Commodore’s Party 2016

Your new AYC Board of Directors is in charge now, taking office amid shiny classic cars at the annual Commodore’s Party held this year at the Martin Auto Museum. Here are some shots by Mike Ferring:

[slideshow_deploy id=’15309’]

The new Commodore is Bruce Andress; Vice Commodore is Victor Felice; Rear Commodore Jason Donkersley; Senior Staff Commodore Peter Lehrach; Junior Staff Commodore Chris Smith; Racing Fleet Captain John Riddell; Cruising Fleet Captain Tom Errickson; and Membership Directors Bob Whyte and Mark Howell. Tony Chapman will continue as Treasurer and the board has not chosen a Secretary.

The evening’s top award, the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award, was presented to Wendy Larsen for her willingness to jump in and help (including organizing the Commodore’s Party). Paul Miachika received the big punch bowl for Club Champion, accepted by his crew, Rob Gibbs. The Blunder Bucket went to Chris Smith, pretty much for being Chris Smith, but specifically for launching his spinnaker upside down.

ASF President Cindy Pillote recognized Scott Burkhardt for his considerable work organizing ASF’s educational programs, presenting him with the “Heavy Lifting” award. George Tingom was given a special award for his hard work and dedication to ASF over the years. Ethan Swartz received the Linderman Most Improved Junior award and Ema and Wilson Davis got the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior Award.

 

AYC Debuts Private Label Dark Rum

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

Rescued mermaids, AYC rum, and the smiling conspirator Victor Felice

With great finfare, Rear Commodore Victor Felice Tuesday night (5/10) announced what he believes is an AYC exclusive: the only yacht club in the country with its own private-label rum.

Distilled at the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott, this dark rum appears with the AYC logo in small-batch, numbered bottles that were sold at the meeting for the wholesale price of $25 per bottle.

The new rum arrived with two rescued mermaids, who posed out of water while a big crowd of AYCers sampled the new brew.

Victor and Thumb Butte distiller Dana Murdoch conspired to produce the new rum, which will also be served at the Commodore’s Party.

The distillery has been the winner of multiple awards, including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye). Here’s more about Dana Murdoch.

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

A bottle from the first batch of AYC private-label rum. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Version 2

Another shot of Victor Felice and his rescued mermaids. Photo: Chris Smith

Consider Taking a US Sailing Safety at Sea Course

The US Sailing Safety at Sea course is an excellent way to get up to speed on staying safe on a sailboat. In one or two days, you’ll learn (or be reminded) about everything from PFDs and EPIRBS to weather and first aid. The two-day version of the course will even dump you in the water to try out some of this stuff.

You’ll find out more here, including being able to search and register for courses being offered within driving range of Arizona. For instance, there’s one scheduled for San Diego on July 30-31, at the Silver Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island. Here’s a flyer describing the course in more detail.

Maryellen and I just attended the one-day course at Santa Barbara, which was also taught by Bruce Brown, who you may remember from his talk to an AYC monthly meeting a couple years ago. Bruce is an excellent instructor and entertaining speaker and runs most of the courses on the West Coast, including the upcoming one in San Diego.

The class tries out various flares on the beach in Santa Barbara. Photo: Art Vasenius

The class tries out various flares on the beach in Santa Barbara. Photo: Art Vasenius

Bruce Brown is the guy with the lime green PFD around his neck and the tether keeping him the classroom. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

Bruce Brown is the guy with the lime green PFD around his neck and the tether keeping him the classroom. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

AYC’s Championship Race Chases the Wind

Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs are the 2016 AYC Club Champions. There’s no second place in this regatta, but if there were, it would be Skip Kempff, followed by Mike Ferring, then Dave Haggart and Tom Baker, then Charles Ellis and finally Cindy Pillote.

The race committee and competitors ended up chasing the wind all day when the fleet champs came to Lake Pleasant Saturday (5/7) to decide the 2016 Club Champion.

