Events RSS feed for this section

Sail Summer Wednesday Evenings

Just when you’ve cleared the “midweek hump” at work on hot summer Wednesdays, drive to Tempe Town Lake, launch a small boat, and head out for an hour or so of casual, run-what-ya-brung racing. First Wednesday action is May 25.

George Sheller is the organizer of this loosely-organized gathering. At about 5:30 he drops buoys in the lake and whistles one-minute race starts to anyone who shows up. If Ferrings are there with their automated start gadget, they’ll sound the countdown.

Usually the group includes a few Lasers and a C14 or two, maybe a Buccaneer or Fireball, and after the boats round the marks and cross the finish line, the winner is: well, who knows, because handicaps don’t apply and nobody keeps score. When it starts to get dark or the wind dies, when the boats are stowed, the group collects at a nearby tavern for dinner and a beer.

A single 360 turn clears penalties. We set short courses, getting lots of races in. This is not an official AYC event, so you’re on your own in terms of a boat, liability and fun. We start promptly at 5:30 pm and if you miss one or two races it’s no big deal since there are no trophies at the end, just a cold beer.

The best way to stay in touch with these Wednesday night races is to sign onto the Arizona Yacht Club Yahoo list and receive the occasional emails. (Sometimes races are canceled and you’ll be notified by email.)

Laser on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Laser on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Commodore’s Party 2016

Your new AYC Board of Directors is in charge now, taking office amid shiny classic cars at the annual Commodore’s Party held this year at the Martin Auto Museum. Here are some shots by Mike Ferring:

The new Commodore is Bruce Andress; Vice Commodore is Victor Felice; Rear Commodore Jason Donkersley; Senior Staff Commodore Peter Lehrach; Junior Staff Commodore Chris Smith; Racing Fleet Captain John Riddell; Cruising Fleet Captain Tom Errickson; and Membership Directors Bob Whyte and Mark Howell. Tony Chapman will continue as Treasurer and the board has not chosen a Secretary.

The evening’s top award, the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award, was presented to Wendy Larsen for her willingness to jump in and help (including organizing the Commodore’s Party). Paul Miachika received the big punch bowl for Club Champion, accepted by his crew, Rob Gibbs. The Blunder Bucket went to Chris Smith, pretty much for being Chris Smith, but specifically for launching his spinnaker upside down.

ASF President Cindy Pillote recognized Scott Burkhardt for his considerable work organizing ASF’s educational programs, presenting him with the “Heavy Lifting” award. George Tingom was given a special award for his hard work and dedication to ASF over the years. Ethan Swartz received the Linderman Most Improved Junior award and Ema and Wilson Davis got the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior Award.

 

AYC Debuts Private Label Dark Rum

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

With great finfare, Rear Commodore Victor Felice Tuesday night (5/10) announced what he believes is an AYC exclusive: the only yacht club in the country with its own private-label rum.

Distilled at the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott, this dark rum appears with the AYC logo in small-batch, numbered bottles that were sold at the meeting for the wholesale price of $25 per bottle.

The new rum arrived with two rescued mermaids, who posed out of water while a big crowd of AYCers sampled the new brew.

Victor and Thumb Butte distiller Dana Murdoch conspired to produce the new rum, which will also be served at the Commodore’s Party.

The distillery has been the winner of multiple awards, including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye). Here’s more about Dana Murdoch.

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Version 2

Another shot of Victor Felice and his rescued mermaids. Photo: Chris Smith

AYC’s Championship Race Chases the Wind

Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs are the 2016 AYC Club Champions. There’s no second place in this regatta, but if there were, it would be Skip Kempff, followed by Mike Ferring, then Dave Haggart and Tom Baker, then Charles Ellis and finally Cindy Pillote.

The race committee and competitors ended up chasing the wind all day when the fleet champs came to Lake Pleasant Saturday (5/7) to decide the 2016 Club Champion.

The wind came in all types and directions and everyone struggled to keep up. The scores showed the results, with all skippers turning in a good race and often several bad ones, keeping the regatta close right to the end.

A big thanks to the Santana 20 fleet, whose members turned out seven boats for the day of racing. While there were considerable differences in the way the boats were rigged, they proved to be fairly even matched. Mark Howell calculated that “the fastest boat had 19 points (averaged a 2.7 finish) and slowest 33 (4.7). For seven boats, fourth place is in the middle—not a real big spread.”

And many thanks to the team of race committee volunteers headed by PRO Wendy Larsen and to Racing Fleet Captain Steve Brown, who organized and carried off this annual regatta.

Here’s a race-day video shot and edited by Victor Felice.

The class photo: The skippers and crew line up before racing for the Championship 2016. Photo: Mike Grijalva

The class photo: The skippers and crew line up before racing for the Championship 2016. Photo: Mike Grijalva

 

One of the light wind race starts. Photo: Dave Howell

One of the light wind race starts. Photo: Mark Howell

 

Laser champ Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs signal their finishing spot: Club Champs. Photo: Victor Felice

Laser champ Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs signal their finishing spot: Club Champs. Photo: Victor Felice

 

Tom Baker at the helm of one of the Santana 20s. Photo: Victor Felice

Tom Baker at the helm of one of the Santana 20s. Photo: Victor Felice

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 r2ak.com.

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