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Racing Rules: What about that X course finish?

The Lake Pleasant “X Course” introduced some new wrinkles for racers, adding some action with its windward-leeward-windward-leeward design and with a downwind finish—the only one of our courses that (intentionally) ends with the wind behind the boats.

So, consider what happened when Greg Jackson and I converged for a finish downwind at the starboard end of the finish line. Picture this in your mind (since I won’t be sketching a nice diagram of it): As we closed in on the yellow finish ball, I was on port and Greg was on starboard. I stuck my bow between the ball and Greg to finish ahead, but Greg had to steer away to avoid me. Greg thought I’d fouled him; I thought not. What do you think?

Answer: No foul.

I posed the question to one of the world’s leading racing rules experts, Dick Rose, who writes the rules column for Sailing World magazine and who has been one of the key people in writing the rules for ISAF. Here’s his opinion:

Facts: Downwind finish. Greg on starboard, Mike on port. Overlapped when they reach the zone around the mark at the starboard end of the finish line, with Mike inside Greg. Mark to be left to starboard. Mike gets nose between finish ball at starboard end of the line and Greg, but Greg says he had to change course to avoid hitting Mike.

Rules applicable: Greg has right of way under rule 10. However, even though the two boats are on opposite tacks, they are overlapped because they are sailing downwind (see defintion Clear Ahead….Overlap). Because they were overlapped when the first of them reached the zone, Mike is entitled to mark-room from Greg under rule 18.2(b), first sentence. See definition mark-room. Mike was entitled to room from Greg to sail to the mark. That put a limitation on Greg’s right of way. Greg was required to give Mike that room even though Greg was on starboard and had to change course to do so.

If that’s what you thought, nice call. It’s a handy rule to remember on the X course.

Peter Isler’s Close Call

Peter Isler points out where Rambler's keel should be.

Peter Isler points out where Rambler's keel should be. Photos: Mike Ferring

(Note: Video excerpt of Peter’s talk available at the bottom of this post.)

Out of air, swimming madly, spotting two black dots, hoping they were a crewman’s boots, reaching for them. Snatched from the water, gasping for the best breath of air he’d ever had. It was Peter Isler’s watery escape from the huge monohull racing boat Rambler after her keel suddenly snapped off during heavy seas in the Fastnet, plunging to the bottom, unbalancing and turtling the boat in minutes.

Peter recounted the story in dramatic detail for the AYC membership meeting Tuesday night (10/11) before a packed house. The Rambler crew all survived, but it was clear from Peter’s description that there were several close calls and some of the crew might have been saved by a timely photograph. A photograph? Moments before the crash, a photographer took a scheduled shot of the crew on the rail, all properly lined up in PFDs. Even though everyone was supposed to wear PFDs on deck, it didn’t always happen. The picture did it.

Peter autographs his new book.

Peter autographs his new book.

Many in the room full of AYCers went home after the meeting clutching an autographed copy of Peter’s latest book, Peter Isler’s Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets, a collection of random thoughts, recollections and suggestions from a life at sail. Here’s a guy who was the best college sailor in the country during his time at Yale, hanging out with people like Stan Honey, last year’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. He was onboard as Dennis Connor brought the America’s Cup back from Australia and has been part of four Cup campaigns since. He’s announced for ESPN and Versus Cup broadcasts. He’s participated in a Volvo around-the-world campaign. He’s helped develop the leading software for competition sailing. He’s written several books. And now he’s in demand as a motivational speaker. That’s some kind of life at sail.

Next month: another star attraction will appear at the AYC membership meeting, Tuesday, November 15, at 7pm at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills. Peter “Luigi” Reggio, one of the world’s top race officers and easily the funniest and most outspoken.

The Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills was filled with AYC people.

The Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills was filled with AYC people.

Here’s a portion of Peter’s talk, shot and edited by Mike Ferring:

Register Now for the Ruth Beals Cup

Registration is now open for the Ruth Beals Cup regatta, scheduled for Saturday morning, November 12, at Tempe Town lake.

This once-a-year regatta is organized to honor AYC’s founder, Ruth Beals, who passed away in November 2010.

