Kicking Back at a Cool Place for Summer Sailing

By Mike Ferring

Marg Woods and John Stephenson.

Marg Woods and John Stephenson.

John Stephenson is one of the nicest guys anyone could ever sail with: capable, calm, a fine chef and lots of fun. And I’m not just saying that because he invited Maryellen and me to sail part of the SUNORA with him and Marg Woods out of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, though that certainly helps.

This was the 20th time they’ve run this week-long regatta, sailing from place to place through the gorgeous surroundings of northern Lake Superior. Fourteen boats took part with 12 of them sailing for the regatta’s first place burgee (the other two were powerboats along for the party). They’d sail for a few hours each day and then raft up in some spectacular spot for the night, collecting in various cockpits for social hour.

We joined the game in progress on the lay day, day four, when they ran the only buoy race of the week and then followed it with a group dinner, bonfire, and concert by a couple great folk/blue grass guys. In the days that followed, we put on our race faces and trimmed hard through usually excellent wind, a couple squalls, and the occasional lull. Combined with John and Marg’s first three days on the C&C 37, our two firsts and a third were good enough to win the event.

But winning was clearly a small part of SUNORA (SUperior NOrth-shore RegattA). The big part was the camaraderie and the fun. They were wonderfully welcoming to two people from blistering Phoenix, letting us join this party of families and friends. You can get a taste of it from the pictures: