Events RSS feed for this section

It’s True: The Race Mark is a Robot!

Tom Ohlin watches a test of the new MarkSetBot on Lake Pleasant. Photo: Mike Ferring

It’s a bit of a leap of faith, a broad jump really: The pin-end start mark on Lake Pleasant’s Opening Day (9/23) will be a robot.

The inventors call it MarkSetBot and AYC is one of six clubs in the nation beta-testing this new device (out of 40 clubs that said they’d like to do it). It’s an odd-looking contraption on the water, riding on two inflated catamaran hulls, propelled by an electric trolling motor, and guided by cell phone and GPS navigation. It skitters around on the water like a large play toy.

Lake Pleasant Lake Captain David Newland and I (Mike Ferring) have been working on this machine for several weeks now, finally getting to the point where we think it can work as the pin-end mark. Later it might become one of the other marks of the course. Tom Ohlin joined us as we ran the thing for over an hour on Wednesday (9/20) and it performed nicely.

The idea, of course, is to replace one of our regular marks with the robot so it can be placed remotely without relying on the Boston Whaler crew and without dangling 160+ feet of anchor rode below it. Because the RC wouldn’t need to move the Whaler into position and because nobody would need to lift and drop or drag all that rode, the course can be adjusted much faster and much more easily. Cool, huh?

The company reports that this last weekend (9/17) MarkSetBots made up the entire race course for the stadium race at Grosse Pointe (Michigan) Yacht Club run by Premiere Sailing League. There was a single RC boat with only one person on it. That person monitored for OCS and then acted as a judge boat motoring up the course. The course was changed in length and direction many times. At one point, there was a 90 degree wind shift and it took the MarkSetBots just 60 seconds to reposition. Wow.

The MarkSetBot is not without its, well, let’s call them “issues,” which means we’re moving cautiously and wondering whether this robot is  long-term for us. Just a few of the issues:

  • It’s big and unwieldy to launch and to store.
  • It needs to be assembled each time it’s used (and disassembled when we’re through with it).
  • It runs on a battery that needs to be charged.
  • It’s made up of lots of little bits that can be damaged, lost or wear out.
  • The cell phone interface is difficult to operate.
  • Operation requires training (and we have trouble getting people to take care of our boats).

So, that odd thing at the end of the start line? That’s your starting pin. Please don’t hit it.

The robot MarkSetBot at cruising speed during the Lake Pleasant test. Photo: Mike Ferring

Picnic, Play, Party at the “Hoot at the Lake”

All for fun: The Hoot at the Lake party on Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 1pm at the Grassy Knoll at Tempe Town Lake.

Mike Bernard has planned a bunch of zany sailing games for  the Hoot, including such things as backward sailing, competition pitting 50+ codgers and kids, and some SUP board rides.

Sharon Bell is bringing her Corn Hole game and Horseshoes for dry land play.

Maryellen Ferring is heading up the food brigade, planning a barbecue at lake’s edge.

Andy Oliver is the Chairman in Chief.

There’s no charge and no registration to attend. Just drop by and have fun.

All of this rises out of that survey you completed this summer. You said you’d like more social events in the club. About half the people who responded to the survey said they’d come to a pure social gathering like this one.

Fun sailing on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbra Heisler

October Meeting: North U Founder Bill Gladstone

The October Monthly Meeting Speaker, North U’s Bill Gladstone. Photo: Mike Ferring

The crazy-windy 2016 Chicago to Mac was tossing our J/130 around like a toy when the helmsman (no, not me) made a bit of a mistake—the huge, green spinnaker suddenly wrapping around the headstay, wind blasts threatening to rip the spinnaker to bits. Raining, dead dark, we call for Bill. Bill Gladstone. He pokes his head up from below and calmly goes to work, unflappable despite the roar of the flapping sail, asking for a couple jibes to unwrap the sail and minutes later we’re back on course, sail intact.

This was Bill’s 28th Chicago to Mac, so he’s seen a lot of nutty stuff on Lake Michigan and lots of other places. He takes it all in calmly, with a smile and a laugh that help explain how he’s been able to take teaching performance sailing and turn it into a lifetime vocation. His business is North U, which presents seminars each year around the country plus the Regatta Experience and clinics in Ontario, Captiva Island, Florida, and St. Thomas.

In October, Bill will offer AYC a short version of one of his workshops, spinning stories as he suggests tactics, rules, and trim. Expect to be as much entertained as informed.

