We decided to call it “rigging practice,” since sailing was, well, slow. This Sunday at Tempe Town Lake the wind started light and then turned lighter, allowing the Lasers and 14.2s to get one extremely slow race on the books.
We decided to call it “rigging practice,” since sailing was, well, slow. This Sunday at Tempe Town Lake the wind started light and then turned lighter, allowing the Lasers and 14.2s to get one extremely slow race on the books.
Thank the Catalina 22s for putting on some good racing this weekend (10/7-8), topped off with an Octoberfest-style night at Spinnaker Point, dressed up with brats and a live Polka trio.
Bob Naylor enlisted the Polka band, which added a fun and slightly surreal tone to the usual post-race gathering.
When Will Zornik heard that his young coworker Joel Hurley had raced in college, he recruited him for the Tempe Town Lake Laser fleet. Might have been a strategic mistake. Joel’s running away with the lead in the fall series on an adopt-a-boat.
With the wind blowing nicely on Sunday (10/1), the Lasers raced and raced and raced, running six races in all and exhausting themselves completely in 100° heat before shutting down at nearly 6 o’clock. The Portsmouth fleet fielded just two boats, with Mike Parker’s Capri 16.5 taking four races.
The crazy-windy 2016 Chicago to Mac was tossing our J/130 around like a toy when the helmsman (no, not me) made a bit of a mistake—the huge, green spinnaker suddenly wrapping around the headstay, wind blasts threatening to rip the spinnaker to bits. Raining, dead dark, we call for Bill. Bill Gladstone. He pokes his head up from below and calmly goes to work, unflappable despite the roar of the flapping sail, asking for a couple jibes to unwrap the sail and minutes later we’re back on course, sail intact.
This was Bill’s 28th Chicago to Mac, so he’s seen a lot of nutty stuff on Lake Michigan and lots of other places. He takes it all in calmly, with a smile and a laugh that help explain how he’s been able to take teaching performance sailing and turn it into a lifetime vocation. His business is North U, which presents seminars each year around the country plus the Regatta Experience and clinics in Ontario, Captiva Island, Florida, and St. Thomas.
In October, Bill will offer AYC a short version of one of his workshops, spinning stories as he suggests tactics, rules, and trim. Expect to be as much entertained as informed.
The meeting is Tuesday, October 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.
Bill’s racing experience covers the spectrum, including everything from dinghies to Maxies, ponds to oceans, and foredeck to helm. He has finished in the money at Key West Race Week, the SORC, Block Island Race Week, Chicago NOOD, Annapolis to Newport; Chicago to Mackinac, the Annapolis Fall Series, NYYC Race Week, and Queen’s Cup. Bill raced collegiately for Yale and was founder of the Chicago Sailing Club.
He’s been teaching sailing and racing for over forty years. Graduates of his seminars number in the thousands, including several dozen AYC members.
Brats, buddies, and boats. We called it Hoot at the Lake and about 50 people turned out for a fun few hours at Tempe Town Lake Saturday (9/30).
The wind was light, but it didn’t deter lots of us from sampling a buffet of sailboats, including O’Pen Bics, Lasers, 14.2s, and Mike Bernard’s nice Sabot. Rob Gibbs brought two Desert Sailboats SUP boards to try. Sharon Bell brought games. Martin Lorch tended the BBQ. The Ferrings brought the food. Mike Bernard floated the boats. Andy Oliver was event chairman and supplied the tow vehicle.
The Fall Series opening weekend was a blast—a blast of wind on both Saturday and Sunday!
Saturday (9/23) was the big day for participation, with 14 boats racing in the multi-hull races, zinging across the lake on double-digit reaches and big smiles. Overall, there are 41 entries for the fall, with more still trickling in, especially from the PHRF Spin fleet, which was on Race Committee, giving entrants an excuse to wait another couple weeks before they really have to sign up.
Unfortunately, the Santana 20s did not get the needed five boats to fleet, which means they’ll be folded into the spin fleet, creating a wide range of ratings for the spins. There are enough Santana 20s in the club, but several decided not to enter.
And the debut of the MarkSetBot, the robotic mark? “Awesome,” is how Paul Liszewski summed it up. “I had my doubts,” he said, “but it did an excellent job.” It was a day when normal, anchored marks went adrift (one getting beached on an island), but the robotic mark just treaded water at the end of the start line, not moving. Same on Sunday, when Roger Butterwick said that he too was a doubter, not believing the mark could remain motionless for hours, but he was convinced by the end of the day’s racing.
The “Munchies on the Hill” after racing also had a nice debut. Steve Nahkala brought a table of munchies and a cooler of beer to Spinnaker Point as we transition from Fleet Dinner to Fleet Nachos and Beer. Some 35 people came by, about the same as a dinner group. (But the Catalina 22 fleet is planning to offer a Fleet Dinner the next race Saturday, October 7.)
