Archive | May, 2018

Wednesday Beer Can Racing

Wednesday Beer Can Racing ~ Photo by Marc Danner

Wednesday night was the first of many hot nights out at Tempe Town Lake. The wind started to build out of the west with gusts of around 10kts.

Two boats started on the line with the one minute “call out” by the Ferrings. We were able to get in four races before they had to dash off for the Phoenix Mercury game!

This is great, low-pressure racing before next season. So if you just bought a boat or have one in the garage, come on out, hone your skills and have fun!

See you on the water next Wednesday. Here’s further information.

Marc Danner

Catalina Flotilla – UPDATE

Hi everyone!

We’ve seen quite a bit of interest for our Officially Unofficial Flotilla to Catalina the weekend of July 20th! People that are looking for crew, people that want to go but would like some crew, even people that might be interested in getting certified while heading over. In order to facilitate all of this, we’ve created a free sign up form. If you are even considering going, please fill it out and we’ll try to do some matchmaking and see that everyone that wants to go gets to go!

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Catalina Sign-up

Avalon harbor on Catalina Island, a great charter destination. Photo: Ralph Vatalaro

Watching the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stop

By Bob Naylor

Volvo Ocean Race stop in Newport. Photo: Bob Naylor

My brother and I spent a weekend at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport and had an absolute blast. It was a great, very memorable experience for us.

The weather was not cooperative! I haven’t been that cold and wet in a very long time; but, it worked in our favor to some extent. The rain, wind, fog, drizzle, and cold temperatures really reduced the crowds. Those who bundled up and braved the weather were a hardy, die-hard, lot—and a great deal of fun to be with.

Never had I enjoyed a hot bowl of clam chowder more than that Friday when I had seriously underestimated the weather and utterly failed to anticipate the misery of a wet and very windy New England day, exploring the Race Village exhibits in my favorite pair of Arizona shorts and a sailing-themed Hawaiian shirt.

Just to ensure hypothermia had every opportunity to set in, we then joined a small, rain sodden, crowd of sailing enthusiasts to watch the M32 catamaran races from the windy shore of Fort Adams. To give you some idea of the wind that day, the M32s raced with a reefed main and no headsail. It was WINDY.

I dressed more reasonably for the rest of the weekend, although I was still cold—and wet—much of the time. I twice ran into Daniel Forster at Fort Adams. You’ll remember he was our AYC guest speaker in April, sharing with us the best sailing photographs from his long long career photographing sailboats. He was set up along the sea wall at Fort Adams, properly dressed in heavy foul weather gear and taking photos on Friday of the M32 cat race and on Saturday of the in-port race. We had fun catching up, and he provided some good local tips for us as well. Very nice guy.

Saturday morning, windshield wipers slapping all the way, we drove to nearby Bristol, RI, and toured the Herreshoff Museum. That was a great couple of hours as well—lots of gorgeous wooden boats, sailboats and motor launches, designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff, who also designed all of the winning America’s Cup boats from about 1890 to 1930 or so. We could have easily spent the day there, but left after a few hours to return to the Race Village for the in-port race.

The in-port race on Saturday also had strong winds, though not as heavy as the day before. The Volvo Ocean 65s handled the heavy air much better than the catamarans did the day before.

Following a really cold and wet afternoon of watching a really great race, we made our way from the Race Village to the Newport Yacht Club, where my AYC membership card was welcomed, albeit suspiciously (Arizona, really?). We enjoyed drinks and dinner there in the company of some lively, fun, local Newport sailors, really a great bunch of folks who made us feel right at home.

My AYC membership card generated a lot of conversation. People seemed amazed to learn that we sail in the desert, and they are equally confused to find that we mostly stop sailing for the summer months, just as they’re launching for a few short months of sailing in Narragansett Bay (which looks like some awesome sailing, by the way).

To the amazement of all, the pea-soup fog and drizzle on Sunday dissipated about 40 minutes before the start of Leg 9. The gray skies, half-mile visibility, and the moaning of the fog horns gave way to sunshine and blue skies (the first we had seen all weekend!), and the start of the Leg-9 race was really great, with plenty of wind.

We were aboard a boat in the VIP spectator zone and had a wonderful view of the race.  It was great fun to be in the armada of spectator boats that chased the VO65s out as far as the sea buoy, where heavy swells forced most boats to head back in for the day.

Then came Monday and the drive to the airport. The sun was shining brightly, birds were singing, it was WARM and DRY with a lovely and slight spring breeze—an absolutely beautiful day. Nature is cruel that way.

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

June Monthly Meeting: Extreme Sailing!

Alinghi at speed. Photo: Mike Ferring

When Matt Reynolds introduced us to Extreme Sailing at a monthly meeting last year, more than a dozen AYC members took up the invitation to see the October races in San Diego.

In June, Matt will be back with a highlight reel of stories from the first event.