The meeting is Tuesday, October 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.

Bill’s racing experience covers the spectrum, including everything from dinghies to Maxies, ponds to oceans, and foredeck to helm. He has finished in the money at Key West Race Week, the SORC, Block Island Race Week, Chicago NOOD, Annapolis to Newport; Chicago to Mackinac, the Annapolis Fall Series, NYYC Race Week, and Queen’s Cup. Bill raced collegiately for Yale and was founder of the Chicago Sailing Club.

He’s been teaching sailing and racing for over forty years. Graduates of his seminars number in the thousands, including several dozen AYC members.

Bill Gladstone on the rail for the Chicago-Mackinac race in 2016. That’s Maryellen Ferring over Bill’s left ear. Photo: Mike Ferring

Let the Season Begin!

After a summer of quiet Wednesday night races, it was great to see Tempe Town Lake teeming with boats Sunday (9/10) on the first day of TTL Racing and RC Training and the first day of ASF Opti classes.

The wind was a little light and the temperatures a bit, well, hot, but it was a fun day anyway. Vice Commodore and Laser sailor Mike Bernard led an effort to add gates to TTL racing and they were used for the first time this day.

Race results are here.

The Buccaneer fleet topped out at four entries for the season, which meant they were combined with the Portsmouth fleet and worked race committee.

Natalie Harper leads the Opti 1 class at Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Jump Into the Busy September AYC Calendar

AYC’s September calendar is locked and highly loaded, with every weekend and some weekdays marked for action. Here’s a quick rundown:

Friday 9/8: Crew-Skipper party (or just call it a party-party) from 5-7pm at the Bluewater Grill at 1720 E Camelback in Phoenix. AYC will buy some hors d’oeuvres; you buy the beverages. Shake or stir. This is a chance to mingle with AYC members and if you need crew or you’d like to crew, a chance to find somebody with the right background, commitment, and personality to set you up for the fall.

Saturday 9/9: ASF Work Party. Starting at 8am we’ll gather at the Tempe Town Lake boat corral to spruce up the Arizona Sailing Foundation boats for the fall classes. Please help!

Saturday 9/9: The first class for ASF Junior Performance Sailing. This is a new approach, offering race training and race experience for young teens.

A little personal coaching from the safety boat on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

Sunday 9/10: Sunday afternoon Tempe Town Lake will be bristling with action, with ASF Opti and Junior Performance classes and the first day of racing and RC training. Racing begins at 3pm. This same program happens again on the following Sunday, 9/17.

Tuesday 9/12: The monthly meeting features some members who raced or cruised in interesting places, headlined by Mike and Jo Grijalva’s Transpac race and Chris Smith’s run in the Chicago to Mac.

Tuesday 9/19: High School Sailing begins its every-Tuesday sessions through the fall, beginning at 4pm and going until dark.

Thursday 9/21: The free Introduction to Sailboat Racing class from 6:30 to 9pm. Learn the basics of racing or bone up on how AYC does it compared to where you’ve raced before.

Saturday and Sunday 9/23 & 9/24: The first weekend of Lake Pleasant racing, beginning Saturday at 12:30pm and Sunday at 9am. PHRF Spin fleet is on Race Committee. After the racing, explain what really happened on the race course over a beer at Spinnaker Point. This year there will be no fleet dinners on Saturday nights, but plenty of post-race beer and nachos.

Saturday 9/30: From 10am to 1pm it’s come-have-fun time at Tempe Town Lake. We’ll launch some boats, play sailing games, toss some corn hole and horse shoes, and barbecue some burgers and brats.

August Meeting: The Future of Sailing

Launching the Opti. Photo: Mike Ferring

What is the future of sailing? I think we can agree the answer lies with the kids trimming the sails at an ASF Opti I class and their older brothers and sisters in Bics, Lasers, and anything else that sails to the wind.

What draws them to sailing when the competition is a fast-moving massive multi-player online game?

In August, we’ll find out what Colin Gibbs and Cedric Lorch think the answer is. We’ll hear from them and from dad Rob Gibbs and others who are putting together sailing programs for kids. This fall, the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) will launch a racing program for juniors, mostly in Bic O’Pens, and put them on the Tempe Town Lake race course at the same time as the adults. Can sailboat racing hold its own with the latest app?

The meeting is Tuesday, August 8, 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.

