Registration Open for Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup

The 53rd Arizona Yacht Club Birthday Regatta and our 14th Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta are nearly here: January 18-19-20.

Help fight blood cancers!  Race 1, 2 or 3 days. Cruise! Party!

Click here to register.
SI: Click HERE

CLICK HERE to set up an online fundraising page. For more information about FUND RAISING please contact Liz Kaplan at, 602.567.7605.

We have some great regatta improvements in store for you and your “shore party.”

1) Lower Costs: Two-day race registration last year was $80. It’s reduced to $50 this year!

2) Moving indoors: The dusty tent is gone and the Saturday night event will move indoors to the Lake Pleasant Waterfront Grille. Enjoy inside and outside waterfront seating for cocktails, dinner, and dancing with music from our talented AYC musicians.

3) Shuttles will be running from the Spinnaker Point RV/Camping and boat prep areas to the Waterfront Grille throughout the day and evening.

4) Marina Slip Rentals are available for $28/night. Stay the night next to the Waterfront Bar & Grille. To reserve a slip contact Jennifer Bittner at Pleasant Harbor Marina at 602/977-7370….OR…RAISE $500 for Leukemia Lymphoma Society…the first 5 that raise $500 get a FREE MOORING FOR THE REGATTA!!!

5) RV/Camping sites have been reserved to make sure you have a spot for your tent or camper. Make a reservation before January first to claim one of the reserved spots by contacting Pleasant Harbor RV at 1-800-475-3272. Tell them you are with the AYC Birthday Regatta. Sites are $28/night.   AYC has reserved sites #20-45

Questions? Contact Event Organizer Emory Heisler 602.679.0462

Questions? Contact Liz Kaplan at Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS) 602.567.7605

Do it now! Help us in the fight to cure blood cancers and join us for another great Martin Luther King Jr. weekend of desert winter sailing!

Event Schedule:

Friday Jan. 18, 2013

0800-1000            REGISTRATION – Pleasant Harbor RV Office (see map)
1000-1030                Friday Skippers Meeting – Spinnaker Point 
1200-1600                    RACING DAY 1 – Lake Pleasant
1500-1700                        REGISTRATION – Pleasant Harbor RV Office (see map)
1700-2300                                FISH & CHIPS DINNER – Lake Pleasant Waterfront Grille (see map) pay at restaurant

Saturday (DAY)   Jan. 19, 2013

0800-1000            REGISTRATION –  Pleasant Harbor RV Office (see map)
0800-0930            BREAKFAST ($6) –  – Lookout Point – AYC Hospitality Ramada
0900-0930                Saturday SKIPPER’S MEETING –  – Lookout Point – AYC Hospitality Ramada
1130-1600                    RACING DAY 2 – Lake Pleasant

Saturday (EVENING)   Jan. 19, 2013

*NOTE* All Saturday Evening Activities will be held at the Lake Pleasant Waterfront Grille (see map)

1700-1830            COCKTAILS – SILENT AUCTION – RAFFLE- Lake Pleasant Waterfront Grille (see map)
1830-1930                DINNER ($12) – Mexican Fiesta- Lake Pleasant Waterfront Grille- purchase with registration
2030-2300                        ARIZONA YACHT CLUB BIRTHDAY PARTY – Music, Dancing, Cake!

Sunday Jan. 20, 2013

0700-0800            BREAKFAST – Spinnaker Point
0930-1400                RACING DAY 3 – Lake Pleasant
1200-1530                    HOT DOGS AND  BRAT’S LUNCH – Lookout Point – AYC Hospitality Ramada
1500-1530                        AYC BIRTHDAY REGATTA AWARDS – Lookout Point – AYC Hospitality Ramada

US Sailing Level 1 Instructor Course Here in January

Registration is now open for the US Sailing Level 1 Instructor course, to be taught here on two intensive weekends in January—the weekends of January 5&6 and 12&13.

US Sailing requires a minimum of 8 students in the course, a number we’ve failed to meet the last two times this course has been offered in Phoenix. So we really need your support this time.