The wind came in all types and directions and everyone struggled to keep up. The scores showed the results, with all skippers turning in a good race and often several bad ones, keeping the regatta close right to the end.

A big thanks to the Santana 20 fleet, whose members turned out seven boats for the day of racing. While there were considerable differences in the way the boats were rigged, they proved to be fairly even matched. Mark Howell calculated that “the fastest boat had 19 points (averaged a 2.7 finish) and slowest 33 (4.7). For seven boats, fourth place is in the middle—not a real big spread.”

And many thanks to the team of race committee volunteers headed by PRO Wendy Larsen and to Racing Fleet Captain Steve Brown, who organized and carried off this annual regatta.

Here’s a race-day video shot and edited by Victor Felice.

The class photo: The skippers and crew line up before racing for the Championship 2016. Photo: Mike Grijalva

The class photo: The skippers and crew line up before racing for the Championship 2016. Photo: Mike Grijalva

 

One of the light wind race starts. Photo: Dave Howell

One of the light wind race starts. Photo: Mark Howell

 

Laser champ Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs signal their finishing spot: Club Champs. Photo: Victor Felice

Laser champ Paul Miachika and crew Rob Gibbs signal their finishing spot: Club Champs. Photo: Victor Felice

 

Tom Baker at the helm of one of the Santana 20s. Photo: Victor Felice

Tom Baker at the helm of one of the Santana 20s. Photo: Victor Felice

Register for the Commodore’s Party May 14

When’s the last time you rode a carousel with your kids? Hung out in a classic car? Visited with all your friends from the Arizona Yacht Club?

On Saturday night, May 14, you’ll have the chance to do all three! Bring the whole family to the Commodore’s Party at the Martin Auto Museum, 17641 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix (between Bell Rd and Union Hills on the east side of the freeway) (map) from 6 to 9 pm. (Here’s more about Mel Martin and his museum.)

We’ll have heavy, Italian-style hors d’hoeuvres and beverages for all ages—from the young to the young-at-heart. We can ride the carousel all evening long! And if you have a classic car yourself, drive it on over for the evening and park out front.

The bar will include beer and wine, vodka, gin and whiskey. The hors d’hoeuvres include Stuffed Mushroom caps, Firecracker Rolls, Pistachio Mozzarella on Skewers. Pasta for the kids if they’re finicky eaters.

Adults are $50 and children 12 and under are ONLY $15. Sign up here or by clicking the button:

[button link=”http://arizonayachtclub.wildapricot.org/event-2233216/Registration” bg_color=”#00703c”]Sign Up Now[/button]

Mel Martin at the museum in 2012. Photo: Larry Edsall

Mel Martin at the museum in 2012. Photo: Larry Edsall

Tony Krauss Takes Multi, Emory Heisler & Tony Chapman Mono in the Tall Cactus

On a windy, puffy, shifty day, Tony Krauss of Tucson sailed a Hobie 16 to the multi-hull win and Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman took the mono-hull in an 18-foot Buccaneer—and it wasn’t even close.

Here’s a drone video of the event, produced by Duane Darling.
And here’s some on-board video of Chris Smith fighting his Laser in heavy wind.

This was the spring pursuit race, where all boats start based on their PHRF rating, with the boats with the biggest PHRF number heading off at 11am and then boats with lower numbers trickling off the line after them. If the PHRF ratings are right, if the conditions match the handicap, and if everyone sails skillfully, all boats finish at the same time.

Emory and Tony started at 11:27, put up the ‘chute and started passing boats. By the second lap of the course (dam-> Horse-> Balance-> Vegetation island-> and do it again), they were well in front and completed the 14-mile race in under 2½ hours. But Tony Krauss was even faster, finishing in just over two hours.

Crossing the finish second in mono was Steve Kusic and the Merit 25 Runaway team. In third was Mike Ferring and the J/80 Melissa Kay crew. Charles Landis aboard Circuitous finished fourth.

