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Tony Krauss Takes Multi, Emory Heisler & Tony Chapman Mono in the Tall Cactus

On a windy, puffy, shifty day, Tony Krauss of Tucson sailed a Hobie 16 to the multi-hull win and Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman took the mono-hull in an 18-foot Buccaneer—and it wasn’t even close.

Here’s a drone video of the event, produced by Duane Darling.
And here’s some on-board video of Chris Smith fighting his Laser in heavy wind.

This was the spring pursuit race, where all boats start based on their PHRF rating, with the boats with the biggest PHRF number heading off at 11am and then boats with lower numbers trickling off the line after them. If the PHRF ratings are right, if the conditions match the handicap, and if everyone sails skillfully, all boats finish at the same time.

Emory and Tony started at 11:27, put up the ‘chute and started passing boats. By the second lap of the course (dam-> Horse-> Balance-> Vegetation island-> and do it again), they were well in front and completed the 14-mile race in under 2½ hours. But Tony Krauss was even faster, finishing in just over two hours.

Crossing the finish second in mono was Steve Kusic and the Merit 25 Runaway team. In third was Mike Ferring and the J/80 Melissa Kay crew. Charles Landis aboard Circuitous finished fourth.

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman aboard the winning Bucc. Photo: Tom Errickson

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman aboard the winning Bucc. Photo: Tom Errickson


Chris Reinhard and crew at the Tall Cactus Regatta. Photo: Tom Errickson

Chris Reinhard and crew at the Tall Cactus Regatta. Photo: Tom Errickson

May Meeting: Something Very Different But Very Tasty

By Victor Felice, Outgoing Speaker Wrangler

After introducing the club members to the term “p**s off” when someone tried to “steal” the Rear Commodore’s bottle of booze at the Christmas Buccaneer Gift Exchange, I’m going to make amends at the next meeting.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

I am, surprisingly, not an alcoholic and in fact rarely drink, yet my guest is none other than sailor and distiller Dana Murdoch–owner of the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott.

The winner of multiple awards including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye), Dana will talk about and present the various spirits produced right here in Arizona. Rum, anyone? Here’s more about Dana.

But it doesn’t end there. Since this will be the last guest I present officially (did you vote? This term as RC is ending!), there will also be a very special, top secret guest too. This from someone who paints his boats pink, so we can only imagine what will happen.

You do not want to miss this!

The meeting is Tuesday, May 10, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

LP Nationals: John Mayall and Mike Hester Win C14; Debbie Kirby Takes Fireball

John Mayall and Mike Hester snagged the C14 National Championship trophy. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

John Mayall and Mike Hester snagged the C14 National Championship trophy. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

John Mayall and crew Mike Hester won the Catalina/Capri 14.2 Nationals contested at Lake Pleasant April 16&17, finishing ahead of multi-time winner Scott Finkboner. Martin Lorch finished third and George Tingom fourth. Hunter Parker and dad Mike won the Silver Fleet.

Debbie Kirby won the Fireball National Championship, taking a three-point win over Rob Thompson. Steve Goacher won the Classic division for older boats.

All of the racing happened in shifty wind on Saturday, with Sunday’s racing canceled because of high wind. The Fireballs managed to get five races in on Saturday, giving them a throw-out race, while the C14s got four races, with one race abandoned in the morning’s light wind.

Wendy Larsen was the PRO and other volunteers were: Steve Brown, Bob Whyte, Jo Grijalva, Mike Grijalva, John Riddell, Kalley Riddell, Kenny Nahkala, Gerald Byrnes, Peter Schweitzer, Pat Blumm, Lori Reger, Rick Cotman, and Jason Donkersley. And back-up from Dallas: Dave Christensen. Bruce Andress and Scott Burkhardt prepared ASF boats for use. The great Saturday breakfast was provided by the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club and Sunday Clay Poulson put on an amazing breakfast. Fleet Captains: Clay Poulson (Fireballs) and Dave Haggart (C14.2s).

Catalina/Capri 14.2 Scores. Fireball Scores.

