Isolation Tips from Around-the-World Sailor Jerome Rand

Remember Jerome? Our speaker for the October meeting? He’s the guy who spent 271 days circumnavigating the globe on a 32-foot boat built in 1975. Maximum adventure, maximum isolation.

Now that many of us are self-isolating to keep from getting that nasty virus, Jerome figured he might be able to help. He produced a short YouTube video describing some of the techniques he used to keep from going nuts. Click on the picture/video below..

Incidentally, Jerome’s book is now published and is available on Amazon: The book is called, Sailing Into Oblivion.


How the Lakes Are Responding to Coronavirus

As Commodore Rob Gibbs has reported, AYC has shut down racing for March, canceled some meetings and moved others to conference calls. In fact, both Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant have shut down activities through the month of March that involve more than a few people. We can still go sailing at those places (please do), but not as an organized group.

Here’s more detail on the Lake Pleasant restrictions. Here’s Tempe’s link to latest city cononavirus news.

At Lake Pleasant, the two marinas have also limited activities.

Here’s the letter from Pleasant Harbor Marina. The marina is limiting access to the office, closing the RV resort clubhouse, pool, and media room and limiting hours for showers and laundry. Restrooms remain open.

Scorpion Bay manager Cris McSparen reported Wednesday (3/12) that they have closed the restaurant, but will continue to-go orders at the marina store, which is open. Scorpion will continue services at the fuel dock and boat rentals for groups of 10 or fewer.



Gorgeous Lake Pleasant Race Weekend

There was enough 8-knot wind to combine with a splash of sunshine and 70+ degree weather to make it a memorable weekend on the water (3/14-15) and a nice escape from the harsh reality of the week’s news.

Myles Danner at the helm of the Santana 20 and moving fast. Photo: Mike Ferring

It was fun to watch the clash of rivals: Joel v. Martin, Paul v. Marshall, George v. Bob, and Jason v. Dan.

Joel got the best of Martin in the Santana 20 fleet, taking four races out of five. Unfortunately for Joel and AYC, his loyal crew, Grant Younger, is headed off for work in Chicago. We’re going to miss him! Finishing third was Myles Danner with his crew Marc Danner. They finished close behind the two AYC club champs on every race, showing impressive speed.

Thanks to my Sport Boat race committee (in alphabetical order): Steve Brown, James Dishong, Maryellen Ferring, Mike Hester, David Newland, and Mark Trainor.

Results when Rob Gibbs gets back from his family cruise.

Click on the picture below to see a bunch of them in bigger size.

Help ASF with Each Amazon Purchase

Do you shop at Amazon? The huge online merchant will give .5% (one-half percent) of the money from each of your purchases to our Arizona Sailing Foundation. As of mid-March 2020, the “Amazon Smile” program has donated $395 to ASF.

Your purchases cost the same. Amazon Prime still applies, if you’ve bought that service. ASF just gets a cut of all your dollars.

It’s simple. Instead of buying from, you buy from Sign up to have your purchases credited to ASF. That’s it. Takes less than a minute.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from instead. Route .5% of your money to ASF.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from instead in order to route .5% of your money to ASF.

Sunday’s Gentle TTL Action

Tim Mitchell aboard his gorgeous new Sunfish. Photo: Mike Ferring

The lake looked like glass at the 2pm start time. A flicker of breeze wafted from the west at 2:15. PRO George Tingom, screamed “Start ’em!” Okay, he probably didn’t, but the day needed some action.

Most of the Tempe Town Lake race group this Sunday (2/16) figured it might be another day of drifting, like the last day we were here. Or super light like the time before. Instead there was enough breeze to justify a few races and moving the windward mark out a distance to give the Lasers a bit more runway.

By a little after 4 o’clock the breeze had shut down entirely and the few boats still racing ghosted across the finish. Day over.

Here are the scores.


Barry McCartin power tacking. Photo: Mike Ferring

Clay Poulson in focus mode. Photo: Mike Ferring

Charging the upwind mark. Photo: Mike Ferring


Birthday Regatta Bash

By Bob Naylor, Regatta Organizer

And what a weekend it was! The Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup was Arizona winter sailing at its finest. Blue skies, sunny warm days, and light to moderate winds made for lots of great racing. Hundreds of sailors and supporters enjoyed strong competition and camaraderie. The laughter of friends, old and new, filled the cool evening air around the regatta tent, as the day’s action gave way to a brilliant full moon at night.

An Olson 30 heeling. Photo: Scott Jenkins

The success is in the numbers: 78 registered boats, over 70 boats sailing, 10 fleets, and 71-races completed—a great job by our skippers, crews, a weary Race Committee, and scores of shoreside volunteers. But it’s not just about the sailing. Our charitable fundraising totals more than $21,000 and is still being tallied.

