Up North: Bayfield Race Week Celebrates 40 Years of Sailing on Lake Superior

Chelsie Brown
Updated: July 05, 2018 05:49 AM

“Bayfield’s one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail," said Lisa Skluzacek of Minneapolis, Minn.

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Throughout the holiday week, you’ll find an entire dock filled with water crafts at the Apostle Islands Marina ready to set sail for a race on the great lake of Superior.

“The growth has been phenomenal. Six years ago we had 30 boats, now we have 72,” said Race Director and Regatta Manager David Crum.

The Quintessence III was on of the 72 boats racing in the 40th Annual Bayfield Race Week. It’s a 46 foot boat that's set sail around the world and in Bayfield, Wis. for decades.

“It’s 39 years old and it’s sort of like having a classic car. If boats had license plates, this would have the classic. said Skluzacek.“

The fresh, cold, and shifty waters of Lake Superior are what draws sailors in.

“I’ve been sailing up here since I was four years old,” said Matt Resch of Minneapolis, Minn. “I’ve been racing up here for the last decade so it’s very much a family affair for me.”

However, it’s the strategy of sailing that makes the sport feel like playing a game of chess on the water.

“It’s an amazing body of water to play on. It can be light air that we had today or it can be blowing dogs of chains and you’re in full on survival mode,” said Crum.

If you’re up for the challenge, there are plenty that will show you the ropes because a common misconception about sailing is that it’s an expensive sport.

“A lot of people think you have to buy a boat and spend tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars to get into sailing as a passion and that’s just not true. For every boat and boat owner there is, there’s crew,” said Resch.

Bayfield Race Week takes place July 2-6. For more information visit the website here:

Some of the footage for this story was provided by Fred Dudderar. To see more video content from Fred, click here.


Chelsie Brown

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