Invitation: Women’s Party Thursday

AYC women are having a social gathering Thursday (8/23). Everyone is invited: members, nonmembers, ladies who sail, ladies who hang out with sailors. It’s a gather to get to know each other. Nothing formal—just some fun people sharing stores, getting to know each other over a beverage and some snacks. It’s a casual event from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm or whenever. Brenda Shears has offered her house and we took her up on it. Please RSVP so we have enough food and beverages by contacting Brenda.

Watch for the Sign of AYC

Watch for the AYC sign on Carefree Highway. Photo: Peter Lehrach

Next time you drive Carefree Highway to Lake Pleasant, watch for the Arizona Yacht Club signs. This one is at mile marker 25. You’ll see another when you’re headed the other way.

A bunch of us earned that sign one warm June morning by filling lots of purple bags with nasty roadside trash. Credit Peter Lehrach for pushing the “adopt a highway” idea, gathering the clean-up crew, collecting the vests, gloves, pokers, and bags, sitting through the required training exercise, filing the paperwork, following up (through a change of DOT offices), and celebrating the arrival of the sign this week.

Better still, help Peter when he looks for volunteers to repeat the clean-up in October! Cool October. We’ll continue these clean-ups three times each year.

September: The Secrets of My Best Boat Buy

At our next monthly meeting three of AYC’s most notorious boat shoppers will tip you on the secrets of their success.

It’s the Tuesday, September 11 Monthly Meeting, beginning at 7pm at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map) Dinner at 6.

Boat buying whiz Bill Hutchinson

Mike “I’ll Drive Anywhere to Buy a Boat” Parker, Bill “I’ll Even Buy It Twice” Hutchinson, and Tom “I’ll Keep Buying and Selling It” Errickson will take turns tipping the crowd to their secret strategies for successful boat buying.

Their instructions: Offer the audience some tangible tips for buying a sailboat by dissecting one of your boat buys (or in Tom’s case, perhaps the boat buy of someone he knows). We’re looking for how to get the best price on the best boat.

Also, check out the “Pre-Meeting Meeting” on “How to Select the Right Boat.”

Mike Parker has towed boats home from all over the U.S.

Racers and Crew Party Friday, September 7 from 5-7 pm

Racing season is nearly here!

Ready for some sailboat racing?

The Arizona season is coming fast and to help get you ready to race, we’re planning a party—a chance to get together with other racers, drink some beer or wine, and look for some crew-boat hookups for fall.

The party will be Friday, September 7, from 5-7 pm at AZ Wine & Beer at 2515 N. Scottsdale Road, just south of Thomas Road. Look for it in the center of the strip mall. And there’s lots of free parking.

They’ll offer some red and white wine options for $5 per glass and four different craft beers at a $2 or $3 discount. We’ll arrange for some munchies, too.

Who should come: Anybody interested in racing and would like to hang out with other racers. If you’re looking for crew or would like to crew, this is a great opportunity to match up people with the right resumes and personalities. You do not need to be a member of AYC to attend. Casual dress, of course.

Like to learn to race? Check out the Introduction to Sailboat Racing class, offered once a year in the fall.

September Pre-Meeting: Selecting the Right Boat

Wondering what boat’s right for you? Sort through the options: Length, build, performance, equipment, and on and on.

In September, we’ll hold a “Pre-Meeting Meeting” on “How to Select the Right Boat.”

How about a Hobie 33? We now have two club members who chose Hobie 33s.

What’s a pre-meeting? Before the regular monthly AYC meeting, we gather a dozen or so people around a table and simply talk about something they all care about. Such as how to select the right boat. We’ve asked three people to lead an informal Q&A: Mike Parker, Bill Hutchinson, and Tom Errickson, each an experienced boat buyer and seller.

The pre-meeting will start at 6 pm and will last 30 minutes. It will happen at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map)

We’ll limit the audience to 10 or 12 so it can be a comfortable chat in the corner of the restaurant. Reserve your spot by emailing Mike Ferring.

We did one of these in August on the subject of Bareboat Chartering and had a great discussion, with lots of good questions. And we’ll do more. What subject would you like to talk about? Email Mike.

