Our next cleanup of highway 74 near Lake Pleasant will be Saturday, October 25, starting at 9am.
The cleanup will take just 2 to 2½ hours and volunteers will be rewarded with lunch as well as the satisfaction of seeing a large number of blue trash bags lining the highway.
If you’re able to help with the cleanup, please contact Thom Dickerson by email or by calling 602.909.8504.
The fall ASF Learn to Sail class is firing up this coming Saturday (10/11) with some 20 students, according to Rob Gibbs, the guy in charge.
We now have the minimum number of volunteers needed for the first weekend, when the Arizona Sailing Foundation puts one instructor on each of the C14 student boats to help the new students actually sail during their very first day of class.
Contact Rob if you can help. A US Sailing instructor certification is not necessary to help out, since the class will be overseen by Mike and Maryellen Ferring, both certified.
The ASF Learn to Sail class is the only US Sailing certified course in Arizona and over the years has taught hundreds of adults to sail. Here’s more information on the course.
A pleasant weekend on Lake Pleasant, a light air weekend but with fiercely-fought battles in every fleet. Here are the scores.
Thanks to the Catalina 22 fleet for work on race committee and for the secret recipe baked beans.
During one race, Victor Felice (J/24 Mermaid Rescue) had a bumpy encounter with the submerged island near the south mark—and since he thinks it would be neat to win the Blunder Bucket, consented to share his onboard video with you. As he explains it, he’s anxious to be publicly humiliated and, sure, he thinks others might learn something from it. Anyway, here’s his expletive expurgated video. Thanks, Victor, and good luck with the Blunder Vote in December!
Jeannie Socrates defines determination.
After being battered but never beaten in previous attempts, two years ago she headed off for another try to sail nonstop and solo around the world. This time she made it.
Come hear her amazing story at the October monthly meeting, Tuesday, October 14, 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.
In honor of her accomplishment, Jeannie received the Ocean Cruising Club’s Special Award and its Barton Cup. This year she was presented with the Cruising Club of America’s Blue Water Medal and the Royal Cruising Club’s Seamanship Medal.
You can read more about Jeannie’s exploits here, including the knockdown that ended her previous nonstop attempt. A blow like that would stop most of us, but not her.
As the Cruising Club of America’s citation reads, “On October 22nd, 2012, Socrates set out again, determined to complete the journey nonstop. She started from Victoria [Canada], and sailed around the world by way of Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia), the South East Cape (Tasmania). From there, Socrates sailed up the Tasman Sea, where avoidance of a tropical storm forced her to sail west of Fiji and on north, passing west of the Hawaiian Islands. After 259 days alone and unassisted at sea, Socrates sailed past the Ogden Point breakwater in Victoria, on July 8, 2013 at 2:26 a.m., completing her nonstop goal and becoming the first woman to sail nonstop around the world on a route that started and finished in North America and the oldest woman to sail solo nonstop around the world.”
Now that we’ve had Opening Day at Lake Pleasant, it’s time to gear up for Tempe Town Lake!
The competition looks typically stiff in the Capri 14.2 and Laser fleets, but the Buccaneer 18 fleet needs to gather some steam after a few years of diminishing numbers. You can retrieve all the needed documents and register to race in the series on the racing page.
Racing and race committee training will begin at 3pm on Sunday (9/28) and will extend through the fall, with the final races Sunday, December 18. Because of earlier sunset, the November and December races will begin at 2pm.
For a while Saturday (9/20), it looked as if we might not get enough wind to race, but the wind finally arrived, the season opened with a bang (see below), and we were off and running. Sunday the wind was nice for the Bart’s Bash race, then held for one decent race, and then went into hiding for the rest of the day, sending everyone home early.
The results from the season opener are posted on the results page or you’ll find them by clicking here.
Saturday (9/20) will be Opening Day for racing at Lake Pleasant, breaking the long summer vacation for most of AYC’s racers. Have you registered?
Race documents for the series at both Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake are available on the racing page, along with a registration button that will take you to the registration site.