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman aboard the winning Bucc. Photo: Tom Errickson

Emory Heisler and Tony Chapman aboard the winning Bucc. Photo: Tom Errickson

 

Chris Reinhard and crew at the Tall Cactus Regatta. Photo: Tom Errickson

Chris Reinhard and crew at the Tall Cactus Regatta. Photo: Tom Errickson

May Meeting: Something Very Different But Very Tasty

By Victor Felice, Outgoing Speaker Wrangler

After introducing the club members to the term “p**s off” when someone tried to “steal” the Rear Commodore’s bottle of booze at the Christmas Buccaneer Gift Exchange, I’m going to make amends at the next meeting.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

May meeting speaker Dana Murdoch.

I am, surprisingly, not an alcoholic and in fact rarely drink, yet my guest is none other than sailor and distiller Dana Murdoch–owner of the Thumb Butte Distillery in Prescott.

The winner of multiple awards including Silver at the 2015 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition (Gin) and Bronze (Rye), Dana will talk about and present the various spirits produced right here in Arizona. Rum, anyone? Here’s more about Dana.

But it doesn’t end there. Since this will be the last guest I present officially (did you vote? This term as RC is ending!), there will also be a very special, top secret guest too. This from someone who paints his boats pink, so we can only imagine what will happen.

You do not want to miss this!

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

AYC on KTVK TV: Victor Felice Plugs the Club

Victor Felice and his bright purple Nacra 5.8 have pumped AYC on the KTVK (channel 3) Your Life morning program, explaining how (yes, you’ve heard it before) there really is sailing in Arizona.

The 3:40 segment aired on Thursday, April 21 shot in the KTVK parking lot with program hosts Suzanne Bissette and Gina Salazar.

You can watch the segment on Victor’s website here.

Somewhere in that cluster of TV stuff and boat you can spot Victor's purple catamaran as KTVK prepares to tape his segment.

Somewhere in that cluster of TV stuff you can spot Victor’s purple catamaran as KTVK prepares to tape his segment.

California Coastal Cruising Expert Holly Scott at May LPSC Meeting

Holly Scott

Holly Scott

The Lake Pleasant Sailing Club invites you to the club’s May meeting with speaker Holly Scott, the author of the popular Charlie’s Charts Cruising Guides.

The meeting is at 7pm on Tuesday, May 17, at the same place we meet, the Caddy Shack in Tempe. She’ll talk about cruising the Channel Islands and the coast of Baja.

Holly will also be available from about 5:15 that night to talk with people who would like to know about sailing to Catalina this summer.

LP Nationals: John Mayall and Mike Hester Win C14; Debbie Kirby Takes Fireball

John Mayall and Mike Hester snagged the C14 National Championship trophy. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

John Mayall and Mike Hester snagged the C14 National Championship trophy. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

John Mayall and crew Mike Hester won the Catalina/Capri 14.2 Nationals contested at Lake Pleasant April 16&17, finishing ahead of multi-time winner Scott Finkboner. Martin Lorch finished third and George Tingom fourth. Hunter Parker and dad Mike won the Silver Fleet.

Debbie Kirby won the Fireball National Championship, taking a three-point win over Rob Thompson. Steve Goacher won the Classic division for older boats.

All of the racing happened in shifty wind on Saturday, with Sunday’s racing canceled because of high wind. The Fireballs managed to get five races in on Saturday, giving them a throw-out race, while the C14s got four races, with one race abandoned in the morning’s light wind.

Wendy Larsen was the PRO and other volunteers were: Steve Brown, Bob Whyte, Jo Grijalva, Mike Grijalva, John Riddell, Kalley Riddell, Kenny Nahkala, Gerald Byrnes, Peter Schweitzer, Pat Blumm, Lori Reger, Rick Cotman, and Jason Donkersley. And back-up from Dallas: Dave Christensen. Bruce Andress and Scott Burkhardt prepared ASF boats for use. The great Saturday breakfast was provided by the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club and Sunday Clay Poulson put on an amazing breakfast. Fleet Captains: Clay Poulson (Fireballs) and Dave Haggart (C14.2s).