Watching from the shore is free, but a bunch of us from AYC paid for the upgrade to ride on the wild, foiling GC32 catamarans during racing. What a kick! I was hanging onto the tramp of the French-shouting Swiss entry Alinghi as the crew scrambled around me, ducking flying lines and trying to keep up with the radical speed of the race. I highly recommend it.

Eat well at the VIP Extreme Club. Two Silver Passes will be auctioned at the June AYC Monthly Meeting.

Second best: A Silver Pass that offers entry into the VIP viewing area just off the finish line with great food and open bar, television coverage, the skippers’ news conference, a technical tour of a GC32, and (if you’d like), a RIB ride during racing. The Silver Passes are $350 each and we’ll auction off a pair of them at the meeting to benefit AYC’s 2019 Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup. Come ready to bid!

The meeting is Tuesday, June 12, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

 

Against the backdrop of the city of San Diego, the Extreme Sailing series in October 2017. Photo: Mike Ferring

Extreme Sailing action near the finish in San Diego. This sort of close and wild action was typical. Photo: Mike Ferring

The GC32 catamarans fly on foils. Photo: Mike Ferring

Commodore’s Party Draws Nice Crowd

David Newland, the recipient of our award for Most Valuable Player. Photo: Mike Ferring

You have a new Board of Directors at the helm after the Commodore’s Celebration Saturday night (5/19). The changeover to the new crew went very well, with over 70 members turning out for the party at The Yard in Tempe.

The formal part of the event is the installation of the board and new Commodore Rob Gibbs and the awarding of trophies and offering thanks to the people who made last year work so well. This year’s US Sailing Sportsmanship Award recipient is David Newland, who did such amazing work to get our Lake Pleasant boats in shape and keeping them that way in his role as Lake Captain. Here’s a lot more description of what David did this last year.

After a vote of the jury, George Tingom will get to keep Ye Olde Blunder Bucket another few months and we hope he takes better care of it than he has lately. You see, part of the responsibility of receiving this coveted trophy is its care and feeding—keeping it prominently displayed on one’s mantle. After winning the prize in December, George instead kept it in his car! Nominated for this transgression—and then foolishly trying to defend doing it—won it again for George.

Ethan Wei accepts the trophy for Most Improved Junior. Photo: Mike Ferring

The Wayne Jason Tucker Award for Outstanding Junior went to Myles Danner. The Jerry Lindeman Award for Most Improved Junior went to Ethan Wei and Matthew Haggart. The Heavy Lifting Award for contribution to ASF went to Mike Parker, who took over the High School Sailing Team this year.

Photos by Mike Ferring and various others who picked up his camera when needed:

 

 

 

MVP for 2018: David Newland

David Newland, the recipient of our award for Most Valuable Player. Photo: Mike Ferring

David Newland is the recipient of the AYC Most Valuable Player award, what we call the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award. David has gone above and beyond constantly in his role as Lake Pleasant Lake Captain. I spent 45 minutes scanning a year’s worth of emails, hundreds of them, to try to give you a flavor of what he’s done and here’s just a glimpse of what I found.

He researched a new outboard for the Boston Whaler, negotiated price with three dealers, arranged for the purchase, warranty (10-year), and installation… and even got us a little money for the old motor.

When the monsoon hit Pleasant Harbor Marina and the AYC pontoon boat went flying across the storage yard, smashing into a passing cruiser, the trailer and pontoon ending up bent and twisted, he arranged for repair, handled the insurance… and had some money left over.

Commodore Mike Ferring and Lake Captain David Newland try out the new power on the AYC Boston Whaler. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

While he was at it, he personally redid the bunks on the trailer and replaced the brakes. Cleaned it up and rewired the control panel.

Then he went to work on the Boston Whaler, cleaning and repairing, replacing the rub strip, digging into the innards. Tony Chapman had been wondering how the boat had used so much oil over the last year. David found out why when he went into the bilge. Here’s part of that email:

“I’m guessing 1 gal of 2 stoke oil, along with 5 gal of water sitting underneath it all for good measure. Mix in some sand, dropped washers/nuts, clipped zip tie ends and the occasional twig, and we had quite the soup going. I even think there was a dead black widow in the anchor locker, but I didn’t give it much of a look.”

Then there was replacing the automatic race starting boxes at both LP & TTL, the VHF radios, finding and sorting out the boat and trailer registrations, cleaning and sorting lines, writing checklists, working the mark anchors and rode and buckets, and cleaning out the lockers, sorting keys. He showed up at the beginning and end of every race day to make sure things were done correctly and then fixed them because they never were.

Somewhere along the way the Commodore came up with a robotic race mark, the MarkSetBot that needed as much attention as a newborn baby and he handled most of that too.

He did this when nobody was watching and not expecting any reward. Our 2018 AYC MVP: David Newland.

