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June 20, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Steady, 15-knot winds the evening of Thursday, June 13, put bones in the teeth of sailboats racing around the Grosse Pointe Farms Boat Club’s 4.9-mile course on Lake St. Clair.

It took an uncorrected time of only 59 minutes for the leader of the first class to cross the finish line in the club’s Thursday racing series.

“Races are limited to 2 1/2 hours,” said Jim Verbeke, a club member helping manage race operations. “Generally, they last one to two hours at most.”

Races are on Thursdays during June and August. The remaining schedule this year is:

June 20 and 27 and

Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29.

The first class of boats starts at 7 p.m. About six subsequent classes start thereafter in 5-minute intervals.

The start-finish line is off the gazebo at Pier Park.

Skippers navigate the course to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, east to the freighter channel and back.

“The best time to watch a race is at the start,” Verbeke said. “Boats are grouped together at the start.”

“They’re close to the pier,” added Kevin Pierce, a club member helping keep track of starting times.

The boat club is nearly 60 years old and more of a social organization than its name suggests.

“Most members aren’t sailors,” Pierce said.

Nancy Cottrell and her husband are among club members without a boat.

“The people in the club are very down to earth and welcoming,” Cottrell said.

Annual dues cost $35 per individual or $50 per family.

“There are a lot of activities,” Cottrell said.

The season raises anchor in January with wine tasting.

Feather bowling and the commodore’s ball lead to a June golf outing.

Cookouts are scheduled at the park pavilion after the June and August racing series.

The June 29 regatta is a club event, as is the August ice cream social.

A lobster roast in September is followed by a road rally, Halloween costume party and more through year’s end.

“It seems they find a way to have a party monthly,” Pierce said.

For more information, visit gpfbc.com, call Nadine Pendolino at (313) 822-8595, or e-mail npendolino@sbcblobal.net.

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