Kool Kinnickinick Kampout

One of the clusters of campers around the Kinnickinick campground. Photos: Mike Ferring

The Kinnickinick Campout in the cool of the pines near Mormon Lake is a long-time AYC tradition, but last year it barely had a heartbeat. Steve Nahkala was the only AYCer to show. This year, Steve decided he’d step up and give the tradition a pop of CPR. It worked.

With people scattered over the campsite, I could never get a clear count, but this time the even drew about three dozen people, most recruited or cajoled into making the trip by Steve and Dennis Lynde. Dennis knew that Maryellen and I aren’t campers, so he offered to bring a tent for us if we came. We did. We’re glad we did.

It didn’t hurt that Phoenix was being clobbered by temperatures over 110 all week (116 the previous Wednesday) and that when we drove into the campground the thermometer in the car read 77°. We sat through a brief rain shower (the only one of the trip), popped a beer and started dropping in on fellow campers.

Steve had organized the traditional Kinnickinick sports: pasture golf and horse shoes. We gathered for a pot luck dinner as the sun began to set. And we gathered around a roaring bonfire as it turned dark. Steve made sure each of the kids walked away with a certificate for something. Some adults were awarded big bottles of wine. And the good feelings spread into the nighttime. There was a meteor shower for entertainment. Cool for comfort.

Next year you should try it.

Organizer Steve Nahkala stirs up a tidy pile of sausages.


One of the certificates of achievement awarded by the bonfire.

US Olympic Team Defeated

Anna Tunnicliffe in defeat. Picture copyright Carlo Borlenghi/FIV

The picture says it all. Anna Tunnicliffe and her team went into the Olympics with every hope of scoring a gold medal. Instead they were defeated by their training friends from Finland in the quarter finals.

But Anna’s loss reflected the failure of the entire U.S. Olympic sailing effort, which had geared up to produce better results this year after recently struggling. Instead, they set a record for frustration. Here’s the account from

The United States has finished its quest for sailing medals in the 2012 London Olympics without success, for the first time since 1936.

The last of the US sailors to still be in the medal chase, Women’s Match Racing skipper Anna Tunnicliffe, was beaten in the quarter finals by Finland on Wednesday.

A clearly upset Dean Brenner, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, said ‘this is not the distinction this team was going for.

‘There is no hiding the results. There is no way to spin it. There is no way to suggest anything other than we didn’t perform. There is going to be an enormous amount of discussion.

‘A lot of it is going to be productive and some of it probably won’t be. Discussion on what we did wrong and what we could do better and I am going to leave that with my successor Josh Adams and we are going to look very closely at our program.

‘Make no mistake about it – we are not proud of these results at all. We came here thinking we could compete for three or four medals and we thought the track record suggested that was legit but it didn’t happen.’

August Meeting: Dave & Wendy Boatworks

The Mini 6.50 is craned onto its trailer.

The Mini 6.50 is craned onto its trailer.


For the August monthly meeting, Dave Christensen and Wendy Larsen will tell us what it’s like to build an ocean racer in a suburban two-car garage. Besides showing pictures of the the building of their Mini 6.50, they’ll actually bring the boat for us to see and touch.

For those of us who have been following the project since Dave muttered something about knocking a hole in Wendy’s garage, we’ve been wondering if this massive undertaking would ever actually get wet. In August, they’ll offer the proof, along with stories of the incredible time and work it’s taken to reach this point. Think sanding. Lots and lots of sanding.

The meeting begins at 7pm at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map) Dinner at 6.

See the saga at the Dave and Wendy Boatworks website.

Also in August: A pre-meeting meeting. If you’ve wondered what it was like to charter a boat in some exotic destination, come talk with people who have been there. Ralph Vatalaro joins Mike and Maryellen Ferring to explain the ins and outs of international chartering. RSVP for this 6 pm pre-meeting meeting to Mike at Space is limited.

How to Charter a Sailboat at the “Pre-Meeting Meeting”

The ideal as sold in countless charter advertisements.

I think one of the great pleasures of sailing comes when a charter company in some exotic place hands you the keys to an expensive sailboat and tells you to “shove off.” Soon after I post this, Maryellen and I will catch the end of the Whidbey Island Regatta and then spend a week on a boat in the San Juan Islands. Cool, huh?