The fleet of Fireballs fighting it out for the National win. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

The fleet of Fireballs fighting it out for the National win. Photo: Maryellen Ferring


Mike Hester got this Fireball shot while also helping John Mayall win C14

Mike Hester got this Fireball shot while also helping John Mayall win C14


The Fireball winners with PRO Wendy Larsen. Photo: Clay Poulson

The Fireball winners with PRO Wendy Larsen. Photo: Clay Poulson


Hunter and Mike Paker won the Silver Fleet trophy for C14. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

Hunter and Mike Paker won the Silver Fleet trophy for C14. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

Tall Cactus Start Times

Follow the link to get your start time for the 2016 Tall Cactus Regatta. On one chart is the start time by boat type and the other is by the start time.

Lake Pleasant Results for Weekend Four

The usual mixed bag of wind showed up for racing at Lake Pleasant for the fourth week of the spring series. The scores are posted on the results page, or you can find them by clicking here.

Thanks to the PHRF Spin fleet for handling race committee, including Steve Kusic and crew for Saturday night’s dinner.


April Meeting: No Motors, No Support, Just Get to Alaska

Have you heard of this crazy race? They nail $10,000 to a tree in Ketchican, Alaska, and the first entrant to to make it 750 miles up the inside passage from Port Townsend, Washington, grabs it. Second prize: a set of steak knives.

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race Boss Daniel Evans will be our April monthly meeting speaker. The (crazy) race and his description of it make it sound like this could be one of the most fun meetings of the year. Here’s what he says about this second go-round of the Race to Alaska:

“Some say it’s like the Iditarod, with a chance of drowning…or being eaten by a bear…or sucked into a whirlpool. We’re fielding a fleet of teams covering the sailing and rowing spectrum, from high tweak fast cats to backyard boats and even a canoe. A canoe!”

The meeting is Tuesday, April 12, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

As he tells it, “We’ll guarantee blisters, mild hypothermia, and the cathartic elation that comes from accomplishing something others would call impossible.” Last year 35 teams started and 15 finished.

Daniel will  spin the tale of the inaugural year and tell how the race is shaping up for this year. He says, if you’re one of those people who always needs to prep for an event, you can find out more at

Who is this guy? His bio: An Alaska upbringing, decades of teaching outdoor instruction for Outward Bound and others, mountain climber, professional mariner, schooner captain, and he even runs a volunteer tugboat crew for Port Townsend’s annual Wooden Boat Festival. As a cherry on top of his risky resume, Daniel’s also the father of a three-year-old.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.

Closing in on the Finish: Lake Pleasant Week 3

The predicted howling wind held off for the third weekend of Lake Pleasant racing and instead we got a mix of very light stuff and a nice, moderate wind. Thanks to the C22 fleet for race committee… and the burgers.

The scores for week 3 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or click here.

AYC Hosts C14.2 and Fireball National Regattas

The regatta T-shirt by Pirate's Den.

The regatta T-shirt by Pirate’s Den. Click here for a bigger picture.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 16 & 17, Lake Pleasant will be the site of National Championship races for two fleets: the Catalina/Capri 14.2  and Fireball.

Anyone with one of the two boats is welcome (and encouraged) to register for the race. The race documents and sign-up button are on the Racing page. If you’d like to adopt a C14.2 for the event, you’ll find a red button on the registration page. Press the button and reserve one of five boats that will be brought to the lake for the event. You’ll donate $75 to the Arizona Sailing Foundation and $250 will be held as a damage deposit.

Note: The Lake Pleasant Sailing Club will be offering a pancake breakfast for just $5 at the ramada near the Sailboat Shop that morning, starting at 8 am.

AYC member Clay Poulson is president of the United States International Fireball Association and has invited members to make the trip to Arizona for the races. Dave Haggart is the Fleet Captain of the AYC C14.2 fleet and volunteered to bring the national regatta here this year, moving it from its usual home at Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego.