Ruth Beals Insho, AYC Founder (picture 2005 by Mike Ferring)

Rules of the event require a woman at the helm and up to a dozen will face off in C14s, using either their own boats or an  ASF C14. The crew can be either male or female.

The Notice of Race and Entry Form are now available on the AYC race page. Scroll down the page until you see the Ruth Beals information. Contact Race Organizer Pat Blumm to reserve your spot and then arrange to get him the entry form.
There is no fee for entry and there are prizes for the top finishers: gift certificates for purchases in the AYC Ship Store.

Oops. This will be a good story for October’s meeting!

Rambler Turtled

Did you see the astonishing story of the super maxi Rambler 100 losing its keel bulb and turtling in the Fastnet race? This super-high-end sailboat was trying to grab the all-time monohull course record in the race, but wound up turtled instead. And one of the 21 crew members aboard was our October speaker, Peter Isler, who was the boat’s navigator.

Sail World reported that Rambler 100 project manager Mick Harvey said, “We were beating into big seas, launching Rambler off the top of full size waves. I was down below with navigator Peter Isler when we heard the sickening sound of the keel breaking off. It was instantaneous; there was no time to react. The boat turned turtle, just like a dinghy capsizing. Isler issued a Mayday and we got out of there as quickly as we could.”

The magazine reported that five of the crew members had to tread water “for several hours,” but only one of those suffered from hypothermia.

October Meeting: Peter Isler

Peter Isler

Fresh from flipping in the Fastnet, one of sailing’s biggest names will be our speaker at the AYC membership meeting, Tuesday, October 11, beginning at 7pm. AYC meetings are held at the newly-named Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills, 1415 N Mill Ave, Tempe.

Peter was the navigator aboard Rambler 100 when it lost its canting keel and rolled over, sending its crew into the icy water. All were rescued.

Before the Fastnet turtle, Peter was better known for being a five-time America’s Cup contender, including a two-time winner on Stars & Stripes. Sailing fans will recognize his face and voice from his television commentary of the America’s Cup on ESPN and Versus.

He’s in demand as a sailing, business and motivational speaker. And he’s written several books, including his latest, Peter Isler’s Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets, which was excerpted in the latest Sailing World magazine. You’ll find more on Peter’s background on his website.

This should be one of the most-attended meetings of the year, so arrive early!

Next Up: LP Opening Day

Thistles at Lake Pleasant. Photo: Chris Smith

While sailors in the north are pulling their boats and wrapping them in plastic to survive a frozen winter, the Arizona Yacht Club is about to fire the gun on Opening Day: Saturday, September 24, at 12:30 pm. Catalina 22s are on race committee and Martin Lorch will be Chief Chef for Saturday night’s dinner. Menu: Rotisserie chicken, rice with peas, corn and onions, green salad, dessert.

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time. Your registration will need to be in by the sound of the first gun Saturday.

 The fleets are shaping up this way: Catalina 22, PHRF Spinnaker, Thistle, Green and PHRF Sportboat. It appears there will be a Portsmouth fleet. PHRF Non-Spin is looking very iffy right now. Merit 25s expect to race in PHRF Spin.
Rob Gibbs’ new Green Fleet has attracted lots of interest and shapes up as a great way for people to sample racing or simply get out on the water with other sailors in a low-pressure environment. (More information on the Green Fleet here.)
The racers’ party was a big success. Mostly it was important for this reason: people who came to get crew positions seem to have gotten them. They’ll be on boats.
Here’s a hot tip for one very experienced crew person: Laurent Dion is still looking for someone to race with him on his Viper 640. Email Laurent with your interest.
If racing sounds like fun but you don’t know how to get started, consider the Introduction to Sailboat Racing class which begins soon. Here’s where you’ll find more information and a button to take you to registration.
We had a nice turnout for the practice races on Saturday (9/17). Now for the real thing!

New Portable Race Committee Station at TTL

The C14 TTL Race Committee using the new whatchamacallit. Inventor David Rawstrom stands at the left.

Version H, of the Portable Race Committee Station is what David Rawstrom calls it. The mad inventor and fabricator has created all of the Tempe Town Lake race committee “boxes” over the years, graduating from boards and PVC poles at the turn of the century through various versions.

