most packed it in earlier than usual. Fires are important to keep the Wind Gods happy!
Adding Fuel to the Fire - See more images in the photo gallery
Sunday racing started around 11:00 am with 10 -12 from the southeast. Arden ran 4 races with the wind building through all 4 races. After starting the 3rd race I was struggling with the Wayler 6.8 sail on 9 foot booms. The gust were getting stronger and more pronounced. Once I got to the upwind buoy the beach was right in front of me and calling. So in I went to rest my shoulder and get out of the starfish stance I perfected when I first learned how to windsurf. (I didn’t want to starfish stance to develop into a habit). In the last 2 races I saw the guys on the bigger sails planning through most of the slalom type course Arden wisely set as an option. So the moral of Sunday was we had great wind from the bonfire, and don’t pay attention to the forecast when a regatta is being held.
JUST SHOW UP and HAVE FUN!