[Note: as of August 4, this meeting is full so we can’t accept any more RSVPs. Because of the positive response, we’ll hold more of these pre-meeting meetings, perhaps even on this same subject.]

If you’ve thought chartering seemed like a fun thing but didn’t know where to start, or you’ve done a little but would like to do more, join us before the next AYC monthly meeting for an informal conversation on charter destinations, costs, and procedures. During this 30-minute “pre-meeting meeting” at 6pm on Tuesday, August 14, you can ask questions of frequent-charterer Ralph Vatalaro, Maryellen, and me. We’ll do it for two people or 10, but no more than that, so send me an email to reserve your spot. We’ll gather around a table at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map)

This “pre-meeting meeting” concept is the brainchild of Vice Commodore Decker Williams and the charter idea came from Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock (who’s right now chartering in Canada). If we get some interest, we’ll do it on various topics throughout the year.

—Commodore Mike Ferring

Kinnickinick Kool August 10-12


So cool you’ll wear a jacket around the fire.

We’ll be camping at Kinnickinick Lake, starting Friday, August 10. No charge for either camping or sailing.

Organizer Steve Nahkala plans to have bocce ball, forest golf, liar’s dice, horseshoes and other games. And it’s a fun place to bring the kids and your friendly dogs; we usually have a bunch of both. The lake is really great for dinghy sailing, and I would encourage you to bring a boat if possible. Tent camping is fine, along with any kind of camper or SUV with a mattress. We’ve had people camping in a Catalina 22 before, so anything is possible. We will for sure have a huge potluck dinner on Saturday night, so bring extra for everyone. And then there’s a campfire, wine tasting, sing-a-long, star watching, and possibly a marshmallow fight. S’mores of course.

People arrive early on Friday, sometimes as early as Thursday. In the many years I’ve been going there, we’ve usually had some rain, but not too much. The road into Kinnickinick is graveled dirt, but graded and maintained. I’ve never had a problem hauling everything from a Class A motor home to a tent.

Hope to see you there. Here’s a page with map. Our campground is free. Bring your Guitar or harmonica.

—Dennis Lynde

In this historic shot, Bill Hutchinson waves hello.





Looks like a game of liar’s dice under cover.









































































Renew Your AYC Membership Now

Please renew your AYC membership right now by clicking on this link.

For the few people who haven’t renewed membership for the coming year, your dues are due. The club bylaws require us to post the names of delinquent members by August 15 and suspend all privileges at the end of August. More to the point, we’d like you to continue with us and we’d like to be sure to include your name in the club roster.

The link will take you to our new online registration system called RegOnline. We think you’ll find it easier to use (and it’s much easier to administer). One neat trick: We have a link on the racing page of the website that will show you all the people signed up for an event as they register.

Because of the new system, we’ll need you to re-enter some of your account information, such as your boats or your kids’ names and ages. When you first go to the site, it will ask to send you an email to confirm who you are. When you click on the link in the email, it will return you to the RegOnline site with basic address and phone number information already entered. Just finish it up, pay, and enjoy another year of AYC.

Your support of the club last year brought us some great stuff:

  1. Speakers, including Olympic Laser Radial Gold Medalist Anna Tunnicliffe, International Race Officer and America’s Cup Race Official Peter Reggio, World-Renowned Ocean Racer Peter Isler, North Sails Designer Garth Reynolds
  2. Five Race Series
  3. The Birthday Regatta/Leukemia Cup
  4. The Governor’s Cup Regatta
  5. The Tall Cactus
  6. The Party

Your membership renewal will help us have another great year!

Mike Ferring

U.S. Sailors Struggle at Weymouth

Match Racer Anna Tunnicliffe.

The U.S. contingent has had a disappointing Olympics so far, but one of the two Olympians who spoke to meetings of the Arizona Yacht Club is still in contention.

Anna Tunnicliffe’s women’s match racing team heads into the medal round Monday (8/6) with the slate of scores wiped clean. After starting the first week with a pair of tough losses (snagging a mark anchor in one), her team finished with a string of wins. The Australian team appears to be her strongest competition, winning 10 out of 10 matches in the preliminary round. Here’s a link to Anna’s blog to keep track of her exploits.