Here’s the sales pitch: Not only does the course prepare you to teach sailing, but it also makes you a better sailor. Course instructor Ray Deppa has taught all of the US Sailing Instructor courses in Phoenix, and he’s a real pro, someone who will leave you knowing more about this game we play. But teaching sailing is actually the best part. Introducing new people to the sport is a lot of fun—seeing them begin to understand how a boat moves through the water by wind alone and seeing the joy they get from figuring it out.

Sign up four weeks or more before the class and it’s $325; after that it’s $345. If you pass the course and teach for the Arizona Sailing Foundation, ASF will reimburse half your tuition. (If you’re a high school or college student, check with George Tingom for possible higher reimbursement rate.)

I just paged through some of the US Sailing material on the course. You’ll find some information here. And the registration begins here. There’s quite a bit of paperwork involved and you’ll need to be a member of US Sailing (a good thing anyway) and you’ll need to pass a first aid and CPR course (definitely a good thing anyway). The prerequisites are extensive. My advice: don’t let any of that discourage you. The other students and Instructor Ray Deppa will help you through it. If you want to pass, you’ll pass.

For questions on the course, check with George Tingom, who’s organizing the course and has been involved in every one we’ve held since 2003 (when I took it).

AYC Powerboat Drivers Must Be Certified

The AYC Board of Directors has taken a step that the club has been contemplating for years: Requiring that any driver of an AYC or ASF powerboat have a nationally-recognized certification for safe powerboat operation. The requirement kicks in January 1, but we’ll try to follow it immediately.

Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock will come up with a list of certifications which will qualify and we’ll let you know what they are.

This step would not be possible without the enormous contribution of Rob Gibbs, who has conducted two courses for US Sailing powerboat certification, most recently just last month, when 10 people received certification. The people who took the course heaped huge compliments on Rob for his effort and for the quality of the teaching. Our continuing thanks, Rob, for all that you do for the club. And we thank the board of the Arizona Sailing Foundation and its president John Mayall for underwriting the cost of the materials for the powerboat course.

Rob will lead another class on December 14, 15, and 16 and there are still openings for that class (as of 12/1).

The AYC board recognizes that the new requirement won’t prevent accidents or mistreatment of equipment, but clearly it should help. It’s been a constant problem maintaining ASF and AYC boats in prime condition. Most important, we believe this step will reduce the chance of a powerboat injury, which no one wants to see.

Mike Ferring

John Bagwell Elected New LPSC Commodore

By Rhonda Brewer, LPSC

Season’s Greetings from the LPSC! It’s difficult to believe that another year has passed, and yet none of the AYC or LPSC club members look a day older! It must be the fresh air and exercise we all get while sailing on our beautiful Lake Pleasant.

LPSC Board elections took place in November and a new board, led by Commodore John Bagwell, is already planning fun and educational water-based and land-based activities for next year. Of course, AYC members are invited to join almost all LPSC events.

LPSC members will be celebrating this festive season with a Christmas Party at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course on December 8.  Besides sharing great food, beverages, and conversation, members will be shuttled to the Tempe Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade. Rumor has it that at least one LPSC member will be participating in the parade.

LPSC members Steve and Helen Eshleman are organizing members to cooks and serve breakfast on Saturday, January 19 for Leukemia Cup participants.  LPSC members look forward to supporting the AYC at this yearly event.

We wish all AYC members a safe and happy 2013!

Rules Guru Dick Rose Visits AYC Friday, Nov 30

New rules will govern how we play the game of sailboat racing beginning the first of the year. Like to know what they are?

One way: Read the new rules thoroughly and compare with the current rules.

Rules guru Dick Rose during his last appearance at AYC in 2007. Photos: Mike Ferring

Another way: Ask the man who helped write them.

