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Opening Day at Lake Pleasant

The Rawlings Race Team. If the kids look a little damp, it’s because they were splashing around in the lake minutes earlier. Photo: Mike Ferring

Opening Day for the Lake Pleasant Fall Series started with a bit of a whimper instead of a bang (weren’t you supposed to bring the wind?), but then picked up for Sunday’s action.

Scores are posted on the Racing Results page, or click here. 

Saturday’s wind allowed for only one or two races for all fleets, including a large contingent of multi-hulls out for the day. It concluded with a nice gathering at Spinnaker Point, a lush layout of charcuterie catered by Martin Lorch.

Here’s what PRO Martin told us about Sunday’s racing:

“We started the races promptly at 9:00am in 7 to 8 knots of wind from the north (about 345-350 magnetic). The three fleets racing completed the race rapidly. The second race was started right away at about 10am, and the wind began failing before they got to the windward mark. The boats came to a crawl for about thirty minutes.

“Then, the wind rotated around from the west, the east, back from the west and settled from the south (approx 165-170 mag) where it generally stayed at 7 to 11 knots. We moved the north mark to the west at the start of the second race and moved it back to its original position at the start of the third race. We adjusted the red start ball once because the committee boat had rotated and also because we needed to give the Outrage crew something to do!

“Thistles got their three races in by 11:30, the PHRF Spin fleet completed 5 races by 1:05pm.”

Scott Richardson and Skip Kempff getting off the line in light air. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Paul Liszewski checking main trim as the team goes Rolling in the Deep. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Jim Tomes and his Bimare F18ht cat. Photo: Mike Ferring

TTL Fall Racing Opens Hot

Quite hot, actually, but with enough breeze to make the opening day at the lake a good contest.

There are some 37 entries at Tempe Town Lake for the fall series, including 10 C14s, 13 Lasers, seven Portsmouth, and six in the new Junior Fleet. The Juniors are sailing in Bics and Lasers under the guidance of Rob Gibbs.

Lasers were on race committee duty the first weekend, leaving the rest of the boats to duke it out. Mark Howell has again agreed to crunch the scores for TTL. Here they are.

Results of week one of Tempe Town Lake racing.

The next race Sunday will be September 30 with Portsmouth on race committee.

Some of the race action at Tempe Town Lake with the new Junior Fleet in the foreground. Photo: Marc Danner

Fall Racing Kicks Off at Both Lakes

Racing at Tempe Town Lake begins at 3pm Sunday (September 16) and at Lake Pleasant the following weekend, Saturday at 12:30 pm and Sunday at 9 am, September 22 & 23.

Registration, race documents, and race committee assignments are here.

The fleet line-up looks very much like last year, except that the Santana 20 fleet will be back as a separate fleet rather than being combined with the PHRF Spin fleets, as they were last year.

If you haven’t raced before, if you’re a little rusty, or if you’d like to crew, we have options for you:

See you on the water!

Crew Party at Scorpion September 8

By Heather McClain

This is the unofficial start of the sailing season in Phoenix! Need Crew? Want to crew on a boat?

Scorpion Bay Marina, Lake Pleasant

On Saturday, September 8, from 4-8 pm, we’ll toss a crew party at the end of E dock at Scorpion Bay Marina. The purpose of the event is to be a matchmaker between captains who need crew and crew who want to sail… and to just have a fun time with other sailors or those who are contemplating sailing.

  • Bring your boat! Show it off, brag, socialize, and go for a sail to test out crew/boat opportunities.
  • We have a few dock-friendly games such as corn hole, horseshoes, board games if you want.
  • Bring your own chairs! We have about eight already out there.
  • Arizona Yacht Club will serve hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone. Please bring a dish to share and BYOB. Can bring a bag of chips or get fancy. (Please connect with Heather McClain if you want to know more about what to bring, e.g. dessert vs side dish.)
  • We will have one electric grill and one electric smoker. No fires on the dock…oh my! You can have whatever grill/stove you want on your boat to add to cooking opportunities or not. Up to you.
  • Join the “Dockside Chat” with AYC Commodore Rob Gibbs.
  • There are a limited number of slips available for day use and/or overnight rental, please contact Sharon Bell if you are interested in that.
  • One boat owner has room on a boat for up to six people to sleep overnight.  And there may be other boat owners with available bunks. Just ask if you don’t want to (or can’t) drive home safely.
  • The rules of Scorpion Bay are to be respected as there are many boat owners out there. Good neighbor rules apply.

Here’s to a great (and safe) sailing season in Arizona!

Women’s Clinic Sept 23 at Del Rey Yacht Club

SCYA is sponsoring a women’s sailing clinic September 23.

The Southern California Yachting Association will present a Women’s Boating Clinic on Sunday, September 23 at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. The price is just $99, including all instruction, continental breakfast, lunch, and appetizers at the end of the day.