Mark Howell is the scorekeeping SuperSub while Dave Christensen is sight-seeing around Europe. It took Dave’s knack for reading chicken bones to sort out this weekend, especially the multi-hull fleet.
It’s a bit of a leap of faith, a broad jump really: The pin-end start mark on Lake Pleasant’s Opening Day (9/23) will be a robot.
The inventors call it MarkSetBot and AYC is one of six clubs in the nation beta-testing this new device (out of 40 clubs that said they’d like to do it). It’s an odd-looking contraption on the water, riding on two inflated catamaran hulls, propelled by an electric trolling motor, and guided by cell phone and GPS navigation. It skitters around on the water like a large play toy.
Lake Pleasant Lake Captain David Newland and I (Mike Ferring) have been working on this machine for several weeks now, finally getting to the point where we think it can work as the pin-end mark. Later it might become one of the other marks of the course. Tom Ohlin joined us as we ran the thing for over an hour on Wednesday (9/20) and it performed nicely.
The idea, of course, is to replace one of our regular marks with the robot so it can be placed remotely without relying on the Boston Whaler crew and without dangling 160+ feet of anchor rode below it. Because the RC wouldn’t need to move the Whaler into position and because nobody would need to lift and drop or drag all that rode, the course can be adjusted much faster and much more easily. Cool, huh?
The company reports that this last weekend (9/17) MarkSetBots made up the entire race course for the stadium race at Grosse Pointe (Michigan) Yacht Club run by Premiere Sailing League. There was a single RC boat with only one person on it. That person monitored for OCS and then acted as a judge boat motoring up the course. The course was changed in length and direction many times. At one point, there was a 90 degree wind shift and it took the MarkSetBots just 60 seconds to reposition. Wow.
The MarkSetBot is not without its, well, let’s call them “issues,” which means we’re moving cautiously and wondering whether this robot is long-term for us. Just a few of the issues:
So, that odd thing at the end of the start line? That’s your starting pin. Please don’t hit it.
All for fun: The Hoot at the Lake party on Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 1pm at the Grassy Knoll at Tempe Town Lake.
Mike Bernard has planned a bunch of zany sailing games for the Hoot, including such things as backward sailing, competition pitting 50+ codgers and kids, and some SUP board rides.
Sharon Bell is bringing her Corn Hole game and Horseshoes for dry land play.
Maryellen Ferring is heading up the food brigade, planning a barbecue at lake’s edge.
Andy Oliver is the Chairman in Chief.
There’s no charge and no registration to attend. Just drop by and have fun.
All of this rises out of that survey you completed this summer. You said you’d like more social events in the club. About half the people who responded to the survey said they’d come to a pure social gathering like this one.
After a summer of quiet Wednesday night races, it was great to see Tempe Town Lake teeming with boats Sunday (9/10) on the first day of TTL Racing and RC Training and the first day of ASF Opti classes.
The wind was a little light and the temperatures a bit, well, hot, but it was a fun day anyway. Vice Commodore and Laser sailor Mike Bernard led an effort to add gates to TTL racing and they were used for the first time this day.
The Buccaneer fleet topped out at four entries for the season, which meant they were combined with the Portsmouth fleet and worked race committee.
Remember the smoke that billowed off the aging, often failing motor on the transom of the AYC Boston Whaler?
You have a new, 175hp Evinrude E-TEC pushing the old girl now and it’s a beauty. With lots of work by Lake Pleasant Lake Captain David Newland, with the work of Gene Walentiny and the Valley Marine team, the Yamaha is gone and the Evinrude glistens.
David and Commodore Mike Ferring took the boat out for a test run Sunday (8/27) and she performed beautifully, standing up on plane with a nice nudge of the throttle. The former lagging steering is now tight and quick.
Your club has invested around $22,000 in the upgrade, believing that safety and efficiency on the lake are our most important priorities. The new motor comes with an 8-year warranty.
In addition to buying the motor and the attendant controls and gear, David has put in sweat equity—lots of sweat—fixing systems, replacing the rub strip, and generally sprucing up the boat. He found several problems lurking beneath the floorboards, including a few gallons of oil that were supposed to be polluting the air but were in fact gurgling down below from a split connector. David also managed to sell the old motor for $600, which he invested in other fixes.
You’ll also recall that the AYC pontoon boat was damaged during the monsoon that clobbered Pleasant Harbor Marina. David has worked through the repairs and the insurance settlement so that the boat and the damaged trailer will be ready in time for the start of the fall racing season.
