Racing Rules: What about that X course finish?

The Lake Pleasant “X Course” introduced some new wrinkles for racers, adding some action with its windward-leeward-windward-leeward design and with a downwind finish—the only one of our courses that (intentionally) ends with the wind behind the boats.

So, consider what happened when Greg Jackson and I converged for a finish downwind at the starboard end of the finish line. Picture this in your mind (since I won’t be sketching a nice diagram of it): As we closed in on the yellow finish ball, I was on port and Greg was on starboard. I stuck my bow between the ball and Greg to finish ahead, but Greg had to steer away to avoid me. Greg thought I’d fouled him; I thought not. What do you think?

Answer: No foul.

I posed the question to one of the world’s leading racing rules experts, Dick Rose, who writes the rules column for Sailing World magazine and who has been one of the key people in writing the rules for ISAF. Here’s his opinion:

Facts: Downwind finish. Greg on starboard, Mike on port. Overlapped when they reach the zone around the mark at the starboard end of the finish line, with Mike inside Greg. Mark to be left to starboard. Mike gets nose between finish ball at starboard end of the line and Greg, but Greg says he had to change course to avoid hitting Mike.

Rules applicable: Greg has right of way under rule 10. However, even though the two boats are on opposite tacks, they are overlapped because they are sailing downwind (see defintion Clear Ahead….Overlap). Because they were overlapped when the first of them reached the zone, Mike is entitled to mark-room from Greg under rule 18.2(b), first sentence. See definition mark-room. Mike was entitled to room from Greg to sail to the mark. That put a limitation on Greg’s right of way. Greg was required to give Mike that room even though Greg was on starboard and had to change course to do so.

If that’s what you thought, nice call. It’s a handy rule to remember on the X course.

Peter Isler’s Close Call

Peter Isler points out where Rambler's keel should be.

Peter Isler points out where Rambler's keel should be. Photos: Mike Ferring

(Note: Video excerpt of Peter’s talk available at the bottom of this post.)

Out of air, swimming madly, spotting two black dots, hoping they were a crewman’s boots, reaching for them. Snatched from the water, gasping for the best breath of air he’d ever had. It was Peter Isler’s watery escape from the huge monohull racing boat Rambler after her keel suddenly snapped off during heavy seas in the Fastnet, plunging to the bottom, unbalancing and turtling the boat in minutes.

Peter recounted the story in dramatic detail for the AYC membership meeting Tuesday night (10/11) before a packed house. The Rambler crew all survived, but it was clear from Peter’s description that there were several close calls and some of the crew might have been saved by a timely photograph. A photograph? Moments before the crash, a photographer took a scheduled shot of the crew on the rail, all properly lined up in PFDs. Even though everyone was supposed to wear PFDs on deck, it didn’t always happen. The picture did it.

Peter autographs his new book.

Peter autographs his new book.

Many in the room full of AYCers went home after the meeting clutching an autographed copy of Peter’s latest book, Peter Isler’s Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets, a collection of random thoughts, recollections and suggestions from a life at sail. Here’s a guy who was the best college sailor in the country during his time at Yale, hanging out with people like Stan Honey, last year’s Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. He was onboard as Dennis Connor brought the America’s Cup back from Australia and has been part of four Cup campaigns since. He’s announced for ESPN and Versus Cup broadcasts. He’s participated in a Volvo around-the-world campaign. He’s helped develop the leading software for competition sailing. He’s written several books. And now he’s in demand as a motivational speaker. That’s some kind of life at sail.

Next month: another star attraction will appear at the AYC membership meeting, Tuesday, November 15, at 7pm at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills. Peter “Luigi” Reggio, one of the world’s top race officers and easily the funniest and most outspoken.

The Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills was filled with AYC people.

The Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills was filled with AYC people.

Here’s a portion of Peter’s talk, shot and edited by Mike Ferring:

Register Now for the Ruth Beals Cup

Registration is now open for the Ruth Beals Cup regatta, scheduled for Saturday morning, November 12, at Tempe Town lake.

This once-a-year regatta is organized to honor AYC’s founder, Ruth Beals, who passed away in November 2010.

Ruth Beals Insho, AYC Founder (picture 2005 by Mike Ferring)

Rules of the event require a woman at the helm and up to a dozen will face off in C14s, using either their own boats or an  ASF C14. The crew can be either male or female.

The Notice of Race and Entry Form are now available on the AYC race page. Scroll down the page until you see the Ruth Beals information. Contact Race Organizer Pat Blumm to reserve your spot and then arrange to get him the entry form.
There is no fee for entry and there are prizes for the top finishers: gift certificates for purchases in the AYC Ship Store.