The workshops will be on the water or in a classroom, and the women may choose some of several sessions being offered. Registration is available here.

For further information, contact Rosalie Green by email.

Here’s the line-up of classes:

On the Water Classes:  Each student observes and then practices the skills with guidance and feedback from the instructors. Four-Five students on each boat.

Anchoring Safely

Learn and practice the steps for anchoring properly. Learn about anchorages strengths and liabilities, type of holding ground, exposure to the prevailing wind, what conditions are best for anchoring here. What is the minimum anchor and ground tackle for the type of boat, how to determine where to drop, how the helm and foredeck communicate for a smooth process, how to check you are holding, retrieving the anchor. All student will have the opportunity to practice helming and lowering and retrieving the anchor.

Beginning Sailboat Racing

You ready know points of sail and basic sail trim. How to get started: learn how to find skippers needing crew, how to be a crew the skipper will invite back. Read the race documents. Learn the start procedure, buy a rule book, practice with your team. Also learn the steps necessary to be a racing skipper.

Intermediate Sailing

You already know the points of sail and basic sail trim. This workshop allows you to practice helming and trimming skills and basic tactics. Coaches inquire what you want to learn, observe and teach additional techniques to help you be more effective in your position

Electronic Navigation Basics

On the water always know where you are. Learn how to use everyday tools e.g. smartphones and tablets, GPS to navigate, which Apps are needed to accomplish the task. Practice finding your Latitude and Longitude, plotting a route.

Taming the Dinghy and Outboard Engine

Learn how to get in and out without falling in the water. Once in, let’s start that outboard. Check off the recommended steps, tips on pulling the string, learn what to check for if it doesn’t startup. Once the outboard is on. practice driving it. Learn what a prudent person should have in the dinghy in case of emergency.

Handling Boat and Docking Under Power

Learn the basics of docking and boat handling under power. What is necessary in pre-departure checks. How to start the boat’s engine, how wind and waves effect the boat’s response, how to maneuver forward, reverse, right and left. What cues to use to end up where you want to be. Each student will have a chance to practice.

Sail Trim

See trim demonstrated corresponding to points of sail. Observe how various trim adjustments change the shape of the sails e.g. halyard tension, Cunningham, outhaul, vang and fairleads. Learn how to use them effectively.

Classes dockside or in the classroom:

Suddenly Skipper

Know what to do if the skipper is impaired or falls overboard. You have tools at your disposal learn how to use them. Learn how to call for help on VHF, how to locate your position on GPS, find the MOB button, how to communicate your position. Learn where the emergency equipment is. Know what Mayday is and how to call it.

Troubleshooting Marine Diesels

Learn how to identify the most common problems with marine diesels. Learn what to check before leaving the dock. Also learn what can be easily fixed, what tools and parts are needed.

Troubleshooting Other Boat Systems

The stove won’t turn on, water won’t come out of the faucet, an electronic item isn’t turning on, how to open and close thru hulls. Learn possible

Provisioning Tips

Learn how to make the most of your space and equipment. How to include, prepare healthy attractive meals and store them safely. Get ideas for a suggested menu for an overnight to the island and for a week-long cruise.

Tips on Purchasing a Boat

Be a knowledgeable boat shopper. Learn what to consider from A-Z before purchasing a boat.

How to Prepare for Cruising

Learn what skills are necessary for going on a successful cruise. Learn effective strategies for overnight to Catalina and for longer trips.

 

Warm? How About a Weekend in the Pines?

Steve Nahkala works the barbeque.

As I write this, the temperature in Phoenix is flirting with 115 degrees and a weekend in the cool country of Northern Arizona sounds pretty nice.

The annual AYC Summer Campout (formerly the Kinnikinick campout) is Friday-Sunday, August 10-12 this year. No need to register; just show up in the cool pines.

Once again Steve Nahkala will be heading up the trip, which will be held at Dairy Springs Campground by Mormon Lake. Steve moved the gathering to this new spot a couple years ago and it’s more civilized than the traditional unimproved Kinnikinick site. People will begin to filter into the campsite Friday, ready to enjoy the beauty of the location and the fun gathering of AYCers and friends. The activities are as rustic as the surroundings, with “pasture golf” and horse shoes and Liar’s Dice.

Here’s much more information on the event, including map directions.

How Do We Break Down Barriers to Racing?

By Mike Ferring

An event that works well. Martin Lorch hefts the Governor’s Cup, flanked by crew James Morphis and Katie Yearly. At right: Event Organizer Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

In 2018, AYC membership is higher than ever, with 235 member families as of June 1. We have active series at two lakes, well-attended monthly meetings with interesting speakers, a nonprofit arm in ASF with sold-out adult classes and well-subscribed kids’ classes, and large entries in the Birthday Regatta, Governor’s Cup, Tall Cactus and Ruth Beals Cup. We have high-level equipment to run our races. Our club communication, event registration, and governance are all excellent.

