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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.

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.

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:

The Big Christmas Party

December’s membership meeting brings the annual AYC gift exchange, a gift exchange with a twist. You might say twisted, even. The meeting is at 7 pm, Tuesday, December 8, at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe.

Here’s how the gift exchange works:

  • You bring a wrapped gift valued at about $20.
  • You pick a number from a hat to determine the order we select gifts.
  • We’ll have two people called to the front of the room at the same time.
  • Each person can choose to pick a wrapped gift from the pile or play pirate and take the gift from someone who’s already opened one.
  • Gifts can be “pirated” only twice before they’re safe from further theft.

Some of the gifts can be pretty weird, but if you’re looking for a prized gift suggestion: Liquor always seems to bring applause!

What’s the Christmas gift exchange like? Here’s what happened in 2011.

Dick Enersen Offers Intimate View of ’77 America’s Cup

Sailor and film director Dick Enerson. Photos: Mike Ferring

Sailor and film director Dick Enersen. Photos: Mike Ferring

It had to be one of the most entertaining America’s Cup campaigns in history, if for no other reason than the style of its prime personality: Ted Turner. Ted took the ’74 winner Courageous back on the water against newly-designed competition and won it all. Throughout the challenges and Cup races, Dick Enersen was there with a film crew, often with the camera on his shoulder himself, and turned out a documentary that still holds up well today, nearly 40 years later.

Tuesday night (11/10) Dick showed the film and talked about how it was made and what it was like to be so close to something so momentous. He had an advantage as the director and producer of the film because he was an experienced sailor who had actually crewed on a winning AC boat himself, the 1964 champ Constellation. That made it possible to convince sailors to let him aboard with his camera and he came away with some great footage. “I knew where to shoot because I knew where people would move on a tack,” he says.

Now working in philanthropy and still sailing for the fun of it, Dick recounted that 1977 action to a crowded Caddy Shack monthly meeting.

For December: the Buccaneer Gift Exchange on December 8.

Dick Enerson speaks to the November monthly meeting. That's the Ruth Beals Cup trophy in the foreground.

Dick Enersen speaks to the November monthly meeting. That’s the Ruth Beals Cup trophy in the foreground.

Sailor, Film Director Dick Enersen Speaks at November Meeting

Scan Dick Enersen’s resumes (sailing and professional) and it would be easy to decide the guy’s had a heck of a life. Crew for the 1964 America’s Cup winner Constellation stands out on a page of standout competition and lots of cruising, especially lately in the San Juan islands aboard his boat, Brass Ring. And he was able to turn his sailing passion into film credits: a career in professional film production, mostly jobs that required sailing. In November, Dick will speak to our monthly meeting.

The meeting is Tuesday, November 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.

Dick Enerson in a nice place.

Dick Enersen in a nice place.

That's Dick Enerson at the wheel.

That’s Dick Enersen at the wheel.

SF Bay Sailing Instructor Misses October Meeting

OCSC Instructor Tim Han

OCSC Instructor Tim Han

Wednesday (10/14) Update: Unfortunately, Tim was knocked down by food poisoning and couldn’t make it to the AYC meeting. Instead, Commodore Chris Smith kicked off the October meeting with a great photo review of his participation in the Chicago-to-Mac race this last summer and then called up a half dozen others to talk about “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Rear Commodore Victor Felice has booked Tim’s boss at OCSC, Anthony Sandberg, to talk to the club, probably in January. Now back to our recorded program, already in progress:

Our next meeting features OCSC sailing instructor Tim Han, who’s been teaching at the Berkeley, California, school for the last 10 years.

The meeting is Tuesday, October 13, 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.

OCSC Sailing is a large organization with some 40 instructors, 50 boats, and an overall staff of 75. It’s a San Francisco Bay sailing school and sailing club and says, “We offer sailing lessons, sailboat instruction, US Sailing Certification, sailboat charters, club membership, corporate teambuilding events, and bareboat vacations.”

Tim says he got hooked on sailing at age 16 and he’s a sailing nut—after teaching all day he says he likes to head out for more sailing. And get this: In the winter he teaches skiing.

