2023 Birthday Regatta Wrap-up!

By Mike Parker
Featured photo: Jason Steele

“When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life” – Confucius.

That saying was “borne out” for me with this year’s Birthday Regatta (BDR) organizational team.  MVP Joanne Aspinall and Commodore Bob Naylor helped cultivate an environment of organization and camaraderie in the dozens of meetings that made the process a pleasure.  By the end of Sunday, when it was all over (except for tracking down the popcorn under the bar and the recycle to haul to the bin) I felt the satisfaction of a team effort well done.

It was 15 years ago when I was Chairman of my first – the 50th AYC Birthday and Leukemia Cup Regatta.  I do not remember a great deal about the experience, except for the amazing LLS Associate, Cameron Childs, who arranged for Gary Jobson to come out, and an LLS Regatta hat with my name embroidered on the side.  That hat still looks great and is one of my favorite sailing mementos.

Fast-forward 15 years.  It is impossible to mention everyone who had a hand in the success of this year’s BDR … but I’ve tried to identify as many key contributors as possible below.  Previous BDR team’s contributions were levied over the interceding years, fine-tuning and documenting the successful and the not-so-successful, helping this year’s team hit the line at speed – if just a little late to the start.  Kudos to Emory and Deb Heisler for compiling a huge amount of data we used as a springboard to set realistic budget and participation goals.

By the numbers, the BDR looked like this:

  • 62 boats registered
  • 7 fleets
  • 3-days of sailing
  • 45+ volunteers
  • More than 40 races started by the Race Committee
  • 300+ meals served
  • 300+ beverages consumed
  • 108 Birthday Regatta commemorative shirts purchased/distributed
  • About $9000 raised for LLS, ASF, and ASU … much of it through the fun, spirited auctioneering antics of Fay Powell and Olivia Jackman
  • Approximately 3/4 of a MILE of mule line (anchor line for the marks and buoys) was manually deployed and retrieved, as reported by a weary Mike Ferring, who spent ALL THREE DAYS aboard the Mark Set Boat
  • Infinity – smiles, laughs, sore muscles, and new memories

Aside from the expenses and income, there were auction items donated by friends, family, and strangers willing to help promote the cause of LLS in the community. Throughout the weekend, the team strove to capture as much data as possible to help future year’s organizers.  As in every event, we strive to break even.  With our drinking team with a sailing problem, I believe that will be the case this year.

I hear that for any regatta, wind covers a multitude of miscues. Wind we had, as well as a few miscues.  THANK YOU for your ability to see past the shortcomings and focus on the heart and effort put in by those who sacrificed their personal time, money, and energy to provide an enjoyable experience for our sailing family.

From the entire organization crew:

  • To everyone who sailed – THANK YOU for your participation!
  • To every organization and private donor who contributed items to our charity fundraiser – THANK YOU for your generosity.
  • To the auction winners – THANK YOU for your support of our chosen causes.
  • To all the club members, crew, and family that came to serve – every minute of your time was invaluable to the organizing team.

View the HUNDREDS of great quality photos available in our Birthday Regatta photo library. Downloading is free! Higher-resolution photos may be available directly through the photographer.

Co-Chair Joanne Aspinall supersedes me as Regatta Chair for next year, and the planning is already underway. It’s a BIG job – please help Joanne get off to a great start. If YOU can help with planning for next year’s Regatta, click here to join the team and send Joanne an email: 2024 BDR Planning Team.

Again, my heartfelt THANKS to everyone for a great Birthday Regatta, and all the best to all of you and our beloved club in its 65th year!

Fair winds and following seas
Michael Parker

Race Committee:

  • Wendy Larsen & Dave Christensen (P.R.O. & Scorer)
  • Greg Ullrich & Dawn Berg
  • Pat & Carol Byrnes
  • Bill Feil
  • Mike Ferring (photography aboard the Whaler)
  • Jo Grijalva
  • Lori Reger
  • Kari Rekoske
  • Jason Steele (photography aboard Committee Boat)
  • Natalie Tricarico (ASU / AYC photography aboard the Whaler)
  • Gary Wollenhaupt
PRO Wendy Larsen & racers at the Skippers Meeting. Photo: Mike Ferring


  • Mike Parker
  • Joanne Aspinall
  • Anders Mintz
  • Joe & Riley Motil
  • Bob Naylor
  • Fay Powell
  • Marshall Williamson
Regatta Chair Mike Parker, Vice Commodore Marshall Williamson and Co-Chair Joanne Aspinall are all smiles. Photo: Mike Ferring

Ashore Support:

  • Al & Sandy Lehman (Reception & Check-in)
  • Joe & Bonnie Motil (breakfast master chefs)
  • Fay Powell (fundraising auctioneer)
  • Olivia Jackman (fundraising auctioneer)
  • Brandi Abair and Jeremy Payan (bartenders extraordinaire)
  • Matt & Andi Baker
  • Jeff & Cynthia Barnes
  • Mark Budwick (video)
  • Debbie French & Peter Schweizer
  • Rob Gibson
  • Larry “The Cash King” Green
  • Lori Metz
  • Josh Newland
  • Catherine Napoli & Eric Bruce
  • Erika Parker
  • Armando Ramirez
  • Alexus Robertson
  • Anto Vulancic
  • John Woodrow
  • Jessica Zornik

Lake Pleasant Sailing Club friends:

  • Cathy (Commodore) and Michael White
  • Carolyn Cronin
  • George Goldman
  • Jeannie Zortman

Auction Item Donors:

  • Arizona River Runners (AYC member Marc Danner)
  • Arizona Sailing Foundation
  • Earl of Diamonds
  • Lake Lovers
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • Pleasant Harbor Marina
  • The Ravenscroft
  • Skiers Edge (AYC member Gary Eagle)