This is the most elaborate version yet, built of a box from the long-discarded LP committee boat, a very tall flag pole, various bits of hardware, conjured with toil and trouble and eye of newt.

The new horn is loud. The new flag pole flies flags higher. There’s a VHF radio for communicating with the safety boat. And Martin Lorch tell us it drives much better on smooth-running wheels.
 
Thanks, Captain Rawstrom!!!

Racers’ Party September 9, 5-7 pm

Merit 25s downwind. Photo: Chris Smith

The Racers’ Party is on! Join the crowd in a private room at McCormick & Schmick’s, 2575 E. Camelback Rd. from 5-7 pm, Friday, September 9.

This is a purely social, informal gathering of race entrants and crew—and people who are interested in becoming entrants or crew. It’s a cash bar and some AYC-provided munchies. You’re also welcome to order something off the menu.

The restaurant is at the Esplanade (across from the Biltmore Fashion Square mall). You can use valet parking or park in the giant parking garage behind the restaurant. Parking in the garage is free; simply bring your ticket to be stamped.

Questions? Check with Mike or Maryellen Ferring or Mike Parker.

“Experienced” Members Tell Tales at September Meeting

Join us Tuesday 9/13!  Some of AYC’s most experienced, longtime members will be in the spotlight for September’s membership meeting, Tuesday, September 13 at 7pm at the newly-named Caddy Shack @  Rolling Hills (same place as always but with a new name), 1415 N Mill Ave., Tempe.

The club has been big and active nearly all of its 53 years and you’ll enjoy tapping into the stories from those earlier days, including some decidedly Blunder Bucket-worthy events.

Longtime AYC members

Professional photographer Tim George records longtime AYC members reminiscing about earlier days of the club. Photo: Mike Ferring

In March we gathered seven of the club’s veterans around a picnic table and asked them to reminisce. We recorded the conversation on HDTV video and I’ve now edited the digits down to about 11 minutes of the choicest nuggets. We’ll play the recording and then let the crowd try to deny it all.

This is a great opportunity for newer members to tap into the history of the club, to learn about what came before and to appreciate what these people did to keep sailing vibrant in the middle of the desert.

Kinnikinick – 2011 “Escape to Pine Mountain”

For more about 2011 Kinnikinick check out this story from the Tucson Sailing Club. They and Lake Pleasant Sailing Club joined this year’s AYC annual campout in the woods, the Kinnikinick weekend, and Peter Burgard snapped some pictures and wrote some words and published them in the club’s newsletter. Click HERE for the TSC Aug 2011 Windbreaker newsletter.

Kinnikinick Kampout 2011
Cruising Captain – Mike Parker

The 2011 “Escape to Pine Mountain” was a huge event for my family. It was our first scheduled opportunity to escape the heat, the traffic, and the playstation in the valley of the SUN. Not that the event as a whole was so huge, but getting my kids away from the TV was virtually miraculous. Many obstacles had to be overcome. Things like sudden onset of a ailment requiring proximity to a bathroom, to queasy carsick feelings of the back row passengers in a SUV crammed with six people, camping gear, chairs, outdoor games, and a midsized dog. All of it resolved with patience, no schedule, and the first potty stop at 6500 feet and 80 degree sunshine.

We arrived as scheduled – Saturday sometime. There where already some adventurous and practiced campers setup in the area with sailing burghy and race mark signalling their territory and that we where in the right place. Paper plates guiding the way to the fresh and clean porta-potties spaced out around some shady and pine needle covered tent spots. We picked up a mooring… i mean, a camp spot upwind of the potty, and the kids took off into the woods like oil dripped on water. No video games, music players, or fighting over computer time… it was just about heaven.

After unloading the gear and making lunch – amazing how the kids will wander back just as you are finishing food prep – we were joined by helpful (and hungry) kids from the already established camps. Tents setup, camp gear stowed, we set off to mingle with the others already playing horse shoes and relaxing in the cool shade around the fire pit.

Members of Lake Pleasant Sailing Club, Arizona Yacht Club, and Tucson Sailing club were all strewn about the gentle slope in all sizes of tents, camp trailers, and vans. Ahhh, such a heart warming – cool weather – sight!