October 2011 – Compass Points

Compass PointsCLICK HERE for the PDF Version

Hallelujah!  Fall has fell!   And it’s no longer hot as…exactly!  AYC is back on the water in full force. This month you can check out our Fall Fleets, and remember it’s time to start planning for the AYC AZ Centennial Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup Regatta!


1) Commodore’s Corner – Birthday Regatta is Just Around the Corner

2) Birthday Regatta / Leukemia Cup are Just Around the Corner

3) 2011-12 Fall Season Entries

4) EDUCATION – TTL is Full and So are ASF Classes!

5) Freak September Haboob at TTL Boat Yard!

6) Arizona Republic Says “Sail to Fitness

7) Fleet of the Month – Capri 14.2

8) For Sale! Want Ads!

Commodore’s Corner – October 2011

“I’m SAILING!!!!!”  We’ve all seen Bill Murray strapped to the mast shouting for joy that HE IS SAILING! I’m sure many of you had the same feelings as the fall season began this month and you and your crew headed back out no the water together.

As soon as Fall Season starts that also means it’s time to start thinking about the AYC BDR – the BIRTHDAY and LEUKEMIA CUP REGATTA!! Start going through your contact lists and get yourself ready to be part of our biggest AYC community service event of the year.

Lots of volunteers will be needed, as always, so be on the lookout for emails and phone calls from the BDR Committee to see how you can help to make this year’s installment another great success for sailing and for helping to CURE BLOOD CANCERS!

Hope to see you on the water!

Emory Heisler

Birthday Regatta / Leukemia Cup – Start Planning!

Heave open your pirate chests and help us build a Treasure Chest of loot for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Our auction on January 14th needs booty, so come on, put up your share!

Ballgame tickets, time-shares, art, sports memorabilia, even a bottle of rum – they’re all worth silver and gold and will help us in our cause to Cure Blood Cancers!

Click here to contact Katherine Motil. or call her at (480) 967-6990, or contact Lisa Heisler or Cindy Pilote and they’ll keep it safe until the Birthday Regatta.

Fundraising website information will be out soon!    Have other questions?  Contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Joe Motil (480) 967-6990
Birthday Regatta Chairman
Junior Staff Commodore

2011 Fall Racing Season Entries

63 Boats in 11 Fleets are signed up for the AYC Fall Season (only 8 Fleets are “ACTIVE” –
 those with 5 or more boats registered):

8-LP Catalina 22
8-LP PHRF Spin
6-LP Sportboat
6-LP Thistle
5-LP PHRF Non-Spin
4-LP Green
4-LP Portsmouth

8-TTL Capri 14.2
5-TTL Buccaneer 18
5-TTL Portsmouth
4-TTL Laser

Congratulations to the NINE Sailors sailing “both ways” and registered at both LP and TTL:
-Joe Barnett (LP Portsmouth-505, TTL-Portsmouth-Megabyte)
-Steve Brown (LP Portsmouth-Bucc, Bucc)
-Tony Chapman (Sportboat, Bucc)
-Mike Ferring (Sportboat, 14.2)
-Rob Gibbs (Green, Laser)
-Bill Hutchinson (PHRF, 14.2)
-Mike Parker (LP Portsmouth-Bucc, TTL Portsmouth-Megabyte)
-Clay Poulson (LP-Portsmouth, TTL-Portsmouth in Fire Ball)
-George Tingom (Catalina 22, 14.2)

Learn to Sail – TTL is Full, and So are ASF Classes

What a difference a year makes!  Last year we were “high and dry” with Aligators eating the TTL leftover fish.

FIFTY SEVEN students are signed up for ASF Classes this Fall!

High School Sailing 6
Intro to Racing 10
Opti 1 10
Opti 2 10
Single Hand Skill Development 4
Start Sailing Right 17


Late September “Haboob” at TTL

During the 9/24/2011 ASU-USC football game a spectacular “Haboob” descended on Sun Devil Stadium. It helped shut down a USC drive, but also had its way with the TTL SRP Marina.

A picture, or two, are worth several thousand words…
Strap down your boat….chalk the trailer tires….

ASF Boats all a-kilter







"Unhappy Campo"


Plan of a Tack: Sailing to Fitness

Arizona Republic reporter Ashley Macha interviewed Commodore Emory Heisler for the Republic’s series about outdoor activities to enjoy here in Arizona,

by Ashley Macha – Sept. 23, 2011 11:08 AM
The Arizona Republic

You don’t have to live near the ocean to set sail.  Arizona has many lakes and ideal weather for year-round sailing. 

Emory Heisler, Commodore for the Arizona Yacht Club, has been sailing and racing in Arizona most weekends for the past decade.  “Over the years, sailing has filled the adrenaline void for me when I haven’t been able to get up to the mountains for snow skiing,” he says. “It’s a stress that takes you away from your other stresses. But it’s a fun stress.”

