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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

 

Back on Trailers; All’s Right with the World

Dog Years is lifted back onto its trailer after being knocked over in the July monsoon storm. Photo: Wendy Larsen

An outpouring of help Saturday (7/22), including a crane and a forklift, put humpty dumpty back on the wall again.

It will be quite some time before Pleasant Harbor Marina is fully operational, but AYC’s members picked their boats off the hard gravel of the dry storage yard and plopped them back on trailers where they belong.

Dog Year, the Mini 650 of Wendy Larsen and Dave Christensen, was the most damaged, with a big hole and some small ones needing repair. Fortunately, Dave has intimate knowledge of the innards of Dog Years and knows how to fix it. In fact, he’s had to repair damage twice before.

Steve Kusic’s boat had a mangled stern pulpit and a mangled trailer. Bruce Andress now has the boat on one of his trailers and will do the repairs.

All of the boats were put upright shortly after dawn Saturday following the damage a week earlier from blows from opening monsoons. Pleasant Harbor Marina isn’t doing as well. Damages there will take a long time to repair, though the marina reports that water and power have now been restored. They’re referring people to the PHM Facebook page.

Lots of hands help drop Steve Kusic’s mast on Runaway. The boat was back on a trailer and headed for repair. Photo: Mike Ferring

The walkway was still closed Saturday morning, July 22, after the monsoon storms. Photo: Mike Ferring

Shockwave Finishes the Transpac

After correcting for handicap, these are the finishing times for Shockwave’s division. She’s the fifth boat. The numbers show days/hours/minutes/seconds.

Mike and Jo Grijalva and their predominantly AYC crew arrived at the finish line of the Transpac at 11:44 am Hawaii time Tuesday, July 17.

They were placed 5th in their division, but after two weeks in the Pacific, the corrected times of the entire division were within a few hours of each other.

Ricky Gilchrist eyes the arrival pineapple warily. After two weeks at sea, they’re ready for a real cocktail! Photo: Al Lehman

Al and Sandy Lehman greeted son Santa Claus, oops, Al Jr., in Honolulu.

Sailing Bingo Night in July

Just for fun.

A purely fun, social monthly meeting. You’ll have an AYC Bingo card. You and your table of sailing wizards will be called on to answer sailing questions. If you get the answer right, everyone in the room gets to mark the square. First to Bingo wins a fabulous prize.

Maryellen Ferring with a little help from Mike will run this game and we’re thinking up questions now. Not stumpers, just good sailing questions in 25 different categories.

To help beat the heat, the Caddy Shack will bring in $3 root beer floats, $5 with the very tasty addition of a shot of Jack Daniel’s.

The meeting is Tuesday, July 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.

Can you answer a question about this year’s America’s Cup?

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

 

 

 

Championship Regatta 2017 Slideshow

Here are three dozen pictures taken by Mike Ferring during the 2017 Club Championship Regatta at Tempe Town Lake, won by Mike Hester and John Mayall.

Wide view of the Championship Race from the Rural Avenue Bridge. Photo: Dave Henning

Tucson Sailing Club Invites You to Mexico

The Tucson Sailing Club is headed for Mexico over Memorial Day weekend and would like you to come along. It’s the club’s spring trip to San Carlos, with lots of party and lots of sailing.

You’ll find some exotic sailing with the Tucson Sailing Club.

Marshall Williamson says, “Whether your boat is made for speed, or padded for comfort, whether you’re new to racing or an ocean racing veteran, you’ll have a great time racing with us! We invite you to participate.”

Here’s a schedule of what’s happening. And here’s a link to the TSC website where you’ll find registration information.

Questions: Race Chairman Peter Burgard, at burgardjd@aol.com or call 520.625.3982.

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 Draws Family Racing

Sure, the wind was shifty and sometimes light, but it was a nice day on the water at Tempe Town Lake on Sunday (2/26). Most fun, it brought out some of the kids. Will Zornik put daughter Heidi and son Conrad on his Laser, where they were great crew. Conrad played bowman and figurehead. Amazingly, despite the extra weight, on the first race Will and team got a great start, picked up a favorable shift on the last leg and won!

Meanwhile, Rob Gibbs on his Laser trailed behind son Colin aboard a Bic O’Pen, coaching him around the course in the Portsmouth fleet. Colin announced to Rob that he wanted to race this spring and delighted dad decided to coach rather than race himself. Colin looked very confident—and very well dressed for the part.

Results of the day are posted on the results page, or click here.

A slideshow of Mike Ferring’s pictures are below:

Conrad, Heidi, and Will Zornik before one of the races. Photo: Mike Ferring

Conrad, Heidi, and Will Zornik before one of the races. Photo: Mike Ferring

March Meeting: Boathouse for Tempe Town Lake?