To make it happen, a number of AYC members have stepped up to help, including Fleet Captain Steve Brown and a host of others including PRO Wendy Larsen. Victor Felice is helping publicize the event and Mark Macomber arranged for the poster and the regatta T-shirt you see above.

Power hiking on a Fireball with Clay Poulson. Photo: Chris Smith

Power hiking on a Fireball with Clay Poulson. Photo: Chris Smith

Fickle Lake Pleasant: Week Two Results

Mostly light air, but a nice weekend on the water for week two of the spring series. Thanks to the Thistle fleet for making RC and dinner happen so well with so small a fleet.

The scores for week 2 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or you can click here.

Now, a story from Mike Ferring:

It was the first race Sunday morning, one of those famous first races of the day when the wind begins to die early. It was dropping fast as we rounded the windward mark on w/l, as we hoisted the spinnaker on our J/80, Melissa Kay. But as we did, the halyard jumped the sheave and jammed, leaving the spin a few feet short of a full hoist. More serious, we knew we wouldn’t be able to get the sail down.

We were in second place in the smallish, five-boat Sunday morning Sportboat Fleet, with Chris Smith’s Sloop Dogg only a few boat lengths back. Dave Evans was a distant fourth, having jumped the start. Dog Year was fifth. The wind was shutting down for everybody except Dave, who was scooting up the west side with the only breeze on the lake.

The culprit: The spiin halyard stuck next to the sheave. Photo: Mastclimber Maryellen Ferring

The culprit: The spin halyard stuck next to the sheave. Photo: Mastclimber Maryellen Ferring

Bob Whyte suggested we give up on the race and take the time to send Maryellen up the mast to pry the halyard out of the gap next to the sheave. We dropped sails, Maryellen strapped into the bosun’s chair and Chris Hardin and Bob hoisted her to the top of the mast. By now the wind had completely stopped and even though Sloop Dogg had drifted past us, she was only a few boat lengths away. Amazing.

Chris Smith saw that the only breeze on the lake was the one Dave was enjoying to the west and crept off to find it. Maryellen was still at the masthead. We were resigned to last place. She pried it loose and we brought her down.

Wait, what’s this? A slight wisp of wind now ruffled across the water. Were we actually still in this race? We hurriedly raised sails and found ourselves on a rumb line to the leeward mark. We rounded, headed back north toward the finish line where we crept across in an amazed third place behind Steve Brown and Wendy and Dave’s Dog Year, which had found some wind too.

Lake Pleasant, you are a fickle mistress.

Our halyard issues weren’t over, of course. While leading the last race of Sunday morning, the thing jammed again and this time we were dog meat, retiring and limping into the slip, but still amazed at our good fortune.


Catalina 22 fleet leader Charles Ely says, "That way!" Photo: Chris Smith

Catalina 22 fleet leader Charles Ely says, “That way!” Photo: Chris Smith

Lake Pleasant Spring Racing Kicks Off

The scores for the first weekend of spring racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or you’ll find them by clicking here.

Teresa Lynn's crew cheers a good finish. Photo: Chris Smith

Teresa Lynn’s crew cheers a good finish. Photo: Chris Smith

Tempe Town Lake Results

The scores from the second week of racing at Tempe Town Lake are posted on the results page, or click here.

Tempe Town Lake Results

The scores for the first week of racing at Tempe Town Lake are posted on the results page, or by clicking here.

Register for Spring Series Racing

Registration is open now for racing at both Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant. Get into the action.

Click here to go to the racing page to register. 

Dueling on TTL. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Dueling on TTL. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Happy Birthday!

Mixed conditions, a little chilly, but by all accounts another fun Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup! Thanks to the very many people who made it happen.

Congratulations to the fleet winners: Matt Davis, Buccs; Gary Overbeck, Montgomery/Sage; Trent Sellens, Multi-Hull; Bob Worrall, PHRF Non-Spin; Al Lehman-Steve Quant, PHRF Spin; Greg Woodcock, Santana 20; Tom Errickson, TransLoch; Mike Hester, Viper; and you too Clay Poulson, Portsmouth.

Here are all the results.