“I’m always fascinated by the craft of sailing a boat well,” he says, “whether it’s a small dinghy or a large ocean racer. The fundamentals are beautifully simple. Balance wind and water using a hull and a sail. The practice is endlessly complex and rich. Someday, for a moment, I’ll get it perfect. Until then, I’ll keep at it and enjoy the ride.”

A glimpse of the school's fleet of J/24s, part of an overall fleet of 50. OCSC says half of its students are women.

A glimpse of the school’s fleet of J/24s, part of an overall fleet of 50. OCSC says half of its students are women.

September: Photographer, Explorer Daniel Fox

Daniel Fox

Daniel Fox

Post-meeting information: Daniel Fox presented some extraordinary pictures along side some amazing stories. Like the time he stared down a brown bear. Twice. Or the time he barely survived crashing on an Oregon beach when a wave split his ocean kayak in two. Daniel offered lots of his personal philosophy, including the value of solitude and the benefits of using “delete” on piles of digital photos.

Here’s how Daniel explains who he is on his website: “Explorer and storyteller, Fox uses his narrative to inspire the public to reconnect with the wilderness. Sometimes philosophical, sometimes poetic, his stories, his photos and his videos capture the viewers through all their senses, leaving them sifting through their memories and remembering their own moments when they felt connected.”

It promises to be an interesting presentation when Daniel Fox fills the projection screen at September’s AYC monthly gathering.

The meeting is Tuesday, September 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.

Here’s more from Daniel’s website: “He is the founder of W.I.L.D., an initiative that raises funds to send under privileged youth to wilderness immersion camps. Fox believes that immersion in nature is an important part of our development, especially during our early, formative years when it is so critical to discover who we are, develop strong self-esteem, begin to adopt leadership skills, challenge our physical well-being and acquire the capacity to live a balance life in a world dominated by technology Knowing the importance of today’s youth in shaping the future, his effort is targeted on giving youth, especially under-privileged teens, the opportunity to experience first-hand the positive impact nature can have on their lives through wilderness immersion camps.”

Rear Commodore Victor Felice (on the left) mimics the sea lion (right) as he introduces speaker Daniel Fox. Photo: Chris Smith

Rear Commodore Victor Felice (on the left) mimics the sea lion (right) as he introduces speaker Daniel Fox. Photo: Chris Smith

One of Daniel's sailing images, from San Francisco Bay.

One of Daniel’s sailing image, from San Francisco Bay.

Gino Morrelli Says It’s “Back to the Future”

Gino-Morrelli

Gino Morrelli’s company is even making high-performance composite paddle boards! Photo: Chris Smith

What’s one path to designing the fastest boats in the world? One way, says Gino Morrelli, is to look at square riggers. What? Really. They didn’t have stainless steel for rigging, so they had to hold everything together with hemp. Today, substitute something made of composites (steel is disappearing from the fast boats), but use techniques from the days of wooden ships.

Today’s advanced boats are turning things upside down in other ways, too. Gino says the hulls of catamarans used to be broad at the top and sharp at the bottom. Today, it’s the opposite in order to get buoyancy lower.

Gino plays our game at the very highest level, designing boats for everything from America’s Cup to Disneyland, from Gunboats to Hobie Waves. He helped design Oracle’s first winning boat and the Team New Zealand entry in AC34 and he’s now helping devise the rules for AC35 (tip: it’s looking like it’ll be a 50-foot boat).

This accomplished man heads Morrelli & Melvin and hangs out with the rich and successful, but he’s a very approachable and enthusiastic guy—self-taught, amazingly. He told Tuesday night’s AYC monthly meeting that he built his first boat with his father in the back yard. Within a very few years he was building catamarans that ran at the front of international races.

What about foiling? It’s every third word in boat design, he says. At first they’ve been used for boats that teeter on the bleeding edge, but they’re beginning to show up in more everyday boats. Gino says they’re now foiling microwaves, refrigerators, and air conditioners, fast cruisers that we would never imagine could rise up in the water.

Asked to do a postmortem on Team New Zealand’s loss in San Francisco, Gino says there were various mistakes by TNZ and various improvements to the boat for Oracle Team USA, but he points to one big change from the first races to the last: Oracle learned how to come out of the tacks with more speed. That made all the difference.