Cool Weekend in the Pines

Nothing like a fistful of s’mores to bring the giggle to the campfire. Photo: Mike Ferring

The new AYC summer campout location works just fine: Dairy Springs Campground near Mormon Lake can be reached by paved roads, offers running water and permanent (if rustic) toilets, and even has nearby cabins for softies like your Commodore. It doesn’t have the aura of a tricky, hard-to-spell name like Kinnikinick, but that’s easy to overlook.

What hasn’t changed is a significant drop in temperature from the 100s of Phoenix to the 70s of the high country and the collection of friends ready to shoot the breeze, hike the hills, and take your 75¢ stake at Liar’s Dice. Add intervals of soothing rain and a hot grill to cook your dinner and this is a fun, casual, relaxing couple days.

Credit Steve, Angela and Kenneth for pulling it together once again and for talking the rest of us into dropping in.

Scroll down to see a slide show of pictures from Mike Ferring.

The traditional game of Liar’s Dice brings lots of laughs to an afternoon at the campground. Photo: Mike Ferring


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryellen and Mike Ferring mug for the camera while Steve Nahkala prepares a traditional breakfast. Photo: Dennis Lynde

Warm? How About a Weekend in the Pines?

Steve Nahkala works the barbeque.

As I write this, the temperature in Phoenix is flirting with 120 degrees and a weekend in the cool country of Northern Arizona sounds pretty nice.

The annual AYC Summer Campout (formerly the Kinnikinick campout) is Friday-Sunday, July 28-30 this year. No need to register; just show up in the cool pines.

Once again Steve Nahkala will be heading up the trip, which will be held at Dairy Springs Campground by Mormon Lake. Steve moved the gathering to this new spot last year and says it’s more civilized than the traditional unimproved Kinnikinick site. People will begin to filter into the campsite Friday, ready to enjoy the beauty of the location and the fun gathering of AYCers and friends. The activities are as rustic as the surroundings, with “pasture golf” and horse shoes and Liar’s Dice.

Here’s much more information on the event, including map directions.

Wednesday Beer Can Racing

Wednesday night organizer George Sheller. Photo: Mike FerringWhat are you doing Wednesday night? How about coming out for some highly casual racing at Tempe Town Lake?

We start racing at 5:30 and go until sundown. We do a one minute sequence. I have a whistle and signal: 5 short blasts is “AP down,” followed by a 10 second gap, then one long as the start of the one-minute countdown. I try to give 3 shorts at 30 seconds, 2 at 20, 1 at 10 and then one long for the start. A single 360 turn clears penalties. We set short courses, so we’ve gotten up to seven races in. If the Ferrings are there, we use their automated starting gadget.

This started as a Laser thing, but others started coming out, which was great. We all start together.

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 we don’t keep scores. This is good practice, with bragging rights and then (for those who want to) off to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks.

Have questions?  Email me.

See you out there,
George Sheller

A Night to Remember

2016-2017 Commodore Bruce Andress. Photo: Mike Ferring

The 2017 Commodore’s Celebration was a night to remember, especially for Lori Reger, who received the AYC Sportsmanship Award recognition for her many contributions to the club over the years: as secretary, as monthly meeting greeter, as adopt-a-boat wrangler and a whole host of other things.

Paul Miachika will probably remember it too—the night he traded the Club Championship trophy for the Blunder Bucket! Paul ceded the Club Championship punch bowl to Mike Hester and John Mayall, this year’s champs. And Rob Gibbs offered a stirring nomination of Paul for a small trailering boo boo. Seems he didn’t tie down the front of his Laser to the trailer. That turned into a big deal when heading down the 101, he looked in the rear view mirror and saw the boat take flight, crashing on the port stern quarter and back flipping some 15 feet in the air. Fortunately nobody hurt, but Paul was suddenly in the market for a new boat.

Colin Gibbs earned the Linderman Most Improved Junior Award. Photo: Mike Ferring

Cindy Pillote presented the Linderman Most Improved Junior trophy to Colin Gibbs and the Heavy Lifting Award to his dad Rob. Bella Hutchinson accepted the High School Championship trophy; she crewed for Peter Blake in the competition. Miles Danner will receive the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior Award when he comes home from vacation.

The experimental “Triple Crown” concept didn’t produce a winner this year, but Bruce Andress decided to dedicate it to longtime AYC member Jim Ney, who died recently.

Bruce will remember this as the night he handed over the Commodore’s chores and I’ll remember it as the night I formally took them on… again. Round three as Commodore. The new board, with several new faces, stood for applause.

