The Big Race That Finished a Little Late and a Few Knots Short

By Mike Ferring, Racing Captain

Governor’s Cup Winner 2022: Lake Pleasant.

She shut down the wind, leaving dozens of boats to drift on a sunny, warm afternoon. It’s a pursuit race, so the first boat to finish is the winner, the keeper of the humongous Governor’s Cup trophy. Nobody finished, so nobody won.

At one o’clock on Saturday, December 10, the chase began. Not much wind, but just enough to send the boats south to the first mark. Just enough to give us hope that somebody would make it around the seven-mile course before the official finish time of 4pm.

Where’s Tom Errickson going? Tom was pointed north, sailing wing-on-wing while everyone else was sailing south. “I thought I was going the right way,” Tom told us later at the pub. “I couldn’t read the chart on my little phone, so just went to the islands.” Tom was one of the first recipients of this year’s race-committee-selected “arbitrary and capricious” awards, the Wrong-Way Corrigan award. Congratulations, Tom.

Then Rolling in the Deep rolled past with a jolly Santa Claus handing the race committee a Christmas stocking stuffed with candy. The well-decorated Hobie 33 won our “Party Boat” prize.

But wasn’t the Catalina 22 of Scott Piquet supposed to be the first boat off? Its 270 PHRF rating should have sent him past the start line at 1pm sharp. Scott later explained that his jib backwinded, throwing him off course to the line, then he decided to swap headsails, and then… well, he still hadn’t started. For Scott, the prize is what we call the “Confidence Award,” given to the boat so confident of a good finish that she gives everyone a bigger head start. In Scott’s case, that head start was 22 minutes and 21 seconds.

Meanwhile, boats were rounding the south mark and looking for breeze. Right? Left? Jeff Coulter pointed his Santana 20 at Horse Island, the next target on the way to the finish. Moving slowly, but always moving, Jeff held the rhumb line while the other boats spread out.

There seemed to be a little breeze on the east side and Marshall Williamson went for it. Paul “Santa” Liszewski went left with Kevin Edwards and Team Gravity. David Newland on the family ark Dreamline was exploring the west shore, trying to get the big asymmetrical chute to fly… and seeming to take the headers. David won our “Header” award for his efforts, though he said tactician Joel Hurley should really get the prize.

By the time Jeff Coulter neared Horse Island, it was evident that nobody would get enough wind to finish within the time limit. But would they give up? Not a chance. In fact, as they reached Horse, boats that had gone left, right, and up the middle had converged. Jeff led, but Gravity (helmed by Rick Johnson), Bay Loon (another party boat with Marshall Williamson driving) were close.

When 4pm arrived, the boats hadn’t, and the race was over. For the record, Jeff was still in the lead, 800 feet short of the Balance Rock mark. Marshall trailed by a few boat lengths, and Rick (with Kevin Edwards and Mike Grijalva) were a few lengths behind Bay Loon.

Time for eggnog. Maryellen Ferring had set up a festive Christmas table with eggnog and cookies at Spinnaker Point for post-drift partying. She awarded the final prize of the day: a bottle of AYC rum to Tom Sinnickson (in his donut shirt) for turning out 17 multi-hulls for the race. The rest of your race committee: Ed and Deb Huntsman, Joerg Schmidt, Nick Rau, and me. Rob Gibbs crunched the pursuit start numbers.

To see all photos go to the SmugMug Governor’s Cup Gallery.