By Mike Ferring
Photos: Joanne Aspinall & Marc Danner
Let’s start with the headline: Martin Lorch will have his name engraved on the honorable Club Championship punchbowl for the seventh time. Seven. Matching Skip Kempff and Al Lehman, Jr. for winning. Just three back from all-timer Don Hubele.
Martin and son Cedric won the prize Saturday (5/1) at Tempe Town Lake in a tiebreaker over defending champ Joel Hurley and crew Rob Gibbs. John and Joyce Mayall finished just two points back in third. And clearly, I have to mention fourth: Mike Ferring and David Newland. As you must know, Your Majesty, there is no second place in the Club Championship (let alone fourth!). Here’s a link to the results.
The day began with drifters, the worst way to run a championship, with luck playing a big role in the outcome. (How is it that the fast ones seem to find the strongest wispy winds?) By the afternoon, the wind piped up, with gusts around 20mph, and that’s when Martin and Joel headed into the eighth and final race, with Martin ahead by two points and in possession of tiebreaking first-place finishes.
John was clearly ahead in the race, with Joel and Martin next, Joel ahead around the windy windward and Martin just to windward of him when they headed toward the leeward gates. Joel always sails aggressively and he saw his chance to luff Martin, maybe get him to foul and get the points he needed to win. So, he did. Big luff. Close call. Martin nearly lost control and unintentionally luffed the fourth-place boat (that would be David and me) and we fouled him.
Joel held a small lead over Martin heading to the finish and again aggressively luffed, forcing Martin into a virtual stall, allowing David and me to finish third in the race, just ahead of Martin. Exciting, right?
In the post-race ceremony, Fleet Captain Jeff Coulter presented the very tarnished Championship punchbowl to Martin and Cedric (former bowl-holder Joel claimed he’d never heard of silver polish), leaving it to them to clean it up and put that seventh plaque in place.
Eight skippers from eight fleets participated, including Jeff Bryant, Emory Heisler, Dan Schott, and Bob Worrall. Jeff Coulter ran the show, with help from Marc and Myles Danner, Mark Trainor, David Henning, Igor Wojewoda, and probably others I’ve missed. Maryellen Ferring played Master Snacktician, providing water, sandwiches, pastries, orange juice and a host of nibbles to help everyone make it through the day. Lorchs, Mayalls, Hennings, Ferrings, and ASF provided the Catalina/Capri 14.2 boats.
COVID 19 eliminated last year’s Championship Race, so it was great to have it back.
It is worth mentioning that we had two competitors over the age of 80 in our Club Championship Race this year. Bob Worrall and Dan Schott, two truly amazing sailors that continue to inspire us all!