Catalina/Capri 14.2 Scores. Fireball Scores.

The fleet of Fireballs fighting it out for the National win. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

The fleet of Fireballs fighting it out for the National win. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

 

Mike Hester got this Fireball shot while also helping John Mayall win C14

Mike Hester got this Fireball shot while also helping John Mayall win C14

 

The Fireball winners with PRO Wendy Larsen. Photo: Clay Poulson

The Fireball winners with PRO Wendy Larsen. Photo: Clay Poulson

 

Hunter and Mike Paker won the Silver Fleet trophy for C14. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

Hunter and Mike Paker won the Silver Fleet trophy for C14. Photo: Gerald Byrnes

Vote for Your Next AYC Board of Directors

“It’s time for the membership to elect the Arizona Yacht Club’s Board of Directors for 2016-2017.” says Commodore Chris Smith. “As you know, AYC is a 100% volunteer club, so let’s acknowledge with our votes the members who are committed to keeping the club on course by serving as members of the Board.”

If you’re a Full, Life, or Honorary Life member of AYC, you should have received an email message from votingplace.net with a link to voting that will end at 6pm on May 9th. If you didn’t get the email, please contact Mike Ferring. Junior members are not eligible to vote.

When you sign on to vote, use the email we have in your record and your last name (without the Sr or Jr part). The designated time and location for the election is May 10 at 6pm at the Caddy Shack in Tempe (before the next monthly meeting). If you do not vote online, you may be present at that time to vote by paper ballot. All votes will be counted and reported at that time.

Commodore candidate Bruce Andress at the helm of "Bitchen" Photo: Charles Landis

Commodore candidate Bruce Andress at the helm of “Bitchen” Photo: Charles Landis

The proposed officers are Bruce Andress, Commodore; Victor Felice, Vice Commodore; Jason Donkersley, Rear Commodore; John Riddell, Racing Fleet Captain; Tom Errickson, Cruising Fleet Captain; Mark Howell, Two-Year Membership Director; and Chris Smith, Junior Staff Commodore. In addition, Bob Whyte will continue in the second year of his term as Membership Director, Peter Lehrach will serve as Senior Staff Commodore, and the new board as its first official act will elect two more members of board, a Treasurer and Secretary. You’ll see the names of the proposed officers on the ballot and a brief bio of each, and you will also be able to write in alternate names if you wish.

Chris Smith continues, “Before I turn over the helm to the new Commodore, I want to return to what I said at the beginning of my term—it has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Commodore. I also want to thank the current members of the Board for devoting so much time and effort to making this club work. The return on investment is apparent at every AYC regatta, membership meeting, and event.”

Enter the AYC Tall Cactus Fun Run

The format for the Tall Cactus regatta is a straight duplicate of the Governor’s Cup Regatta. If you enjoyed that one, you should like this one too.

Here’s the link to the Racing page with the race documents and the “sign up” button.

This is a “pursuit” race, where boats start based on PHRF rating, with the slower boats beginning first at 11 am and faster boats starting throughout the next hour or so. The start line is near the dam, at the mouth of Pleasant Harbor Marina. Boats will charge up the lake, around Horse and Balance Rock and then back south around the “island with vegetation” in the vicinity of the 10-lane boat ramp, taking all islands to port. Here’s nice, big color map of the lake for reference.

After making the loop twice, the first boat across the finish line at the “no wake” buoys near the north launch ramp will be the overall winner. Boats should keep track of their own finishing positions.

Then, adjourn to the bar for (included in your entry) appetizers and (not included) beverages. Entry is just $10. Questions? Check with event organizer Tom Errickson.