A few hearty sailors who took a stack of Lasers to the lake for some afternoon sailing while most others took a nice nap. The winds must have been perfect, since one of the sailors related that he had never gone so fast in a laser before. It’s amazing what a “Fresh” breeze and no hills to funnel the wind can do for you. Later in the afternoon, while relaxing and getting to know some of our TSC and LPSC brethren, our attention was drawn to the table where piles of shish kebabs, pots of corn, and plates of veggies and sides where being dropped from campers all around. Dinner was imminent. And from the looks of things, it was going to be an amazing feast. Off to camp, we brought out offering, including another table to pile the overflowing food (and adult beverages).

And it was an amazing feast. Of course, my kids only ate the hot dogs and way too many sm’ores cooked over the sensible and warming campfire, but that is OK, more kabobs for me.

All – in – all, about 60 people made up the campout this year. Perhaps it was a light turnout for the annual event. But it was fun, and we got to meet some very friendly people who were there to have a good time in the peace and quiet – and coolness – of the not so distant forest. I have always had to move mountains to make it to the mountains, but once I get there, the people, the peace, and the separation of all things buzzing and chirping always make it worth the effort.

Fall Fleet Scramble Brings Consolidation, New Sport Boat and Green Fleets

When the gun sounds to start the AYC Lake Pleasant Fall Race Series on Saturday, September 24, there will be two new fleets on the starting line—and apparently two fleets consolidated into other fleets. Let me explain.

Tony Chapman and Viper headed for the shipping lanes.

Both the Viper 640s and the Merit 25s have been flirting with the magic five-boat minimum entries the last couple years. Fleets that get five entries become “active” fleets, eligible for scoring, participation in the club championship races and voting seats at the table for the fleet captains’ meetings.

While the Merits were once a 9-10-boat fleet, Captain Roger Butterwick says this next year they won’t be able to come up with five entries and will instead become part of the PHRF Spinnaker Fleet. The Vipers managed five entries last year, but Charles Kaye has sold his boat.

Now, for something new.

PHRF Sport Boat Fleet. What’s a “Sport Boat”? We’ve defined it as an asymmetrical spinnaker, monohull boat. The fleet became possible when three and possibly four J/80s promised to join the action. From PHRF Non-Spin come new J/80 competitors Peter Hartleb, Chris Smith and me, Mike Ferring. Chuck Moretti has owned a J/80 that’s been bobbing up and down in a slip at Pleasant Harbor Marina that will now have sisters to race with. Chuck has joined the club and hopes to make at least two races this fall before racing more regularly in the spring. Then there are the Vipers, Tony Chapman, Greg Jackson, Laurent Dion and maybe Mike Leal. And now that Spin champ Dave Christensen has sold his J/24, he says he’ll finally bring that Mini 650 out of the garage and onto the water.

Green Fleet. Rob Gibbs has decided to spearhead a revival of the former Challenger Fleet, but with a few twists. He’ll encourage new competitors, just as the Challenger Fleet did, but there will be even less emphasis on competition and more emphasis on having fun on the water. Coolers and kids encouraged. No protests. And—get this—no scoring.

Registration is now open for all fleets at both Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake. TTL’s opening day is Sunday, September 11 and LP’s is Saturday, September 24. For questions about the Sport Boat fleet, contact Mike Ferring. For the Green Fleet, check with Rob Gibbs.

 

RC44 Regatta PRO Is November AYC Speaker

Have you been following the RC44 racing in the Sweden Cup? Artemis and Peninsula Petroleum collided, putting Artemis out. And who’s the Principal Race Officer (PRO) for the event? None other than our November membership meeting speaker, the always-entertaining Peter “Luigi” Reggio. More information and video coverage of the events available here.

Registration Soon for Fall Racing

The AYC Fleet Captains have met to craft the documents for the fall racing season, so we’re getting close. Registration should open soon and the documents will be on the website even sooner.

The Fleet Captains decided to cancel the scheduled first race of the Tempe Town Lake season, which was planned for August 28, thinking that we should take a breather between the end of the Heat Stroke series and the beginning of the fall season.

