Birthday Regatta Bash

By Bob Naylor, Regatta Organizer

An Olson 30 heeling. Photo: Scott Jenkins

And what a weekend it was! The Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup was Arizona winter sailing at its finest. Blue skies, sunny warm days, and light to moderate winds made for lots of great racing. Hundreds of sailors and supporters enjoyed strong competition and camaraderie. The laughter of friends, old and new, filled the cool evening air around the regatta tent, as the day’s action gave way to a brilliant full moon at night.

The success is in the numbers:

  • 78 registered boats
  • Over 70 boats sailing
  • 10 fleets
  • 71-races completed

A great job by our skippers, crews, a weary Race Committee, and scores of shoreside volunteers. But it’s not just about the sailing. Our charitable fundraising totals more than $21,000 and is still being tallied.

The Cruising Fleet was the biggest fleet of the weekend. Three flavors of PHRF fleets duked it out: Sport Boats, Spin, and Non-spin. Emory Heisler somehow produced a Buccaneer 18 fleet. Bruce Andress alone fielded four out of six boats that comprised the Merit-25 fleet. Also new this year was the Sunfish Fleet with colorful sails darting around the Lake. Catalina 22s, Lasers, and Santana 20s rounded out the fleets.

Sunday morning saw some of the best action of the weekend. The wind was up, sails were full, and—in a few cases—fiberglass was flying! Principal Race Officer Rob Gibbs somehow managed to squeeze off a total of 71 races Saturday and Sunday. We had sailors from at least six states (AZ, CA, MI, NM, UT, WI). And the ASU Sailing Club fielded four boats: two Merit 25s, a Catalina 22, and a Catalina 30. They had a blast!

I guess you could call this “sailing to
the rum line.” Photo: Scott Jenkins

Ashore, we had food, drink, and entertainment. We had fun! Martin Lorch kicked it off with a casual cookout Friday evening, with a little corn-hole action on the side, thanks to Bob Labine and his woodworking skills.

Kegs were cracked, corks were popped, and rum bottles ran dry, a scene repeated Saturday night. The nearby Peoria Artisan Brewery donated beer, J. Dusi Winery in Paso Robles more than rose to the challenge with great wine, and we enjoyed rum from both Goslings, courtesy of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and from the Smooth Sailing Rum distillery, owned by former Arizonan and AYC member Curt Naegeli, who traveled to the Regatta from Wisconsin to race in the Sunfish Fleet. One-design expert Brian Janney of North Sails San Diego presented a well-attended trim and tuning clinic.

Glenn Brostedt and crew were up Saturday way before first light, preparing another truly fabulous breakfast. Our delicious Saturday night dinner was again catered by Arizona Taste, which donated half the normal price of the dinner.Guest speaker Onne Van der Wal entertained us with stunning photos and stories from his presentation Sailing in America.

The new maritime band, The Keeltones, led us in celebration of our 62nd Birthday. In recognizing our founder and her legacy, we were honored to have Ruth Beals’ daughters Sue Bohl and Maggie Lindsey join us for the evening. Then the Keeltones brought it all home, with the last song going to Ricky G, who cut a mean rug stage-side.

Any ill effects from Saturday night were addressed with help from the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club. Commodore Doug Payne and first mate Deedy rolled out a great grab-and-go breakfast.

A school of Sunfish swirls around the
start line. Photo: Scott Jenkins

When the racing ended Sunday afternoon, the scoring started. A tired and overworked race crew crunched the numbers, a whiff of white smoke rose above the papal RV, and the trophies were awarded. Taking home the gold were:
– Buccaneer 18: Cindy Pillote
– Catalina 22: Bob Worrall
– Cruising: Brandon Rawlings
– Laser: Barry McCartin
– Merit 25: Charles Landis
– PHRF Non-Spin: Mitch Starr
– PHRF Spin: Ben Towery
– PHRF Sport Boat: Tony Chapman
– Santana 20: Joel Hurley
– Sunfish: Randy Adophs

World famous photographer
Onne van der Wal dazzles with
photos. Photo: Mike Ferring

Equally successful this year was the fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The overall numbers are still being calculated and some additional donations are still pending, but, as of right now, our numbers look like this:
Individual Fundraising for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – $21,019
– Top Individual Fundraiser: Tony Chapman – $16,680
– Top Team: Spirit (Catalina 22 – Bob Worrall and Maureen Rojas) – $1301
AYC will present a check to LLS at the March membership meeting, where top contributors will also be recognized. Many thanks to those who “raised more than a sail in this year’s Leukemia Cup.”