Heisler, 54, an IT manager for United Health Care, first picked up sailing on trips to San Diego and started testing out Arizona waters by joining the Arizona Yacht Club .  “Conditions over here are so variable, you really have to pay attention to the wind,” Heisler says. “But it can help build pretty good sailors.”

You don't have to live near the ocean to set sail on the water. Arizona has many lakes and ideal weather for year-round sailing.

Sailing is a good way to get and stay fit.  “Smaller boats tend to be more athletic and keel boats less so, but not always,” Heisler says. “It takes lots of ‘sit-ups’ while ‘hiking out’  to keep a small boat from capsizing on windy days. And lots of agility and balance running around on a boat that’s heeling over one way and another.”

Heisler suggests that beginners start out by checking out different boats, working with a team or spending time on fellow sailors’ boats to build up skills and learn strategy, which plays a huge part in sailboat racing, he says.  “Strategy is always a factor, and part of what makes it so much fun and what keeps your adrenaline going.”

The club offers classes for juniors and adults ranging from novice to advanced. Novice adult classes are composed of four 2 1/2-hour classroom sessions and five four-hour, on-the-water sessions for $350. Participants also must be able to pass a swim test with a lifejacket before they can enroll. The class earns you a U.S. Sailing certification, although you don’t have to be certified to sail on any Arizona waters.

For Arizona Yacht Club members who demonstrate sailing skills and interest, a small fleet of boats is available on race days through an “Adopt-A-Boat” program where members can borrow a boat for the day. Races are regularly held at Tempe Town Lake and Lake Pleasant.

Heisler says Labor Day marks the end of sailing season in most parts of the country, but it marks the beginning of prime season in Arizona.  September to December are the fall season, and February to April are the spring season, but he says Arizona waters are good to sail year-round as long as there’s wind.

Club members also participate in social gatherings, including camping trips and dinners.  “It’s like belonging to a golf league. It gives you a scheduled reason to sail once or twice a month,” Heisler says. “It’s a lifelong adventure.”

Details: Arizona Yacht Club,

Fleet of the Month – Capri 14.2

What a fleet! The AYC roster shows about fifteen of these stable little “double-hander” boats owned by AYC members and ten more ASF 14.2s to draw upon for the Tempe Town Lake racing. Theoretically we could have twenty-five 14.2s on the water at one time, without a doubt the largest one design fleet in the Arizona Yacht Club.

You can build plenty of sailing skill on a 14.2 as you can see by 14.2 sailors represented on the AYC championship Trophy.  The 14.2 Fleet  has produced the overall Champion three times (Martinelli-once and Hester twice). And if you count the dual representation Martin Lorch of the Catalina 22 fleet has won two of the four times he has won with the boat sailed being the 14.2. Several times 14.2 members also have been crew on the Club Champioship team.

The boat is easy to sail – has plenty of head room clearance to the height of the boom. And it is somewhat forgiving on skipper + crew weight. The hull is 14 feet two inches long. The mast is almost 21 feet and light enough for one person to easily rig from a trailer towing position. This sturdy boat weighs in close to 300 pounds. It is inexpensive to maintain (only Dacron racing sails allowed for instance) and fairly roomy and comfortable to sail. Also the 14.2 is nice for lazy day sailing for two or three folks.

Our local 14.2 fleet has sent several boats to the 14.2 Nationals held each year on the middle weekend of September at the beautiful Mission Bay Yacht Club. It’s a welcome relief to those of us who get away. We Zonies have never won the gold fleet, but we have had lots of trophies come home to AZ. In the Silver fleet there have been first, second and third place trophies to AYC, and AYC 14.2 sailors have broght home Gold Fleet awards for all but first.

With the AYC Adopt-a-Boat program making 14.2s available to qualified AYC members on TTL race days (entry fees apply) why not give our fleet a try?

For more information Contact George Tingom (480 948 3814).  He doubles as the 14.2 Fleet Captain and also as US Sailing level one certified instructor for High School students on Tuesday afternoons.

Oops. This will be a good story for October’s meeting!

Rambler Turtled

Did you see the astonishing story of the super maxi Rambler 100 losing its keel bulb and turtling in the Fastnet race? This super-high-end sailboat was trying to grab the all-time monohull course record in the race, but wound up turtled instead. And one of the 21 crew members aboard was our October speaker, Peter Isler, who was the boat’s navigator.

Sail World reported that Rambler 100 project manager Mick Harvey said, “We were beating into big seas, launching Rambler off the top of full size waves. I was down below with navigator Peter Isler when we heard the sickening sound of the keel breaking off. It was instantaneous; there was no time to react. The boat turned turtle, just like a dinghy capsizing. Isler issued a Mayday and we got out of there as quickly as we could.”

The magazine reported that five of the crew members had to tread water “for several hours,” but only one of those suffered from hypothermia.