Yet, it’s smart to look for ways to improve. Is our membership getting gray? If so, how do we recruit and engage younger members and their children? While registration for “event” races is very good and series entries are still strong, not as many boats are showing up on the race course. How do we get more out?

Commodore Rob Gibbs has set up four committees to create various initiatives to strengthen the club, including one aimed at building the racing program, which I think is the core of the club.

Below are some thoughts, a combination of my own and those of a group of hard-core racers we pulled together for an hour recently: George Sheller, Martin Lorch, Joel Hurley, Skip Kempff, and Scott Richards. If you’re looking for solid answers, this is not the place. These are mostly questions and perspectives rather than answers or prescriptions. Here we go.

Overview

The task of growing the sport of sailing in Arizona confronts some broad society problems in addition to our own local ones:

  • Sailing has always been a minor sport, especially away from the coasts.
  • Boat sales have been low for years.
  • Participation in sailboat racing is dropping nationally.
  • There is increased fragmentation of all leisure activity.
  • There is general reluctance to commit time to any single activity.
  • Natural life cycles bring people in and out of sailing: career, kids, retirement, travel, health and fluctuations in disposable income.

AYC can’t change any of these mega trends, but we know we need to adapt our programs to them if we can. Our subcommittee has identified some of the barriers we might be able to influence:

  • Time commitment required for series racing.
  • Availability of crew.
  • Availability of boats.
  • Knowledge of the sport and its rules and the ability for new people to join the action.
  • Quality of the sailing: wind, competition, too many fleets and choices

Time Commitment

We now have more racing than at any time in the club’s 60-year history. Sailing in every event (as some of us do) requires a considerable time commitment. It also spreads our available entrants and boats across more sailing choices.

Choice is good, right? Options are good, especially in an era when there’s so much competition for our time. But it also means we’ll probably have fewer boats at each event.

This is seen most clearly in the spring and fall race series. At Lake Pleasant, Catalina 22, Multi-hull, and JaM fleets are scoring (and racing) Saturday only. On Sunday morning this spring it was not unusual to have 2-3 Thistles, 2-3 Sport Boats, and a half dozen Spins on the water. If one of those fleets was on RC, the numbers dropped. At TTL, we saw 4-6 14.2s, 4-6 Lasers, and 2-3 Portsmouth… and one of those fleets was always on race committee.

Marc Danner and team (daughter Avery and son Myles) getting the non-spin fleet going again, leading the Jib and Main fleet (JaM, note his T-shirt). Photo: Jim Tomes

Do we need to increase throw outs so more people will participate? Or do throw outs simply mean “I don’t have to show up”? Is a season championship an outmoded concept? No one has proposed a good answer.

Members of our group noted that missing a weekend means giving up a good finishing position. You have to show up to place in nearly any of the fleets. Since it’s difficult to make all the races, do entrants simply give up and not bother to race other weekends as well? Instead of more throw-outs, is there a way to use the redress model and give missing racers an average of their other scores?

What is clear is that the one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, Tall Cactus) are working and appealing. They’re a small commitment, casual, and social. It’s a winning concept. But this caution: these events work partly because they’re unusual and special. Adding more would doubtless reduce the numbers for each.

Availability of Crew

We frequently hear skippers say they can’t find crew and we hear people who want to crew say they can’t find boats on which to sail. Clearly this is an issue we need to fix.

The group said we need to know more about the crew list people in order to decide whether to consider them. Possible answer: adding questions to the form and perhaps vetting all crew-list additions by phone to find out more about them and clarifying their commitment.

The key requirement for regular crew: to show up on time, every time, ready to race. Could we have a pool of people who would commit to sail on a given weekend and then make sure they get on boats? Would the new Go Sailing app help?

What about having a crew class where potential crew could learn the fundamentals? Or is the existing Introduction to Sailboat Racing class sufficient? (I think it should be.)

Availability of Boats

Paul Miachika silhouetted in Tempe Town Lake’s afternoon sun. Lasers are a popular one-design fleet. Photo: Mike Ferring

Sailors need boats and often new people don’t have boats, can’t afford boats, or aren’t ready to commit to a particular kind of boat. If they can’t crew, they drift away from the sport.

The adopt-a-boat program has been a boon, getting people onto boats who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sail and simultaneously strengthening the 14.2 fleet. But it has its limitations: people want to sail at times when the adopt-a-boat program isn’t operating. Is there a way to overcome this?

Is there a way to create a parallel keel-boat program? Would it be possible, for instance, to field a Tumbleweed Catalina 25 as a JaM entry with newbies onboard? Could we find a way to put a Catalina 22 or Santana 20 in play?

What about getting the juniors on board a keel boat for Lake Pleasant racing?