The Cruising Fleet was the biggest fleet of the weekend. Three flavors of PHRF fleets duked it out: Sport Boats, Spin, and Non-spin. Emory Heisler somehow produced a Buccaneer 18 fleet. Bruce Andress alone fielded four out of six boats that comprised the Merit-25 fleet. Also new this year was the Sunfish Fleet with colorful sails darting around the Lake. Catalina 22s, Lasers, and Santana 20s rounded out the fleets.

Sunday morning saw some of the best action of the weekend. The wind was up, sails were full, and—in a few cases—fiberglass was flying! Principal Race Officer Rob Gibbs somehow managed to squeeze off a total of 71 races Saturday and Sunday. We had sailors from at least six states (AZ, CA, MI, NM, UT, WI). And the ASU Sailing Club fielded four boats: two Merit 25s, a Catalina 22, and a Catalina 30. They had a blast!

I guess you could call this “sailing to the rum line.” Photo: Scott Jenkins

Ashore, we had food, drink, and entertainment. We had fun! Martin Lorch kicked it off with a casual cookout Friday evening, with a little corn-hole action on the side, thanks to Bob Labine and his woodworking skills.

Kegs were cracked, corks were popped, and rum bottles ran dry, a scene repeated Saturday night. The nearby Peoria Artisan Brewery donated beer, J. Dusi Winery in Paso Robles more than rose to the challenge with great wine, and we enjoyed rum from both Goslings, courtesy of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and from the Smooth Sailing Rum distillery, owned by former Arizonan and AYC member Curt Naegeli, who traveled to the Regatta from Wisconsin to race in the Sunfish Fleet. One-design expert Brian Janney of North Sails San Diego presented a well-attended trim and tuning clinic.

Glenn Brostedt and crew were up Saturday way before first light, preparing another truly fabulous breakfast. Our delicious Saturday night dinner was again catered by Arizona Taste, which donated half the normal price of the dinner.Guest speaker Onne Van der Wal entertained us with stunning photos and stories from his presentation Sailing in America.

The new maritime band, The Keeltones, led us in celebration of our 62nd Birthday. In recognizing our founder and her legacy, we were honored to have Ruth Beals’ daughters Sue Bohl and Maggie Lindsey join us for the evening. Then the Keeltones brought it all home, with the last song going to Ricky G, who cut a mean rug stage-side.

Any ill effects from Saturday night were addressed with help from the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club. Commodore Doug Payne and first mate Deedy rolled out a great grab-and-go breakfast.

A school of Sunfish swirls around the start line. Photo: Scott Jenkins

When the racing ended Sunday afternoon, the scoring started. A tired and overworked race crew crunched the numbers, a whiff of white smoke rose above the papal RV, and the trophies were awarded. Taking home the gold were:
– Buccaneer 18: Cindy Pillote
– Catalina 22: Bob Worrall
– Cruising: Brandon Rawlings
– Laser: Barry McCartin
– Merit 25: Charles Landis
– PHRF Non-Spin: Mitch Starr
– PHRF Spin: Ben Towery
– PHRF Sport Boat: Tony Chapman
– Santana 20: Joel Hurley
– Sunfish: Randy Adophs

World famous photographer Onne van der Wal dazzles with photos. Photo: Mike Ferring

Equally successful this year was the fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The overall numbers are still being calculated and some additional donations are still pending, but, as of right now, our numbers look like this:
Individual Fundraising for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – $21,019
– Top Individual Fundraiser: Tony Chapman – $16,680
– Top Team: Spirit (Catalina 22 – Bob Worrall and Maureen Rojas) – $1301
AYC will present a check to LLS at the March membership meeting, where top contributors will also be recognized. Many thanks to those who “raised more than a sail in this year’s Leukemia Cup.”

Late Sunday afternoon, the parking lot had already begun to empty, the trash cleaned-up and the recycling finished. By Monday afternoon, the tent was down, the boats and last RVs were gone. Pleasant Harbor was again a patch of grass and a dusty parking lot. But, oh that Regatta, it was one to remember! Sixty-two years and still going strong, Ruth would have been proud.

