Winken, Blinken and Nod, sailing from the nursery in a wooden shoe,
the Soling sailors from the Milwaukee Yacht Club sail in boats built
for speed and maneuverability.
herring for them.
looking for strong wind, manageable waves, no rain and a reliable
Adrenalin is the
team juice, and calling a Soling sailor a "hot-dogger" is
not a bad thing.
The local fleet
ramps up in September when the 2012 Soling World Championship takes
place at the MYC. Soling enthusiasts from numerous countries and four
continents will test their skills against the infamous treachery of
season, Milwaukee’s Soling group practices Wednesday evenings for
competitions at all levels. Local regattas keep everyone in shape,
especially their abs. Sailors use a balancing maneuver called
"droop hiking" where they hook their feet inside the boat
then hang out and back over the edge. "Look, Ma; no hands!"
Soling is an
unusual sport because all boats are constructed exactly alike from
materials to dimensions. The three-person crew, open keelboat has a
fiberglass-reinforced polyester body, two Dacron sails and an aluminum
alloy mast. Nothing motorized is allowed on the boat. Sailors pit
themselves against the elements, not large wallets for developing new
gizmos, says David Baum, a sailor by avocation and financial
strategist by vocation.
Linge designed the boat in 1965, and it raced in the Olympics from
1972 to 2000. Linge’s surname is the source of the Soling symbol,
appearing on the boat’s mainsail. Resembling a Greek omega, it is
actually two "Ls" bent back to back. Wisconsinite Harry
"Buddy" Melges Jr. won a gold medal in the first Olympic
egalitarian. Crews can be single-gender or mixed. Light weight,
nimbleness and a cooperative spirit are attributes in this sport.
Katherine Wilson, a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Milwaukee, is responsible
for MYC events. Ashley Henderson races her boat, Rascal, with Whitney
Kent and Kate Muller. MYC fleet senior statesman, retired attorney
Charlie Kamps, raced in the 2011 championship in Germany.
Forty to 80
boats participate in big races. The course is laid out in deep water
by a principle race officer and that person’s committee. Inflatable
triangular buoys mark the sausage-shaped course, which must be adhered
to. Boats go up one side of the sausage and down the other, making
hairpin turns. A signal boat sounds an air horn and a flag is waved to
start; observers call fouls like short-cutting a turn. The roughly
1.5-mile course is sailed six times during a race. No boat sails in a
straight line, so total distance traveled is closer to 11 or 12 miles.
Roman Koch of Germany will conduct clinics during the event. The
Soling World Competition is a five-day race with a winner each day and
an overall event winner. A celebration dinner and awards follow.
are good for one year.
Sept. 17-23 (Practice Race Sept. 18; Races Sept. 19-23)
Milwaukee Yacht Club, 1700 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
morning to midafternoon
Viewing Areas: Walk out on the breakwater east of the MYC, or
walk or sit at the North Point Water Tower near Columbia-St.
Mary’s Hospital on Wahl Avenue
Along Lincoln Memorial Drive; county parks lot at intersection
of Lincoln Memorial and Lafayette Hill Road; Wahl Avenue and
other side streets
BYOB (bring your own blanket)