2008 Finn Silver Medalist Zach Railey missed the medal round, ending in 12th. His friend and training partner Jonas Hoegh-Christensen was a sensation in the class, leading Finn legend Ben Ainslie into the final medal round. But Ben rallied in the last few races, finished ahead of Jonas in the final race, and captured the gold, his 4th Gold and his fifth medal in the games. By doing it, he surpassed Paul Elvstrom, as the greatest sailor in Olympic history. Elvstrom won four straight gold medals from 1948-60.

“The goal was to compete for a medal,” Zach said after being eliminated. “After the first couple of races where things hadn’t gone my way, we knew we had to start taking more risk on the racecourse to give myself a chance. Obviously, when you start taking more risk there’s more reward and more downside. This week hasn’t gone the way we planned. We prepared well. We feel good about the preparation going into this. I take a lot of pride in preparing for big events. To not do well here is very upsetting. There are a lot of people who helped me get here and supported me, and I’d like to thank them.”

Oh, and who was that guy running the Finn races? None other than our speaker from last fall, professional race officer Peter “Luigi” Reggio!

Ben Ainslie celebrates after winning the gold in the Finn class.

Humboldt Bay To Trinidad Race Weekend Northern California

by Stephen Buck
The Beaufort scale defines winds of 22-27 knots as a strong breeze and 28-33 as a near gale. Those were the conditions facing the five starters of the 2012 Trinidad race. The Trinidad Race is the annual two day round trip from Eureka with an overnight on the mooring balls at Trinidad harbor. Race Committee for the Trinidad Race was a shared duty for the Commodore and Vice- Commodore for the two day race. As such, trips to Trinidad were a pleasant requirement of the job. I pulled the Saturday watch at the finish line. Strategically, the replica Trinidad Head lighthouse gave a good perspective of Prisoner Rock and the bell buoy which constituted the finish line. I settled in with binoculars and commenced scanning the horizon about 1300.
The effect of the wind on the ocean was striking. The northwest swells appeared to pile up onto Pilot Rock like a stone in a stream. There was a fair amount of “popcorn” and spindrift evident.
At about 165′ above sea level, the “distance to the horizon” formula yields an answer of about 15 miles. A sail would show farther than the horizon. A sail, in fact, appeared on the horizon a bit after I settled in. Meanwhile, I could just make out another sail approaching from the coast side. Garrett Coonrod on the Choate “Free Energy” chose the outer route making a long tack away from the coast. The Melges 24 “Flash Point” skippered by Court Roberts chose to battle crab pots and brave the surf near shore. With the stiff resistance of current and swells, the two leaders approached Trindad from the different tacks. To my amazement, the two sailboats reached the finish area at the same time. The race was decided on tactics, with Flash Point claiming the Starboard Tack rule to force Free Energy to yield the line. Free Energy was immediately blown down wind and recovered nicely to finish 50 seconds later for second place for day one.
While those relieved crews were settling in, I resumed searching the sea south. In the next hour, another sail approached from the seaward side. “Ru- Bun”, piloted by Curt Brown, was making a run for the finish. Taking a good line, the crew and boat slid by the north side of the bell buoy to finish just under seven hours for a third place finish.
Two boats were still out and I resumed scanning. A cell phone call revealed that John Bradley and
Hank Pierson on the F-31 catamaran, “Cathy Ray II”, broke a key component and retired earlier from the race to return to Eureka. That left Doby Class with brand new crew, David, still on the course. Patience was rewarded and Doby had taken the coast route to appear near the surf line. The shore is the sailboats natural enemy and from my vantage appeared to imperil the Muse. Later Doby later assured me that was not the case. The progress of the Muse was opposed by the considerable south setting current and NW swells. Eventually, the sea yielded to Doby and crew David to see them finish 9 hours and 37 minutes after starting the race. It should be noted that David thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
The wind persisted into Sunday and saw three boats finish the second day. Doby Class won day two on corrected time. Garret Coonrod finished first with an actual time of just over three hours but corrected to a third. Curt Brown and crew took second place both actual and corrected. Court Roberts chose the overland route to return due to the conditions. Everyone returned for a race rehash and several pots of chili at the clubhouse.
Now it is time to look forward to the Redwood Regatta on September 1 & 2. There will be signup sheets at the July Potluck for the various roles required to make the RR a successful event. Thanks in advance for helping.
Don’t forget the July 4th Poker Run coming up. Put your best poker face on and get out there!