Prada-Team-NZ---America's-Cup

Gino Morrelli was involved in the design of both these boats for the last America’s Cup competition. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

August Meeting: Catamaran Master Designer Gino Morrelli

If you’ve ever sailed on a catamaran of any size or description, you’ve probably sailed on a Morrelli & Melvin boat. They’re that ubiquitous in catamaran design. America’s Cup? Certainly. Gunboats? Check. Leopards? Yup. Hobie Wave? Yes, sir. Really? Really.

gino_morrelli

Gino Morrelli

In August, company partner Gino Morrelli will be our guest speaker, giving us a peek at the dynamics of this dynamic sailing sector. We can’t imagine anyone better positioned to do it.

Here’s the official bio: “Gino started out working on race cars and boats in his family’s Southern California back yard as a teenager. He built his first boat with his dad and brother, a 33-foot Crowther trimaran in high school. Soon after he started his first company, Climax Catamarans, designing and building 18-square meter cats. He has been entrenched in onshore and offshore race-boat construction efforts since the early 80’s, designing and managing the construction of a French 60′ ocean racing catamaran, multiple Formula 40’s, the 1988 Stars & Stripes America’s Cup catamaran, Bol D’or racers, Little America’s Cup C-Class cats and many racing beach catamarans. Gino raced extensively on Stars and Stripes ’88 with Dennis Connor and Steve Fossett’s Morrelli & Melvin designed 125ft cat PlayStation, setting Atlantic W-E, 24 hour, Round Britain/Ireland records, and many more.”

The meeting is Tuesday, August 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.

The Morrelli & Melvin designed Gunboat Phaedro, which they re-outfitted and modified for more sail area to run in this year's Transpac. Their boats ran 1-3 in this year's race.

The Morrelli & Melvin designed Gunboat Phaedro, which they re-outfitted and modified for more sail area to run in this year’s Transpac. Their boats ran 1-3 in class in this year’s race.

Scot Tempesta Lives Up to Advance Billing

But then you knew he would.

Scot Tempesta takes home a cactus burgee. Photo: Chrisann Tortora

Scot Tempesta takes home a cactus burgee. Photo: Chrisann Tortora

Scot has been the ringmaster of Sailing Anarchy for 15 years, ever since he started it in a peak of “I’m not in the club” anger when Scuttlebutt didn’t publish a letter of his. He stirred the SA jambalaya for years until he figured out it would bubble and steam on its own and he could use his time better by attracting advertisers, which he’s done with great success. They may be wary of the tone and temperature of the thing, but he says it’s hard to deny the Google Analytics results, which he claims rank SA as the most popular sailing website by far.

Like most of us, he’s worried about the popularity of our sailing hobby: how do you attract new players, especially young people? How do you keep the kids interested if they can’t win races (they tend to drift away)? What about the whole foiling thing, which demands money, skill, and lots of wind. And here’s an intriguing question: What boat would you buy and what AYC fleet would you join if you’d just joined? Is there a fleet with momentum right now?

Besides sailing and s**t-stirring, Scot’s other career was as a radio talk show host in San Diego and he clearly has the talent for it. He could entertain for hours by himself, but it helps to have a few foils in the crowd—and John Riddell played the part perfectly, trying to defend Etchells against Scot’s attack. Scot is not an Etchells fan, thinking they represent a branch of uncomfortable, slow sailing despite their popularity with some of San Diego’s best sailors.

I clearly heard Scot say that he’d come back and talk with AYC again. Good idea!

Scot Tempesta (red shirt) surrounded by some of the monthly meeting crowd. Photo: Chrisann Tortora

Scot Tempesta (red shirt) surrounded by some of the monthly meeting crowd. Photo: Chrisann Tortora

 

July Meeting: Who is Scot Tempesta and How Can He Say Those Things?

If Scuttlebutt is your serious older brother in a serious gray suit, then Sailing Anarchy is your potty-mouthed, brawling, drunken, bare-foot little brother who just won’t shut up.

Well, the kid’s coming to dinner.