Nothing helps keep memories fresh like photographs. Some skippers signed up for autographed, large-format photographs from Onne van der Wal (they’ll be arriving soon) and other photos from Onne will be available online. Scott Jenkins and Sabrina Bryant also got shots that are available here:
– Sabrina Bryant:
– Scott Jenkins:

And finally, no event like this happens without many hours of hard work by scores of volunteers. Hours of work went into race committee, event photography, food and beverage service, housekeeping and clean-up, “clean regatta” actions, sales of raffle tickets and drinks (both big money-makers), registration and check-in… the list goes on. Of the many people who helped, a few deserve special recognition for their out-sized contributions:
– Glenn Brostedt: led a sleep-deprived team of Tucson Sailing Club volunteers through the cold and dark of night to prepare a delicious hot breakfast early Saturday morning
– Rob Gibbs: assembled the Race Committee volunteers, ran 71-races in two days as PRO, and handled the scoring.
– Deb Heisler: did all the preparation and planning for the cookouts, and ran the Green Team that ensured this Regatta was Sailor For The Seas “Clean Regatta” certified, including provisioning recycling and composting bins.
– Al and Sandy Lehman: as they have for many years, devoted days to ensuring participants were welcomed, checked-in, and registered.
– Maureen Rojas: crafted a strong email and social media campaign, which she executed over several months, ensuring all parties were kept in the loop with schedules and planning, and generating event awareness that drove our great participation numbers. And, as though that weren’t enough, she and husband Rudy did yeoman’s work throughout the weekend, helping hands-on with many aspects of the overall event.

We’re deeply thankful for the hard work, time commitment, efforts, and leadership of our many volunteers who made the regatta a success:
– Race Committee:
                – ROB GIBBS: Principle Race Officer
                – Ron Anliker
                – Jo Grivala
                – Dave Haggart
                – Ed Huntsman
                – Bob Labine
                – Josh McClain
                – Heather McClain
                – Mark Mollison
                – Joe Motil
                – Lori Reger
                – John Turner
– Photography Boat:
                – David Blackman
                – Sabrina Bryant
                – Myles Hassett
                – Scott Jenkins
– USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 10-7
– MAUREEN ROJAS: Communications & Fundraising, Event Support
– DEB HEISLER: Green Team, Food and Event Support
– DAVID BLACKMAN: Fundraising
– AL and SANDY LEHMAN: Reception
– Tucson Sailing Club: Saturday Breakfast
                – GLENN BROSTEDT
                – Bob Burden
                – Peter Burgard
                – Alan Burgard
                – Larry Potter
                – Brian Dolan
                – Tony Krauss
                – Mike Gellar
                – Marshall Williamson
– Lake Pleasant Sailing Club: Doug and Deedy Payne, Bill Cunningham
– Weekend Warriors:
                – Bruce Andress
                – Matt Baker
                – Jonni Biaggini
                – Mike Davis
                – Tom Errickson
                – Maryellen Ferring
                – Deb French
                – Tarah Garcia
                – Emory Heisler
                – Megan Koopman
                – Wendy Larsen
                – Martin Lorch
                – Estella Naegeli
                – Bob Nesbit
                – Robin Naylor
                – Mike Parker
                – Dean and Kathy Robertson
                – Rudy and Maureen Rojas
                – Tommy Schaeffer and friends Nick and Seth
                – Peter Schweizer
– The Keeltones:
                – Michelangelo Caggiano
                – Steve Dolter
                – Steve Grothe
                – Charlie Joiner
                – Dennis Lynde
                – Wayne Powell

A mixed cloud of racing boats against the blue-gray mountains at the 2020 Birthday Regatta. Photo: Scott Jenkins



Tuning Your Sailing Body

Shroud tension. Check. Mast bend. Check. Keel faired. Check. Optimize backstay, traveler, outhaul, Cunningham. Check, check, check, check. Tune body. Body?

Keith Kocher

At the March monthly meeting, Keith Kocher will show us how to tune that critical bit of sailing gear, the human body. He’ll offer a functional lower extremity exercise routine that addresses balance, core and lower extremity strength for injury prevention and performance enhancement.  

The meeting is Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 7 pm at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Here’s a map link. It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace, so park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area. Please arrive early for dinner since our program begins right at 7. Guests are welcome.

Keith has been a  part of the medical staff for major league baseball organizations, has helped pro baseball players around the world, and was on the Phoenix Suns medical staff for 19 years. 

He received physical therapy training from Washington University in St. Louis and has over 25 years of experience in physical therapy and optimal performance training of pro athletes. He worked with Dr. Frank Jobe, the man who performed the first “Tommy John surgery” on then-Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Dr. Jobe and another baseball medical legend, Dr. Lewis Yokum, let Keith use his advanced manual therapy to rehabilitate and train pro athletes.

Keith is a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society. He practices in Tempe.

Are you in shape for a big hike? Photo: Mike Ferring

AYC’s Founder: The Unsinkable Ruth Beals

A youthful Ruth Beals.

How difficult do you suppose it was for a woman to start selling sailboats in the desert in the 1950s? Drop a stake in a vacant lot and call it a sailboat store. Gather a nucleus of sailors and turn it into something called the Arizona Yacht Club. Very difficult, I’d guess, but after listening to the stories from her daughters, not a bit surprising for Ruth Beals.