Dick Rose has been helping write the international rules of sailing for 20 years and it’s no exaggeration to say he knows every period and italicized word—and, more important, he knows how they affect you on the race course. With the 2013-2016 RRS kicking in at the beginning of the year, we asked him to return to Phoenix to lead a seminar on the changes. It will be Dick’s third appearance at AYC and he never fails to impress the crowd with his knowledge and his quick decyphering of complex situations.

Besides writing the rules, Dick helps interpret them for readers of Sailing World magazine. You may have read his clear, interesting monthly column.

The seminar is set for Friday night, November 30, starting at 6:30, at the Apache Substation of the Tempe Police Department, 1855 E. Apache Blvd. Tempe, AZ 85281. See a Map. We ask you to sign up so we know how many are coming. AYC members may attend for free; nonmembers will pay $20.

We need a count of people attending, so please sign up here.

Dick Rose at the 2007 rules seminar.

November Meeting: Common Sailing Mistakes

Rob Harring

Our Tuesday, November 13 speaker is Rob Harring, former J/World San Diego Senior Instructor and current Beneteau yacht dealer.

At J/World, Rob saw firsthand the sailing mistakes that we all make that slow us down and we’ve titled his appearance, What It Takes To Make Rob’s Top Ten List of Common Sailing Mistakes—And How to Correct Them to Make Your Boat Go Faster.

Rob grew up sailing on Lake Geneva, Wis. and crewed for his dad from the age of 4, so sailboats are in his blood. As a young man he was competitive in the 150-boat E-Scow fleet on the lake and went on to sail as a collegiate sailor at USC, where he took 4th in the College Nationals in the Sonar class. Rob really knows how to make a sailboat go fast.

The meeting begins at 7 pm at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map) Dinner at 6. Non-members are welcome to attend.

Besides Rob’s appearance and the joy of hanging out with the rest of us at the meeting, there’s this incentive: we’ll give away a pair of Hobie Segundo Polarized Sunglasses (retail $210), courtesy of Hobie, the official sunglasses of US Sailing.

Win these $210 sunglasses at the November meeting.


Governor’s Cup Registration is OPEN
Click Here to get in on the fun!

Day’s Schedule:

Back when it all started.

9am Saturday — skippers meeting, Spinnaker Point
Mike Parker will have available copies of the course map.
11am Saturday is the start of the regatta just outside the Pleasant Harbor Marina South entrance.
Check in as soon as feasible to:
480-270-2443 text or voice, or else send an email to

Here’s the Full-Length Course:

(Click for Map)

Start between the dam pumps and the south Pleasant Harbor entrance, then follow this course, taking all marks to port:

  1. Coles Bay Buoy
  2. Balance Rock
  3. Horse Island
  4. Humbug Bay buoy
  5. Balance Rock
  6. 10-lane No-Wake
  7. Honeymoon Cove Floating Potty
  8. Castle Creek buoy
  9. Finish between no wake buoys in the Pleasant Harbor north launch ramp bay

And here’s the Half-Length Course for Portsmouth boats only: (Click for Map)

Start at between the dam pumps and the south Pleasant Harbor entrance and then:

  1. Castle Creek Bouy
  2. Balance Rock
  3. Horse Island
  4. Balance Rock
  5. 10-Lane No-Wake (any)
  6. Finish at North Ramp No Wake (any)

Phil Freedman’s Sailing Flash Cards

Phil Freedman’s latest offering, following his “College Sailing Made Easy” book.

AYC member and certified gadfly Phil Freedman has quickly followed his first self-published book (College Sailing Made Easy) with a second, a clever collection of simple sailing terms presented as flash cards. Call it, College Sailing Made Easy Flash Cards. See: clever.

The 150-page book is mostly made up of 120-plus sailing glossary terms, presented two-to-a-page, in alphabetical order. A pair of scissors could turn the book into flash cards for quick study by new sailors. Phil concludes the book with some sailing tips and philosophy and a repeat from the first book of the impressive collection of pictures showing his involvement in the San Diego America’s Cup challenge in the early 90s.