Scot Tempesta

Scot Tempesta

Scot Tempesta sailed a lot and well, but earned his living as a radio talk show host in San Diego, the kind of job where meek and mild gets you unemployed. Scot pleads Not Guilty to both meek and mild and in 2000, when he thought every sailing publication was just too boring, he decided to shake things up. He called it Sailing Anarchy.

A couple years ago Scot described SA’s beginning to Ocean Racing magazine, saying at first he just did it to bitch about things: “Especially bitching about people like Dennis Conner, and Peter Isler, basically people that for various reasons I did not like. I did not like them personally, I didn’t like the way they went about sailing. I just thought I could not be the only person with views like that, and if even I was, I didn’t give a damn and just did it!”

Since then Sailing Anarchy has gotten only a little more respectable, with a bit more actual, you know, content and each web page is ringed with advertiser links from serious companies that don’t seem to mind being associated with anarchy.

So, hang on. Scot Tempesta will be our July meeting speaker.

The meeting is Tuesday, July 14, 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.

Here’s a bit more that you probably didn’t know about Scot’s sailing background. He’s been a member of San Diego Yacht Club for three decades. He’s an accomplished sailor, winning the Lipton Cup for SDYC twice, has been two-time Schock 35 national champion, and has sailed five Transpacs and approximately 40 races to Mexico. He now sails the GP26 Sleeve of Wizard.

Scot claims Sailing Anarchy is the world's most-read sailing website.

Scot claims Sailing Anarchy is the most-read sailing website.

Sailing Tips from a World Champ

Champion sailor Bill Hardesty

Champion sailor Bill Hardesty

Bill Hardesty asked the crowd, “How many of you have a plan before the start?” Did you raise your hand? I did. But then he explained what he meant by a plan and suddenly mine looked pretty incomplete.

Bill Hardesty’s sailing resume is gold-plated: 10-time world champion, a 30-time national champ, and 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

When Bill makes a plan for a start, he breaks it down to the second before doing what we all need to do when a plan doesn’t quite match the situation: improvise.

And had you heard of the 20-80 rule? Short explanation: it’s the rule that keeps you from driving all the way to the layline on one tack, leaving yourself some margin for wind shifts or competing boats getting in the way. If you have 20% of one tack remaining and 80% of the other, it’s time to turn the boat.

We had a nice June turnout to hear this exceptional sailor, watching as he moved magnetic boats and sketched starts and mark roundings and kept us all engaged and thinking.

It takes a lot of people to make a meeting go smoothly and Commodore Chris Smith says, “Mike and Maryellen Ferring provided the white board, boats and markers. Peter Lehrach and Victor Felice helped with the set up and dismantling of the sound system and screen and Victor took some fun photos. Steve Brown brought the trophies. Lori Reger welcomed guests. Peter Lehrach worked with Jim Brewer to kick off preparations for next year’s Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup. And big thanks to Cindy Pillote for digging into her personal supply of AYC swag, which we gave to Bill.”

Bill Hardesty talks through what it means to have a plan before the start of a race. Photo: Chris Smith

Bill Hardesty talks through what it means to have a plan before the start of a race. Photos: Chris Smith

June Meeting: Champion Racer Bill Hardesty

Bill-Hardesty-mugCan you handle another great meeting speaker? How about 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Bill Hardesty?

Bill has won ten world championships: As tactician for two world championships in the Melges 24, one in the Farr 40, one in the Melges 20, three World Match Race Tour overall wins, and as helmsman for three Etchells world championships. Oh, and he finished a lousy second in last year’s J/70 Worlds. In other words, the guy can sail.

The meeting is Tuesday, June 9, 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.

From Bill’s online bio: Bill was born in Iowa and moved to San Diego at age three, where he lives today. He first stepped on a sailboat at age five, sailing catamarans with his father. He joined Mission Bay Yacht Club and sailed sabots in their junior program. He was successful even at a young age, winning two Sabot Nationals, three Youth Championships, and the High School Doublehanded Nationals.

Bill then went on to sail in college at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York. During his college career he received five All-American Skipper awards, won three National Championships and was College Sailor of the Year in 1998. He majored in marine engineering. After college he briefly campaigned the Laser but then took a break from sailing to work for a power plant in LA and then a manufacturing company in San Diego.