Sue Bohl and Maggie Lindsey speak proudly and lovingly of their mother—their favorite subject, they say—and Bob Naylor and I were delighted to listen. We met at a Phoenix restaurant for a late and long breakfast, and over omelets and many cups of coffee, we got to hear about the woman who AYC claims as our founder.

Sue and Maggie brought a stack of photos, clippings and records that tell a bit of the story: Ruth was born on January 9, 1918 and died October 31, 2010 at 92. She married three times, the first after WWII to Howard Beals, Sue and Maggie’s father. Besides selling sailboats at Sails Ahoy, she was instrumental in starting the Big Surf water park in Tempe with the world’s first wave pool.

Sue Bohl and Maggie Lindsey. Photo: Mike Ferring

Her daughters proudly point out that it was Ruth who got the $1 million dollar investment from Clairol to start the park. And there’s this delicious twist: when the marketing woman from Clairol in New York saw the lovely Ruth, they featured her in a Clairol ad that ran in all the nation’s biggest magazines.

Ruth wrote of her introduction to sailing in her college alumni magazine, describing how she persuaded her family to get a small boat, “even though as far as we knew there wasn’t a sailboat in the entire state.”

They hauled the boat and a slim instruction book to a Mexican vacation.

Ruth Beals at the helm, from a newspaper photo spread.

“In blissful ignorance we bobbed about the bay having a great time capsizing and learning everything the hard way, and then found out the bay was alive with sharks!”

“Much to my delight,” she continued, “enough people were interested in the sport to form an organized group. We started with three boats and 15 people.”

The young yacht club quickly flourished, pushed along by $1 introductory memberships, and she described an active racing and social life. Then as now, they did it against the backdrop of Arizona beauty, “Sheer rock walls in canyons, distant mountains. The sight of our graceful sails against this backdrop is unbelievably lovely.”

This was a woman who showed no fear. As a single woman, she traveled to Mexico, Central America, Alaska, Tahiti, England, Australia, and ran the Colorado river. To help sell sailboats, she got a shopping center to let her bring boats for display and got the local newspapers to feature sailing photo spreads. And in 1958 she started a yacht club that’s made us proud for 62 years and counting.

Maggie Lindsey sorts through clippings and photos of her mother Ruth. Photo: Mike Ferring

A close-up of Ruth from the Clairol ad that ran in major national magazines.

A newspaper ad promoting Ruth’s sailboat shop, Sails Ahoy.


February Meeting: Cruising Beautiful British Columbia

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

With thousands of islands and places ranging from marine parks through old English inspired cities, the British Columbia Region is a water playland that has it all. Eagles swoop down for dinner, whales surface with curiosity and sea lions bask on the rocks. 

Colin Jackson

At our February monthly meeting, Colin Jackson from Cooper Boating will provide us with a peek into this region and an overview of the main cruising areas around the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound, Barkley Sound and the Broughton Archipelago.

The meeting is Tuesday, February 11, beginning at 7 pm at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Here’s a map link. It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace, so park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area. Please arrive early for dinner since our program begins right at 7. Guests are welcome.

Colin will give us a deep dive into a sample itinerary among the thousands possible in the British Columbia region. He’ll mention flotillas and tell us how a club like ours can arrange one. And for racers, he’ll cover some of the big annual racing events like the Swiftsure race he won in 2015. And, Colin says, besides bringing local knowledge, he’ll bring bad jokes.

He’s worked his entire career in boating, beginning by cleaning them, then docking big boats in tight spaces even before he had a driver’s license. And for most of his career he’s been providing sailing instruction to students and clients. He took the helm of Cooper Boating some 23 years ago while still completing his university studies, since logging thousands of inshore and offs

hore miles on power and sailboats, coaching thousands of boat operators and participating in races such as the Victoria-Maui Race. Today he’s a happily retired boat builder and has rounded out his career by serving as Vice President Training – Canadian Yachting Association, and as director for BC Sailing Association.

Racine Falls in British Columbia.

AYC Photo Wins a Tempe Instagrammy Award

When Mike Ferring skipped out for a dinner reservation, Grant Younger accepted the award on his behalf. Photo: Josh Decker

Grant Younger says he did it on a whim. At 11:55, five minutes before the entry deadline, he grabbed five pictures off the AYC Instagram account and submitted them for recognition in the whimsically-named Tempe Instagrammys. Then he got an email saying that one of the pictures was picked from 1500 entries as a finalist in one of the Instagrammy categories. My picture, as it turned out.