Why don’t people get their boats on the water? Many, including some board members, don’t do it. This might be a good target for a little market research.

Knowledge of the Sport

Are we doing enough to familiarize new people with the way the game is played? What additional classes or sailing opportunities could we provide to get people over the threshold and into the sport?

At one time, the club offered a “Challenger” fleet for new racers and put an experienced sailor on the boat for a while to help speed the orientation. It took a dedicated person to coordinate (Patty Rosky in that case), but it worked for a while.

Could we have a non-scored race weekend (or race day at TTL) where leaders of fleets could help people new to the fleet to compete better and to introduce new people to the different boats?

Quality of Competition

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that we can do to improve the wind. But what about the fleets?

Skip Kempff rightly says that the strength of the club depends on the strength of the fleets. How do we work to build them? Are there too many fleets for the number of competitors? Does this dilute the racing? How could we funnel boats into certain fleets to reduce fragmentation?

George Sheller would like to see us guide people into fewer types of one-design boats, perhaps C22, C14 and Laser. It’s unrealistic, he admits, to think that anyone would sell a PHRF boat to move into one of those fleets, but it might be possible to encourage newbies to go in that direction.

Thistle, Laser, and Santana 20 (and formerly Buccs) have been aggressive about finding boats for potential skippers, even lending them boats to try them out. How could we support this effort?

One stop-gap approach at Lake Pleasant would be to start more than one fleet at a time while scoring the fleets separately. For instance, one Sunday morning the Sport Boats started with the Spin fleet, which was more fun than sailing in a tiny fleet. However, Bob Worrall and I nearly came to blows on the VHF when I was PRO and wanted to start two JaM boats with the C22s. He wouldn’t hear of it. I think his viewpoint on this is short-sighted, but we’d need to get the Fleet Captains to agree if we go this way. (In contrast, Scott Richards and the Thistles welcomed the Fireballs into their start when there were three Fireballs racing.)

We also want to make sure there remains an avenue for those of us who enjoy higher-performance boats.

What can we do to support the fleets in attracting new members?

Summary

I hope this somewhat rambling essay can start the discussion. There are some specific steps we can take and others that will come from talking about it.

These include:

  • Continue to run and promote headline one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, and Tall Cactus)
  • Attack the issue of matching crew and skipper
  • Survey members to learn why they aren’t racing more often to discover answers
  • Look at providing boats for a few newbies
  • Consider combining fleets on starts
  • Funnel new members into existing one-design fleets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buzzing Sailing Jeopardy

By Sharon Bell

While several members were traveling or doing regular summer “stuff,” there was a great group of members who came for cheer, chat and Sailing Jeopardy! at the July monthly meeting.

Terry made special cocktails behind the bar and Mike Parker proved to be a fantastically funny host and narrator for the game. There were four easy targets…oh…I mean “contestants” who volunteered to answer expertly crafted questions in the true spirit of Jeopardy.

The contestants for the evening were Josh McClain, Kenneth Nahkala, Joel Hurley and a new member Alec Milstein!

Josh McClain had a buzzer that made off-putting noises and Mike liked to magnify the noises on the microphone. Sorry folks…you just needed to be there for the sound effects since we all know that what happens at meetings…stays at meetings.

Josh enjoyed hitting his buzzer (probably just to make noise but answered questions too) and stayed in the lead until the finish for a $50 gift card to take his beautiful wife and daughter out to dinner. Yup…Josh…that is the agreement I heard! Alec, Joel, and Kenneth crossed the finish line in a photo finish for $25 gift certificates for their courage and competitive spirit in true AYC style. Thanks again to Mike Parker for making this evening perfect.

Next month, we want to invite ALL of the new members for a social meet and greet to set the stage for a great year of sailing opportunities, friendship opportunities, and tons of laughter. Heather and I will be reaching out to a few of our members for pictures and spotlight information so we can get to know each other better. Stay tuned…it will be fun.

AYC Fun Pilgrimage to Long Beach

Typical J/70 mark rounding! Crazy stuff with 28 boats. Photo: Tom Walker Photography

The mercury in Phoenix was banging on the 112 mark when a large delegation of AYC members headed for the beach: Long Beach. We came for temps in the mid-60s, wind in mid-teens, and competition in the stratosphere.

It was the annual evacuation to Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week (LBRW) and this year about 35 people from Arizona showed the AYC colors. David Newland, Maryellen and I brought our J/70 to play with the big guys, helped by Will Suto from San Diego. Mike and Sarah Hester, John Mayall, and Joel Hurley raced Mike’s Viper 640. Mike and Jo Grijalva raced Shockwave with their usual AYC pals.

