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



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



Lazy, Crazy Daze of Autumn

The pictures tell the story. Surprisingly patient sailors waiting for a breath of air on Tempe Town Lake (11/10). Kick back, enjoy the sun. Don’t move or you’ll yank the laminar flow from the drooping sails.


Emory Heisler tries out a Sunfish in the reclining position. It was that kind of day. Photo: Mike Ferring

Seven Sunfish were out, decorating the water with colorful reflections. Longtime Sunfish sailor Gary Oberbeck showed the others the way around the lake, as he has all fall (you know he’s doing well when his 20% discards included first-place finishes).

Paul Miachika and Will Zornik headed the Lasers, with Paul winning two races and Will one. The Bic kids showed more sense than the adults: they went in early.


Concentration on a light-air day. The kids had it figured out. Photo: Mike Ferring

The C14 fleet was on race committee, a large gathering of them, including but probably missing several, Ron and Lynn Simzyk, John and Joyce Mayall, Mike and Maryellen Ferring, and David Henning.

The Sunfish lit the lake with color. Photo: Mike Ferring

Will Zornik focuses downwind. Photo: Mike Ferring

Clay Poulson watches for flow. Photo: Mike Ferring

Paul Miachika managed to be out front on two out of three races. Photo: Mike Ferring

Gary Oberbeck shows the other Sunfish the way around the course. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lori Reger loves to cruise around TTL watching the races. Photo: Mike Ferring

TTL Turns Tumultuous Twenty

By Mike Ferring

It was never supposed to be quite like this, but 20 years after water gurgled into the ditch that was the Salt River along  the 202, the small body of water that became Tempe Town Lake is still a key part of Arizona Yacht Club sailing. Now the lake is attracting massive real estate development to twist and snuff out lake breezes, but is paying off Tempe’s gamble to spend perhaps $450 million for a bit of water in the desert.

This Saturday, November 9, Tempe will stage a birthday party and you’re invited.

Tempe Town Lake Boating Coordinator Ryan Allison reports that the 20th Anniversary Celebration will run from 11am-4pm, with opportunities to try everything from free boating activities and exercise classes to a rock wall and zipline. He says, “The lake will be staged with activities on both sides from the marina all the way west to the pedestrian bridge.”

The entire marina parking lot will be closed to all public parking from 5am-4pm. After 8am, the marina gates will open to permit parking only. If you plan to boat out of the marina that morning you will have to park offsite at the Arizona Heritage Center off of College Ave or under the 202 off Lakeview Drive.

Ryan says, “If you’re planning to take out your personal watercraft on this day, during these hours, please be patient as parking and lake access will be extremely busy. The lake itself will also be very busy with boating from Rural west to the pedestrian bridge. Boating east of rural will likely be a good option with less traffic.”

Like to know more about the history of this section of the river? The Arizona Republic has put together a nice retrospective tracing the lake from beginning to its position as the second-most-visited tourist attraction in the state, after the Grand Canyon. Click here to read about it.

Lasers cluster downwind with some of the TTL real estate development in the background. Photo: Mike Ferring

LP Wind: Just the Facts

By Mike Ferring

What month has the best wind at Lake Pleasant?

There’s a lot of legend and guesswork swirling in the breezes of AYC. I remember vividly listening to the argument for moving the Birthday Regatta to February, the assertion that it’s warmer then and the wind is better. Well, slightly and not really.

The State Climatologist, Dr. Nancy Selover, flashed some fascinating charts on the screen during a meeting of the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club Tuesday (10/15), summarizing data collected at the two weather reporting stations at the lake. One station is near the visitor’s center and the other on North Barker Island, one of the larger islands northeast of Horse Island (see map below).

Here’s the bottom line graph, showing the seasonal shift in average monthly wind speed at both reporting stations.

The graph shows the average wind at the two Lake Pleasant observing stations.

Of course, averages are averages and can’t capture the variations of time of day and weather fronts, but they crunch all those variables into a smooth-flowing depiction of the seasonal changes.

You want peak? I’ll give you peak! The highest wind ever recorded was 68 mph in August of 2013. One of the monsoons that clobbered the marinas in 2018 (PHM in particular) topped out at 63.

The strongest winds recorded at Lake Pleasant. The station near the visitor’s center gets stronger winds than the one at the north end of the lake.

And, true, the average temperature in February is higher than January. By 1.6 degrees. Here’s the moving average at the northern station, which is quite similar to the southern one.

Temperature averages at the Lake Pleasant North station.