AYC’s September calendar is locked and highly loaded, with every weekend and some weekdays marked for action. Here’s a quick rundown:
Friday 9/8: Crew-Skipper party (or just call it a party-party) from 5-7pm at the Bluewater Grill at 1720 E Camelback in Phoenix. AYC will buy some hors d’oeuvres; you buy the beverages. Shake or stir. This is a chance to mingle with AYC members and if you need crew or you’d like to crew, a chance to find somebody with the right background, commitment, and personality to set you up for the fall.
Saturday 9/9: ASF Work Party. Starting at 8am we’ll gather at the Tempe Town Lake boat corral to spruce up the Arizona Sailing Foundation boats for the fall classes. Please help!
Saturday 9/9: The first class for ASF Junior Performance Sailing. This is a new approach, offering race training and race experience for young teens.
Sunday 9/10: Sunday afternoon Tempe Town Lake will be bristling with action, with ASF Opti and Junior Performance classes and the first day of racing and RC training. Racing begins at 3pm. This same program happens again on the following Sunday, 9/17.
Tuesday 9/12: The monthly meeting features some members who raced or cruised in interesting places, headlined by Mike and Jo Grijalva’s Transpac race and Chris Smith’s run in the Chicago to Mac.
Tuesday 9/19: High School Sailing begins its every-Tuesday sessions through the fall, beginning at 4pm and going until dark.
Thursday 9/21: The free Introduction to Sailboat Racing class from 6:30 to 9pm. Learn the basics of racing or bone up on how AYC does it compared to where you’ve raced before.
Saturday and Sunday 9/23 & 9/24: The first weekend of Lake Pleasant racing, beginning Saturday at 12:30pm and Sunday at 9am. PHRF Spin fleet is on Race Committee. After the racing, explain what really happened on the race course over a beer at Spinnaker Point. This year there will be no fleet dinners on Saturday nights, but plenty of post-race beer and nachos.
Saturday 9/30: From 10am to 1pm it’s come-have-fun time at Tempe Town Lake. We’ll launch some boats, play sailing games, toss some corn hole and horse shoes, and barbecue some burgers and brats.
Tempe Town Lake racers know Rich/Dick (“either,” he says) Krebill as the guy who single-hands a tomato red C14 (Tomato Sloop) around the marks, since wife Peggy gave up her crew spot. In the summer they retreat to a no frills (and no power, running water, phone, you name it) cabin they built in Wyoming. They also sail a Catalina 22 in this beautiful and remote spot, racing in an annual regatta. This year Rich and pal Charlie Kulp won in a wild, storm-tossed event that was nicely and entertainly reported by non-sailor Terry Allen on PinedaleOnline.com. Reprinted here with permission.
By Terry Allen
Little Shay Paravicini and I had a discussion about pirates during the Pinedale Boat Club’s Annual Sailing Regatta on Fremont Lake.
“They go, Aarrgghhh,” she said. “We have a pirate boat and I’m a pirate girl and pirate girls go, Aarrgghhh! Daddie’s a pirate and he likes to eat fish and drink beer and rum, but he isn’t racing today, Jason is the only pirate in today’s race.”
Lucky for me, Jason “The Pirate” Essington had invited me a year ago to come along for this year’s race, the 47th. They have held this race every year since 1970. His boat is named, Opa’s Dream. Opa is German for “Grandpa.” Opa’s Dream is Bert Reinow’s old boat, he left left it to his god daughter Leslie Hagenstein. Jason maintains and sails it to keep Bert’s dream of sailing on Fremont lake alive. Opa’s Dream weighs about 5000 pounds and the next heaviest boat in this race weighs about 2000 pounds. It takes more wind to get us going, but it is real good in the unpredictable squalls that kick up here.”
While I was waiting for the race to start I talked to a few other racers. David Pendell sails Rosie. “I used to sail Nirvana, but used to spend too much time upside down, bailing and other situations, so we got Rosie, who is more understanding of older gentlemen. Oh yeah, at last year’s race we saw a funnel cloud.”
I got a news tip from Allan and Sharon Holmes who summer at the cabins in Sylvan Bay, telling me about Richard and Peggy Krebill who have summered at Sylvan Bay for 50 years. “They are in the 80’s, and they sail a boat with a frowny face on it,” Allan said.
I never did find a frowny face anywhere, but I did find Rich and Peggy Krebill who have sailed this race for about seventeen years. Turns out they live in a home they built themselves with lumber they had cut at the old mill that used to be out in Daniel. “We don’t have hot water in the cabin,” said Peggy. “We use a solar shower. If we get a sunny day we get a pretty hot shower right out of the bag. If we don’t get a sunny day, then we warm up some water on the wood stove. That is the stove we cook our food on, too. That stove used to belong to the American Legion and my Mom bought it for us when the Legion got a new one.”