If all this race stuff has you intrigued but you’ve never raced before, remember that the Arizona Sailing Foundation presents an Introduction to Sailboat Racing class to get you up to racing speed quickly. Registration for the class is open now.

And this fall we’ll have a new, low-pressure racing fleet, the Green Fleet, which will take starts, but skip one thing: scoring. No scoring.

With the addition of several J/80s to the club, we also have a new Sport Boat Fleet for monohull boats with asymmetrical spinnakers. Vipers and J/80s will be the main participants.

Introduction to Sailboat Racing

Registration is now open for the ASF Introduction to Sailboat Racing class, which will happen in October. If you’d like to try your hand at racing or would like to learn more about the sport, consider signing up! Here’s more information.

August Membership Meeting

Would you like to know how to launch your boat with the trailer still attached? Like some tips on how to attract the attention of law enforcement while boating?

Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff John Ramsay has seen it all in his 25 years of lake duty and he’ll bring a bag load stories, both comical and serious, when he joins us for the next AYC membership meeting, Tuesday, August 9, starting promptly at 7pm, back at our regular gathering spot, the place formerly known as the 19th Tee in Tempe.

Not only does Deputy Ramsay have vast experience with the craziness on our local lakes, but he also trains others to deal with it. He’s one of just 25 officers nationally to be certified to train lawmen on the water.

“Formerly known as”? Yes, the new owner of the restaurant has changed the name to “Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills.” We stopped by today to see how it was going and found they’re deep into remodeling, which is expected to be finished by Wednesday. Anyway, they say they’ll be ready for us this time.

September’s meeting: Some of the club’s longtime members talk about what it used to be like. We’ve produced a video with several of them telling stories and we expect to have some of them there to swear that it’s all true.

Also coming up: We have confirmation that Peter Isler will speak at our October meeting!

Trying to find it?  Here’s some help!

Caddy Shack Restaurant
Rolling Hills Golf Course
1415 North Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map)

Science and the Art of Sailing

Garth Reynolds of North Sails describing how sails are sewn together.

We dove deep into the science of sails when North Sails designer Garth Reynolds rolled out a presentation filled with charts, graphs, and colored aerodynamic displays at the AYC July membership meeting, Tuesday evening, July 12.

Garth ticked off a list of software approaches he uses to fashion sails for a host of serious and semi-serious competitors: Olympic sailors, Opti sailors, or weekend one-design racers. And maybe most interesting, he described how he works to correlate computer number flow with performance on the water. Using a following boat with cameras and data-gathering gear and integrating pictures from a masthead camera, he can massage sails to match the conditions and the competitor.

Garth described how he adjusted the sails for two young Opti sailors, twins with startlingly different sailing styles. They may have shared DNA, he said, but they used very different techniques to reach success. Result: different sails to suit each technique that brought them both to the head of the pack in a 200-boat competition.

Garth’s enthusiasm for sailing is infectious. He admits his father doesn’t quite believe his son’s good luck. “He always told me, don’t expect work to be fun. That’s why they call it work!” Yet, here’s Garth Reynolds, bubbling with the joy of discovering tiny tweaks to make a Finn sail better over tall waves so Olympian Zach Railey can take a gold medal next year.

“What were your takeaways?” I asked a few AYC people.

“Wrinkles aren’t bad,” said one. Garth had made it clear that getting the right shape may mean wrinkles, dragging reluctant fabric into rounded shapes.

“Pointing means constant fiddling,” said another. Garth had described how to push the boat higher and how a single knot of wind velocity can change the whole picture.

Lots of people reached for one of Garth’s business cards, intent on taking him up on his offer to review photos to coach them on sail shape. If you’d like to do that, his e-mail address is garth@design.northsails.com. If you send a picture, be sure to include as much information as possible about conditions at the time, including wind speed, helm, trim, heel and so forth.

With the usual AYC monthly meeting place suddenly unavailable just days before the July meeting, Maryellen scrambled to find a replacement and landed a great one, the Fiesta Inn, just four miles from our usual 19th Tee meeting spot. The Fiesta Inn provided an excellent facility and good food at a great rate and nearly 70 people turned out for the meeting.

Next month: back at 19th Tee (probably under a new name) with the postponed ice cream social.

