Last summer the wind was blowing straight out of the south when the race started at 15-17 knots. We got a good start and went south of the lay line. Once we were about a mile south of the lay line we headed straight for Grand Haven (this year the race goes to Muskegon as you probably know). The wind held steady until 10 pm when it started to shift gradually to the southwest. We put up the asymmetric and started to make time on the competition. The wind started to pick up steam when it was coming from the SW. It was blowing about 22-24 from midnight to 2am (we were flying the asym the whole time). We had a fairly experience crew which was necessary to handle the boat and sails. Then the wind picked up the around 2 am to about 26 knots and we continued to fly the asym we hit 10.5 knots going down a wave (per our gps) and were going a steady 9.5 knots. The boat was under a significant amount of pressure be held up very well and we were able to keep the helm balanced.
Then about 3am (eastern time) the wind continued to pick up and we had to take the asym down (which was an interesting challenge in itself). The wind picked up the 30 knots and the seas built. We finished at 4 am (eastern time) which was 9 hours after the start. We finished second in our division and 7th in the fleet. It was a heavy boat night (the heavy boats ruled). A 41 foot Choy Lee ketch won our division and finished 3rd in the fleet. The slowest division had the 1st and 2nd place winners in the fleet. Nice to see the 'slow' boats can win the Queen's Cup in the right conditions. I had one of the guys from the yacht club complain that the 72 foot sleds didn't have a chance in the heavy wind. I said "Cry me a river, you guys normally rule 95% of the time in the lighter air".
Anyway, it was a good time. The year before in very light wind we also finished second in our division (the race took about 20 hours, if I recall). We also hope to do The Hook this year. The Hook goes from Racine around the Door County peninsula to Menominee/Marinnet MI on Green Bay