You’ll note that the nighttime temperatures at the lake are considerably lower than those in the city, which are kept higher by the heat sink effect of all that asphalt and concrete. In fact, Dr. Selover found that because of urban growth, the average low (the nighttime temperature) has jumped significantly. The difference in lows for 30-year periods (1941-1970 and 1991-2018) rose 7.1°.

Also alarming, the amount of rain and snow in Arizona and other Western states has been dropping and is expected to continue to drop—and you know how that will affect our hobby!

The location of the northern observation station at Lake Pleasant.

Brooke Miller Wins the 2019 Ruth Beals Cup

By Scott Richards

Brooke Miller won the 2019 Ruth Beals Cup. Jeff Coulter crew. Photo: Scott Richards

On a breathtakingly beautiful fall day at Lake Pleasant, a group of eight highly competitive women would have made our AYC founder proud. The Ruth Beals Cup is a regatta that mandates a woman at the helm of every boat and is considered by most as the Woman’s Club Championship. The skies were clear, and the wind gods were smiling, giving the ladies a perfect sailing breeze out of the north at 7 to 10 knots before the start. We had boats of all types and sizes registered ranging from the “sporty” J/70 and Melges 24 to the more “sophisticated” Impulse 26, Santana 20, Olson 25, Catalina 25, Merit 25, and a B-25.

The warning gun went off precisely at 9:30am as the women started into their pre-start routines and strategizing. As the time ran down, we could see a very competitive start emerging. During the last 10 seconds before the start we heard several “very direct conversations” (we don’t yell on a sailboat) between various boats to try to gain an advantage. Although, if I wasn’t mistaken, those were all male voices I heard, while I noticed that the women remained very calm at the helm of their boats. Anyway, the J/70, with Maryellen Ferring at the helm, and the Melges 24, with Stacy Loula steering took the early lead at the start.

Stacey Loula pilots the Melges 24 (foreground) and Maryellen Ferring the J/70 in very light wind. Photo: Greg Woodcock

The speed difference between all the boats became very apparent about halfway up the first leg as the ladies had their sights on Horse Island. The wind had diminished slightly to 5-6 knots as the Melges 24 and J/70 sprinted away from the fleet. But wait, this race has only begun, and everyone knew the real racing would begin while rounding the two northern islands.

As expected, the wind lightened considerably on the north side of the islands and the Impulse 26, with Elaine Charteris on the tiller, surged into the lead after navigating a most efficient path around Horse Island. This left the sporty boats wondering what happen as they had a good view of Elaine’s transom. While the J/70 and Melges 24 were struggling a bit navigating the treacherous island winds, the Santana 20, with Brooke Miller driving, slowly started to sneak up behind the leaders. As exciting as it was, the Melges 24 team regained their composure and with the help of a nice shaft of wind made the turn south in the lead.

“Luminosity that encircled the boat,” writes Scott Richards. Photo: Skip Kempff

As you can imagine, the rescue boat was primed and positioned to catch the anticipated great pictures of all the boats popping their chutes while making the turn south to No Name (Bobcat) Island. You could feel the anticipation in the air, and we could tell that the J/70 team was itching to get their asymmetric flying after having some challenges on the east-west leg. And pop it did – I think I heard several oohs and ahhs as the J/70 introduced a bright turquoise front sail that seemed to generate a luminosity that encircled the boat as it climbed the mast and filled with air. Cameras were flashing from all angles as Maryellen proudly made her way through the left-hand turn.

Moments after that, the Melges 24 rounded the island and was in clear water as she jibed and her asymmetric went immediately into a prolonged hourglass. The turquoise sail was flying strong as the J/70 pushed her bow into the lead for the first time. Unfortunately, the J/70 got a little too close to the island and fell into a huge hole, giving the Melges, Impulse, and Santana some time to regroup. A couple more boats rounded the islands, not too far behind, which included the Olson 25, skippered by Lulu Baydoun, and the Catalina 25, with Pam Neff on the helm.

The downwind leg consisted of the “haves” and “have nots.” The boats that took the eastern-center course were the haves and the western shore boats were the have-nots. The J/70 and the Santana 20 took the eastern option while the Impulse 26 and the Melges 24 decided to go west. East was right and west was wrong. The J/70 made a brilliant move eastwardly and rolled the Melges 24 that was literally appearing to be standing still along the western shoreline. Commentary after the race, with the eventual winner, suggested that the Santana 20 chose the eastern route after Brooke recalled a previous conversation with Maryellen that said, “when the wind diminishes go east my lady.” That turned out to be most valuable information.

