Alex Heisler Makes Australian College Sailing Team

Former AYC junior sailor Alex Heisler has won a spot on her college sailing team in Australia during her semester of study abroad at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Imagine this for a sailing fan: Alex will return to the ASU Sailing team in January after watching the Sydney to Hobart race start Dec. 26th and spending New Year’s watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbor.

Like to follow along? Here’s the team’s Facebook page. The next event for the UNSW Sailing team will be the Australian University Games.

Alex Heisler (with long blonde hair) and her Australian college sailing team.

Alex Heisler (with long blonde hair) and her Australian college sailing team.

Successful Sailboat Racing Seminars

Martin Lorch on the panel of Club Champions. Photos: Mike Ferring

Martin Lorch on the panel of Club Champions. Photos: Mike Ferring

We had an excellent turnout for two racing seminars leading up to the start of the fall 2015 season, with 16 in an Introduction class and some 35 at the Advanced Sailboat Racing seminar.

The Advanced seminar was led by three AYC Club Champions, Skip Kempff, Martin Lorch and Dave Haggart, focusing on starts, wind, and tactics. Skip has long practiced the Vanderbilt start, using timed runs away from the start line in order to hit the line at speed on time, and he advocated that method for people new to the game. Martin offered a couple pages of wind tips to be ready for the shifty wind on our lakes. And Dave offered some tricks for herding your competitors in the direction you want them to go.

The sailors ranged in experience from beginners to champions, fueling a discussion that continued even after the meeting adjourned. Most of the beginners had been in the room the night before when Mike and Maryellen Ferring offered a fast course in fast racing, presenting an introduction to the sport that included documents, rules, race courses, start sequence, start tactics, wind shifts and more.

Now it’s time to take it all to the water.

Some 35 sailors gathered to hear advanced sailing tips and exchange ideas.

Some 35 sailors gathered to hear advanced sailing tips and exchange ideas.

Coming Fast: Fall Racing Season


You’ll see more Vipers on the line at Lake Pleasant this fall.

Racing action is coming up thick and fast.

Some bits and pieces: Cindy Pillote has been busy arranging an Opening Day breakfast to kick off the action at Lake Pleasant. The PHRF Sportboat fleet will grow this fall with the addition of more Viper 640s, including Dave Evans, John Riddell (really?), Mike Hester, and Mike Parker. Mike Parker was immediately drafted as the new fleet captain. Catalina 22s will move to Saturday-only fleet scoring to increase competition (since several competitors have been missing in action on Sunday mornings). Mike Yarnell has reluctantly sold his beautiful Thistle, but Scott Richards bought it and will be on the start line. Know of other fleet and boat changes? Let Mike Ferring know so he can pass it on.

Friday (9/11): Crew Party. All sailors are welcome to come to the Bluewater Grill Friday evening from 5-7 pm for some appetizers and adult beverages. If you need crew or would like to crew, stop by. If you’d just like to hang out with this bunch, stop by. Location: 1720 East Camelback Road, Phoenix (map).

(9/16): Introduction to Sailboat Racing class. Free. More info and registration here.

Thursday (9/17): Advanced Sailboat Racing Seminar with Martin Lorch, Skip Kempff and Dave Haggart. Three guys who know their way around a race course offer some of their secrets. Register in advance, but it’s free.

Saturday (9/19) NEW: Practice races at Lake Pleasant. Steve Brown will stage short w/l races with several starts, beginning at 12:30.

Sunday (9/20): Opening Day at Tempe Town Lake. Register now.

Saturday (9/26): Opening Day at Lake Pleasant. Register now.


Viper 640 Class Wins Big Contract

By the thinnest of margins the Gulf Yachting Association (GYA) has chosen the Viper 640 over the VX One as the new boat to sail in its historic inter-club Capdevielle Championship series. The decision is a big boost to the boat many Arizona Yacht Club members sail.

The GYA has used the Flying Scot for almost 50 of the nearly 100 years the series has been run and has spent the last several years choosing a replacement, starting with a list of 50 candidates. They wanted something seriously sporty, but not so difficult to sail that older or less athletic sailors would be unable to use it.

Tony Chapman aboard his Viper. Photo: Chris Smith

Tony Chapman (center) aboard Court Robert’s (right) Viper. Photo: Chris Smith

AYC member Tony Chapman says he’s been helping promote the boat for about six months as a member of the class executive committee and as the accountant for Rondar Raceboats, the constructor of Vipers. He says, “It’s difficult to predict how many boats will be involved but since there were 27 clubs that voted, we assume that each voting club plus possibly two or three members from most of the clubs will be buying Vipers over the next two years.”

Needless to say, the class will benefit from that many more boats on the water and it will float the used boat market for quite a while.

AYC’s Viper 640 population is growing this fall, with several new entrants, including Dave Evans, John Riddell, Mike Hester, and Mike Parker.

The Gulf Yachting Association rings the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Houston. It was organized to promote the sport on the Gulf Coast and nearby areas. Founded in 1901 and reorganized in 1920, the GYA has grown from the original six clubs to over 30 member organizations.

A Viper skims across Lake Pleasant

Wild Ride