The new book hit the starting line on time and at speed. Phil says it sold about 100 copies in the first few days on Amazon.

Phil also forwarded us an interesting piece on “How to do a Chicken Jibe.” Read it here.

Lake Pleasant Sailing Club’s Busy November

The calendar year may be winding down, but the LPSC is gearing up for our busiest time of the year.

On November 10, the LPSC will be hosting the third annual Ladies Day at the Lake. This very popular event is a day-long, sailing or kayaking summit for women. It is designed to introduce women to and/or enhance their skills in recreational boating through both land-based seminars and on-the-water workshops.

November 16-18 will find several LPSC members enjoying a fun late fall weekend of sailing and friendship at Roosevelt Lake.

November will end with a L.A.S.T. Friday study session. This monthly event is the brainchild of our current Commodore, Debbie Huntsman. Although Debbie has relocated to New Orleans, she still attends these sailing-based study sessions in spirit.

Finally, LPSC members will celebrate the holidays with a party on December 8. Besides sharing food, drink, and conversation, members are invited to catch a shuttle ride compliments of John Bagwell, our vice-commodore, to the Tempe Parade of Lights. As always, AYC members are invited to join LPSC events and activities.

Rhonda Brewer, LPSC Newsletter Editor

Amy Grothe Repeats as Ruth Beals Winner

When we began to rig the seven entries for the Ruth Beals Cup at 7:30 Saturday morning, the wind was signaling a perfect sailing day. Cool, comfortable and 8-10 kts of wind. Then it all changed.

Phil Freedman got this shot of boats reaching before the start sequence in the Ruth Beals Cup Regatta.

By 8:30 there were whitecaps blowing across Tempe Town Lake with puffs pushing 20 kts and building. The entry list began to shrink to die-hards. The brave and foolhardy.

Brenda Shears and Decker Williams capsized and couldn’t get back into the boat, shredding part of the jib. They retired to watch from the busy committee boat.

Chrisann Tortora and Tony Chapman headed for shore to keep dry and spectate for most of the rest of the morning.

Still circulating, waiting for a start, were the teams of Amy and dad Steve Grothe, Cindy Pillote and Greg Jackson, and Sheila Reed and Maryellen Ferring.

This was the Ruth Beals Cup Regatta for women at the helm and it has a history of too much wind or too little. Today the legend grew. Too much.

Race one: Amy got an early lead and tacked to round the windward mark. And capsized. Cindy moved to the lead heading to the leeward mark. And capsized. Sheila seized the lead and took it to the finish. Then capsized.

With everyone wet, it would have been a good time to declare the day complete, but not for this bunch.

Race two: Amy broke into the lead and held off Cindy to the finish. Race three: Amy and Steve crossed the finish hiked out and moving fast, clinching the championship and a year of bragging rights, their second, having won in 2009. Cindy took second by one point over previous winner Sheila Reed.

Many thanks to Sheila and Cindy for organizing the event and to Mike Bernard and Clay Poulson who did a spectacular job helping me on race committee, joined by Decker and Brenda, who were drafted to help when they needed to pull out of the race.

Next year maybe we could have some “normal” wind?

Phil Freedman’s shot of the winners didn’t come out, so we offer this shot, taken when Amy and Steve won the Cup in 2009.

Governor’s Cup Regatta Offers Long-Distance Fun

By Mike Parker, AYC Cruising Director

Does the little sailboat racer inside of you feel a bit cramped, congested, or perhaps confined?

Don’t race much, but want to have a “semi structured” event to cruise our fine Lake Pleasant—perhaps exploring new stretches of water?

Is that a trophy or what? Court Roberts hefts the Governor’s Trophy, won last year aboard his Melges 24. Photo: Mike Ferring

Leave our excellent “round the buoys” racing for a day and stretch your sea legs for 26.2 miles up, down, and around Lake Pleasant in the  Arizona Yacht Club 2012 Governors Cup Regatta.

Aside from the fame and fortune, you could become the proud caretaker for 12 glorious months of the largest trophy AYC has to offer.