There have been no big changes this year in the race format or race documents, but some small ones: The race documents for the regular Lake Pleasant races, the Saturday-only races, and the TransLoch races have all be combined into a single set of NORs (Notice of Race) and SIs (Sailing Instructions). And while in the spring the TransLoch fleet was sent on various courses, this fall they will be sent on just one: around Horse Island, Balance Rock Island, and “Unnamed Island.” This may mean that they start downwind, but the competitors will be able to count on sailing the same course each week.
In preparation for the Lake Pleasant Opening Day, Fleet Captain Steve Brown ran practice races on Saturday (9/13), with about 10 boats participating.
The Opening Day for Tempe Town Lake racing and race committee training will be Sunday (9/28), beginning at 3 pm.
The PHRF Spin fleet will be the race committee for the Lake Pleasant Opening Day, while the Buccaneer 18 fleet will be race committee for the Tempe Town Lake Opening Day.
At the monthly meeting next Tuesday (9/9): John Sangmeister, who won the America’s Cup in 1987 with Dennis Conner and won the 2013 TransPac on his 72’ trimaran. Check out Tritium Racing’s Facebook page. And watch their triumphant arrival in Hawaii to win the TransPac.
The meeting is Tuesday, September 9, 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.
John’s boat is Tritium, a former ORMA 60 Tri skippered by Jean Le Cam. A posting on Sailing Anarchy says the floats were stretched by the Artemis America’s Cup team to 72ft to trial their wing sail and curved foils. Campaigned on short notice by John in TransPac 2013, the team barely missed the outright race record by 2 1/2 hours.
The party will be at Bluewater Grill, 1720 East Camelback Road (where Camelback crosses over the 51 freeway). A good selection of beers available for the happy hour price of $4, plus some wine choices. AYC will pop for some hors d’oeuvres. To find us, when you walk through the door of the restaurant, just walk straight back to the private room.
The idea is really just to have fun and meet some new people, to connect with someone who might be good crew or a race entrant who’s looking for help. Questions? Check with Steve Brown.
The club bylaws require that we post the names of people who haven’t renewed their memberships by now. AYC’s membership year runs from July 1 to June 30 and your dues are to be paid by the end of July. If you haven’t paid by October 1, you’re dropped from membership.
Before then, we’ll publish the roster and if you don’t pay, you’ll miss out on being listed.
And here are the junior members who haven’t paid to renew and are now delinquent: Spenser Branch, Madison Cordova, Kristian Doak, Luke Marino, and Andre Parmentier.
If you have any trouble renewing or if you don’t plan to renew your membership, please contact Mike Ferring.
Can a small sailboat sail 100 miles on a four-mile long lake in under 24 hours? After drifting for hours, Victor Felice and his crew were clobbered by a storm that trashed his headsail and obliterated his jib halyard shackle, sending them to the marina for repairs. In the end, 24 hours later, he’d come up a bit short on his goal of 100 miles−hitting just 76 miles.
Here’s a video showing some of the trip, to the tune of Groove from the Soul by Mermaid Rescue from The Endless Luau. For obvious reasons, the video does not include shots of the storm that trashed Victor’s head sail and sent them into the marina.
At 9 am September 6, the crew of Mermaid Rescue departed from Pleasant Harbor Marina for a 24-hour, 100-nautical-mile Endurance Challenge. As far as we know, this was the first time a sailboat had attempted an extended time and distance event on the lake. With a space just about four miles by two miles in which to sail, the challenge demands hundreds of tacks and jibes during day and night to cover the full distance.
The Challenge requires that Skipper Victor Felice and crew cannot stop, cannot receive any outside assistance and must sail for 24 hours and the full 100 nautical miles. Both targets must be reached. Sailing with Victor will be Jeff Coulter, Jeff Middlebrook, Tim Millward and Ian Parkinson.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s continued advancements over the years are responsible for the blood cancer survival rate doubling and tripling; in some cases, the survival rate has even quadrupled. Donate to Victor’s Challenge by clicking here.
It was sudden and violent. A brutal “bang” and the rig crashed down around us, the boom dragging in the water, the boat skidding to a stop.
“Everyone all right?” asked Rod Favela from his coaching spot on the stern.
We were fine. The boat? Not so much.
It was a downwind run on a Colgate 26, the school boat at the Performance Race Week put on by Offshore Sailing School and North U at Captiva Island on the west coast of Florida, near Ft. Myers. Each spring, North U director Bill Gladstone rounds up a fleet of coaches and 44 students for this intensive, six-day school.
The drill is similar all six days: An 8 am start, rigging boats and heading out to the nearby race area; three hours of racing; then ground school back on shore with lunch; another three hour thrash on the water; and another ground school. I love to sail, but by mid-week I confess I wanted a break from more hours battling the boat and heavy wind. During nearly every session this year the wind blew into the teens and they said it was the heaviest they’ve seen. Really? This was my second trip to the school and it blew just as hard or harder last time!
So what happened that dismasted us? We weren’t sure. Maybe something broke. More likely, our relatively inexperienced helmsman may have thrown us into a “death roll,” the spinnaker pole hit the water and the stress took down the rig. Out of 11 racing boats, two were carrying spinnakers in heavy wind. We were one of them.
We began dragging boat parts onto the hull, untangling and untying the mess that seconds before had been a fully-functioning sailboat. By afternoon, we’d been given a back-up boat and we were back on the race course. More starts, more races.
Surprisingly, Steve and Doris Colgate keep a great attitude about these little mishaps. They founded Offshore Sailing School 50 years ago and know that when sailors push the boats this hard, things break. Their shore crew fixes them and sends us back for more. Most of the year the boats are used to teach people to sail or sail better. This one week of high-performance racing has become a school mainstay and in 2015 will celebrate its 15th anniversary. To put a cherry on top of this chocolate sundae, each year Steve and Doris roll out a new suit of sails for all the boats, just to keep the competition close.
Their partner is Bill Gladstone, a fun, funny, upbeat imp who teaches with enthusiasm and stuffs the classroom portions with content. He follows the classroom with a sailing circus act, hoisting himself to the spreaders of a cruising boat, lashing himself on and chasing us around the race course with a video camera. He calls it his “helicopter” shot. By playing back selected video from this perspective during the afternoon debrief, he can point out tactical and trim lessons while it’s all still fresh.
On each 26-foot boat are four students and one coach. The students are required to rotate positions, from helm to mainsheet trim to foredeck to jib/spin trim and back again. The rotation helps everybody understand the demands of each position—and drives home how important good crew work is. The students bring a variety of racing backgrounds, but most are pretty experienced sailors looking for a competitive edge. Nearly half are repeats.
One of the easiest parts of the week is life at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. Our rooms are within a short walk of the boats and Captiva is spectacular spot, surrounded by water from the gulf. Each night, crowds gather on the beach just to watch one of the most predictable and glorious shows on earth: sunset.
What did I learn? On the plane home, I ran over in my mind what I’d picked up this time. Maybe 20-30 things. Many small. Some just finally jelled in my mind after years. There’s nothing quite like racing every day for several days straight to get the rhythm of it. Nothing quite like Rod Favela urging us on from the coach’s box in back of the boat. Even if sometimes it got just a bit too exciting.
The August AYC meeting will feature sailing coach and sailing equipment supplier Rod Favela. In addition to his own coaching, Rod is on the faculty of the NorthU-Offshore Sailing School Performance Race Week in Captiva, Florida.
Rod was active in the creation of the Viper 640 fleet and now works with the VX One sportboat−and the rise of sportboats will be the focus of his monthly meeting talk. What are they? What accounts for their growing popularity? What are the physical demands of sailing them? In what ways are they different to sail from other boats?
The meeting is Tuesday, August 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.
Rod Favela started sailing in 1988 at age 11 in his hometown of Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. His intro to sailing was in the honorable Sunfish, as at that time the country did not have an Opti fleet. Rod quickly moved on to becoming part of the national sailing team and alternated sailing J/24s , Solings and Star.
After his move to the US in 2005, he actively sailed on Hobie 33, J/24, J/105, J/109, Melges 32, Henderson 30, J/122 and then says he was “obsessed” with the Viper 640 and went full-on with the VX One. Alternating with some catamaran sailing and windsurfing, most of his sailing hours have been spent on dinghies, once again going back to his roots of sailing closer to the water.
Nowadays, Rod sails in Texas, at Rush Creek Yacht Club where he’s helping grow the VX One in the Southwest. His sailing supply business is Vela Sailing Supply.
Keith Magnussen of Ullman Sails offers one key tip for a contented crew: Make sure they have fun. Bottom line.
Keith spoke at the July monthly meeting (7/9) with several tips for captains. Keep the suggestions positive. Make sure people understand their roles. Make sure they get a beer. And if they’re giving up their weekend for a ride on your boat, make sure they leave with a smile.
Besides the tips for organizing a crew, Keith laid out some suggestions to help go fast, beginning with making sure the boat’s as light as it can be. He recommends marking lines and spreaders for repeatable trim. And at the start: don’t barge. All basics, but important.
Tucson Sailing Club’s Marshall Williamson also spoke at the meeting, showing some enticing shots of TSC’s twice-yearly regattas in San Carlos, Mexico. Marshall dangled an attractive mix: nice wind and fun parties. TSC’s next regatta is Halloween weekend and the next on Memorial Day weekend 2015. Here’s a link to their site.
For August, Rear Commodore Chris Smith has scheduled Rod Favela, a high energy coach, teacher, and sailing supply guy (Vela Sailing Supply) to talk about sport boat racing. Rod was involved with the Viper 640 and is now pitching the VX-1 sport boat. That meeting is Tuesday, August 12.
Here’s a prescription for sailing chaos: Take a dozen men who barely know each other, throw them in a frat-house hot-house, mix in gallons of beer and vodka, drop them on a 37-foot boat that most of them have never sailed, on a race course that’s a complete mystery to them, outlaw speed and nav instruments, give them 45 minutes to practice, and put them up against 10 well-drilled, well-honed competitors.
Oh, and just to make things interesting, make most of the dozen captains of their own boats with their own ideas of speed and tactics. And as an icebreaker, one of them greets another one by announcing, “I don’t like you and I don’t know how I can sail with you.”
So, how did it come out?
Not bad, actually.
None of this is made up and some of it you’d never believe anyway, but for the third year AYC membership director John Riddell patched together a crew of guys from the club with the express goal of their getting to know each other, of mingling experience with inexperience—heading off to have fun while trying not to make fools of themselves in front of the best of the West Coast sailing glitterati. First year’s results: last. Second year: next to last. Third year: third from last. At this rate, it’s victory in 2022!
The venue is the Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week, a very well organized and run regatta that this year drew 142 boats, including a couple TP52s and boats that are even bigger. Tony Chapman told me before the regatta that he thinks it’s the best on the coast and he’s been going for years. In fact, all the AYC Vipers were there to compete. And Chris Smith towed his J/80 for this event and another race that sails to Catalina. In all, there were probably over 30 AYC people racing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
We all gathered Thursday in a very nice rented house not far from Long Beach Yacht Club and a short walk to the clatter of 2nd Avenue’s row of restaurants and shops. I never got an exact count, but there were at least 15 men sharing this four bedroom, 2½ bath house. What they did at night is the stuff of next-day legend, but what happens in Long Beach, you know, stays there. Animal House didn’t have much on this bunch of much-older-than-thats.
So we gathered in a meeting where John Riddell cracked jokes and made it clear that he was pretty sure he knew what he was doing on big boats and he expected us to follow instructions and no backtalk. He said in the past he had a habit of shouting instructions (and other words) from the back of the boat to the front of the boat and this year he damn well wasn’t going to do that (a vow he broke constantly all three days). Everybody talked; some listened. It was very loud.
I woke up at 6-something Friday morning to the smell of frying bacon and sausage. Peter Lehrach would stand in front of the frying pans for a couple hours each morning stacking eggs and bacon for the gathering mob. Thanks, Peter. And then Adam “The Badger” Torel would mass-assemble a countertop of sandwiches to bag for lunch. Adam was John’s able organizer off the water.
The 11 racing boats lined up stern-to in slips in front of Long Beach Yacht Club, each boat rented from the club for the regatta. They’re 1990 Catalina 37s, built for the Congressional Cup match racing regatta that was already famous when Frank Butler custom built these 11-of-a-kind boats that have been used for that prestigious event ever since. They’re maintained perfectly. This weekend they had crispy new sails.
You’ll see in the picture that our team was outfitted in new team shirts, another Riddell LBRW tradition. We were the “Crazy Train,” a name that fit comfortably. Other teams were also wearing team shirts and moving around the boats with a studied familiarity. A couple teams sail these boats nearly every week. Others sail as a team on other kinds of boats. They all knew what they were doing.
With all of 45 minutes permitted before the first gun, we had enough time to figure out pretty much what everybody should sorta do. Fortunately, helmsman Trey Harlow had drafted his friend JB to handle the front of the boat, so the front and the back were in good hands. The middle? Some work needed. Some position-swapping. Some encouragement from John.
The boat is big and heavy and slow to respond and likes to keep moving, gathering speed slowly out of tacks. That’s about all we knew when the first gun sounded and we approached the much-too-short start line. Late. John said he wasn’t ready to mix it up with the fast guys this early, especially after last year, but we won’t talk about that.
Tenth. Out of 11. Race and repeat. Ninth. Not so bad when you consider the size of the hill we had to climb. I was assigned the job of standing at the back of the boat trying to look useful—something I’m pretty good at faking. Not a bad gig, really, with a nice view. But main trimmer Jason Donkersley aggravated a back injury and was carted off to the ER and suddenly I had a new job Saturday: main trimmer. Cool. The view’s not as nice, craning your neck to watch the trim and judging whether the top batten tell tale is stalling 50% of the time as John prescribed or 35% of the time, which he knew wasn’t enough, or not at all, which I darn well knew was the right way (as one of the many “captains” trimming on this boat).
And BANG. Saturday’s first race saw us on the starting line at speed and actually freaking leading at the windward mark and only giving back two places to finish THIRD! “See we know how to sail this boat!” John shouted across the water to no one in particular.
Hubris, of course. The next race we went this way and the wind went that way and we were gargling salt water in last place. Last. The pain was palpable. We recovered for a 9th in the third race of the day and went into Saturday night clinging to 9th overall by one point and staring at a 7-point gap to 8th. On Sunday we scored an 8th and a finale fifth and left the race course feeling very good about the distance we’d come.
Los Alamitos Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club offered up noisy, liquid parties each night and we got a chance to compare our day with the Viper guys and hear about that mark rounding where Chris Smith was supposed to leave it to starboard and a boat three times his size was supposed to round to port and, wow, it all came out all right. And the expensive Velocitek? Kicked overboard. Fortunes of war.
As we scattered for the airport or a highway dash across the desert, I think everyone was savoring a weekend well spent. I know I was. The weather was gorgeous. The boats and races were fun. Fifteen or so guys in a house worked better than I ever thought it would. Thank you, John Riddell, you crazy SOB, for driving this insane experiment.
First there are the sailors of the Viper fleet. All of them headed for Long Beach June 27-29 for the Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week. And then there were the misfits of the Crazy Train, a dozen guys thrown together to sail a Catalina 37. And Chris Smith and his team on his J/80 sailing the longer “random leg” course. A couple dozen or so AYC people altogether.
How did it go? Far as I could tell, everybody was having a good time with slightly lighter than usual wind, lots of sun, and temperatures in the 70s. Yes, 70s. Why would this not be good? And the LBRW was a very well organized event with 142 entries sailing over three days.
Court Roberts edged Tony Chapman for local honors in the 23-boat Viper fleet, finishing 10 and 11. Chris Smith grabbed fifth in his segment of the random leg. And the misfits? More on this later, but they were feeling pretty good with a 9th out of a 11 given the size of the challenge.
The series is underway, with actual cool temps when it’s time to rig the boats (80+, which we think is cool in Arizona); not so much when it’s time to put them away.
The morning summer series is the brainchild of Greg Woodcock, who thought sailing in the morning made more sense than doing it in the heat of the afternoon and managed to get Tempe approval. At the same time, he simplified it all so that everyone sails together (no separate fleets) and nobody keeps score. Members pay just $20 for six race days and the Adopt-a-Boat program is active.
So it’s no longer the Heat Stroke Series, but it’s become Cool Summer Sunday, a twist of a different kind. The change of time has increased participation from next to none to a few, 9 boats signed up for the series and this day five boats were on the water (including Greg, sailing with his grandson). Katherine Roxlo has generously agreed to be race committee for four of the six races days.
Sound like fun? There’s still time to sign up!