Friday evening (1/24), Grant, Josh Decker, Maryellen and I joined a crowd of about 350 at the Tempe Center for the Arts for the unveiling of the finalists and announcement of category winners. It was a fun ceremony with lots of cheering and cool pictures, but it was running late and Maryellen and I had to skip out for a dinner reservation. About five minutes after we left, I got a text from Grant. It was short.

“You won!!!!”

The picture is of a pair of Lasers heeled to project their sails higher downwind—Scott Sharples with Paul Miachika right on his stern. The category was TTL boating.

The Instagrammy contest is an inspired promotion by the city and so well conducted that it won a national award of its own. People compete to put photos on the Tempe Instagram and their own Instagram accounts that promote the city. The city then plugs the contest winners (and so do websites such as this one) and the images are available for anyone to use in advertising that further promotes the city and so on.

Here’s the video Tempe produced to promote the Instagrammies.

Now AYC sailing is part of this inspired promotion, so we receive some benefit as well. Nice.

The Instagrammy award ceremony at the Tempe Center for the Arts drew about 350 people. Not-award-winning photo by Mike Ferring

Here Comes the Birthday Regatta

You can order Saturday night dinner here. Deadline for entry has passed, but you can still register to race with a late fee.

The biggest AYC event of the year is days away, the three-day regatta and maximum party starts on Friday (2/7) with practice in the afternoon and a big Friday night:

  • North Sails Clinic – North Sails has joined our Regatta! Don’t miss their Tuning and Trim Clinic on Friday evening. Click here to sign up.
  • The Rum Bar will feature drinks from Leukemia Cup sponsor Goslings, and, for the first time, from Curt Naegeli’s North Woods Distillery, located in Coleman, Wisconsin. Before moving out of the area, Curt was an AYC member. Now he’s back for the Birthday Regatta. Watch for his Sunfish with the sail featuring his signature product, Smooth Sailing Rum.
  • We’ll fire up the grill to cook burgers and dogs, with side dishes. Beer and wine will also be available.

After sailing on Saturday, don’t miss the year’s best party:

  • Dinner and Drinks – Dinner is being provided again this year by Scottsdale’s premier, award winning caterer, Arizona Taste, now in their 30th year. For just $25, they’re providing a delicious $50 dinner menu in support of our Birthday Regatta. Also available: craft beer from Peoria Artisan Brewery, and fine wine from J Dusi Wines in Paso Robles, California.
  • Must-see Entertainment – Over dinner guest speaker Onne van der Wal will share photos from the day and discuss the making of “Sailing in America,” his popular new photography book.
  • Celebrate our 62nd Birthday with cake and with a little help from our friends – Arizona’s newest maritime band, The Keeltones.   
  • “Pay it Forward” deals – Go home rich! Buy lots of 50-50 raffle tickets for the big drawing. Then after cake, auctioneer Rowlan Hill will lead our live auction to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arizona Sailing Foundation and the Arizona Yacht Club. Credit cards will be accepted, so bring them all.

Click here to preview some of the great offers on the auction block this year, including:

  • See the Grand Canyon: from the bottom up with a “bucket list” raft trip.
  • Relax in the Caribbean: choose from 8 Caribbean vacation packages.
  • How about a charter aboard a 42-foot catamaran?
  • Golfer? You’ll have two nice golf packages to choose from.
  • Bid for an overnight stay at Lon’s Hermosa Inn, one of Arizona’s most romantic destinations.

Check out the competitionClick here for a full list of competitors by fleet. Our birthday regatta will include at least nine fleets:

  • Buccaneer 18
  • Catalina 22
  • Cruising
  • Laser
  • Merit 25
  • PHRF Non-Spin
  • PHRF Spin
  • PHRF Sport Boat
  • Santana 20
  • Sunfish

With all this happening, you just gotta regatta – see you at the Lake soon!

Pictured above, The Keeltones, the Regatta’s musical headliner. From left to right: Charlie Joiner (CJ) – an animal on those drums; lead singer Michelangelo Caggiano (a wayward sailor from a secret harbor); guitarist and back-up singer Steve Dolter (C-22 sailor); keyboardist Wayne Powell (New Freedom heat); guitarist Steve Grothe (C-22 sailor); and guitarist Dennis Lynde (former AYC Commodore and member for nearly 50 years).  The Keeltones will feature original nautically-themed music by Michelangelo and a well-rounded playlist of your favorite sailing songs.  Mamas, don’t let your children grow up to be maritime band musicians!

Like to Host an AYC Happy Hour?

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

We are continuing our AYC-hosted Happy Hours each month at various locations around the valley. An evening of food, stories and a brew or two are a fun way to engage with fellow sailors and potential new members. Feel free to invite people you think are interested in sailing.

