Smooth sailing

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:18 pm

A.J. Schweda, owner of Premier Machine Tool Midwest LLC in Hartland, got into sailing at a very early age. As a child, he lived on Lake Nagawicka in Hartland. His neighbor, a boy about the same age as him, had no one to sail with and asked Schweda if he’d crew for him.
Schweda became hooked on sailing.

Now, along with his wife, Heidi, who also grew up sailing, and his two sons, Jack and Cole, Schweda sails regularly in regattas around the country and locally on Pewaukee Lake.

“For me it’s a family thing,” Schweda said. “I’ve been sailing since I was a little kid and being able to have my kids and my wife enjoy sailing with me is something that’s really special to me. My wife is the third generation to sail in her family and watching my kids learn the basics of sailing now too is really a lot of fun.”

Schweda sails different classes of flat bottom scows, or boats without keels.

Schweda and his team have raced different class boats throughout the Lake Country area, but have also done competitive regattas in Minnesota, California, Texas, Florida and New Jersey among other places, Schweda said.

“I’ve had the privilege of racing against some of the best sailors in the U.S., many of whom come from our area,” he said.

The goal in a competitive race is to reach the finish line first and that requires you to out-maneuver and go faster than your opponent, Schweda said.

In most regattas, sailors will race anywhere from three to eight races in a three day period, Schweda said. The lowest total score wins.

Schweda is part of a crew that sails an E Scow 28-foot boat with three people. They add a fourth person to keep from tipping in windy conditions.
Last August, the team consisting of Schweda, Augie Barkow, Jeff Niedziela and Heidi won the 2011 Inland Lake Yachting Association’s (ILYA) Annual Championship Regatta which was held on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

“We had a very successful year last year. The Inland championship trophy hasn’t been back in Pewaukee for a long time. It’s a very fast paced sport. It’s kind of seat-of-your-pants sailing and a chess game between you and your opponents,” Schweda said. “You have to be faster and smarter then everyone else in the race and use teamwork to maneuver around other boats and other obstacles.”

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