Here’s his very nice website with a little more information and some pictures.

Bill Hardesty (on the boat on the left) goes surfing. Photo: Sara Proctor

Bill Hardesty (on the boat on the left) goes surfing. Photo: Sara Proctor

Scuttlebutt Founder Tom Leweck Booked for May Meeting

Tom Leweck

Tom Leweck

Have you heard the scuttlebutt?

I’ve heard that our May monthly meeting speaker will be none other than Tom Leweck, the founder of that most-read online sailing publication, Sailing Scuttlebutt, now run by Tom’s son Craig.

Tom began Scuttlebutt in 1997, when the Web was in its infancy. Then and now his pals loved hearing the sailing gossip and news from Tom, who is a consummate storyteller. Show up at the May meeting and Tom will regale you with lots of stories too.

The meeting is Tuesday, May 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.

Tom calls himself, “The Original Curmudgeon” and lives up the honor. While working as a public relations guy, he was also a winning sailor and can still make a boat go fast. He says in May his topics will cover the waterfront, including “dinghy racing, keel boats, Transpac, Mexican Races, Scuttlebutt…and what’s important about our sport, and what’s not.” 

April Monthly Meeting Features Peter Nichols

Not your standard book author mug shot.

Not your standard book author mug shot.

April’s AYC meeting will bring us Peter Nichols, spinning stories of living and working as a charter captain on an engineless wooden sailboat in the Caribbean, crossing the Atlantic single-handed, and the stories behind the stories of some great, best-selling books.

Peter has written A Voyage for Madmen (finalist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year), Evolution’s Captain, and three other books of fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. His novel Voyage to the North Star was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC literary award. His novel The Rocks will be published on May 26.

Rear Commodore Chris Smith says, “I tell everybody that A Voyage for Madmen and Sea Change are two of my favorite books of all time. Not just favorite sailing books, but favorite books of any kind.”

The meeting is Tuesday, April 14, 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.

Peter Nichols has taught creative writing at a number of universities, including Georgetown University, Bowdoin College, New York University in Paris, and the University of Arizona. Before turning to writing full time, he held a 100-ton USCG Ocean Operator’s license and was a professional yacht delivery skipper for 10 years. He has also worked in advertising in London, as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, been a shepherd in Wales, and sailed alone in a small boat across the Atlantic.

Now that’s a bio we’d all like to have!

Here’s a taste of his writing, an article he wrote in Cruising World magazine about sailing with his son in the BVI. Click on the picture to download the PDF.

Best-Days-of-Our-Lives-1

America’s Cup Honcho Tom Ehman Questions Cup’s Future

Tom Ehman and That Trophy.

Tom Ehman and That Trophy.

Turns out Tom Ehman is refreshingly candid about what’s happening with the next America’s Cup. As he gears up for his 12th straight campaign, Tom has serious questions about taking the competition to the small island nation of Bermuda and he was willing to share those questions with nearly 100 people who turned out for the AYC monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 10.

As you know, the America’s Cup has been smashing through traditional barriers, lifting the Cup up on foils, skimming across the excitement of 72-footers and introducing the AC pre-season bash called the World Series. (The World Series begins very soon−in June at Cagliari on Sardinia in the Mediterranean.)

And Bermuda? What a shock that was when the AC announced it was skipping a return to San Francisco, ignoring an invitation from San Diego, and planning to race the 35th AC on a 20-square mile island in the Atlantic, population 65,000.

Tom has run a gauntlet of roles since he started with the Cup in 1980, including rules advisor, team executive, event manager, and chairman of the Challenger Commission. For the past four campaigns, Tom has been Head of External Affairs for Oracle Team USA and the AC spokesman for the host Golden Gate Yacht Club.  He’s Vice Commodore of GGYC.

His official bio describes him as a former collegiate and North American sailing champion, winner of the 1976 Championship of Champions, and at age 25 the youngest-ever Executive Director of the USA’s national sailing association – indeed, the youngest of any national governing body for an Olympic sport in America. He is the only person of long-standing involvement in the Cup who has worked only for American campaigns−New York YC, San Diego YC, St. Francis YC, and now Golden Gate YC.