The Happy Hours are rotated around the Valley and held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings so members and guests can find one that works best for them. If you’re interested in hosting contact me and specify which date you’d like from the available dates:

Thursday 2/27/20, Tuesday 3/24/20, Thursday 4/23/20, Tuesday 6/23/20, Thursday 7/23/20, Tuesday 8/25/20, Thursday 9/24/20, Tuesday 10/27/20

Hosting duties:

  • Select one of the available dates and let me know.
  • Pick your favorite local bar/restaurant and reserve the date/time. Attendance ranges from 5 to 15 people.
  • Submit the date/time/location to AYC Rear Commodore for publication to website, Facebook and the AYC calendar.
  • Show up with an AYC table sign and buy up to $100 of appetizers (no beverages/alcohol) for those in attendance.
  • Collect the contact information of any guest (name, email, phone number) and submit along with receipts to AYC Rear Commodore.

And remember we can adjust the dates to help accommodate your availability to host.

Spring Racing Action Now

Spring racing kicked off Sunday (1/12) at Tempe Town Lake and Saturday (1/18) at Lake Pleasant. Even though the season is underway, it’s not too late to jump in: Sign up now and get the race documents on the racing page.

Mark Trainor summed up the Lake Pleasant opening weekend in a familiar phrase: feast or famine. Saturday was famine, as light wind kept the boats creeping and allowed only a couple races each, always in low gear. Sunday was the feast—way too much feast!

Wind in the upper teens with puffs into the 20s tested race teams on Sunday (1/19). Here Mike Ferring hits 9kts under main alone. Photo: Mike’s GoPro

The wind was licking the high teens at the 9 o’clock race time and rose from there. With all the boats overpowered, it was a contest of bravery/skill/weight on the rail. The climax came as we watched the PHRF spin boats reaching back from Horse Island rounding.

Dean Johnson’s Andrews Governor’s Cup 21 had a nice lead and was flying south under spinnaker, one of only two boats risking it with the heavy wind. As we watched, it appeared that Dean turned left as he approached a very blown-long finish line in order to avoid illegally passing through it. The boat jibed, flipping three of the crew into the water, one of whom was able to grab the trailing main sheet and scramble back on board. The spinnaker meanwhile was flapping out of control. The two swimmers were pulled out and taken to the Peoria fire station to be warmed up.

The Tempe Town Lake kickoff was a wheeze-off, with wind so light it was nothing at all. In spite of that, the fleets managed to get two races in. We knew we were moving by watching light posts on the south shore. Meanwhile, the Portsmouth race committee snacked from Clay Poulson’s shoreside charcuterie.

The day before, 8-10 boats turned out for a practice run at Lake Pleasant. The wind was light there, too, with moments of moderation, but it was a good way to shake off the rust and make sure all the lines still worked (what do you mean the spin halyard is wrapped around the forestay?).

Wendy Larsen volunteered as the day’s PRO (Principle Race Officer) and attracted a good group of people for a morning race committee clinic where she explained the basics of running races at Lake Pleasant before bringing them out for the afternoon’s practice.

Practice Start on Saturday, January 11. Photo: Sabrina Bryant

Nice form at the Lake Pleasant practice day. Photo: Sabrina Bryant

Passing: 50-Year Member Don DeFreze

Don DeFreze from a frame grab of a video made in 2012.

One of the earliest and most colorful members of the Arizona Yacht Club, Don DeFreze, passed away November 26 and on January 25, some of his buddies from AYC came out to remember him and to tell stories about this entertaining character.

In an interview we did in 2012, Don explained how AYC members wanted to build a dock and offered to make him an honorary member if he let them use his welding shop to do the work.

“So being young and naive and wanting to belong to such a prestigious organization as the Arizona Yacht Club, I agreed,” he said with a straight face.

Apparently the work parties to build the dock and a makeshift committee boat were a little nuts.

Founding member Dave Shapiro wrote in his history of the club, “That crazy guy nearly killed your author one day when he was dragging a telephone pole about the work yard (speed: at least 20 mph) with an ancient Chevrolet pickup and tow chain.”

But then the kicker. They never made him an honorary member. “I didn’t belong until 1967,” he said, “when I finally paid my $25 dues so I could race my own boat!”

One of the times when he was launching that boat he committed the biggest Ye Blunder Bucket blunder of all time—launching the boat and the tow car at the same time. And it was his mother’s car! Hear him tell the story on that 2012 interview.

Don loved to dance and told us how he entertained the ladies well into his last years, probably wearing his ubiquitous blue denim work shirt with the “Don” patch over the pocket.

His daughters arranged the celebration of life on Saturday, January 25 at 1pm at the Royal Order of Moose Lodges in Peoria. They say, “We know our father was a ‘character’ and we know this is the way he would want to be remembered!”