—Mike Ferring

Some of the audience for Garth Reynolds' session

Scott Buckstaff National 29er Champ

Moments ago Scott Buckstaff was learning to sail in an Opti on Tempe Town Lake, tutored by parents Dan and Kathleen. Now living in Belvedere, California and sailing out of the San Francisco Yacht Club, he teamed with James Moody to win the 29er National Championship sailed last weekend at the Coronado Yacht Club in San Diego. Twenty-three boats competed in this hot-boat class and Scott smoked ’em all, finishing with 18 points to the runner-up’s 32!

Scores available here.

AYCers at Whidbey Island Race Week

AYCers Joe Hagen, Al Lehman Jr., and Steve Quant snagged a second place in a deep fleet of 13 boats in the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals, held at the Whidbey Island Race Week.

Steve says that Joe and boat partner John Ross put a lot of time, effort and money into getting their boat ready to roll, a Santa Cruz 27 named Gotcha.

Steve also adds, “They know how to race and party up there!”

Scores and more information here. You’ll find Gotcha in P4.

Upcoming Racing News

We’re a mere two months of 106-degree temps from the beginning of Lake Pleasant (LP) racing and one month from the scorching start of Tempe Town Lake (TTL) “fall” racing. Here’s a taste of what’s upcoming:
  1. AYC will have a meet-and-greet party for entrants and crew before the LP season begins. We’re thinking it would be a Friday after-work type gathering with beer and munchies to link entrants and crew—and just to have fun. More to follow.
  2. Rob Gibbs is resurrecting the Challenger Fleet for LP Fall, only he’s calling it the “Green” fleet. The Challenger Fleet was the creation of Patty Rosky and it helped introduce several sailors to the fun of sailboat racing. Now Rob has turned it Green and is turning down the pressure even more: now the starts are for fun, there’s no such thing as a protest, and they won’t even keep score. More information here.
  3. We will go ahead with a fall ASF Introduction to Sailboat Racing class. If you’d like to learn more about the game, from procedures to rules to tactics and if you’d like to get several hours of time on the water with oodles of starts, this is a good way to do it. More information here.
  4. Finally, here’s a short report on the results of a survey of race entrants and crew that I did in June. We found that roughly 25% of recent entrants and crew won’t be sailing this fall, which means we need to replace that many to maintain the entry level. We found that nearly everyone likes the racing. And we found that entrants and crew tend to connect this way: 1) because they know each other; 2) because someone refers them; 3) (and a distant last choice) because of the crew list. The survey also produced some good suggestions on how to improve the way crew and entrants connect.

If you’d like to see a more detailed copy of the results of the survey, e-mail me at mike@ferrings.com.

Meantime, of course, there’s the Heat Stroke Series for all of you not afraid of a little, mmmm, heat stroke.

North Sails Designer Garth Reynolds Tuesday 7/12

North Sails Designer Garth ReynoldsNew Meeting Place Tuesday. We’ll meet at the Fiesta Inn in Tempe, 2100 S Priest Drive, just south of Broadway. Go to the main lobby and Maryellen Ferring  will guide you to the room.

We’ll have four dinner choices available, each for $13 including tax and tip: hamburger or club sandwich with choice of fries or fruit or a Cobb salad or Caesar salad with chicken. Cash bar with beer, wine, and soft drinks.

Why? The 19th Tee has changed operators and won’t be ready for us. We can return in August.

Our special speaker: North Sails designer Garth Reynolds, who will show us how to sail faster and higher.

Garth will explain how he sculpts a sail and how North tests it to know whether it will really be faster than the others out there. He’ll dissect the characteristics that make a sail fast and reveal what you can do to improve your boat’s sail shape. Result: go faster and point higher.

Garth brings us a rich background of engineering and sailing, including a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida, where he sailed on the school’s top-20-ranked sailing team. He’s been with North Sails for three years and right now he’s working to design sails for several Olympic teams for the 2012 London Olympics. He also actively races with several classes, including Snipe, 505, J/24, Melges 24, Viper 640, J/80, Thistle and Interclub.

Because of the location change, we’ll postpone the planned ice cream social and root beer floats.

Maryellen & Mike Ferring