The Melges 24 of Court Roberts. Photo: Tom Errickson

The Melges 24 of Court Roberts. Photo: Tom Errickson

Fleet Champs Crowned for 2015-2016

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring Race Series: Charles Ellis, C22; Paul Liszewski, PHRF Spin (on a tie-breaker with Tom Baker); Mike Ferring, PHRF Sportboat; Martin Lorch, Santana 20; Skip Kempff, Thistle. And to the fleet champs for the Fall-Spring Combined: Charles Ellis, C22; Tom Baker, PHRF Spin; Mike Ferring, PHRF Sportboat; Skip Kempff, Thistle.

The scores for week 5 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or click here. The combined scores for Fall & Spring are here.

The TTL Spring Series was cut short by a lake lacking water, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of the TTL Fall-Spring Fleet Champs: Cindy Pillote, Buccaneer; Dave Haggart, C14; Paul Miachika, Laser; Clay Poulson, Portsmouth.

The combined scores for Tempe Town Lake Fall & Spring are here.

The winners at both lakes will square off to determine the AYC Club Champion on Saturday, May 7, probably in Santana 20s. Steve Brown is working out the details.

Catalina 22 fleet champ Charles Ely says, "That way!" Photo: Chris Smith

Catalina 22 fleet champ Charles Ely says, “That way!” Photo: Chris Smith

April Meeting: No Motors, No Support, Just Get to Alaska

Have you heard of this crazy race? They nail $10,000 to a tree in Ketchican, Alaska, and the first entrant to to make it 750 miles up the inside passage from Port Townsend, Washington, grabs it. Second prize: a set of steak knives.

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race to Alaska Race Boss Daniel Evans

Race Boss Daniel Evans will be our April monthly meeting speaker. The (crazy) race and his description of it make it sound like this could be one of the most fun meetings of the year. Here’s what he says about this second go-round of the Race to Alaska:

“Some say it’s like the Iditarod, with a chance of drowning…or being eaten by a bear…or sucked into a whirlpool. We’re fielding a fleet of teams covering the sailing and rowing spectrum, from high tweak fast cats to backyard boats and even a canoe. A canoe!”

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

As he tells it, “We’ll guarantee blisters, mild hypothermia, and the cathartic elation that comes from accomplishing something others would call impossible.” Last year 35 teams started and 15 finished.

Daniel will  spin the tale of the inaugural year and tell how the race is shaping up for this year. He says, if you’re one of those people who always needs to prep for an event, you can find out more at r2ak.com.

Who is this guy? His bio: An Alaska upbringing, decades of teaching outdoor instruction for Outward Bound and others, mountain climber, professional mariner, schooner captain, and he even runs a volunteer tugboat crew for Port Townsend’s annual Wooden Boat Festival. As a cherry on top of his risky resume, Daniel’s also the father of a three-year-old.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.

One of the crazy entrants in this crazy race.

AYC Hosts C14.2 and Fireball National Regattas

The regatta T-shirt by Pirate's Den.

The regatta T-shirt by Pirate’s Den. Click here for a bigger picture.

On Saturday and Sunday, April 16 & 17, Lake Pleasant will be the site of National Championship races for two fleets: the Catalina/Capri 14.2  and Fireball.

Anyone with one of the two boats is welcome (and encouraged) to register for the race. The race documents and sign-up button are on the Racing page. If you’d like to adopt a C14.2 for the event, you’ll find a red button on the registration page. Press the button and reserve one of five boats that will be brought to the lake for the event. You’ll donate $75 to the Arizona Sailing Foundation and $250 will be held as a damage deposit.

Note: The Lake Pleasant Sailing Club will be offering a pancake breakfast for just $5 at the ramada near the Sailboat Shop that morning, starting at 8 am.

AYC member Clay Poulson is president of the United States International Fireball Association and has invited members to make the trip to Arizona for the races. Dave Haggart is the Fleet Captain of the AYC C14.2 fleet and volunteered to bring the national regatta here this year, moving it from its usual home at Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego.