And this year there were two AYC pickup crews racing the Long Beach Yacht Club charter Catalina 37s. John Riddell’s Crazy Train bunch were back this year, joining Rob Gibbs’ Cactus League crew in the 11-boat fleet. Both of these teams collect in frat-house-style rent-a-houses and add to the legend of LBRW. (Ask somebody from Cactus League about Gardyloo Traveling Road Show, the team from Seattle that keeps adding to its, mmmm, reputation.) Read more about Rob’s trip in the Commodore’s Corner.

With parties at LBYC and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, sailing on three courses plus random legs, 136 registered boats, and some of the best sailors in the West, good wind and cool temps, LBRW will keep Arizona sailors coming back. It’s certainly not all the hardware we bring home.

The racing photos on this page are from Tom Walker Photography. If you like them, please buy them from him.

Sarah Hester shows the team how to hike. Photo: Tom Walker Photography

 

Rob Gibbs (on bow with Heather McClain) and his Cactus League team downwind on a Catalina 37. Dave Haggart at the wheel. Photo: Tom Walker Photography

 

Ferrings and David Newland on J/70 Melissa Kay (far right). Photo: Tom Walker Photography

 

John Mayall, Joel Hurley, and Mike Hester prepare the Viper for action at ABYC. Photo: Mike Ferring

Membership Renewal Time

All AYC members have now received an invoice for next year’s dues (or non-dues for Life and Honorary Life members) and the membership team hopes you’ll renew right away so we don’t have to send you the increasingly sad and pleading emails. The 2018-2019 dues are payable by July 1.

If you plan not to renew your membership (you know, if you’ve been transferred to Fargo or something), please tell us that too.

Life and Honorary Life members pay no dues, but we need you to update your contact information each year.

Here’s a shot of some of those longtime AYC members, gathered together when former Commodore Joyce Seale visited from her New Zealand home.

To join the national organization, US Sailing, or to renew your US Sailing membership, click here.US-Sailing-logo If you use this link to join or renew US Sailing, you get a lower rate and AYC gets a $10 credit to use for US Sailing materials or training.

From left: Charlie and Debi Fife, Martin Lorch, Carol Ohlin, Mary Kay Farrington Lorch, Alexia Lorch, Tom Ohlin, Joyce Seale, and Dennis Lynde

From left: Debi and Charlie Fife, Martin Lorch, Carol Ohlin, Mary Kay Farrington Lorch, Alexia Lorch, Tom Ohlin, Joyce Seale, and Dennis Lynde. Joyce says George Sheller was also there, but he was the only one actually out sailing.

Former AYC Commodores Joyce Seale, Martin Lorch, and Tom Ohlin. Joyce and Tom are Honorary Life members.

Former AYC Commodores Joyce Seale, Martin Lorch, and Tom Ohlin. Joyce and Tom are Honorary Life members.

July Meeting: Sailing Jeopardy Game

Rear Commodore Sharon “Alex Trebek” Bell. Photo: Mike Ferring

Category: July
Question: Sailing Jeopardy
Answer: What’s a Fun Game to Play at the Next Monthly Meeting?

Got it? Sharon ” Alex Trebek” Bell is whipping up a bunch of head scratchers for you to answer just for fun at the meeting. Come ready to play.

The meeting is Tuesday, July 10, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Watching the Volvo Ocean Race Newport Stop

By Bob Naylor

Volvo Ocean Race stop in Newport. Photo: Bob Naylor

My brother and I spent a weekend at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport and had an absolute blast. It was a great, very memorable experience for us.

The weather was not cooperative! I haven’t been that cold and wet in a very long time; but, it worked in our favor to some extent. The rain, wind, fog, drizzle, and cold temperatures really reduced the crowds. Those who bundled up and braved the weather were a hardy, die-hard, lot—and a great deal of fun to be with.

Never had I enjoyed a hot bowl of clam chowder more than that Friday when I had seriously underestimated the weather and utterly failed to anticipate the misery of a wet and very windy New England day, exploring the Race Village exhibits in my favorite pair of Arizona shorts and a sailing-themed Hawaiian shirt.

Just to ensure hypothermia had every opportunity to set in, we then joined a small, rain sodden, crowd of sailing enthusiasts to watch the M32 catamaran races from the windy shore of Fort Adams. To give you some idea of the wind that day, the M32s raced with a reefed main and no headsail. It was WINDY.

I dressed more reasonably for the rest of the weekend, although I was still cold—and wet—much of the time. I twice ran into Daniel Forster at Fort Adams. You’ll remember he was our AYC guest speaker in April, sharing with us the best sailing photographs from his long long career photographing sailboats. He was set up along the sea wall at Fort Adams, properly dressed in heavy foul weather gear and taking photos on Friday of the M32 cat race and on Saturday of the in-port race. We had fun catching up, and he provided some good local tips for us as well. Very nice guy.

