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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

 

Survey Results and Summer Guest Speaker Series Update

Almost 70 people responded to a survey we put together to figure out how members would like to receive word of meetings, events, and news about our club. Thanks for helping out!

Here are some headline results:

  • E-mails are the best way to get the word out. An overwhelming number of respondents said they wanted a club e-mail to tell them what’s happening.
  • The Yahoo list is a good supplement to the members-only e-mails, especially for nonmembers, of course. We now have about 390 people who receive the Yahoo e-mails. And the Yahoo respondents said they were happy with what they get from the list, even with the sometimes snarky debates that can pop up there.
  • Most people check the AYC website for information, though they’re not always happy with how it works or how it looks. Your comments are in the hands of Webmeister Rob Gibbs to guide him in tweaks. Already: The calendar includes more information, including start times of races.

Also: I’ve just gotten confirmation that Garth Reynolds will be able to make our next membership meeting, Tuesday, July 12 at 7pm.

Garth is a one-design sails expert at North Sails in San Diego. He plans to offer a program like the one he just gave to 85 people at the San Diego Yacht Club, with lots of give-and-take about how they tune sails to make them just that much faster than their (and your) competition.

Maryellen is also planning to make this an ice cream social, with root beer floats and sundaes. Try the float with a dash of Jack. Mmmm.

We’ll be starting precisely at 7pm at the 19th Tee in Tempe (1915 N Mill Ave).

And, get ready for a year of top-rated speaker entertainment, including multi-America’s Cup dude Peter Isler; the high-personality act of Peter Reggio, famed America’s Cup Principal Race Officer (PRO); and Laser Olympic Gold Medalist, twice Rolex yachtswoman-of-the-year and ISAF Sailor of the Year Anna Tunnacliffe. Anna is preparing for a match racing challenge at the 2012 Olympic games and is fresh off victories in England and Germany.

Cheers,

Mike Ferring – Rear Commodore