This year’s regatta will be similar to last year’s, with a start off the south Pleasant Harbor Marina entrance buoy, crisscrossing the lake, and ending up at the north ramp No Wake zone.

Preliminary guidelines (really):

  • There will be strategic legs that round the floating pottys (just in case crew needs to go)
  • Uber close legs near the bar/restaurants on the water, with phone numbers on the map for pickup orders
  • Open water legs (as much as we have in Arizona) will be scheduled for the later parts of the race, just in case darkness falls before the end
  • Multiple classes with take-home trophies for top finishers
  • A special prize for the most “Holiday Inspired” boat and crew (and TLAPD is a Holiday)
  • Minimal entry fee and NO WHINING! — mostly because your Cruising Director wants to race too this year.

And this addition:

I have received some questions about the Governor’s Cup Regatta that I would like to share with those interested, along with my answers.

  1. Will there be a short course for small boats.
  2. YES, there will be a “Half Marathon” of 13.1 miles, same start – Portsmouth only
  3. Will there be a Single Handed class? If I have 5 boats that want to race single-hand that can fall into ONE rating system, I will make it happen. Fleets will be determined from registrations completed Tuesday, November 20.
  4. Will there be “Course Marks” distinguished from other navigation aids? The course marks are islands, floating potties, and navigation buoys. All are listed in order and GPS coordinates are included on the long race SI.
  5. For the buoys, your requirement is to round one buoy in the direct vicinity, along a line of buoys. You can round whatever one is more convenient, trying not to gain a DISTANCE advantage. I have tried to make the approaches to the buoy lines equidistant from the previous mark. Of course, not as sexy as 7 Vipers rounding one mark all together with the yelling and churning up the water, but you can watch that during the Fall and Spring  Series and the Birthday Regatta.
  6. YOU will be the Race Committee. Keep an eye on your fellows on the water, encourage and assist as needed.

I have received some questions about the Governor’s Cup Regatta that I would like to share with those interested, along with my answers.

1.       Will there be a short course for small boats

a.       YES, there will be a “Half Marathon” of 13.1 miles, same start – Portsmouth only

2.       Will there be a Single Handed class

a.       If I have 5 boats that want to race single handed that can fall into ONE rating system, I will make it happen.  Fleets will be determined from registrations completed Tuesday, November 20.

3.       Will there be “Course Marks” distinguished from other navigation aids?

a.       The course marks are Islands, Floating Potties, and navigation buoys.   All are listed in order and GPS coordinates are included on the long race SI.

b.      For the buoys, your requirement is to round one buoy in the direct vicinity, along a line of buoys.  You can round whatever one is more convenient, trying not to gain a DISTANCE advantage.  I have tried to make the approaches to the buoy lines equidistant from the previous mark.   Of course, not as sexy as 7 Vipers rounding one mark all together with the yelling and churning up the water, but you can watch that during the Fall and Spring  Series and the Birthday Regatta.

4.       YOU will be the Race Committee.  Keep an eye on your fellows on the water, encourage and assist as needed. 

Buccaneer 18s Sailing on Mill Avenue

So you’re strolling down Mill Avenue and happen to look up at one of the “Downtown Tempe” posters and what do you see? A Buccaneer 18!

The photo brings together an interesting group of AYC Bucc sailors in one shot.

The boat is my first Erin Morgan, #5060, on one of its early sails in 2003, skippered by David Rawstrom with me as crew and sailing with Pat Blumm’s sail #2900 because the sails that came with the boat had a few “problems” (i.e. holes).

Congratulations to AYC and the Bucc Fleet for being part of the Mill Avenue District campaign!

Ruth Beals Cup Saturday, October 27

The annual Ruth Beals Cup Regatta for women at the helm will be Saturday morning, October 27 at Tempe Town Lake.

Organizers Sheila Reed and Cindy Pillote say that the Skippers’ Meeting will be a 8am and the first warning at 9am. Racing will end by noon.