Saturday morning, windshield wipers slapping all the way, we drove to nearby Bristol, RI, and toured the Herreshoff Museum. That was a great couple of hours as well—lots of gorgeous wooden boats, sailboats and motor launches, designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff, who also designed all of the winning America’s Cup boats from about 1890 to 1930 or so. We could have easily spent the day there, but left after a few hours to return to the Race Village for the in-port race.

The in-port race on Saturday also had strong winds, though not as heavy as the day before. The Volvo Ocean 65s handled the heavy air much better than the catamarans did the day before.

Following a really cold and wet afternoon of watching a really great race, we made our way from the Race Village to the Newport Yacht Club, where my AYC membership card was welcomed, albeit suspiciously (Arizona, really?). We enjoyed drinks and dinner there in the company of some lively, fun, local Newport sailors, really a great bunch of folks who made us feel right at home.

My AYC membership card generated a lot of conversation. People seemed amazed to learn that we sail in the desert, and they are equally confused to find that we mostly stop sailing for the summer months, just as they’re launching for a few short months of sailing in Narragansett Bay (which looks like some awesome sailing, by the way).

To the amazement of all, the pea-soup fog and drizzle on Sunday dissipated about 40 minutes before the start of Leg 9. The gray skies, half-mile visibility, and the moaning of the fog horns gave way to sunshine and blue skies (the first we had seen all weekend!), and the start of the Leg-9 race was really great, with plenty of wind.

We were aboard a boat in the VIP spectator zone and had a wonderful view of the race.  It was great fun to be in the armada of spectator boats that chased the VO65s out as far as the sea buoy, where heavy swells forced most boats to head back in for the day.

Then came Monday and the drive to the airport. The sun was shining brightly, birds were singing, it was WARM and DRY with a lovely and slight spring breeze—an absolutely beautiful day. Nature is cruel that way.

Wednesday Beer Can Racing

Wednesday night organizer George Sheller. Photo: Mike FerringWhat are you doing Wednesday night? How about coming out for some highly casual racing at Tempe Town Lake?

We start racing at 5:30 and go until sundown. We do a one minute sequence. I have a whistle and signal: 5 short blasts is “AP down,” followed by a 10 second gap, then one long as the start of the one-minute countdown. I try to give 3 shorts at 30 seconds, 2 at 20, 1 at 10 and then one long for the start. A single 360 turn clears penalties. We set short courses, so we’ve gotten up to seven races in. If the Ferrings are there, we use their automated starting gadget.

This started as a Laser thing, but others started coming out, which was great. We all start together.

This is not an official AYC event, so you’re on your own in terms of a boat, liability and fun. We start promptly at 5:30 pm and if you miss one or two races it’s no big deal since we don’t keep scores. This is good practice, with bragging rights and then (for those who want to) off to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks.

Have questions?  Email me.

See you out there,
George Sheller

June Monthly Meeting: Extreme Sailing!

Alinghi at speed. Photo: Mike Ferring

When Matt Reynolds introduced us to Extreme Sailing at a monthly meeting last year, more than a dozen AYC members took up the invitation to see the October races in San Diego.

In June, Matt will be back with a highlight reel of stories from the first event.

Watching from the shore is free, but a bunch of us from AYC paid for the upgrade to ride on the wild, foiling GC32 catamarans during racing. What a kick! I was hanging onto the tramp of the French-shouting Swiss entry Alinghi as the crew scrambled around me, ducking flying lines and trying to keep up with the radical speed of the race. I highly recommend it.

Eat well at the VIP Extreme Club. Two Silver Passes will be auctioned at the June AYC Monthly Meeting.

Second best: A Silver Pass that offers entry into the VIP viewing area just off the finish line with great food and open bar, television coverage, the skippers’ news conference, a technical tour of a GC32, and (if you’d like), a RIB ride during racing. The Silver Passes are $350 each and we’ll auction off a pair of them at the meeting to benefit AYC’s 2019 Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup. Come ready to bid!

The meeting is Tuesday, June 12, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

 

Against the backdrop of the city of San Diego, the Extreme Sailing series in October 2017. Photo: Mike Ferring

Extreme Sailing action near the finish in San Diego. This sort of close and wild action was typical. Photo: Mike Ferring

The GC32 catamarans fly on foils. Photo: Mike Ferring

Commodore’s Party Draws Nice Crowd

David Newland, the recipient of our award for Most Valuable Player. Photo: Mike Ferring

You have a new Board of Directors at the helm after the Commodore’s Celebration Saturday night (5/19). The changeover to the new crew went very well, with over 70 members turning out for the party at The Yard in Tempe.

The formal part of the event is the installation of the board and new Commodore Rob Gibbs and the awarding of trophies and offering thanks to the people who made last year work so well. This year’s US Sailing Sportsmanship Award recipient is David Newland, who did such amazing work to get our Lake Pleasant boats in shape and keeping them that way in his role as Lake Captain. Here’s a lot more description of what David did this last year.

