Fall Racing Season Preview

By Mike Ferring, Racing Captain

As temperatures tumble out of the triple-digits, our interest turns to (what else?) sailboat racing. The AYC fall season kicks off at Tempe Town Lake on Sunday, September 17, and at Lake Pleasant two weeks later on September 30.

Important links:

And now the news:

Turnout at Tempe Town Lake should continue to be strong, with double-digit fleets for C14.2, Laser, and Sunfish and a smaller number for Portsmouth. Sunfish fleet captain Bob Naylor was a US Sailing national award-winner for building that group and he’s still doing it, with some new entries and new boats ready to take to the water.

The entry numbers for Lake Pleasant are more problematic. At the same time Bruce Lee and Emory Heisler beat the bushes for Buccaneer entries in the Portsmouth fleet, we’ve lost some people from the PHRF Spin fleet and Sport Boat fleet. There are several Vipers for sale as the support for that boat is dropping both here and nationally. Mike Hester’s Viper and our J/70 are the lone boats standing, so we’ll fold into the Spin fleet.

Quick crew in strong winds. Photo: Mike Ferring

The racing format at Tempe Town Lake is unchanged. Sunday afternoons starting at 3pm in September and October and 2pm in November and December.

At Lake Pleasant, we’ve tweaked the calendar a bit after experimenting with different schedules the last two or three years. Now, all fleets will score both Saturday and Sunday racing on Opening Weekend and on the final scheduled weekend. That means seven scheduled and scored race days minus whatever days your fleet is on race committee.

Just to insure against losing race days because they’re cancelled as a result of too little or too much wind, the fleet captains have voted to create a makeup day, Saturday, December 2. If any of the scheduled race days are cancelled, the makeup day will kick in, with the fleet that was on RC during the cancelled day assigned to the makeup race day. (I’m working on a WhatsApp notification system for cancellations.)

Besides the scheduled fall series, there will be other race events at Lake Pleasant: Dinghy Days, the Ruth Beals Cup regatta, and the Governor’s Cup. It’s a full racing calendar.

If you’re new to sailboat racing, sign up for our Introduction to Sailboat Racing class, which will be held Saturday morning, September 16, at the Tempe Library. It’s a fast orientation to the sport as we play it in Arizona.

And regardless of how long you’ve been racing, you’ll want to be on Zoom Wednesday evening, September 13, when the expert and ever-entertaining Dave Perry will explain the Racing Rules of Sailing.

Links to entry for both sessions are above. They’re cheap: just ten bucks each.

Last year for the first time, we set up online protest hearings and we’ll continue that for most racing this year. By holding the hearings by Zoom we avoid that scramble to assemble a qualified protest committee in the dark after a day’s racing. Fortunately, we had just one protest that went to a hearing last year. It was enough to confirm that the system works.

Finally, if you’re looking for crew, please tap into the crew list. There are lots of people there who would like to help you, from very experienced sailors to eager, new recruits. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and share the fun of messing around in sailboats.