Late Sunday afternoon, the parking lot had already begun to empty, the trash cleaned-up and the recycling finished. By Monday afternoon, the tent was down, the boats and last RVs were gone. Pleasant Harbor was again a patch of grass and a dusty parking lot. But, oh that Regatta, it was one to remember! Sixty-two years and still going strong, Ruth would have been proud.

Nothing helps keep memories fresh like photographs. Some skippers signed up for autographed, large-format photographs from Onne van der Wal (they’ll be arriving soon) and other photos from Onne will be available online. Scott Jenkins and Sabrina Bryant also got shots that are available here:
– Sabrina Bryant:
– Scott Jenkins:

And finally, no event like this happens without many hours of hard work by scores of volunteers. Hours of work went into race committee, event photography, food and beverage service, housekeeping and clean-up, “clean regatta” actions, sales of raffle tickets and drinks (both big money-makers), registration and check-in… the list goes on. Of the many people who helped, a few deserve special recognition for their out-sized contributions:
– Glenn Brostedt: led a sleep-deprived team of Tucson Sailing Club volunteers through the cold and dark of night to prepare a delicious hot breakfast early Saturday morning
– Rob Gibbs: assembled the Race Committee volunteers, ran 71-races in two days as PRO, and handled the scoring.
– Deb Heisler: did all the preparation and planning for the cookouts, and ran the Green Team that ensured this Regatta was Sailor For The Seas “Clean Regatta” certified, including provisioning recycling and composting bins.
– Al and Sandy Lehman: as they have for many years, devoted days to ensuring participants were welcomed, checked-in, and registered.
– Maureen Rojas: crafted a strong email and social media campaign, which she executed over several months, ensuring all parties were kept in the loop with schedules and planning, and generating event awareness that drove our great participation numbers. And, as though that weren’t enough, she and husband Rudy did yeoman’s work throughout the weekend, helping hands-on with many aspects of the overall event.
We’re deeply thankful for the hard work, time commitment, efforts, and leadership of our many volunteers who made the regatta a success:
– Race Committee:
                – ROB GIBBS: Principle Race Officer
                – Ron Anliker
                – Jo Grivala
                – Dave Haggart
                – Ed Huntsman
                – Bob Labine
                – Josh McClain
                – Heather McClain
                – Mark Mollison
                – Joe Motil
                – Lori Reger
                – John Turner
– Photography Boat:
                – David Blackman
                – Sabrina Bryant
                – Myles Hassett
                – Scott Jenkins
– USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 10-7
– MAUREEN ROJAS: Communications & Fundraising, Event Support
– DEB HEISLER: Green Team, Food and Event Support
– DAVID BLACKMAN: Fundraising
– AL and SANDY LEHMAN: Reception
– Tucson Sailing Club: Saturday Breakfast
                – GLENN BROSTEDT
                – Bob Burden
                – Peter Burgard
                – Alan Burgard
                – Larry Potter
                – Brian Dolan
                – Tony Krauss
                – Mike Gellar
                – Marshall Williamson
– Lake Pleasant Sailing Club: Doug and Deedy Payne, Bill Cunningham
– Weekend Warriors:
                – Bruce Andress
                – Matt Baker
                – Jonni Biaggini
                – Mike Davis
                – Tom Errickson
                – Maryellen Ferring
                – Deb French
                – Tarah Garcia
                – Emory Heisler
                – Megan Koopman
                – Wendy Larsen
                – Martin Lorch
                – Estella Naegeli
                – Bob Nesbit
                – Robin Naylor
                – Mike Parker
                – Dean and Kathy Robertson
                – Rudy and Maureen Rojas
                – Tommy Schaeffer and friends Nick and Seth
                – Peter Schweizer
– The Keeltones:
                – Michelangelo Caggiano
                – Steve Dolter
                – Steve Grothe
                – Charlie Joiner
                – Dennis Lynde
                – Wayne Powell

A mixed cloud of racing boats against the blue-gray mountains at the 2020 Birthday Regatta. Photo: Scott Jenkins