After a vote of the jury, George Tingom will get to keep Ye Olde Blunder Bucket another few months and we hope he takes better care of it than he has lately. You see, part of the responsibility of receiving this coveted trophy is its care and feeding—keeping it prominently displayed on one’s mantle. After winning the prize in December, George instead kept it in his car! Nominated for this transgression—and then foolishly trying to defend doing it—won it again for George.

Ethan Wei accepts the trophy for Most Improved Junior. Photo: Mike Ferring

The Wayne Jason Tucker Award for Outstanding Junior went to Myles Danner. The Jerry Lindeman Award for Most Improved Junior went to Ethan Wei and Matthew Haggart. The Heavy Lifting Award for contribution to ASF went to Mike Parker, who took over the High School Sailing Team this year.

Photos by Mike Ferring and various others who picked up his camera when needed:

 

 

 

MVP for 2018: David Newland

David Newland, the recipient of our award for Most Valuable Player. Photo: Mike Ferring

David Newland is the recipient of the AYC Most Valuable Player award, what we call the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award. David has gone above and beyond constantly in his role as Lake Pleasant Lake Captain. I spent 45 minutes scanning a year’s worth of emails, hundreds of them, to try to give you a flavor of what he’s done and here’s just a glimpse of what I found.

He researched a new outboard for the Boston Whaler, negotiated price with three dealers, arranged for the purchase, warranty (10-year), and installation… and even got us a little money for the old motor.

When the monsoon hit Pleasant Harbor Marina and the AYC pontoon boat went flying across the storage yard, smashing into a passing cruiser, the trailer and pontoon ending up bent and twisted, he arranged for repair, handled the insurance… and had some money left over.

Commodore Mike Ferring and Lake Captain David Newland try out the new power on the AYC Boston Whaler. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

While he was at it, he personally redid the bunks on the trailer and replaced the brakes. Cleaned it up and rewired the control panel.

Then he went to work on the Boston Whaler, cleaning and repairing, replacing the rub strip, digging into the innards. Tony Chapman had been wondering how the boat had used so much oil over the last year. David found out why when he went into the bilge. Here’s part of that email:

“I’m guessing 1 gal of 2 stoke oil, along with 5 gal of water sitting underneath it all for good measure. Mix in some sand, dropped washers/nuts, clipped zip tie ends and the occasional twig, and we had quite the soup going. I even think there was a dead black widow in the anchor locker, but I didn’t give it much of a look.”

Then there was replacing the automatic race starting boxes at both LP & TTL, the VHF radios, finding and sorting out the boat and trailer registrations, cleaning and sorting lines, writing checklists, working the mark anchors and rode and buckets, and cleaning out the lockers, sorting keys. He showed up at the beginning and end of every race day to make sure things were done correctly and then fixed them because they never were.

Somewhere along the way the Commodore came up with a robotic race mark, the MarkSetBot that needed as much attention as a newborn baby and he handled most of that too.

He did this when nobody was watching and not expecting any reward. Our 2018 AYC MVP: David Newland.

David Newland drives the repowered AYC Boston Whaler at speed. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

 

Sails Into Sail Bags: Nice

When the sails get baggy, it’s time for Sail Bags. When the draft goes from 40% to 80%, it’s time to retire and recycle.

Maryellen Ferring put out the call to AYC members to look through their dusty piles of old sails and bring them to her—and lots of people responded. The picture shows them folded and boxed at the TabBand shipping department, ready to head off to Sail Bags in Maine to be recycled into various bags, purses, and cases.

In return, AYC will get a number of Sail Bags’ items to use for prizes, auction items, and giveaways. How many? It’s all based on what they find in those boxes. So, many thanks to the people who contributed… and isn’t it nice to have them out of the garage?

Big boxes full of old sails contributed by AYC members, headed off for recycling into Sail Bags. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

Scott Richards Scores Close Champ Win

Close starts for the 2018 Championship races. Click on the shots in the story to see bigger images. Photo: Mike Ferring

It all came down to the final race, the sixth of six. On a near-perfect sailing day at Lake Pleasant (if you’re not bothered by a few random puffs), Thistle champ Scott Richards held a single point lead over Laser winner Joel Hurley. Joel would have to beat Scott in this single race—and finish first or second to take the tie-breaker. If he could, he’d win the Club Championship.

This is the annual Arizona Yacht Club race that pits the person in each fleet with the best score for the combined fall and spring race series. Each year those fleet winners compete in one-design boats in a race of champions. This year, the boat was the Thistle.

About one minute before the start, Scott goes swimming. Photo: Mike Ferring

About one minute before the start of the final race, Scott Richards reached with his foot for the hiking strap. And missed. He was suddenly in the water, calling for sister Sharon to grab the tiller and head up so he could get back in the boat. Soaked and dazed, Scott still somehow managed a good start and joined five other Thistles in the race to the windward mark.