This annual regatta honors AYC founder Ruth Beals (history here) by requiring that the Capri 14.2 sailboats be driven by women, though a man can act as crew. There will be room for a dozen entries, using personally-owned boats or using one of the Arizona Sailing Foundation boats on a first-come, first-served basis.

There’s no charge for entry and there are actual, valuable prizes for the first three finishers. And breakfast for all.

Click here to go to the racing page and scroll down to get the race documents and entry information.

Tight turn at the mark.

A Successful Trashy Sunday

AYC highway cleaning crew picking up 60 bags of litter from the side of Carefree Highway. Photos: Brenda Shears

On October 14, 15 AYC volunteers generously offered their time and effort to maintain our club’s commitment to the Adopt-a-Highway program. The weather was perfect as we filled 60 large blue trash bags with items that had been carelessly discarded by motorists driving along the Carefree Highway near Lake Pleasant. Afterward, we celebrated our achievement at the Wild Horse Saloon with a well-deserved lunch and good cheer. Thanks to all who participated!

The pick-up crew (l to r): Thom Dickerson, Pierce Cunningham, Emory Heisler, Lori Reger, Keith Kintigh, Jo Grijalva, Mike Grijalva, organizer Peter Lehrach, Tia Renshaw, Mike Yarnell, Renata Richards, Larry Green, Ken Guest, Paul Eyssautier, and (not pictured because she was behind the camera) Brenda Shears.

Dave Perry Leaves Us Laughing… and Better Sailors

Dave Perry sketches the options for a mark rounding during the October AYC meeting. Photo: Mike Ferring

The most critical times of any race are when bunches of boats compete for the same bit of water at the same time: during starts and mark roundings. So here’s Dave Perry’s prescription:

  1. Build space to leeward at the start line so you can accelerate at the gun.
  2. Don’t get caught in the bad-air parade at the windward mark.
  3. Take your turn at the leeward mark.

Okay, there was a bit more to it in the space of more than two hours this hall-of-fame sailor spent moving magnetic boats around a white board and showing video of boats converging. I hope you were there. This was a meeting packed with tips and hints for anyone who races and a meeting full of fun for anyone who doesn’t.

Dave Perry entertaining the October AYC meeting. Photo: Bob Whyte

Before the meeting, Dave waved off the wireless microphone. “I don’t use those,” he said seriously and it was immediately obvious that he knew what he was talking about as his voice boomed through the Caddy Shack. He drew in the crowd by asking people to stand who drove Buccs and Thistles and Catalina 22s and so on and asking who drove and who crewed and then urging the crew members to yell back at their drivers in return for all those times the crew gets blamed for poor finishes that are usually the fault of the person holding tiller. We loved it of course.

For a two-minute snippet of Dave’s talk, click here to see a YouTube video recorded by Rear Commodore Bob Whyte.

Dave’s visit to Phoenix (his first ever) was part of the US Sailing Speakers Series and included Scotch tasting by sponsor Old Pulteney. He made this stop on his way from San Francisco to his home in Connecticut after working with Artemis Racing at the America’s Cup AC45 World Series. He advises the team on rules, which are still evolving to match the unbelievable performance of the boats.

After riding on the back of one of the 45s, what did he think? “Scared,” he said. And with the 72-footers pushing the boundaries of sailing, he says no one’s quite sure what will happen. The teams planned to have sailed the first copy of the new boats about 15 days by now, he said, but only Team New Zealand has had more than a few days on the water and all of the teams have come limping back with broken bits on the boats. Artemis broke its wing when trying it out on a trimaran. Hang on. This could be nuts.

Fun fact: At Yale, Dave roomed with Peter Isler and navigation ace and “the man who invented football’s first-down yellow line,” Stan Honey. All have gone on to fame and glory. Two of the three have spoken to AYC within the last year. Can Stan Honey make it three-some? Stay tuned.

A large crowd laughed through two hours of Dave Perry’s presentation. Photo: Mike Ferring