And how about that football game? Crazy stuff, but a fun backdrop for a Saturday night party.

Commodore Chris Smith had to miss Saturday and Sunday since he was sick, and Peter Burgard offered this nice note to Chris:

“Chris, your crew at AYC did a nice job with the weekend activities. On the race course the Committee Boat communicated with sailors advising if the postponement flag was up or down, repeating the fleet start sequence and start & finish line protocol. It was information that spared the crews from having to monitor the Committee Boat flags and placards until their time to start which was much appreciated.

“The dinner Saturday night was a hoot. The food was good, there was plenty of it and there were two serving lines. The band played to my deaf ear blues tunes just loud enough to be heard, which was pretty cool. Not to forget the Arizona Cardinals game was on and the crowd was really pumped up. You would have enjoyed being there.

“Two final items, the AYC staff at the park entrance braved cold mornings to provide a friendly greeting to arriving sailors. What a great way to begin the weekend. And your Race Chairperson Peter showed up at the crack of dawn in his pajama pants to help Glenn and the Tucson crew with the Sunday AM coffee service.

“FYI, twelve TSC Sailors were on the water this past weekend.”

Pete Burgard & the Crew of Bandito

Buy a Birthday Regatta T-Shirt

A limited number of Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup T-shirts will be available at registration when you check in for the event. The shirts feature a full color copy of the original art done for the Birthday Regatta by watercolor artist Andrea Merican, a J/105 at full tilt. The shirts are just $15. (The original art will also be up for auction Saturday night.)

Here’s what it looks like:

Birthday T-Shirt 2016

Tempe Town Lake Results

The scores for week 7 of racing at Tempe Town Lake are posted on the results page, or click here.

TTL-Debbie Borgman Photos (18 of 23)

Paul Miachika leading the Lasers. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Jolly Buccaneer Christmas Party 2015

AYC Christmas 2015-3

The “before” picture.

When the package were all unwrapped and the gifts “pirated” and pirated again, all that was left was a warm glow, lots of good memories and a stack of debris.

Who was pirated most? Close call between Larry Green and Victor Felice, mostly exchanges that determined what would end up in their liquor cabinets.

In a close race, Paul Liszewski was elected to Ye Olde Blunder Bucket, one of AYC’s highest honors. Paul was chosen for the act of driving his Hobie 33, Rollin’ in the Deep, into one of Lake Pleasant’s many submerged islands. At high speed. An estimated 8 knots. Blam! Rollin’ in the Not Deep Enough. Paul’s been an AYC member for nearly 25 years and this was his first Blunder “win.”

Thanks to Tom Errickson for emceeing the show, to Jim Brewer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for making an appeal for Leukemia Cup entries and LLS donations, to catamaran Fleet 42 for showing up to cheer on Governor’s Cup winner Jim Tomes, and to a lively crowd of AYC people. Photos below from Mike Ferring:

Multi-Hulls Rule: Jim Tomes Wins 2015 Governor’s Cup

Jim Tomes and that Great Big trophy. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jim Tomes and that Great Big Trophy. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jim Tomes’s boat is called Raisin Hull and that’s what he did Saturday (12/5) by snatching the giant AYC Governor’s Cup for 2015.  Jim’s speedy rating meant he started the pursuit race more than an hour after the first boat, but he finished ahead of everyone in his F18HT catamaran. See below for Jim’s account of the day.

Thirty-nine sailboats with one, two, and even three hulls took part on a day that delivered strong morning wind, light midday breeze, and before finishing nicely with a good wind in mid-afternoon.

Just like that other famous race, the America’s Cup, there is no second place in the Governor’s Cup, but credit former winner Court Roberts for finishing first among the monohulls in 4th overall.

Race organizer Tom Errickson has arranged to make the humongous race trophy even bigger by adding a two-inch solid mahogany base to make room for more winners’ names in the future.

Here’s a fun video clip shot by Brian Willess.