David Newland drives the repowered AYC Boston Whaler at speed. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

 

Our Purpose

What do we do at the Arizona Yacht Club? If you asked ten people, you’d probably get five people that say “we race” and then you’d probably get five other answers. In undertaking the leadership of the club, I wanted to make sure that our new board was clear about our purpose. And when you read it, it will seem almost over-simplistic. The trouble is that without making a point of putting into words what we do, what our purpose is, we lose it.

I spent several weeks and talked with many different people about how to drill down and clarify what we do. It combines what we are passionate about, what we can be the best at, and what drives our club financially, all into one statement. This is your club, and now I want to share what we’ve worked on with you.

I identified that our purpose is to “Create the best sailing opportunities in the region, providing the highest value per member.”

This is the lens through which all activities and expenditures will be viewed. Our litmus test.

A few days ago, I had all the board members for the 2018-2019 board over to my house and we had a workshop to talk about what was important to us and how to “Create the best sailing opportunities in the region” and “provide the highest value per member.” We took the time to identify some focus areas for the coming year. They were:

  • Long-Term Planning
  • Reducing the Barriers to Entry to Sailing
  • Adding to our Social and Cruising Calendars
  • Creating Ways for our Junior Members to Participate

In order to keep you informed, I’m going to be writing on a regular basis using the “Commodore’s Corner” name plucked from the old Compass Points club magazine. We may also be reaching out for your opinion from time to time via email, survey, or phone call. This is your club and we want you to enjoy it! Please take the time to give us your feedback when you can.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve you as Commodore this year. You are always welcome to contact me directly any way you like.

Sail MORE!
Rob Gibbs

Sails Into Sail Bags: Nice

When the sails get baggy, it’s time for Sail Bags. When the draft goes from 40% to 80%, it’s time to retire and recycle.

Maryellen Ferring put out the call to AYC members to look through their dusty piles of old sails and bring them to her—and lots of people responded. The picture shows them folded and boxed at the TabBand shipping department, ready to head off to Sail Bags in Maine to be recycled into various bags, purses, and cases.

In return, AYC will get a number of Sail Bags’ items to use for prizes, auction items, and giveaways. How many? It’s all based on what they find in those boxes. So, many thanks to the people who contributed… and isn’t it nice to have them out of the garage?

Big boxes full of old sails contributed by AYC members, headed off for recycling into Sail Bags. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

Scott Richards Scores Close Champ Win

Close starts for the 2018 Championship races. Click on the shots in the story to see bigger images. Photo: Mike Ferring

It all came down to the final race, the sixth of six. On a near-perfect sailing day at Lake Pleasant (if you’re not bothered by a few random puffs), Thistle champ Scott Richards held a single point lead over Laser winner Joel Hurley. Joel would have to beat Scott in this single race—and finish first or second to take the tie-breaker. If he could, he’d win the Club Championship.

This is the annual Arizona Yacht Club race that pits the person in each fleet with the best score for the combined fall and spring race series. Each year those fleet winners compete in one-design boats in a race of champions. This year, the boat was the Thistle.

About one minute before the start, Scott goes swimming. Photo: Mike Ferring

About one minute before the start of the final race, Scott Richards reached with his foot for the hiking strap. And missed. He was suddenly in the water, calling for sister Sharon to grab the tiller and head up so he could get back in the boat. Soaked and dazed, Scott still somehow managed a good start and joined five other Thistles in the race to the windward mark.

Scott Richards (green boat) rides a big puff to the windward mark. Joel Hurley (white boat left) has to tack to make it. Photo: Mike Ferring

Joel and crew Will Zornik sailed a better beat and was sliding up inside two others to round first—but then, a slight header, forcing a quick tack. Thirty feet away a burst of downdraft suddenly shot Scott ahead and around the mark in front of them.

Downwind, Joel kept looking for a way around. Lots of jibes and jockeying for position. He managed to slip in front of Scott, holding second in the race, trailing only Mike Hester. If he could hang on, he’d win it all. Then upwind: Scott chose the right and Joel the left. Right worked; left didn’t. By the finish Scott was a couple boats ahead and celebrating his first AYC Club Championship.

Leeward mark rounding on the final race. Joel rounds ahead of Scott, but chooses the wrong side for the final beat. Photo: Mike Ferring

This field included many of the club’s best sailors and they put on quite a show, with lots of lead changes and close tactics. Some of the best left frustrated. Seven-time champ Martin Lorch (sailing with former champ Trey Harlow) grumbled that he’d simply had a bad day.

Former champ Dave Haggart and wife Stacey started with a sixth and fifth, but then figured out the boat and scored a pair of bullets. Mike Parker and Tony Chapman struggled except they too won a race. Mike Hester and John Mayall, the reigning champs, sailed well, but a couple mid-pack finishes pulled them down to a close third overall at the end.