Kim Knotter, Executive Director, Rio Salado Foundation

Kim Knotter, Executive Director, Rio Salado Foundation

The Rio Salado Foundation is making another run at building a $5-million boathouse on the north shore of Tempe Town Lake. Storage on the lower floor, offices and meeting space on the top. Sound like something nice to have?

At the March monthly meeting, Rio Salado’s Executive Director Kim Knotter will lay out the plans and the hopes and dreams for you to ogle. If you’ve been following this story, this will be familiar. The organization has been trying to get the concept off the ground for years and has been sitting on $1.2 million in funds as seed money, most of it from SRP. Kim will tell us how they hope to get the seed to grow.

The meeting is Tuesday, March 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.

Kim Knotter was named Executive Director in July 2013 and has worked in nonprofit management and fundraising in Phoenix for over 20 years. She has served with some of the Valley’s most notable charities including The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Arizona, Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix Art Museum, and Ballet Arizona. Kim is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Planned Giving Round Table of Arizona.

Tempe Town Lake Results for Weekend Two

Two Sundays of Tempe Town Lake racing and two Sundays of strong wind! The racing on February 12 was as good as it gets, with good wind from start to finish, blowing from the west. Lasers, C14s, and Buccs were out to play, with Portsmouth on Race Committee training.

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

Laser on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbie Borgman

Laser on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbie Borgman

2017 Starts with REGATTAS

The 2107 season starts with TWO regattas. On January 21, ladies take the helm in the RUTH BEALS CUP. This year we will be celebrating the founder of the AYC on Lake Pleasant. As of January 9th, 12 boats have already signed up for the event—this a significant challenge for the Cup! With a mixed fleet of boats in a handicap race on a new course, we will definitely see some very interesting and tactical sailing.

CUP DETAILS AND REGISTRATION

The Second event of 2017 is the LEUKEMIA CUP/First in the Nation/Birthday Regatta. Also on Lake Pleasant, this is always by far the largest and most complete event of the year.

Many completely new events and features have been added to this year’s regatta making it a very complete weekend. For the first time, racing will be mainly handicap racing (not the usual fleets); the Vipers are back in full swing; a new Club Challenge for cruisers has been added; a full day SUP event on the north ramp beach; we have chartered ‘The Phoenix’ for a Saturday afternoon Regatta Cruise for friends and family; Saturday and Sunday will see  the first “Lunch on the Lake” (a pontoon boat with your pre-ordered lunch will deliver it to you!); many new sponsors and participants; wide distribution print media (full page newspaper ads, full color ad in Trends Magazine); promotional support from the SCYA and so much more! And yes, there will be a giant tent at Spinnaker Point courtesy of H2OMG—the hydroplane races held the weekend after us.

REGATTA DETAILS AND REGISTRATION

 

Ruth Beals Cup Goes the Distance

The Ruth Beals course will be heart-shaped.

The Ruth Beals course will be heart-shaped.

Since AYC began this women-at-the-helm championship race, it’s been fought at Tempe Town Lake in C14s. Not this year. Try keel boats for long distance at Lake Pleasant. This is another twist from the fertile mind of Vice Commodore Victor Felice. To add a triple twist, he’s laid out a course shaped like a heart.

The race is named for the founder of AYC, Ruth Beals, and offers a chance for the women of the club to compete against other women. Men are allowed to crew, but not to get too close to the tiller. Here’s a link to the registration information for the race, which will be run on Saturday, January 21, starting at 10 am.

Maryellen Ferring (shown on the home page picture) has held the cup for the last two years, but won’t be defending since she’ll be out of the country when the race is run.

Tempe Town Lake Week 6 Results

A blustery Sunday afternoon made for great sailing for a hearty bunch of TTL sailors. The wind tipped over 15 mph much of the time, meaning lots of races and a few trips into the drink.

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

Pushing to the front: Paul Miachika. Photo: Mike Ferring

Pushing to the front: Paul Miachika. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lake Pleasant Fall Series Final Results

A great couple days of racing for our final weekend of the fall series! Very good wind on both days, especially Sunday morning (where were all you people?). Thanks to fine race committee work from the Thistle fleet.

Congratulations to the fleet champs: Bob Worrall, C22; Brett Johnston, Multi-hull; Tom Baker, PHRF Spin; Martin Lorch, Santana 20; Mike Hester, PHRF Sportboat; Dan Schott, Thistle.

The final week of racing for the fall series at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page or click here.

Running from Horse, PHRF Spin boats chase downwind. Photo: Bill Cunningham

Running from Horse, PHRF Spin boats chase downwind. Photo: Bill Cunningham