Water in Arizona – Past, Present & Future

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

It’s something we don’t often think about, but our very existence in Arizona relies on the mighty Colorado, Lake Powell, Lake Mead, and the reservoirs of Roosevelt Lake, the Salt and Verde rivers. Where does all this water come from? Where does it go? Who were the visionaries behind our water systems? Attend the January monthly meeting to get the answers and learn about the state’s water history and its pioneers.

Sandra Hurlbut

Our speaker is Sandra Hurlbut from Arizona Project WET. She’ll inform and enlighten us about all things water, so bring your questions and curiosities and let’s discover something new.

Our first meeting in 2020 will be on Tuesday, January 14th at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Please arrive early for dinner as our program begins at 7:00 pm. Guests are welcome.

Use this map link to the location, near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace. Park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area.

Read Project WET Blog posts written by Sandra.

Sandra Hurlbut is an Educator Coordinator with Arizona Project WET, a program within the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and the University of Arizona. She’s responsible for the Aqua STEM educational outreach program.

Sandra has been involved with environmental and natural resource issues since the early 1980s and has been with the University of Arizona since 2014. She has a passion for water conservation and is a skilled educator and facilitator. Her experience includes positions within academia, medical research, private industry, and state government. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology – Chemistry from Elmira College, a Master’s degree in Energy & Environmental Studies from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts – Boston.

TTL Fall Series Winners

Gary Oberbeck. Photo: Mike Ferring

How dld the first Tempe Town Lake race series go for the new Sunfish class? Quite well, thank you, and congratulate longtime Sunfish fan Gary Oberbeck for a fall series home run. Gary not only won the fleet, but he did it with a perfect score: 16 points in 16 scored races. All bullets.

Bob Naylor formed the class for fall to have a place for him to race his wife’s Sunfish (true). Jeff Bryant was convinced: he sold a perfectly good Laser and picked up a Sunfish and used it to finish second in the series. Tim Mitchell was third and Bob Naylor fourth.

When perennial C14 champ Dave Haggart was injured in a bike crash, Dick Krebill broke a leg, and John Mayall decided to skip some races, it opened the door for Maryellen and me, Mike Ferring, to win the class. Dave and Amy Henning finished second and John and Joyce Mayall third.

The hotly-contested Laser fleet win went to Paul Miachika, topping a 17-boat entry. Joel Hurley finished second, Mike Bernard third, and Chuck Norris fourth.

Colin Gibbs continued to dominate the junior fleet, followed by Myles Danner and Ryan Zornik. Clay Poulson managed to schedule his extensive international travel so that he could make it to TTL most weekends and handily won against light competition in the Portsmouth fleet in his Fireball.

Spring racing begins January 12.

One-man band Clay Poulson stretches to set the pole while not letting go of the tiller. Photo: Mike Ferring

Congratulate the LP Fall Series Winners

Lake Pleasant called up the biggest wind of the season for AYC’s final day of the fall series, enough wind to break boats and send lots of sailors back to shore. By late morning racing was over and the final standings locked down.

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

Congratulations to the fleet winners: Bob Worrall, Catalina 22; Paul Liszewski, PHRF Spin; Mike Hester, PHRF Sport Boat; Scott Richards, Santana 20; and Jason Rziha, Thistle.

Paul Liszewski’s party boat, Rolling in the Deep, won with a net score of 22 in 20 races, after the 20% throwouts, another dominating performance over a much improved Marshall Williamson in second and Charles Landis in third. Bowman Jeff Coulter said Dean Johnson’s Andrews 21 had a shot at third until the Sunday winds locked the spin pole to the mast, collapsing their final two races.

Sport Boat Champ Mike Hester won the fall in a tiebreaker. Photo from February by Mike Ferring

Mike Hester went into the final weekend with a huge lead in PHRF Sport Boat, but his weekend ended with a bang—a collision before the start of the first race Saturday. This time the starboard side of his boat was battered and shrouds frazzled. It was the port side of his Viper 640 Nectar Sled that splintered in a crash at the Viper Worlds just three months before.

Mark Trainor and Court Roberts had been sharing the tiller on Court’s Melges 24 until the final two-and-half weekends of racing, when Club Champ Joel Hurley stepped off his Santana 20 and began driving the Melges—aggressively and very well, of course. With Mike Hester on the trailer for the final weekend, the Court/Mark/Joel boat tied him for the series win, just losing in a tiebreaker.

Former Club Champ Scott Richards’ win in Santana 20 was his swan song before heading to a great job in Massachusetts. Past S20 winners Joel Hurley and Martin Lorch gave Scott a departing advantage by taking a couple weekends off.