The workers: PRO Skip Kempff and his RC crew, including Tom Ohlin, Cedric Lorch, Tom Glover, David Newland, Maryellen and me. George Sheller had to miss the day, but he did the set-up and organization.

Special thanks to the Thistle fleet for providing their boats for the races!

 

Your 2018 AYC Club Champion Scott Richards and crew/sister Sharon Richards. Photo: Mike Ferring

Here are a few more shots Mike took:

The class photo (l to r): Trey Harlow, Joel Hurley, Martin Lorch, John Mayall, Will Zornik, Sharon Richards, Scott Richards, Mike Hester, Dave Haggart, Stacey Haggart, Tony Chapman, Mike Parker. Photo: Mike Ferring

2018-2019 Board of Directors

Right now there are 235 member families in the Arizona Yacht Club and in online voting during April, they selected the next board of directors.

The new board’s members are: Rob Gibbs, Commodore; Marc Danner, Vice Commodore; Sharon Bell, Rear Commodore; George Sheller, Racing Fleet Captain; Heather McClain, Cruising Fleet Captain; Skip Kempff, Membership Director (two-year term); Mike Ferring, Jr Staff Commodore.

Bruce Andress moves to Sr Staff Commodore and Andrew Oliver will continue in the second year of his two-year term as Membership Director. The new board will elect a Secretary and Treasurer.

Rob Gibbs is a familiar face at AYC, having served as Membership Director and now serving as one of the key instructors for the Arizona Sailing Foundation. In addition to the adult Learn to Sail program and the Powerboat Safety classes, Rob teaches the Junior Performance Sailing class, which includes his son Colin.

The new board will be installed at the Commodore’s Celebration on Saturday, May 19. More information and registration for this event here.

The 2018 ASF Performance Racing class. Rob Gibbs is the tall one on the right. Photo: Mike Ferring

Watch the AYC Champ Race on a Party Boat

Watch six AYC fleet champs duke it out for the coveted Club Championship trophy. Defending champ (and Sport Boat fleet champ) Mike Hester goes up against a field of excellent sailors in a round-robin competition using Thistles.

2018 Club Championship entrants are: Thistle Fleet Champion, Scott Richards; Capri 14.2, Dave Haggart; Catalina 22, Steve Grothe; Laser, Joel Hurley; Multi-Hull, Brett Johnston; Portsmouth, Mike Parker; PHRF Spin, Martin Lorch; and Reigning Club Champion/PHRF Sport Boat, Mike Hester. Steve Grothe and Brett Johnston are not able to make the race, reducing the expected entry to six.

Champ Party Boat Signup

Fleet Captain George Sheller will take you around the course on a luxury pontoon boat and position you for best viewing at the start and rounding marks. Bring snacks and beverages and cheer on your favorite.

One of the Scorpion rental pontoon boats.

The races will be Saturday, May 12, beginning about 9 am and continuing until a champ has been selected. That could be as many as seven races, but often is five or six.

The party boat will leave Scorpion at about 1 pm to see as many races as remain at that time, including the choice of a champ. The boat is expected to be a 24-foot luxury pontoon boat with cushy seats.

George needs at least 12 people to sign up for the boat in order to cover the rental. The price per person is $25.

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

Commodore’s Celebration Saturday, May 19

Last year’s Commodore’s Celebration at The Yard in Tempe went so well we decided to do it again.

Dress is business casual. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Saturday, May 19. Cocktails at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm.

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

The menu includes:

  • Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondue
  • Caesar Salad
  • Meat Loaf with Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Snow Peas
  • Baked Penne Pasta with Butternut Cream Sauce, Roasted Squash, Red Pepper, Herbed Ricotta
  • Apple Cobbler with Bourbon Caramel Dessert

This year’s Commodore at last year’s Commodore’s Celebration.

Here’s a slideshow the Commodore put together.

 

High School Championship 2018

Tempe Town Lake offered five high school sailors its best mix of twists, turns, puffs, and lulls Saturday (5/5), as they competed in a close-fought contest to pick the year’s high school champion. The five competed in Lasers this year, running windward-leeward races to the east.

After one of the round-robin boats turned out to be taking on water (that’s slow!), the organizers considered various ways of offering redress to people using the slow boat. In the end, they determined that there should be a tie between Ian Altobelli and Bella Hutchinson, with Jude Brauer in third.

Mike Parker headed up the high school class this year, with able help from Dick Krebill, George Tingom and Larry Green. Andy Oliver was the PRO for the champ race, Katherine Roxlo, Joel Hurley, Cindy Pillote, Erika Parker and others helping out.

The High School Championship competitors 2018: Alex Baros, Ashley Baros, Bella Hutchinson, Ian Altobelli, Jude Brauer. Photo: Mike Ferring

Here’s a slide show of photos by Mike Ferring: