Crew-Skipper Mixer Set for Friday, Sept 5

beerJoin us after work on Friday, September 5, from 5-7 pm to lift a beer or glass of wine with other crew or skippers… and maybe find a connection for fall racing.

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.

Members who haven’t renewed yet for 2014-2015

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.

Here are the full members who haven’t paid to renew AYC membership and are now delinquent.

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’re one of them, you may pay your dues from this link.

If you have any trouble renewing or if you don’t plan to renew your membership, please contact Mike Ferring.

Victor Felice and Crew Come up Short on Lake Pleasant Distance Challenge

Victor Felice

Victor Felice

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.

Click to see a larger image.

Click to see a larger image.

Getting ready for the long sail, dressed up in graphics for the occasion.

Getting ready for the long sail, dressed up in graphics for the occasion.

Take a Wild Ride to Sail Better: The North U – OSS Performance Week

Laying the mark at Performance Race Week. Photos courtesy Offshore Sailing School.

Laying the mark at Performance Race Week. Photos courtesy Offshore Sailing School.

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!

Our team. Mike's trimming main.

Our team. Mike’s trimming main.

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.

Spinnaker run.

Spinnaker run.

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.

Resources: North U, Offshore Sailing School, Performance Race Week. The Performance Race Week sells out every year, so if you’re interested in attending, sign up early. The 2014 school was sold out by the end of December 2013.
The class photo at the 2014 Performance Race Week.

The class photo at the 2014 Performance Race Week. That’s Bill Gladstone on the lower left.

Strong wind pushed the boats all week.

Strong wind pushed the boats all week.

Returning crew. This bunch (plus one other) sailed together in 2012 and were back for 2014. From left: Mark Allison, Coach Rod Favela, Dave Bohl, and Mike Ferring.

Returning crew. This bunch (plus one other) sailed together in 2012 and were back for 2014. From left: Mark Allison, Coach Rod Favela, Dave Bohl, and Mike Ferring. AYCer Chris Smith also attended the school in 2012.

August Meeting: Sportboat Ace Rod Favela

Rod Favela at the helm of the speedy VX One.

Rod Favela at the helm of the speedy VX One.

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.

Tip for a Happy Crew: Make Sure It’s Fun

Ullman Sails' Keith Magnussen with Victor Felice and Jeff Coulter

Ullman Sails’ Keith Magnussen with Victor Felice and Jeff Coulter

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.

Keith Magnussen offers tips for crew at the AYC monthly meeting.

Keith Magnussen offers tips for crew at the AYC monthly meeting.

Marshall Williamson and Deana Pos of Tucson Sailing Club, with AYC's Mike Ferring, and (new member) Ryan Hanks.

Marshall Williamson and Deana Pos of Tucson Sailing Club, with AYC’s Mike Ferring, and (new AYC member) Ryan Hanks.

Jumping on the Riddell Crazy Train

The view of oncoming spin-flying boats was so pretty the crew applauded. Photos: Mike Ferring

The view of oncoming spin-flying boats was so pretty the crew applauded. Photos: Mike Ferring

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.

John Riddell conducting the AYC symphony.

John Riddell conducting the AYC symphony.

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.

Some of the raucous pick-up crew of Crazy Train.

Some of the raucous pick-up crew of Crazy Train.

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.

Identical Catalina 37s were our Crazy Train.

Identical Catalina 37s were our Crazy Train.

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.

In matching team shirts, the Crazy Train gets ready to set sail.

In matching team shirts, the Crazy Train gets ready to set sail.

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).

Thistle Maestro Trey Harlow at the helm.

Thistle Maestro Trey Harlow at the helm.

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.

Chris Reinhardt spin trims as the afterguard works the boat downwind.

Chris Reinhardt spin trims as the afterguard works the boat downwind.

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.

Rob Gibbs wind sprints the spin halyard.

Rob Gibbs wind sprints the halyard.

New member and veteran sailor Scott Burkhardt gets into the racing thing.

New member and veteran sailor Scott Burkhardt gets into the racing thing.

Nailing the start.

Nailing the start.

Commodore Peter Lehrach kept the pit cooking. And breakfast.

Commodore Peter Lehrach kept the pit cooking. And breakfast.

Hike hard. Adam Torel and Josh McClain.

Hike hard. Adam Torel and Josh McClain.

Here’s a video that Rob Gibbs put together of the event (using some of these pictures).

AYC Turns Out in Force for Long Beach Race Week

The dozen members of the Crazy Train pick-up team organized by John Riddell.

The dozen members of the Crazy Train pick-up team organized by John Riddell.

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 Catalina 37 starts were challenging on a short line and 11 big boats. Photos: Mike Ferring

The Catalina 37 starts were challenging on a short line and 11 big boats. Photos: Mike Ferring

Heading downwind at Long Beach Race Week. The Crazy Train team hustles.

Heading downwind at Long Beach Race Week. The Crazy Train team hustles.

Cool Summer Sunday Races

Two Buccs, a Laser, and a C14 all headed for the finish on a Sunday morning.

Two Buccs, a Laser, and a C14 all headed for the finish on a Sunday morning. Photo: Katherine Roxlo

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!

Cindy Pillote with crew Tony Chapman (behind the sail) downwind on a pleasant Sunday morning. Photo: Katherine Roxlo

Cindy Pillote with crew Tony Chapman (behind the sail) downwind on a pleasant Sunday morning. Photo: Katherine Roxlo

Emory Heisler Honored by National Buccaneer Association

Emory Heisler, recipient of the national Buccaneer group's service award.

Emory Heisler, recipient of the national Buccaneer group’s service award.

AYC’s Emory Heisler has been chosen for a national honor for his work with the national Buccaneer 18 class. Each year the Buccaneer 18 class selects one member to be the official “Quaiche* Bearer,” recognizing outstanding effort and service to the class−and Emory is the 2014 honoree.

Bucc Commodore Jimmy Yurko says, “I’m proud to know Emory. Emory is a remarkable man with unparalleled optimism and enthusiasm. His dedication to the class and the sport of sailing are truly admirable, and the Buccaneer class is fortunate to have such a devoted sailor, leader and friend.”

Our club’s sailors nominated Emory for the award with this letter:

Fleet 79 from Arizona proudly nominates Emory Heisler for the MacAlpine Downie Gibbs Quaich in recognition of his dedication and contributions to the Buccaneer 18 Class Association.

Emory was one of the early Buccaneer 18 sailors in Arizona and helped grow Fleet 79, as well as other fleets across the country. For over a decade, Emory’s spirit and fervor for the Class, as well as his willingness to serve and help others, has been an immeasurable asset to the Class.

At the national level, Emory has been an enthusiastic ambassador of Fleet 79 for many years.  In addition to representing his local Fleet, Emory has made several contributions to the Buccaneer 18 National Class Association, including heading up the Buccaneer 18 Mid Winters in Arizona, serving as Race Chair for the 2009 Buccaneer 18 North American Championship, and serving as webmaster for the Class.

Emory has also contributed to the Class in many, less tangible ways.  With his outgoing charm and personality, he encourages sailors to join the Class and compete in Class events.   He works hard behind the scenes to selflessly find crew, boats, and/or rides for others, so they can attend and enjoy national events.  And, he does it all with a smile, making the events fun for everyone!

And the pirate version of Emory Heisler!

And the pirate version of Emory Heisler!

Emory also lends his services to his local yacht club, serving on the Arizona Yacht Club board for several years, including the in the roles of Commodore and Birthday Regatta Chair.  Emory also served as the Buccaneer 18 Fleet representative to the AYC for several years, before passing the torch to someone else.  Emory has used his positions in leadership roles as an opportunity for mentoring others, setting others up to take on additional responsibilities within the club.

Emory is the reason that many of us in Arizona, as well as others outside the state, are Buccaneers.  His zeal and generosity in helping and teaching others has helped grow the Buccaneer Class and Fleet 79.

*What’s a quaich? Noun (obsolete): A traditional, shallow, two-handled Scottish cup symbolising friendship. It was originally used to toast the arrival or departure of a visitor.

Viper Sailmaker is July’s Meeting Attraction

Keith Magnussen of Ullman Sails.

Keith Magnussen of Ullman Sails.

How do you organize a crew that’s never sailed together? How do you organize them for a regatta? For anyone who’s shuffled crew before (wouldn’t that be everyone?), it’s a vital question. At July’s monthly meeting we’ll see what Keith Magnussen suggests.

Keith has been an integral part of the Ullman Sails Viper 640 program, doing much of the R&D and assisting with the advancement of sail design in this high performance class.

The meeting is Tuesday, July 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.

The Ullman Loft. Photo: SeaYa.com

The Ullman Loft. Photo: SeaYa.com

Some of Keith’s resume highlights include Ultimate 20 North American Champ in 2013 as tactician, second overall in the recent Newport to Ensenada race as navigator and helm, second in class in the 2011 Transpac as watch captain, and first overall in the 2012 Long Beach Race Week as tactician aboard a Viper 640. He’s now optimizing two boats for the 2015 Transpac, a Jeanneau 45 and a J/125.

Keith grew up racing in Southern California and started working for Ullman Sails four years ago. Now he deals with a wide range of boats, from the Viper to 70-foot cruising boats−and he says that’s what keeps the job exciting. Below is a YouTube clip of Keith describing the Ullman way of sailmaking, shot by the website Sea Ya, which has this additional information on their visit to the loft.

In addition to Keith’s presentation, we’ll hear from Marshall Williamson of the Tucson Sailing Club. He’ll fill us in on the club’s San Carlos Regatta, a twice-annual event that happens within a day’s drive of here. Marshall began racing in the Philadelphia area, crewed for races in Annapolis, and has been crewing at Lake Pleasant with Gene Muller on his J/24. He’ll fill us in on the kind of sailing and racing you can expect at San Carlos.

Some of the action you'll find at the Tucson Sailing Club's San Carlos regattas.

Some of the action you’ll find at the Tucson Sailing Club’s San Carlos regattas.

And some of the scenery that comes with it.

And some of the scenery that comes with it.

Otto’s Great Interlake Rescue

InterlakeRescueLike a lot of boat projects, the one Otto Shill envisioned turned out to be a little bit more complicated than expected. Instead of a light fiberglass fluff and buff, Otto’s project began to look more like boat building than boat fixing.

It started with a derelict donation he bought from the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF)−and I hope they didn’t charge him much. The project reached completion when sailed with his father on Tempe Town Lake.

The journey was much longer, one that began long ago with a sail on Lake Pleasant.

Here’s Otto’s story.

 

Victor’s Sandpaper Spring: Tuesday’s Meeting

Victor Felice's J/24. Photo: Chris Smith

Victor Felice’s J/24. Photo: Chris Smith

When Victor Felice decided to spruce up his J/24 Mermaid Rescue, he didn’t go halfway. He wanted to make it cleaner and faster and was prepared to put in the sweat equity to make it happen. Tuesday night, he’ll show you how he did it, from the haul-out to the fun time when the crew splashed the Mermaid again.

The meeting is Tuesday, June 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.

Victor loves to sail and he loves to shoot video of his sailing, so he’ll be bringing some of the action to the meeting, including this video of the first time back in the water on May 31.

Rear Commodore Chris Smith will also be there to tell us about his race to Catalina on his J/80.

Aloha Commodore’s Celebration!

Mike Ferring receiving a Superman shirt along with the US Sailing Sportsmanship award.

Mike Ferring receiving a Superman shirt along with the US Sailing Sportsmanship award… and Blunder Bucket

This was a Commodore’s Celebration of a different kind: a Luau with fire dancers, hula dancers, and AYC dancers. Sizzled with some awards, music, and a changing of the guard.

New Commodore Peter Lehrach called for continued high level of excitement for the club heading into the next year and welcomed  his board of directors: Senior Staff Commodore Mike Ferring, Junior Staff Commodore Cindy Pillote, Vice Commodore Christina Campo, Rear Commodore Chris Smith, Fleet Captain Steve Brown, Cruising Captain Tom Errickson, Membership Directors John Riddell and Dianna Andress, and (elected by the board that night), Secretary Lori Reger and Treasurer Tony Chapman.

Outgoing Commodore Cindy Pillote presented the night’s top award to Mike Ferring, the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award, otherwise known as the MVP award. And Mike scored a unique double: winning the coveted Blunder Bucket for creating a new way to break a mast at Tempe Town Lake by driving the boat under overhanging rowing shells.

The ASF Jerry Linderman Most Improved Junior Racer award went to Peter Blake. The Wayne Jason Tucker Most Improved Junior award was given to Ian Altobelli. And the Heavy Lifting Award for contribution to ASF was given to Don Hubele. Who immediately dropped it.

Commodore Peter Lehrach welcomes the new board of directors. From left: Christina Campo, Lori Reger, Chris Smith, Dianna Andress, Tom Errickson, Peter, and Mike Ferring. Off camera: Cindy Pillote. Not present: John Riddell, Tony Chapman, and Steve Brown.

Commodore Peter Lehrach welcomes the new board of directors. From left: Christina Campo, Lori Reger, Chris Smith, Dianna Andress, Tom Errickson, Peter, and Mike Ferring. Off camera: Cindy Pillote. Not present: John Riddell, Tony Chapman, and Steve Brown.

Martin Lorch (right) and Kyle Clark accept the big cup for winning the Club Championship. It's the sixth time for Martin. Photos: Mike Ferring

Martin Lorch (right) and Kyle Clark accept the big cup for winning the Club Championship. It’s the sixth time for Martin. Photos: Mike Ferring

Peter Lehrach, Cedric Lorch, Rick Johnson, and Emory Heisler wiggle on cue to the delight of the crowd.

Peter Lehrach, Cedric Lorch, Rick Johnson, and Emory Heisler wiggle on cue to the delight of the crowd.

The delighted crowd.

The delighted crowd.

And the women showing how the hula dancing is actually done.

And the women showing how the hula dancing is actually done.

Well, okay, THIS is how it's really done.

Well, okay, THIS is how it’s really done.

To the sound of music from the Island of Mesa.

To the sound of music from the Island of Mesa.

And a flash of fire.

And a flash of fire.

Big surprise: George Tingom that day had proposed to Bev Cryer.

Big surprise: George Tingom that day had proposed to Bev Cryer. She accepted.

George presents the Jerry Linderman award to Peter Blake.

George presents the Jerry Linderman award to Peter Blake.

Ian Altobelli (with father Frank) won the Wayne Jason Tucker award.

Ian Altobelli (with father Frank) won the Wayne Jason Tucker award.

Don Hubele receives the ASF Heavy Lifting Award (and immediately drops it).

Don Hubele receives the ASF Heavy Lifting Award (and immediately drops it).

Aloha Alexia Lorch, Maryellen Ferring, Christina Campo, and Cindy Pillote.

Aloha Alexia Lorch, Maryellen Ferring, Christina Campo, and Cindy Pillote.

Christina organized the event at the Mesa HQ of Polynesian Luau.

Christina organized the event at the Mesa HQ of Polynesian Luau.

New Rear Commodore Chris Smith with Cruising Captain Tom Errickson.

New Rear Commodore Chris Smith with Cruising Captain Tom Errickson.

Commodore Peter Lehrach

Commodore Peter Lehrach

Maryellen Ferring with Victor Felice.

Maryellen Ferring with Victor Felice.

Faye Hubele and Dennis Davis.

Faye Hubele and Dennis Davis.

Greg Jackson, Chrisann Tortora, Dave Christensen and Wendy Larsen

Greg Jackson, Chrisann Tortora, Dave Christensen and Wendy Larsen

Chris Smith with Mike Grijalva

Chris Smith with Mike Grijalva

Greg Jackson and Chrisann Tortora

Greg Jackson and Chrisann Tortora

Ian and Isabel Love

Ian and Isabel Love

Honorary Life Member Tia Renshaw

Honorary Life Member Tia Renshaw

Trey Harlow explains mark rounding to Life Member Mike Yarnell. Nina Harlow doubts it.

Trey Harlow explains mark rounding to Honorary Life Member Mike Yarnell. Nina Harlow doubts it.

Outgoing Senior Staff Commodore and hula dancer Emory Heisler

Outgoing Senior Staff Commodore and hula dancer Emory Heisler

Peter Lehrach Becomes AYC Commodore

Peter Lehrach is the new AYC Commodore.

Peter Lehrach is the new AYC Commodore.

Peter Lehrach and the rest of the slate of officers have been elected in the 2014 spring elections. All will officially take their seats on the board Saturday night (5/17) during the Commodore’s Celebration.

Peter joined AYC just two years ago and has served as club secretary and Vice Commodore. He’s raced at Lake Pleasant as crew on J/80s with both Mike Ferring and Chris Smith. He was the driving force behind AYC’s adopt-a-highway cleanup program, organizing cleaning parties for a stretch of Carefree Highway near Lake Pleasant.

Others on the board are Senior Staff Commodore Mike Ferring, Junior Staff Commodore Cindy Pillote, Vice Commodore Christina Campo, Rear Commodore Chris Smith, Fleet Captain Steve Brown, Membership Directors John Riddell (two-year term) and Dianna Andress (one-year term), and Cruising Captain Tom Errickson. On Saturday, the board will select a Treasurer (Tony Chapman) and Secretary (Lori Reger).

We thank the departing board members for their service to AYC: Emory Heisler, Thom Dickerson, Andrea Love, Ralph Vatalaro,  and Greg Woodcock.

Voters also overwhelmingly approved an increase in club dues from $125 per year to $150 per year, effective with the next renewal period. It’s been 10 years since AYC increased dues and 83% of voters approved doing it now.

Sign up for 2014 Commodore’s Party

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Fire knife dancers are part of the program this year.

Fire knife dancers are part of the program this year.

This year, the Commodore’s Celebration turns Polynesian. How about a luau?

It’s the way you’d expect it to happen in Hawaii, with the entertainment, food, and style of the islands, but somewhat closer to home. Mesa. Here’s a link to the Royal Islanders site and its spirit of Aloha. And here’s the map of the location.

Cindy Pillote invites you to the year’s big party, the Commodore’s Celebration.
When: Saturday evening, May 17, with partying beginning at 6pm, dinner at 7pm, and awards about 7:30
Where: 7820 E. McDowell Rd. Mesa, AZ 85207
What: Entertainment, fun dinner and much mingling with your sailing buddies
How Much: $50 for adults, $25 for children; cash bar
Why: Honor winners and workers and to bring on the new AYC Board of Directors
Dress Code: Informal
Who: Kids and guests welcome
The Menu: Kalua Pork, Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Hawaiian Baked Beans, Tropical Fruit Salad, and Punch
Adult Beverages: Beer and wine at $5 each in cash.

 

 

Martin Lorch Wins AYC Championship. Again.

Make it six times. Martin Lorch is closing in on the records of the most-decorated sailors in AYC history after winning his sixth Club Championship Saturday (5/11) at Lake Pleasant. Martin and crew Kyle Clark stood up to the challenge from a half dozen other competitors on the water and one more on the hill to emerge the repeat winner. (More on that “hill” part in a moment.)

Pin end favored. The rush to the start. Photos: Mike Ferring

Pin end favored. The rush to the start. Photos: Mike Ferring

It was a brilliant day for a sailboat race, with comfortable temperature and wind that varied from light to heavy, testing both the competitors and the Catalina 22s they were sailing. One boat didn’t make it to the finish. As Victor Felice was getting ready to start the fifth race, the rudder came adrift on Steve Dolter’s boat, calling for a tow back to the dock and, unfortunately, an end to Victor’s day.

When the wind kicked up, the fleet changed down from Genoas to jibs. That meant that the 12-foot long whisker poles designed for Genoas were too long for the jibs and on at least two boats there were no shorter poles available. That produced a protest and request for redress from Thistle fleet champ Jason Rziha. Jason contended that when Kyle Clark couldn’t clip the pole to the mast (as required in RRS rule 50.2), he held it next to the mast. Protest. And when Jason got on the same boat for the next race and his crew Trey Harlow couldn’t clip the pole onto the mast, he demanded redress for not being provided sufficient equipment.

Kyle Clark (left) and tussled Martin Lorch at the end of a long and successful day of racing. It was Martin's fifth Championship.

Kyle Clark (left) and tussled Martin Lorch at the end of a long and successful day of racing. It was Martin’s sixth Championship.

After a lengthy protest hearing on the hill after racing, a committee of Greg Woodcock, George Tingom, and Bob Worrall ruled that the pole issue hadn’t materially altered the outcome and disallowed it, keeping the results unchanged. Jason muttered, “Until the appeal.” So we shall see.

Jason and Trey finished in second place. Steve and Sarah Grothe finished third, hurt by fouling in one race while in second place and doing particularly ugly penalty turns.

Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock organized the event (in great detail) and served as Principal Race Officer. The rest of the Race Committee were: Gail Kiel, Beck Houston, Cindy Pillote, Mike & Maryellen Ferring, Bob Whyte and Jim Colceri.

Boats were graciously provided by Martin Lorch, Steve Dolter, Bob Worrall, George Tingom, J.M. Kiel, Mike Baros, Rudy Pinon and Steve Grothe (whose boat was an unused spare).

