Martin Lorch Wins AYC Championship. Again.

Make it six times. Martin Lorch is closing in on the records of the most-decorated sailors in AYC history after winning his sixth Club Championship Saturday (5/11) at Lake Pleasant. Martin and crew Kyle Clark stood up to the challenge from a half dozen other competitors on the water and one more on the hill to emerge the repeat winner. (More on that “hill” part in a moment.)

Pin end favored. The rush to the start. Photos: Mike Ferring

Pin end favored. The rush to the start. Photos: Mike Ferring

It was a brilliant day for a sailboat race, with comfortable temperature and wind that varied from light to heavy, testing both the competitors and the Catalina 22s they were sailing. One boat didn’t make it to the finish. As Victor Felice was getting ready to start the fifth race, the rudder came adrift on Steve Dolter’s boat, calling for a tow back to the dock and, unfortunately, an end to Victor’s day.

When the wind kicked up, the fleet changed down from Genoas to jibs. That meant that the 12-foot long whisker poles designed for Genoas were too long for the jibs and on at least two boats there were no shorter poles available. That produced a protest and request for redress from Thistle fleet champ Jason Rziha. Jason contended that when Kyle Clark couldn’t clip the pole to the mast (as required in RRS rule 50.2), he held it next to the mast. Protest. And when Jason got on the same boat for the next race and his crew Trey Harlow couldn’t clip the pole onto the mast, he demanded redress for not being provided sufficient equipment.

Kyle Clark (left) and tussled Martin Lorch at the end of a long and successful day of racing. It was Martin's fifth Championship.

Kyle Clark (left) and tussled Martin Lorch at the end of a long and successful day of racing. It was Martin’s sixth Championship.

After a lengthy protest hearing on the hill after racing, a committee of Greg Woodcock, George Tingom, and Bob Worrall ruled that the pole issue hadn’t materially altered the outcome and disallowed it, keeping the results unchanged. Jason muttered, “Until the appeal.” So we shall see.

Jason and Trey finished in second place. Steve and Sarah Grothe finished third, hurt by fouling in one race while in second place and doing particularly ugly penalty turns.

Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock organized the event (in great detail) and served as Principal Race Officer. The rest of the Race Committee were: Gail Kiel, Beck Houston, Cindy Pillote, Mike & Maryellen Ferring, Bob Whyte and Jim Colceri.

Boats were graciously provided by Martin Lorch, Steve Dolter, Bob Worrall, George Tingom, J.M. Kiel, Mike Baros, Rudy Pinon and Steve Grothe (whose boat was an unused spare).

Only three people in the 48 year history of the Club Championship have won more times than Martin Lorch: Al Lehman Jr. and Skip Kempff with seven each and Don Hubele with 10.  Don won his last Championship in 1985, but he’s still winning Laser races today at Tempe Town Lake.

Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Total
Martin Lorch 5 2 2 1 1 3 1 15
Jason Rziha 2 6 1 2 2 4 2 19
Steve Grothe 1 7 3 3 3 1 3 21
Emory Heisler 3 1 6 4 6 2 4 26
Chris Smith 4 3 4 5 5 6 6 33
Cedric Lorch 7 4 5 7 4 5 5 37
Victor Felice 6 5 7 6 DNS (8) DNS (8) DNS (8) 48

Tight windward rounding. Jason in the lead.

Tight windward rounding. Jason in the lead.

And the race downwind.

And the race downwind.

Steve and Amy Grothe turn to head upwind.

Steve and Sarah Grothe turn to head upwind.

White caps in the afternoon breeze.

White caps in the afternoon breeze.

Cedric is learning well. High school champ, C14 champ and now a player in the annual Championship Regatta. Ably assisted by Chrisann Tortora and Rick Johnson.

Cedric focuses. High school champ, C14 champ and now a player in the annual Championship Regatta. Ably assisted by Chrisann Tortora and Rick Johnson.

The race committee. Bob Whyte, Jim Colceri and (behind the camera Mike Ferring) and...

The race committee. Bob Whyte, Jim Colceri and (behind the camera Mike Ferring) and…

(left to right) Gail Kiel, Cindy Pillote, Becky Houston, Maryellen Ferring and PRO Greg Woodcock.

(left to right) Gail Kiel, Cindy Pillote, Becky Houston, Maryellen Ferring and PRO Greg Woodcock.

Cedric Lorch chasing the Grothes.

Cedric Lorch chasing.

The trash-talking C14 champ Cedric Lorch in still another picture!

The trash-talking C14 champ Cedric Lorch in still another picture!

Emory Heisler fixes on the chicken downwind.

Emory Heisler fixes on the chicken downwind.

Martin Lorch out front on the turn to the run.

Martin Lorch out front on the turn to the run.

Second place finisher Jason Rziha turns, trailing the red protest banner in race six. In first place at the time, they hit the mark seconds later and a few minutes later did a penalty turn that took them out of first.

Second place finisher Jason Rziha turns, trailing the red protest banner in race six. In first place at the time, they hit the mark seconds later and a few minutes later did a penalty turn that took them out of first.