Make it six times. Martin Lorch is closing in on the records of the most-decorated sailors in AYC history after winning his sixth Club Championship Saturday (5/11) at Lake Pleasant. Martin and crew Kyle Clark stood up to the challenge from a half dozen other competitors on the water and one more on the hill to emerge the repeat winner. (More on that “hill” part in a moment.)
It was a brilliant day for a sailboat race, with comfortable temperature and wind that varied from light to heavy, testing both the competitors and the Catalina 22s they were sailing. One boat didn’t make it to the finish. As Victor Felice was getting ready to start the fifth race, the rudder came adrift on Steve Dolter’s boat, calling for a tow back to the dock and, unfortunately, an end to Victor’s day.
When the wind kicked up, the fleet changed down from Genoas to jibs. That meant that the 12-foot long whisker poles designed for Genoas were too long for the jibs and on at least two boats there were no shorter poles available. That produced a protest and request for redress from Thistle fleet champ Jason Rziha. Jason contended that when Kyle Clark couldn’t clip the pole to the mast (as required in RRS rule 50.2), he held it next to the mast. Protest. And when Jason got on the same boat for the next race and his crew Trey Harlow couldn’t clip the pole onto the mast, he demanded redress for not being provided sufficient equipment.
After a lengthy protest hearing on the hill after racing, a committee of Greg Woodcock, George Tingom, and Bob Worrall ruled that the pole issue hadn’t materially altered the outcome and disallowed it, keeping the results unchanged. Jason muttered, “Until the appeal.” So we shall see.
Jason and Trey finished in second place. Steve and Sarah Grothe finished third, hurt by fouling in one race while in second place and doing particularly ugly penalty turns.
Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock organized the event (in great detail) and served as Principal Race Officer. The rest of the Race Committee were: Gail Kiel, Beck Houston, Cindy Pillote, Mike & Maryellen Ferring, Bob Whyte and Jim Colceri.
Boats were graciously provided by Martin Lorch, Steve Dolter, Bob Worrall, George Tingom, J.M. Kiel, Mike Baros, Rudy Pinon and Steve Grothe (whose boat was an unused spare).
Only three people in the 48 year history of the Club Championship have won more times than Martin Lorch: Al Lehman Jr. and Skip Kempff with seven each and Don Hubele with 10. Don won his last Championship in 1985, but he’s still winning Laser races today at Tempe Town Lake.
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