LAKE MICHIGAN CATALINA ASSOCIATION
25th AnniversaryMac Bay Get-a-Way Summer Rendezvous in 2019
By Karen Meyers
On a warm, summer Friday afternoon, the members are assembling for their yearly gathering. Around a line of picnic tables covered in brown paper, lively conversation is fueled by cold beer and wine. Tales of past sailing adventures are shared and friendships renewed. Then, the call comes to clear the tables and bring out the pool noodles – dinner is served!
As the pool noodles are grabbed and placed along the tables, the feast is lifted from the boiling pots and poured onto the tables between the barriers – a scrumptious mix of shrimp, sausage, potatoes, onions, and corn on the cob. The barriers are removed, condiments added (cocktail sauce, butter, salt and pepper), and napkins-on-a-roll distributed. The hungry crowd is seated along the row of tables. No silverware required! Just as everyone is almost full to the brim, watermelon is served to top off the meal. So begins the annual rendezvous of the Lake Michigan Catalina Association.
In July of 2019, the LMCA will host their 25th Annual Rendezvous from July 12 – 14 at the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club. The signature event of the organization is the Mac Bay Get-a-Way held at the Macatawa Bay Yacht Club near Holland, Michigan. This annual event began in 1994 with a small group of energetic sailors wishing to have more knowledge, racing, and great Catalina fellowship. The following year, LMCA was formed. Attending will be members from the LMCA as well as our sister club in Chicago, Catalina Fleet 21. Vessels come from nearby Michigan ports including Muskegon, which is about 35 miles away. Others sail in from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
The LMCA (Lake Michigan Catalina Association), comprised of almost 50 members representing 33 boats, was formed to promote the enjoyment of ownership, sailing, cruising, and racing for the owners of Catalina vessels as well as other makes of watercraft. Activities of the association extend throughout the non-sailing season as well with events that include: Fall Wine Tour, Holiday Gathering, and Spring Fling Get-Together.
The weekend of activities begins immediately following the shrimp boil with an opportunity to “give back” the sailing community. Members donate items, disguised in brown wrapping, to be auctioned to provide youth camp scholarships for West Michigan sailing clubs (hence the name, Brown Bag Auction). In the last two years alone, we have collected close to $1,700 for this cause.
Saturday’s agenda is full of food, education, and fellowship. Breakfast is provided with lots of coffee for early risers. Then, seminars are offered on a variety of topics such as sail care, best styles of life jackets, MOB, electronic maps, line handling, and more. Presentations are provided by the Coast Guard including the use of flares and flare guns. Classes are followed by lunch. Saturday afternoons are reserved for additional seminars and/or fun activities such as dinghy races (where the rower is blindfolded!) and the Tour d’ Boats, when members have the opportunity to visit others’ boats at the marina to view various styles of boats and improvements made to them….and have wine along the way!
In the evening, we gather again for our annual picture with our backs to beautiful Lake Macatawa, followed by a delicious dinner overlooking the lake, and capped off on the patio listening and dancing to “Two Dudes in Flip Flops”. Those that are able arise on Sunday morning for one last breakfast together, awards and farewells before heading home.
Mac Bay Get-a-Way would not be possible year after year without the help from many hard working LMCA officers and Board members, the Fulbright family at Sail Place, the entire staff at Macatawa Bay Yacht Club, and our sponsors. Their efforts make the summer rendezvous successful year after year.
This year’s “Rendezvous 2020”, will be held on July 17, 18 & 19. Macatawa Bay Yacht Club will again be our host. Please look for future posts about the upcoming event.