Only three people in the 48 year history of the Club Championship have won more times than Martin Lorch: Al Lehman Jr. and Skip Kempff with seven each and Don Hubele with 10.  Don won his last Championship in 1985, but he’s still winning Laser races today at Tempe Town Lake.

Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Total
Martin Lorch 5 2 2 1 1 3 1 15
Jason Rziha 2 6 1 2 2 4 2 19
Steve Grothe 1 7 3 3 3 1 3 21
Emory Heisler 3 1 6 4 6 2 4 26
Chris Smith 4 3 4 5 5 6 6 33
Cedric Lorch 7 4 5 7 4 5 5 37
Victor Felice 6 5 7 6 DNS (8) DNS (8) DNS (8) 48
Tight windward rounding. Jason in the lead.

Tight windward rounding. Jason in the lead.

And the race downwind.

And the race downwind.

Steve and Amy Grothe turn to head upwind.

Steve and Sarah Grothe turn to head upwind.

White caps in the afternoon breeze.

White caps in the afternoon breeze.

Cedric is learning well. High school champ, C14 champ and now a player in the annual Championship Regatta. Ably assisted by Chrisann Tortora and Rick Johnson.

Cedric focuses. High school champ, C14 champ and now a player in the annual Championship Regatta. Ably assisted by Chrisann Tortora and Rick Johnson.

The race committee. Bob Whyte, Jim Colceri and (behind the camera Mike Ferring) and...

The race committee. Bob Whyte, Jim Colceri and (behind the camera Mike Ferring) and…

(left to right) Gail Kiel, Cindy Pillote, Becky Houston, Maryellen Ferring and PRO Greg Woodcock.

(left to right) Gail Kiel, Cindy Pillote, Becky Houston, Maryellen Ferring and PRO Greg Woodcock.

Cedric Lorch chasing the Grothes.

Cedric Lorch chasing.

The trash-talking C14 champ Cedric Lorch in still another picture!

The trash-talking C14 champ Cedric Lorch in still another picture!

Emory Heisler fixes on the chicken downwind.

Emory Heisler fixes on the chicken downwind.

Martin Lorch out front on the turn to the run.

Martin Lorch out front on the turn to the run.

Second place finisher Jason Rziha turns, trailing the red protest banner in race six. In first place at the time, they hit the mark seconds later and a few minutes later did a penalty turn that took them out of first.

Second place finisher Jason Rziha turns, trailing the red protest banner in race six. In first place at the time, they hit the mark seconds later and a few minutes later did a penalty turn that took them out of first.

Fame & Fortune: Sailing World Highlights AYC Birthday Regatta

A two-page picture spread opens the Sailing World coverage.

A two-page picture spread opens the Sailing World coverage.

Sailing World magazine has given the Arizona Yacht Club star treatment in the June issue: five full pages on January’s Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup.

The story by Meredith Powlison with photos by Meredith and Peter Howson plays on the usual “isn’t it amazing they sail in the desert” angle, but does an excellent job of taking it the next step, explaining about the lake, the club, and the sailing we do. Meredith crewed with Viper 640 skippers Jim Sears (visiting from California) and Trey Harlow (with Russ Marcellus on a borrowed boat) and on Chris Smith’s J/80 (with Sheila Reed, Craig Quist, and Peter Lehrach).

She extensively quotes several of our members, including Birthday Regatta Chairman Emory Heisler, Tony Chapman, Chris Smith, Peter Lehrach, and Sarah Hester. She also details how some of her races went awry when our Famous Lake Pleasant Breeze pulled some nasty trick, including a 180-degree wind shift.

The story is accompanied by some dazzling pictures, nicely laid out in Sailing World’s new picture-forward format. Unfortunately, if you don’t subscribe to the magazine (and you should), the story doesn’t seem to be available online, at least not yet. I think it’s their policy to hold online material from the magazine until subscribers have had a chance to read it.

Two more pages from the Sailing World coverage, including a Lake Pleasant map and shots of your AYC pals.

Two more pages from the Sailing World coverage, including a Lake Pleasant map and shots of your AYC pals.

Also, The Arizona Republic ran a story about the ASF High School Sailing program, written by an ASU student, Harmony Huskinson. “It’s a powerful feeling to know that you’re controlling this 100-pound piece of fiberglass,” she quotes Maddie Cordova as saying. Learning to sail, learning to right a capsized boat; it’s all part of the curriculum in the program. Here’s more information about the classes.