Scott Richards (green boat) rides a big puff to the windward mark. Joel Hurley (white boat left) has to tack to make it. Photo: Mike Ferring

Joel and crew Will Zornik sailed a better beat and was sliding up inside two others to round first—but then, a slight header, forcing a quick tack. Thirty feet away a burst of downdraft suddenly shot Scott ahead and around the mark in front of them.

Downwind, Joel kept looking for a way around. Lots of jibes and jockeying for position. He managed to slip in front of Scott, holding second in the race, trailing only Mike Hester. If he could hang on, he’d win it all. Then upwind: Scott chose the right and Joel the left. Right worked; left didn’t. By the finish Scott was a couple boats ahead and celebrating his first AYC Club Championship.

Leeward mark rounding on the final race. Joel rounds ahead of Scott, but chooses the wrong side for the final beat. Photo: Mike Ferring

This field included many of the club’s best sailors and they put on quite a show, with lots of lead changes and close tactics. Some of the best left frustrated. Seven-time champ Martin Lorch (sailing with former champ Trey Harlow) grumbled that he’d simply had a bad day.

Former champ Dave Haggart and wife Stacey started with a sixth and fifth, but then figured out the boat and scored a pair of bullets. Mike Parker and Tony Chapman struggled except they too won a race. Mike Hester and John Mayall, the reigning champs, sailed well, but a couple mid-pack finishes pulled them down to a close third overall at the end.

The workers: PRO Skip Kempff and his RC crew, including Tom Ohlin, Cedric Lorch, Tom Glover, David Newland, Maryellen and me. George Sheller had to miss the day, but he did the set-up and organization.

Special thanks to the Thistle fleet for providing their boats for the races!

 

Your 2018 AYC Club Champion Scott Richards and crew/sister Sharon Richards. Photo: Mike Ferring

Here are a few more shots Mike took:

The class photo (l to r): Trey Harlow, Joel Hurley, Martin Lorch, John Mayall, Will Zornik, Sharon Richards, Scott Richards, Mike Hester, Dave Haggart, Stacey Haggart, Tony Chapman, Mike Parker. Photo: Mike Ferring

2018-2019 Board of Directors

Right now there are 235 member families in the Arizona Yacht Club and in online voting during April, they selected the next board of directors.

The new board’s members are: Rob Gibbs, Commodore; Marc Danner, Vice Commodore; Sharon Bell, Rear Commodore; George Sheller, Racing Fleet Captain; Heather McClain, Cruising Fleet Captain; Skip Kempff, Membership Director (two-year term); Mike Ferring, Jr Staff Commodore.

Bruce Andress moves to Sr Staff Commodore and Andrew Oliver will continue in the second year of his two-year term as Membership Director. The new board will elect a Secretary and Treasurer.

Rob Gibbs is a familiar face at AYC, having served as Membership Director and now serving as one of the key instructors for the Arizona Sailing Foundation. In addition to the adult Learn to Sail program and the Powerboat Safety classes, Rob teaches the Junior Performance Sailing class, which includes his son Colin.

The new board will be installed at the Commodore’s Celebration on Saturday, May 19. More information and registration for this event here.

The 2018 ASF Performance Racing class. Rob Gibbs is the tall one on the right. Photo: Mike Ferring

Watch the AYC Champ Race on a Party Boat

Watch six AYC fleet champs duke it out for the coveted Club Championship trophy. Defending champ (and Sport Boat fleet champ) Mike Hester goes up against a field of excellent sailors in a round-robin competition using Thistles.

2018 Club Championship entrants are: Thistle Fleet Champion, Scott Richards; Capri 14.2, Dave Haggart; Catalina 22, Steve Grothe; Laser, Joel Hurley; Multi-Hull, Brett Johnston; Portsmouth, Mike Parker; PHRF Spin, Martin Lorch; and Reigning Club Champion/PHRF Sport Boat, Mike Hester. Steve Grothe and Brett Johnston are not able to make the race, reducing the expected entry to six.

Champ Party Boat Signup

Fleet Captain George Sheller will take you around the course on a luxury pontoon boat and position you for best viewing at the start and rounding marks. Bring snacks and beverages and cheer on your favorite.

One of the Scorpion rental pontoon boats.

The races will be Saturday, May 12, beginning about 9 am and continuing until a champ has been selected. That could be as many as seven races, but often is five or six.

The party boat will leave Scorpion at about 1 pm to see as many races as remain at that time, including the choice of a champ. The boat is expected to be a 24-foot luxury pontoon boat with cushy seats.

George needs at least 12 people to sign up for the boat in order to cover the rental. The price per person is $25.

2017 Club Champs Mike Hester and John Mayall with the big cup. Photo: Mike Ferring