The boats finally made it to the yellow mark in front of Bobcat Island with the J/70 with a big lead, followed by the Melges 24, Santana 20 and the Impulse 26. At this point the south breeze was starting to fill in, but it was still fighting with the morning northerly. The J/70 did well coming up to the finish until she was about 300 yards away and the wind died. This allowed the three boats coming up from the south mark to make some time gains as the prevailing south breeze started to take hold.

All and all it was a fantastic day on the lake and we were all impressed and proud of the all the fine women skippers. All the boats finished, and it seemed like everyone had a great day. I would like to give a special shout out to the Merit 25, with Ellie Carrol on the tiller with her the kids as crew and to the B-25, with Elizabeth Allard at the helm. They really made the race committee’s day when they cheered loudly as they crossed the finish line to close out the regatta.

Unfortunately, the 2018 Ruth Beals Cup winner, Cindy Pillote, could not attend this year due to an injury so we were guaranteed a new champion. A big congratulations to the 2019 Ruth Beals Cup winner, Brooke Miller with crew Jeff Coulter (driving my boat… Woohoo!). Maryellen Ferring came in second for the second year in a row and sailed a great race. Rounding out the top three was Elaine Charteris in third place.

Editor’s Note: Big thanks to the race committee of Scott Richards, Skip Kempff and Greg Woodcock.


Maryellen Ferring rounds the Bobcat mark in no wind in the 2019 Ruth Beals Cup. Photo: Greg Woodcock

Elaine Charteris aboard Shazam with Marshall Williamson. Photo: Scott Richards

Elizabeth Allard at the helm of the B-25, sparkling on Lake Pleasant. Photo: Skip Kempff

Stacey Loula and the Melges 24 team at the start. Photo: Skip Kempff

The Amazing Jerome Rand

Jerome Rand heels to port, remembering being slapped around by rough seas. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jerome Rand got a standing ovation when he finished speaking at the AYC October monthly meeting and I don’t recall that ever happening before. But then, it was quite the story he told.

The tale really needs to begin with his 2012 trek along the Appalachian Trail, beginning to end, which he described as being even more intense than sailing around the world—constantly having to look down and concentrate for 10-12 hours a day to avoid stumbling.

After that adventure, Jerome immediately began planning for the next one, that trip around the world.

He went back to work at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands and began scheming and saving. He decided to buy a Westsail 32 full-keel boat, choosing it for its history of strength and reliability. He would sail single-handed and nonstop in this 1974 boat. He had no sponsors or backers, just his own savings and his amazing drive to explore his limits.

Jerome Rand speaks to the October monthly meeting. Photo: Mike Ferring

The trip took 271 days, punctuated by the terror of being knocked down, suffering hours with bare pole in a cyclone, hanging on through pitching seas in the Southern Ocean, shivering uncontrollably during weeks of freezing cold, and running out of food after making it around Cape Horn. There was the proof: pictures of a skinny sailor, down from 190 pounds to maybe 140. Fortunately, his father negotiated a food drop at the Falkland Islands that saw him through to the Caribbean.

It was his biggest mistake, he says, confusing the term “serving” on the freeze-dry package for “meal,” which it definitely wasn’t. It left him dreaming of thick, juicy hamburgers. In fact, real food and the human voice were the things he missed most about being a civilian on hard ground.

There were offsets for the risk and the suffering. Jerome showed a video of a blazing sunset panorama framed by a rich rainbow. He lay on the bow pulpit of the boat for hours watching dolphin escorts. At the meeting, he played video of huge whales swimming alongside and, yes, under his little boat, feeling as if they could toss the boat aside with the flick of a tail.

Throughout the trip, Jerome was able to shoot 170 character digital updates to his family that his mother then posted to Facebook. (They were the PG version of his trip since he didn’t want to scare Mom.) Now he’s able to bring the story to the rest of us in talks, a feature story in Sail magazine, and a book he’s hoping to publish. Judging by the reaction at AYC, this next journey should be a rewarding one.

Excellent turnout for solo circumnavigator Jerome Rand. Photo: Mike Ferring


Jerome Rand entertains the AYC bunch with stories and pictures of his trip around the world. Photo: Mike Ferring


Jerome met some AYCers when he was Watersports Director at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI. From left: Chuck Sears, Joe Motil, Maryellen Ferring, Bonnie Motil, Chris Smith, Bob Whyte, Mike Ferring and Jerome. Photo: Martin Lorch