To make it happen, a number of AYC members have stepped up to help, including Fleet Captain Steve Brown and a host of others including PRO Wendy Larsen. Victor Felice is helping publicize the event and Mark Macomber arranged for the poster and the regatta T-shirt you see above.

Power hiking on a Fireball with Clay Poulson. Photo: Chris Smith

Power hiking on a Fireball with Clay Poulson. Photo: Chris Smith

Fickle Lake Pleasant: Week Two Results

Mostly light air, but a nice weekend on the water for week two of the spring series. Thanks to the Thistle fleet for making RC and dinner happen so well with so small a fleet.

The scores for week 2 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posted on the results page, or you can click here.

Now, a story from Mike Ferring:

It was the first race Sunday morning, one of those famous first races of the day when the wind begins to die early. It was dropping fast as we rounded the windward mark on w/l, as we hoisted the spinnaker on our J/80, Melissa Kay. But as we did, the halyard jumped the sheave and jammed, leaving the spin a few feet short of a full hoist. More serious, we knew we wouldn’t be able to get the sail down.

We were in second place in the smallish, five-boat Sunday morning Sportboat Fleet, with Chris Smith’s Sloop Dogg only a few boat lengths back. Dave Evans was a distant fourth, having jumped the start. Dog Year was fifth. The wind was shutting down for everybody except Dave, who was scooting up the west side with the only breeze on the lake.

The culprit: The spiin halyard stuck next to the sheave. Photo: Mastclimber Maryellen Ferring

The culprit: The spin halyard stuck next to the sheave. Photo: Mastclimber Maryellen Ferring

Bob Whyte suggested we give up on the race and take the time to send Maryellen up the mast to pry the halyard out of the gap next to the sheave. We dropped sails, Maryellen strapped into the bosun’s chair and Chris Hardin and Bob hoisted her to the top of the mast. By now the wind had completely stopped and even though Sloop Dogg had drifted past us, she was only a few boat lengths away. Amazing.

Chris Smith saw that the only breeze on the lake was the one Dave was enjoying to the west and crept off to find it. Maryellen was still at the masthead. We were resigned to last place. She pried it loose and we brought her down.

Wait, what’s this? A slight wisp of wind now ruffled across the water. Were we actually still in this race? We hurriedly raised sails and found ourselves on a rumb line to the leeward mark. We rounded, headed back north toward the finish line where we crept across in an amazed third place behind Steve Brown and Wendy and Dave’s Dog Year, which had found some wind too.

Lake Pleasant, you are a fickle mistress.

Our halyard issues weren’t over, of course. While leading the last race of Sunday morning, the thing jammed again and this time we were dog meat, retiring and limping into the slip, but still amazed at our good fortune.

 

Catalina 22 fleet leader Charles Ely says, "That way!" Photo: Chris Smith

Catalina 22 fleet leader Charles Ely says, “That way!” Photo: Chris Smith

March Meeting: Sail on an Ocean Adventure

It’s many a sailor’s dream: Cast off and sail the islands of the Pacific with no schedule. At the AYC March monthly meeting, Sharon and Steve Hendricks of Tucson will tell us how they did it, a six-year journey that they say included an almost-devastating storm and a pirate encounter off Columbia, but was highlighted by beautiful and enchanting islands and wonderful people.

Sharon & Steve Hendricks mug

Sharon & Steve Hendricks

The meeting is Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Sharon Reed-Hendricks is the author of poetry books, Sharon Shares Her Heart and From Where Eagles Soar—and she and husband Steve wrote a book about their sailing adventures called One Man’s Dream, One Woman’s Reality, available here or from Amazon.

Steve Hendricks is retired Director of Facilities at Hawaii Pacific University. He and Sharon have a home in Tucson and divide their time between Hawaii and traveling the mainland in their latest adventure, a 35 foot motor home.

Here's the route the Hendricks took during their adventure.

Here’s the route the Hendricks took during their adventure.

 

The book they wrote after their trip.

The book they wrote after their trip.