Gear Up for Fall Racing

By Mike Ferring, Racing Captain

After lots of discussion, a blizzard of emails, and a survey of everyone who entered a boat in the fall and spring series last year, here’s what’s changed: Very little. It’s reassuring, really, that racing at the Arizona Yacht Club will look very much as it’s looked for a couple decades or so.

Enough said? Ready to sign up? Head to the racing page and start clicking.

Want to know more? I invite you to keep reading.

The survey of entrants (read about it here) indicated that most wanted the number of races at both Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant to remain as they are. Start the racing later, if possible, to avoid the worst of the heat. Figure out something to adjust to the declining participation on Sunday mornings.

The Rules Committee (made up of fleet captains) settled on a calendar that includes five Lake Pleasant race weekends in fall and spring and eight Sundays at Tempe Town Lake. Check the calendar or the Notices of Race on the racing page for the dates.

In addition, there will be the usual stand-alone events at Lake Pleasant, headed by the Birthday Regatta February 17-20, and including the Ruth Beals Cup October 22, the Governor’s Cup December 10, and the Tall Cactus Regatta April 22. There’s one newcomer: a dinghy race weekend November 19-20, that will be a festival of Portsmouth boats. We’ll wrap up the year with the Championship Race on May 6.

What did we figure out for Sunday morning? While the Catalina 22 fleet has no interest in sailing Sunday mornings, the other fleets do—or, more accurately, some of the racers do. The Santana 20 fleet has promised that four boats will show up regularly. We’re creating a new Sunday morning series for the combined PHRF Spin and Sport Boat fleets. They’ll race together and score the series separately. A separate entry is required, but at no cost for those signed up for the other series.

Recently, the Thistle fleet has been hanging on by a thread, managing to drum up the required minimum five entries to remain an active fleet, but seeing zero to three on the water. There have been conversations this month to test the possibility of combining Thistles and some TTL Portsmouth boats for a single fleet sailing both Saturday and Sunday. Right now, it’s too close to call. We’ll see who signs up.

There were a couple small changes to the LP racing program. Sunday morning races will now begin at 8:30 instead of 9 to take advantage of the usually better morning north wind. (I hope I can get out of bed that much earlier!) We may be finished by 10 or 10:30. And the Time Limit Expired (TLE) scoring will go away as an experiment to see if it improves the racing. For this to succeed, the race committees will have to be much more proactive in shortening course (which they should be anyway).

If you’re someone who would like to crew or who needs crew, we plan to step up the effort to match you up. Spin fleet captain Sean Brown will be heading up this effort and will have more to say soon.

If you’re someone who would like to join the fun, but who doesn’t know a lot about how the game is played, Maryellen and I will be holding our Introduction to Sailboat Racing class on Thursday evening, August 30. Learn more about it here.