2015 Governor's Cup winner Jim Tomes on his F18HT catamaran.

2015 Governor’s Cup winner Jim Tomes on his F18HT catamaran.


From Jim Tomes:

Here is my write up of the best Governors Cup Ever! (Because I won!)

A bunch of us started off by meeting up Friday night to all hang out at the campground. We had some great sailing stories and lots of laughs of sailing days past.

The trash talk was flowing as all of us were hoping to take the cup and confidence among the sailors was greatly exaggerated around the fire. One thing we all had in common was the concern on the wind forecast. It looks to be a floater; lets all hope wind finder is wrong. We all tucked ourselves into bed and not a breeze was to be had the entire night. We woke to the same, no wind at all. Then out of nowhere the answer to our prayers was answered, WIND!! Wait, lots and lots of wind? The forecast was slow so I had no crew. My thoughts of having the light boat advantage quickly turned to: I sure hope I don’t flip.

Well the wind was holding out at the start line. We cat sailors buzzed around, zipping in and out of the monohulls as they started on their adventure leaving us at the dam on their way up the lake. Wow, a lot of those boats sure were far ahead. I was still in caution mode as the wind was blowing and I sure did not want to go over. I was getting worried as I tried to compare boat speed prior to our start. I could not keep up with those darn I20’s with boat speed. Then there was this Nacra 5.8 that I’ve never sailed against before. Those guys were blowing me away and I could not catch them. There was the P19 looking so fast and always a threat. The Hobies were now off and flying down the course. A p16 was practically out of sight before my start time approached. Fred comes booking in on the H18 a little late but then is just gone. My start is getting close, just me and those four darn I20’s left at the line. As my time approaches I hit the line moving fast and head up the lake. I have just over two minutes before the reign of I20 terror approaches.

Wow, the wind is got me a bit overpowered, so pull hard on the out-haul, max out the down-haul, under rotate, and I’m still having to pinch to keep under control. I finesse the tiller keeping my hull just above the water and am trapped out to the front cross bar to keep the bows down. Two minutes go by and I watch in horror as the freight train of 20’s rains on my parade. Within a matter of minutes after they started I was overtaken and out-sailed. Man, those guys are all fast! Now here I sit in last place overpowered and out of ideas. My visions of Governor’s Cup glory are fading fast! So I decide to not look at the other boats and focus on boat speed. My bows are down, the hull is riding at the perfect height, my tiller movements are smooth and I have a perfect line to the first island.

Almost to the north islands my spirits are reawakened, my high angle may have paid off. Brett with all wisdom decides to sail to the wrong island, Woo Hoo. I’m now one boat down. My angle seemed to have made good on Manny. Two down. But man Brad and Brian are so fast and still ahead. I round the first Island and make my way to the second. What do I do now? Wind is softer but man the spin will be a handful. Brad and Brian both have theirs up so I have no choice. I pull the chute. A little bit of crazy shifting wind by the island then I get dialed in. Single-handed trapped out with the spin is always intimidating. I’m sailing well, the wind is perfect. I’ve got the angle on Brian and I’m approaching a bunch of sailors rounding the south island. Brad, Johnathan, and Victor are all there. I pull down the spin and fight my way through the passage crowded with sailors. I decide to stay to the east, hoping that I again can make a good angle to the north islands.

Heading north I have now passed many boats and now only have Fred, two H16’s and a P16 as far as cats in front, but they are way up there! Lets see what the Lake Pleasant wind crap shoot has in store for us now. Well first let’s just turn the wind off. Not slow: off. I see everyone just kind of floating and I’m going nowhere. The boats to the north are just bobbing and the boats to the south just crawling. I can see small patches of wind in either direction but I have nothing. Then the sight I could have only hoped for: wind From the south! Good wind too!

I watch as the boats behind me fill their sails and the spinnakers come back out to play. The midday wind 180 has come! I sit waiting in anticipation and the water darkens behind me showing me that sweet wind treat. I pull out the spin and with that my grin, here it comes and I have the perfect angle. Like a switch the wind fills my sails and accelerates my boat up the lake. I’m moving now! Wait, now I’m not. I was too fast and was sailing beyond the wind line, crap. What do I do now? Let’s sail a lower angle and give me a hotter line to the island. It worked! The last group of boats are in sight coming up to the north island.