Photo By: Court Roberts

Race Weekend Survey Results

Here’s the headline from the results of a survey about the number of race weekends racers would like for Lake Pleasant: Five. Five weekends rather than four.

There were 44 responses to the survey conducted July 5-9 and announced on the AYC Yahoo list. Of the 44, 28 said they entered a boat in the Lake Pleasant series last season. Of the rest, 12 crewed and five did not participate.

Two-thirds of the respondents said they preferred a five-weekend series for spring and fall. They drove home the message when we asked what they would do if the series were reduced from five weekends to four:

  • 10% of the respondents said they would participate more
  • 14% said they would participate less
  • 24% said they would participate the same but like it more
  • 52% said they would participate the same amount but like it less.

We also asked about interest in giving prizes for people who were able to race only on Saturdays. The response was lukewarm, with a rating of just under three on a five-point scale. However, since awards for Saturday-only participants wouldn’t affect those who race on both days, it might still be a viable idea.

—Mike Ferring, Commodore



Paul Liszewski Runs for the Border

Heading for a first place finish.

Paul Liszewski and his Hobie 33 crew won PHRF A in the Run for the Border 2 race out of San Diego on June 29-30, beating the second place boat on corrected time by just two minutes after more than 15 hours of racing.

Steve and Christina Campo joined Paul, Paul’s brother Joel Payne and Steve Nahkala on the Hobie 33, Rolling In The Deep. Christina reports, “Paul did an excellent job and Steve and I just loved the experience.”

New Member Introduction

Rick & Linda Gill hail from Scottsdale and have joined AYC after years of involvement with The Northport, NY, Yacht Club. Rick and Linda have served as members and chairpersons of various yacht club committees and Rick also served on the Board of Governors and as Treasurer for six years. Active cruisers, they have sailed to numerous ports in the Northeast on their Pearson 30, then Pearson 36, Pearson 42CC and finally their Nonsuch 30. They have also enjoyed cruising experiences in the BVIs. Rick has raced in various crew assignments, more recently in the Leukemia Cup on Lake Pleasant and the return leg of the New York Yacht Club Race from Newport to Bermuda. They are looking forward to many more cruising and racing experiences

Ralph Vatalaro’s first sailing experience was during a summer NROTC cruise when the XO’s daughter invited the Midshipmen for a day sail on the family Lightning. After that he was hooked—on sailing, that is. After doing his best impression of Ensign Pulver in His Majesty’s Navy, his sailing continued with a series of misadventures over the ensuing years: nearly colliding with a large buoy at night while at the helm in San Francisco Bay, running aground in front of a large power boat in Swan Creek entering Lake St. Clair, being hoisted to the top of the mast to retrieve a lost halyard after a MORC race at Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit.

After moving to Arizona, his sailing adventures continued: being “found” by the Coast Guard in Lake Tahoe (their significant others reported them overdue—late for dinner), a holding tank almost overflowing in Avalon Harbor (had to make a hasty departure), powering their way through the mud in Knapp’s Narrows in the Chesapeake (wrong side of the channel?), returning to port after his crew threatened mutiny if they continued in a squall to Antibes, and last, but not least, being dumped into Lake Pleasant at the leeward mark when the skipper turned before the spinnaker take down. After all of this fun, Ralph is looking forward to finding a boat and getting back into racing with the AYC this fall!

If you’re a new member and have not been introduced through Compass Points, please send a brief write-up about you (and your family) to

Brenda Shears and Thom Dickerson
Arizona Yacht Club Membership Directors

AYC Team Wins Santa Cruz 27 Nationals

The Joe Hagen/John Ross Santa Cruz 27 Gotcha with Al Lehman Jr. and three other crew on board dominated the Santa Cruz 27 Nationals run last weekend (6/29-7/1) at the Richmond Yacht Club at Pt. Richmond, California.

The team was so strong that they locked up the championship after scoring five first place finishes in six races (combined with a third) and sat out the final race. Second place finisher James Clappier finished five points behind in the field of 14.

Our AYC guys had finished second in last year’s championship, run in conjunction with the Whidbey Island (WA) regatta.

Here are the scores.