When we began to rig the seven entries for the Ruth Beals Cup at 7:30 Saturday morning, the wind was signaling a perfect sailing day. Cool, comfortable and 8-10 kts of wind. Then it all changed.
By 8:30 there were whitecaps blowing across Tempe Town Lake with puffs pushing 20 kts and building. The entry list began to shrink to die-hards. The brave and foolhardy.
Brenda Shears and Decker Williams capsized and couldn’t get back into the boat, shredding part of the jib. They retired to watch from the busy committee boat.
Chrisann Tortora and Tony Chapman headed for shore to keep dry and spectate for most of the rest of the morning.
Still circulating, waiting for a start, were the teams of Amy and dad Steve Grothe, Cindy Pillote and Greg Jackson, and Sheila Reed and Maryellen Ferring.
This was the Ruth Beals Cup Regatta for women at the helm and it has a history of too much wind or too little. Today the legend grew. Too much.
Race one: Amy got an early lead and tacked to round the windward mark. And capsized. Cindy moved to the lead heading to the leeward mark. And capsized. Sheila seized the lead and took it to the finish. Then capsized.
With everyone wet, it would have been a good time to declare the day complete, but not for this bunch.
Race two: Amy broke into the lead and held off Cindy to the finish. Race three: Amy and Steve crossed the finish hiked out and moving fast, clinching the championship and a year of bragging rights, their second, having won in 2009. Cindy took second by one point over previous winner Sheila Reed.
Many thanks to Sheila and Cindy for organizing the event and to Mike Bernard and Clay Poulson who did a spectacular job helping me on race committee, joined by Decker and Brenda, who were drafted to help when they needed to pull out of the race.
Next year maybe we could have some “normal” wind?