My boat is now cooking, spin out, trapped out, and I have rights as I mix it up with the rest of the fleet on a port tack. I drive through the middle of the group and have a super hot angle. I’m living up to the boat name as I get closer to the Island. Time to jibe, slide in off the trap, de-hyper-rotate, loosen the main, slide over the blocks, pull the main, re-hyper-rotate, pull the spin sheets, trap out, and set course all in one breath. The Whoop sound as the spin fills up and powers the boat to speed. Perfect line to the island and I’m passing the remaining boats. I take my last jibe and island to island line is a super hot one. Again the spin is powered up, trapped out making those oh-so-smooth figure S’s as I hold the hull just above the lake. I’m pulling away and getting a good lead on the others. My mind is now racing—I could win this!

As I douse the spin and set course up down the lake I focus on a great line and great boat speed. I look back and Brad is still within striking distance. That boat is sure fast upwind and I’m not out of the woods yet. The wind is up and I’m trapped out again all the way to the front cross bar. My arm is stretched to the max wishing my tiller was longer to keep the leeward bow deep and the windward bow above the water. I’m afraid to look back and focus forward.

I’m approaching the east side of the lake and running out of water. Time to make my tack. I slide in off the trap again, make my turn and back out on the wire. The sun is in my eye and I can’t tell where the end of the island is. Did I tack too late, do I head up or fall off a little, I can’t tell. Brad is now is now in my view as I look up the lake headed down to the last island. I still have him but he is still within striking distance.

As I get closer to the west side I can not see the island markings through the glare of the sun. I have a perfect layline! I make my last tack and head around the island. The wind is good and I’m not sure whether to run the spin or not. If I do I could be overpowered by the hot angle of the finish line, If I don’t, Brad could power up behind me and take it. I pull the chute and hope for the best. I’m pooped and feeling it in my arms. The angle is a little hot for my spin but I power through it, twice popping up a little high risking the capsize. I look back to see I am going to make it if I just don’t go over. I slide back in from the trap and ease out on the spin and sail my way over the line with Tom there to record my victory.

Holy Crap, I’ve just won!

I head back to shore to dismantle the boat and enjoy the victory with all of my great friends. I am blessed to have such great people in my life and to be able to enjoy the great sport of sailing with them. Time to cook dinner for all my friends. This time it’s gumbo! I’ve never made it before so I hope it turns out well. Thirty minutes later a huge pot, a bunch of bowls and a group of cold hungry sailors await. As Brian would say, “Winner, Winner, Gumbo Dinner!” Let’s eat. Judging from the huge, now empty pot and how many went back for seconds I think I did all right. The perfect way to close out a perfect day.

Thank you to all my friends and fellow sailors who were there to make it so special, and to those who missed it, I wish you could have been there. I hope this gives you a little feeling of what it was like on my boat and it fires you up to make it next year!

Jim Tomes on Raisin Hull

Tempe Town Lake Results

The scores from week 6 of racing at Tempe Town Lake are posted on the results page, or click here.

Lake Pleasant Fall Series Final Results

Victor Felice's J/24 on a screaming day. Photo: Victor's camera

Victor Felice’s J/24 on a screaming day. Photo: Victor’s camera

It was an experiment: A one-day weekend, a Saturday-only final weekend of the fall race series and it began with a roar. Chuck Sears said the wind touched 40 mph on his boat’s instruments. Too much for racing, and the RC put in at Scorpion Bay to wait for the wind to ease. By noon it had come down enough to bring a screaming start and by mid-afternoon the wind was delightful.

Congratulations to all who came out to play this fall and especially to the fleet champs: Charles Ellis, C22; Charles Landis, PHRF Non-Spin; Tom Baker, PHRF Spin; Tony Chapman, PHRF Sportboat; and Skip Kempff, Thistle.

The scores from Week 5 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or you’ll find them by clicking here.