Ripping Finish for 2023 Tall Cactus Regatta

By Mike Ferring

Josh Newland and the team aboard the Newlands’ J/92 found themselves on the far pin end of the start line as the clock ticked down for the start of the 2023 Tall Cactus Regatta, Saturday, April 22.

“Better go for it,” they decided. Bang, they hit the line at speed as the wind did a major pin-end shift and just as a line of breeze swept across the course, east-to-west. It was the winning move.

Dreamline had gotten the hole shot for the south mark and a run up the lake toward Horse Island. Mike Hester gave chase in his Viper 640, but he was behind immediately and couldn’t close the gap. The wind forecast had suggested we’d have 8-10kts of wind by the start of the race and it would build from there, but the wind was late arriving. It was only after the leaders had rounded Balance Rock and pointed south for the committee boat finish that the big stuff showed up, and from an unfamiliar direction: northwest.

Ed Huntsman was driving the mark boat and reported the wind at Balance Rock was hitting 22kts when the first multi-hulls rounded. “Sleigh ride,” one of them said crossing the finish. A wild sleigh ride that popped the multis out of the water and shot them south, passing Mike Hester’s already planing Viper and screaming for the finish.

Chris Picknally was the first-finishing multi, followed by Stephen Rogoff. Mike Hester made it across next.

When the two dozen boat crews gathered for Marshall Williamson’s post-race feed, the mood was celebratory. Good wind does that. Good times multiply it.

I was PRO. Maryellen Ferring kept scores. Ed Huntsman drove the mark boat. Bob Naylor and Joerg Schmidt helped. On shore, Marshall was assisted by members Ed Scheletsky, Eric Bruce and Catherine Napoli, and Alveran Hess.

Final Scores

More photos can be viewed here