The Commodore’s Celebration was held at The Yard in Tempe and proved to be an excellent location, especially when dressed up with Maryellen Ferring’s centerpieces and bright balloons.

Here are pictures I took (or were taken by others using my camera).

Motley Crue: Most of the 2017-2018 AYC Board of Directors. Photo: David Newland

 

2017 Tall Cactus

Lake Pleasant served up ideal winds and perfect conditions for the 2017 Tall Cactus. Steve Kusic won the monohull category and Brett Johnston the multi-hull, and now get to wear fancy trophy belt buckles. Scores are posted on the results page, or click here.

Wendy Larsen and Dave Christensen, RC mavens. Photo: Mike Ferring

Commodore’s Celebration at The Yard in Tempe

Registration is now closed for this event.

This is the social event of the year for the Arizona Yacht Club, a gathering of friends highlighted by presentation of trophies and installation of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors.

Dress is business casual. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Cocktails at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7 pm.

Here’s a link to the Google map of the location.

The menu includes:

  • Caesar Salad
  • Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondu
  • Fried Chicken with Biscuits, Snow Peas
  • Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Snow Peas
  • Baked Penne Pasta with Butternut Cream Sauce, Roasted Squash, Red Pepper, Herbed Ricotta
  • Dessert

Mike Hester Wins Club Championship

John Mayall and Mike Hester, Club Champs. Photo: Mike Ferring

Mike Hester and John Mayall coped with shifting Tempe Town Lake wind better than 8 other competitors Saturday (5/13) to take the 2017 Club Championship trophy.

This is Mike’s and John’s third Club Championship. Three other club champions finished second-fourth: Martin Lorch, Paul Miachika, and Dave Haggart. Mike and John will be formally presented the trophy at the Commodore’s Celebration at The Yard in Tempe on Friday night, June 9.

TTL challenged all 9 teams with wind that ranged from light to puff-me-over, shifting from east to west, but usually blowing from the southeast, enough wind confusion that the race committee was constantly debating where to set the course.

All the top teams had a rough race or two, being called OCS and having to catch up or having to overcome a missed puff. Mike and John managed to work their way through the fleet on those bad starts to minimize the impact—and then were able to sprint out to the lead on other races, winning three. See the scores below. And here are three dozen pictures of the racing.

Congratulations to all 9 teams and thanks to the many people who pitched in to bring off the successful day. Race committee: PRO Mike Ferring, Mike Bernard, Lori Reger, Vanessa Wisbaum, Tony Chapman, and George Sheller. Chief Hospitality Officer Maryellen Ferring with Larry Green, Dave Henning, Ralph Vatalaro, and a couple others who will escape unnamed.

2017 Club Champs Mike Hester and John Mayall with the big cup. Photo: Mike Ferring


Club Championship Scores

Sailor Race 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Hester 1 1 3 4 2 1 4 2 18
Lorch 2 2 2 5 1 3 5 4 24
Miachika 6 5 6 2 3 4 1 1 28
Haggart 5 3 5 1 7 2 2 3 28
Richards 4 4 8 3 4 5 3 DNS 10 41
Worrall 3 6 1 6 8 6 7 5 42
Heisler 9 7 4 7 5 7 6 7 52
Rahn 8 9 7 8 6 8 OCS 6 62
Liszewski 7 8 RET DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 75

The class photo: The 9 fleet champs and crews who competed in the 2017 regatta. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

 

 

2016-2017 Racing Season Results

With the final, windy weekend of the spring race series finished, congratulations to everyone who came out to play this year!

The Lake Pleasant Spring Series fleet champs are: Charlie Ellis, C22; Fred Rahn, Multi-Hull; Paul Liszewski, PHRF Spin; Martin Lorch, Santana 20; Mike Hester, PHRF Sportboat; Scott Richards, Thistle; Carl Muelenbeck, TransLoch.

That means that the combined Fall and Spring results produce these fleet champs for the year: Bob Worrall, C22; Fred Rahn, Multi-Hull; Paul Liszewski, PHRF Spin; Martin Lorch, Santana 20; Mike Hester, PHRF Sportboat; Scott Richards, Thistle.

The Tempe Town Lake Spring Series fleet champs are: Emory Heisler, Buccaneer; Dave Haggart, C14; Paul Miachika, Laser; Colin Gibbs (yes, that Colin Gibbs), Portsmouth.