Take a breath. After a two-month pause and maybe some “winter” racing, the spring series begins January 18.

The Name’s on the Ruth Beals Trophy: Brooke Miller

Brooke Miller accepts the 2019 Ruth Beals trophy during the November meeting. Photo: Deb Heisler

At the November monthly meeting, Brooke Miller accepted the 2019 Ruth Beals award for winning the annual women-at-the-helm race named for the club’s founder.

Brooke corrected over the other competitors in the October 12 race around the islands on Lake Pleasant with crew Jeff Coulter on Scott Richards’ Santana 20.  She’ll get to keep the trophy until next fall’s regatta.

Coincidentally, Ruth Beals’ daughters, Maggie Lindsey and Terry Bohl, sent us some pictures of Ruth from the time of club’s founding, including this one posed for an Arizona Republic photo spread. We’ll post more pictures and information later.

AYC Founder Ruth Beals.

The Spaghetti Bowl for Setting Race Marks

By David Newland, Lake Pleasant Lake Captain

A frame grab from David and Josh Newland’s instructional video on anchoring race marks.

I remember the first time I stared at a Lake Pleasant mark set bucket and wondered about that cleat bolted to the side (…and those bricks). After some instruction (and trial and error), I figured it out. And, fortunately, I didn’t lose any gear on the way to enlightenment.

Now, I’ve put together an instructional Mark Set video, with the help of my Media Productions-oriented son, Josh. My goal is to have us all use procedures that extend the life of our gear, have it ready to go for the next day, and hopefully keep me from making more buckets! On average, we fill Davy Jones’ locker with four sets of anchor gear per year.

So, if you’re on Race Committee and have never set marks, please check out my video. PROs,: I’ll include this link in my email to you before your scheduled race weekend so that you can share with your team.

If you have any questions, comments or tips, please share! We can update as needed.


Help Us Help AYC Members Steve and Christina Campo

Steve Campo during treatment.

Update on Wednesday, December 4: The campaign to raise money for Steve and Christina has reached $7,000 and the Ferrings have sent a matching check for an additional $5,000, bringing the total raised to $12,000 and climbing.

In February 2018, Steve Campo was gut-punched with a devastating diagnosis: Diffused Large B Cell Lymphoma. The treatment was as difficult and expensive as you can imagine. Fortunately, Steve is a strong guy and handled the treatment. He’s just gotten the payoff for the pain: the emotional news that the cancer is gone. Time to celebrate.

The expensive part? Not gone. No celebration here. Their insurance company ducked out on them, leaving them with dizzying debt. They’re working it through and struggling to keep their business, Sarto Pools, running. But they could sure use some help and we hope their friends at the Arizona Yacht Club will chip in.

If you were at the monthly meeting Tuesday (11/12), you saw how this hit Maryellen. She and I have agreed to match your donations to the Campos through the time of the Birthday Regatta up to $5,000. Already, several people have generously contributed. Here’s how you can help:

  • Christina’s sister Adrianna set up a “Go Fund Me” page here. Put “AYC” in the comments box so we know to match your donation. Adrianna also provides more detail on Steve’s struggle.
  • Or simply hand us or mail us your donation and we’ll match it and see that it gets to the Campos. (Our mailing address is 525 W Monte Vista Rd, Phoenix 85003.)

If you’re new to AYC, you might not know Steve and Christina, so let me offer a brief introduction. Steve is a second-generation member, son of former Commodore Ron Campo. (Side note: Steve’s mother died of Leukemia.)

Steve and Christina prepare dinner at the Mariachi Opening Day. Photo: Sheila Gordon

Christina served as Rear Commodore and Vice Commodore. She’s a bright, high-energy woman who writes, speaks and lives in exclamation points. For example, she set the 2014 Commodore’s Celebration in a luau and the two of them brought a mariachi band to the 2012 Opening Day.

Together they raced a Catalina 22 at Lake Pleasant and a 14.2 at Tempe Town Lake. After a long search for a fast C22 (a lighter early serial number), they not only launched their “new” boat, but were the driving force behind relaunching the fleet, which had withered at the time.

Steve is a very competitive guy, a former bike racer and coach, and we’d see them out relentlessly practicing, setting the whisker pole and working on mark roundings. They went on to win the fleet, of course, and competed in the club championship.

Then they took a huge competitive step: they got a Hobie 33 and set about to prepare it for the Transpac, the 2200-mile race to Honolulu. Part way across, the rudder failed and they had to turn back. Here’s how they described the adventure in 2015.

Steve and Christina have given us a lot of joy. Time to return the favor.

Christina at the luau Commodore’s Celebration she organized. Photo: Mike Ferring

Steve and Christina rig a Thistle for the 2012 Club Championship. Photo: Mike Ferring