Here are pictures taken by Chris Smith (except the one of Chris that Tom took).

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Stephanie Roble Accepts Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award

Stephanie Roble and Stewart Wicht, President & CEO of Rolex Watch

Stephanie Roble and Stewart Wicht, President & CEO of Rolex Watch

Stephanie Roble, our February meeting speaker, has accepted her Rolex as US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Stephanie was presented the award at the prestigious New York Yacht Club on Thursday, February 26.

“I feel so lucky to be a part of a lot of teams; teamwork is what I’m in love with right now,” she said, crediting her crew, Janel Zarkowsky and Maggie Shea. “You need  your team to be successful; this award is for all of them.

“I’m beyond the moon excited right now. This is  such a special award, and to see all the sailors who’ve won this before and to join this list means so much to me. It’s extremely motivating.”

Terry Hutchinson received the Rolex for Yachtsman of the Year.

Here’s a portion of the two emotional speeches:

 

Stephanie Roble Impresses a Huge AYC Meeting

Stephanie Roble

Stephanie Roble

And then she grabbed a red eye to head back to Miami to sail before flying on to the New York Yacht Club to accept one of the sport’s highest honors, the Rolex for the Yachtswoman of the Year.

Let’s back up.

First Stephanie Roble flew into Phoenix and headed to Tempe Town Lake to talk with the ASF high school sailing class, looking only slightly older than her audience at 25, but bringing literally a world of sailing experience.

She won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship last year and placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Based on her 2014 match racing results, she began the New Year as the top American match racer and is ranked number three in the world. Wow.

What tips did she offer the high school kids? She suggested that they keep detailed notes on their sailing, tracking where they’d been, what the wind was, what they’d done to go fast, and so on. She said her notes kept her focused on going faster and performing even better.

When she got to the packed AYC meeting that night at 7, some 100 people applauded as she offered detailed tactics for match racing, upwind and down, the “dial-up” at the start and moves that would help win. She spiced up the rundown with some astonishing videos, including a killer start sequence and a crushing crash.

While we don’t match race at AYC, Stephanie suggested that knowing some match racing techniques can be a big help in fleet racing, too. Going head to head with a competitor? A match racing move could make the difference.

Then she got on that red eye.

Here’s a link to Stephanie’s website. And here’s a link to donations to her effort.

25-year old Stephanie Roble (circled) almost lost among the high school class at Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Chris Smith

25-year old Stephanie Roble (circled) almost lost among the high school class at Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Chris Smith

Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Stephanie Roble is February’s Meeting Speaker

Stephanie Roble

Stephanie Roble

On January 14, Terry Hutchinson and Stephanie Roble were named US Sailing’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Before she picks up her new Rolex during a ceremony in New York, Stephanie will be our monthly meeting speaker. Really!

The meeting is Tuesday, February 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.

Stephanie Roble won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship and placed third at the ISAF Women’s Match Racing World Championship. Based on her 2014 match racing results, she begins the New Year as the top American match racer and is ranked number three in the world.

Last year she was also a member of the Etchells World Championship winning team, crewed on the seventh-place finisher at the J/70 North American Championship and the fifth place-finisher at the Melges 20 North American Championship.

Stephanie is 25 years old. She began by sailing dinghies and scows at Lake Beulah Yacht Club in her hometown of East Troy, Wisconsin, and she graduated from Old Dominion University in Virgina, where she twice earned ICSA All-American Honors (2010, 2011).

Rear Commodore Chris Smith says Stephanie made a big effort to fit our meeting into a multi-city trip, flying in the day of the meeting and jumping on a red-eye on the way out. Chris says let’s show our appreciation and “Let’s pack the house!”

Chris’s home run streak continues this spring with these speakers: March 10, Tom Ehman America’s Cup veteran and director of external affairs for Oracle Team USA; April 14, John Nichols, author of A Voyage for Madmen and Sea Change; May 12, Tom Leweck, storied off-shore racer and founder of Sailing Scuttlebutt News.

Roble-boat

Competing in the Lysekil Match Racing Championships. Photo: Dan Ljungsvik/LWM