Milwaukee Bay Women's Sailing Organization 2004 Summer Season Ended!
By Debbie Koelliker Bruesewitz

The 2004 Milwaukee Bay Women's Sailing Organization, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, summer series was a great experience racing sailboats!

Ten boats, Lake Michigan, all women against women on six Monday nights in the summer… "Women of all ages and sailing experience levels"….on sailboats with "no yelling" ….the MBWSO claims ….Oops, I violated the no yelling policy….I was excited and I wanted to win!!!

June 2004, Babes, Bacchus, Helldiver, Hobgoblin Express—all Tartan Tens at the start of a MBWSO Monday night race. Photo by Tom Pease

"What I love about MBWSO is that it crosses all organizations. All women of all clubs and all women with any interest are welcomed to participate. We are committed to sharing boating as well as racing sailboats for all those interested. Our arms are open with inclusion at heart! This philosophy is one in which I hope for all other fleets and organizations to adopt throughout the entire Milwaukee Bay!", words from Babes crew Lori Delfosse.

The first I heard about this Milwaukee Women's Sailing group was from Scott Bruesewitz, maybe September or October, 2003. Scott asked if I wanted to sail, told me I had a boat available....Midnight Oil (formerly known as Contumacious). I think that was a bribe to move me to Milwaukee. It worked! I moved to Milwaukee February eighth, 2004 and started working on our summer sailing crew. The first race was not until June, but Scott was so enthusiastic about the whole thing I could not help but get with the program!. I called Barb Kueny and she was working on her crew, too!

With help from Scott, Tom and Deb Pease, Susie Rieck, Fran Aring and Amy Simonsen Franke, (all great sources of information and obsessed with sailing and promoting sailing in the Milwaukee area: South Shore Yacht Club, Milwaukee Community Sailing Center and Milwaukee Yacht Club) I had an awesome crew ready to sail! So, in April, with a list of crew and a boat that needed work, we started on crew parties and work parties and more crew parties! From removing everything down below, major floor repair, bottom paint, cleaning inside and out, oiling teak, repairing equipment, tearing apart and greasing winches, to polishing the stainless, and re-installing everything down below, we worked and worked on that boat. Yeah, it was Midnight Oil again! (Oh, then another crew party to rename the boat for Monday night… Babes thanks to Mary Young!)

Babes crew and South Shore Yacht Club members: Cheri Kolp, Amy Ketterling, Karen Pease, Lori Delfosse, Debbie Koelliker, Deb Pease, and Leslie Fields.

In May, with the boat in tip-top shape we set sail to practice, practice, practice. The weather did not cooperate. The lake rose 12 inches from so much rain and whatever else was in the water! We finally practiced—not with all our crew but a good number of crewmembers. From practice, good boat handling was accomplished and enabled us to get our heads out of the boat during the races. Between practice, we all sailed on other boats. The coaches advice: "Sail on other boats and bring something back to the women's team." The first race I did not want to sail, it was rainy and the weather looked threatening! But I did it anyway and the first race night ended up being a beautiful night! It was great fun! We were lucky; we had great weather every Monday night! It was wonderful. We had ten boats on the starting line…wait a minute, I heard yelling!!!

Throughout the season I recruited more crew. Anytime, anywhere, anyone was interested in sailing she was encouraged to sail with us. And now I have a great list of sailors that are interested in sailing next year!

Along with the Race Committee boats, there were several powerboats and sailboats around the racecourse every Monday night. Many of our friends and family members observed races from various boats. Whether frustrated backseat drivers or enthusiastic cheerleaders, they enjoyed the show. From Scott Bruesewitz, I had constructive feedback after every race including what was great and what could be improved, trimmed, tweaked. After each race South Shore Yacht Club or Milwaukee Yacht Club hosted nice dinners and socials. I had the opportunity to ask several of my competitors their strategy during the race—what they saw, where they went, and learned from them. All in all, the sailing was a great experience and I am looking forward to more racing and more boats for MBWSO Monday night summer series 2005. I heard there may be another Tartan Ten available for racing, let's get her out there!!!

Thanks for the fun out on the Lake and for our great coach, Scott!

Babes Skipper and crew: Debbie Pease, Amy Ketterling, Lori DelFosse, Karen Pease, Cheri Kolp, Kelly Masarik, Leslie Field with support crew sailing one or two races: Leslie Day, Michelle Reiske, Cyndi Mckesson Walton & Jenni Green

Visit and for more information on joining the team or loaning your boat for racing! Or landline: Fran Aring @414-481-2600 or or Susie Reick at

Thanks to the skippers and crew of our competition: Hobgoblin Express, Junkyard Moose, Eclipse, Bacchus, Barb V, Dragonfly, Sociable, Helldiver, Fear & Loathing, and where are Veloce, EDO, Typhoon Mary sailing now?

Debbie Koelliker Bruesewitz learned to sail on the Chesapeake Bay several years ago and her first major sailing competition was Audi/Yachting Race Week in Solomon’s Island Maryland, on the bow of a C & C 33, Eightball. Racing sailboats started out as a casual interest and developed into an insatiable passion. Debbie recently moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she married T-10 sailor, Scott C. Bruesewitz, Contumacious. Now involved in the growing and highly competitive Lake Michigan T-10 fleet, Debbie is looking forward to the North American Championships 2005 hosted by the Milwaukee Bay Tartan Ten Fleet.