Producing these fleet champs for the year: Emory Heisler, Buccaneer; Dave Haggart, C14; Paul Miachika, Laser; Frederick Moor, Portsmouth.

And that means the following sailors are eligible for the Club Championship, which will be sailed Saturday (5/13) at Tempe Town Lake in C14 sailboats: Dave Haggart, Emory Heisler, Mike Hester, Paul Liszewski, Martin Lorch, Paul Miachika, Fred Rahn, Scott Richards and Bob Worrall.

The scores for the Spring series can be found on the results page or by clicking here: Tempe Town Lake Week 8And the combined  Fall 2016 & Spring 2017. Lake Pleasant Week 5. And the combined Fall 2016 & Spring 2017.

Gear Up for the Tall Cactus

The final event of the AYC sailing year is the Tall Cactus Regatta, which will be sailed on Saturday, May 20, at Lake Pleasant. This is a long-distance race that delivers a final fancy belt buckle to the winner. You can register here.

Vice Commodore Victor Felice has put together two all-women teams for the regatta, putting them on his two bright-pink J/24s. Here are the boats and crews: J/24 Tiller and Kites Mermaid Rescue MLT2978: Wendy Larsen, Dianna Andress, Michelle Herridge Bailey, Kristeen Teague. J/24 Tiller and Kites Mermaid Revolution MLT2162: Stacey Loula, Ellen Wesley, Monique Palermo, Susan Pew.

Hard to miss one of Victor Felice’s J/24s when it’s on the lake.

 

Lake Pleasant Week 4 Results

Odd weekend of racing at Lake Pleasant. Light wind Saturday, but just enough to get a couple good races in. Light start Sunday with a burst of nice wind, followed by light wind, followed by….

The scores for week 4 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or click here.

 

Paul Miachika Competes in Laser Midwinters West

AYC’s reigning Club Champion, Paul Miachika, took his Laser to the biggest West Coast race on March 24-26 and while he says the “young’uns” beat him, it was an excellent event.

Reports Paul, “85 Lasers (53 Radial and 32 Standard Rig) raced out of California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA at the premier Spring Laser regatta on the West Coast. Great wind, great weather, top notch competition, excellent race committee, and on-shore hospitality made this a memorable event.”

Here are a couple shots from sailing photographer Tom Walker:

Paul Miachika at the 2017 Laser Midwinters West.

Paul mixes it up with a herd of Lasers at the Laser Midwinters West off Venice Beach, California

Lake Pleasant Week 3 Results

The weekend kicked off with some of the best wind of the year, chased Sunday morning with a nice breeze before the usual midday collapse when all the fleets decided to call it a day. Many thanks to the Multi-Hull fleet for race committee duty under difficult circumstances and the very first time they’ve taken it on.

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

Vipers racing at the 2017 Leukemia Cup and Birthday Regatta. Photo: Mike Ferring

April Meeting: Extreme Sailing!

Sailing will go to the Extreme in October in San Diego, foiling cats rising out of the water in a wild show of speed. The city is the latest entry in the world tour of the Extreme Sailing Series, a collection of professional, sponsored teams racing a fleet of foiling GC32 catamarans, “flying” just in front of thousands of spectators.

Matt Reynolds. Credit - Lloyd Images

Matt Reynolds. Credit – Lloyd Images

In April, San Diego Extreme Series CEO Matt Reynolds will introduce AYC to the series and invite us to take it all in on October 19-21. The Race Village will be based at Harbor Island, and the racing action will take place close to shore as a kind of “stadium” racing venue. The series started in 2007 with racing catamarans, but last year switched to the GC32, the foiling boats. Here’s more about the boats.

They just raced in March at Muscat in Oman. Next up in April is Qingdao, China. Then it’s on to the Madeira Islands, Hamburg and Cardiff, and then San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico

The meeting is Tuesday, April 11, 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.

Extreme Series at the last stop of 2016, Sydney harbor.

Extreme Series at the last stop of 2016, Sydney harbor.

 

Tempe Town Lake Week 5

It was a light-wind Sunday for the fifth week of racing (and RC training) at Tempe Town Lake. Of course, inevitably, the wind filled in a bit as we pulled the boats out of the water.

The scores for week 5 of racing at Tempe Town Lake are posted on the results page, or click here.

TTL Ferring 2-2017-Colin Gibbs-cover

Colin Gibbs on an O’Pen Bic. Photo: Mike Ferring