Jason gave me a heads up to go to the head if I needed to because it might not be easy out there. Once I got in the boat he gave me three spots I was allowed to be in and told me not to be offended if he yelled at me. I’m used to this advice as I get the same advice from cowboys when I do rodeo and branding stories. So far I ain’t walkin’ funny, so I’ll keep listening.
The start of the race is sort of like Musical Chairs for boats. You get a five minute blow on an air horn and in that five minutes all the boats run all over the place close to the orange mark buoy and try to be right at it when the start horn blows. It gets pretty tight and it’s a little like bumper cars, but no one yelled at anyone too bad. I couldn’t tell exactly where the line was but everyone seemed to know who got across the start line first and that’s when the beer came out and the trash talking started. We were in the doldrums just like Magellan and the insults were creative. Jason opened a beer for me with his wedding ring. “Titaniun,” he said. “Gold ain’t much good for opening beer.”
We were looking for “texture” in the surface which indicates wind, but it took a long time coming. Every time a dark front with a little lightning moved in, we thought we’d get going. But it didn’t happen…until it happened suddenly. One minute we were commenting on David Payne’s big fat toes and the next we were grabbing at anything with an edge so we wouldn’t go over the side. Someone turned cowboy music up loud and there were cowboy whoops and “yeehaw’s” all over the fleet as the wind almost threw everyone off their feet. I crashed into one side of the cabin or the other until I learned to anticipate the changes, but I cracked a few body parts pretty good in the process.
Luckily, my camera has never left my hands in spite of all the spills I’ve taken over the years, so I just kept shooting as I scrambled. Unfortunately, I must have bumped my head so I can’t remember how I ended up leaving my camera in the cabin and joining Jason and David pulling sail lines. It ain’t easy pulling on those little skinny twiney things. As I pulled my line I watched my camera roll around the cabin floor and then it was joined by my camera bag…which spilled out all the lens’s, batteries, filters and mixed together on the floor with beer bottles, radios, life jackets, Cheetos, bikini bottoms and lake spray. Damn, I was missing some good shots…so I scampered down there and got back to work.
Jason and David were shouting Viking songs into the wind as they stood at 90 degrees off level or is it 45? Hope you like that shot. Somehow, in spite of the waves coming over the front of the boat, they kept their eyes on the second marker and kept steering toward it…tho Dave did ask me to clean his glasses at least once.
After awhile we looked around us and it seemed a few boats were giving up and dropping their sails or trying to. It felt good to be in Jason’s boat. He and David worked together like they’d been handling this stuff all their lives, so I felt totally secure. Never had a moments misgiving. I was a little disappointed that we turned around, too…until I realized we had capsized boats and people overboard in the race.
Riley Bennett had flipped and his mast was pointed toward the bottom of the lake. Riley Wilson on his little Butterfly was nowhere to be seen; Howard Bartlett had been thrown overboard and had been in the cold water twenty minutes since he’d last been seen. We also were unable to raise the boat with the Merman and his Mermaids from New York on the radio. Every boat that could get underway joined to the search and rescue.
Jason was on the radio trying to account for everyone but I couldn’t figure out a single word that came thru that radio. It sounded like a heavy metal song mixed together with sounds of someone getting murdered and finger nails on a chalk board.
Eventually everyone was accounted for; Riley was able to get his boat halfway up with the help of two boats pulling on opposite ends and then dragging him to Sandy Beach. Monte Bolgiano said they were so far over water was coming into the cockpit of his boat, Time Traveler. I was glad we headed in when we did. I found myself pretty focused on weighing my barfing options…a small plastic bag or crowd Jason and heave over the side. Then I’d look at the horizon and try to take my mind off it. Stepping onto dry land got me on the road to recovery, but I needed something more.
I found Howard “twenty minutes in the water” Bartlett all bundled up in the lodge and he admitted he was hypothermic. “One boat came close and I held up my hand in the waves, but there was so much rain, hail and wind they didn’t see me as they went by,” he said. So just like the movies I went up to the bar and brought us both down a Jameson Whiskey. I know, Kenna Tanner…I forgot. Whiskey isn’t a good way to fight if off since it will pull the cool blood from your extremities into your core, further lowering your body temp. That is why we have people like you and Tip Top Search and Rescue who train and train and train…so they won’t make things worse for their friends like I just did. But, we liked it anyway, didn’t we Howard?
So guess who won the race?
Eighty-one year old Richard Krebill and his buddy, seventy-year old Charlie Kulp. I sat with them and Peggy and told them of my high time on the lake and asked them what their secret was. “Well, we didn’t have any beer,” said Richard.
I’ll just leave that there, since I didn’t pursue it with Richard either. Some topics we just can’t entertain.
Update from Jason: “The airport reported at 4:35 on Sunday that we had NW winds at 29mph with gusts to 48mph. The north component to the wind generates pretty good sized waves on Fremont lake, we probably had 2 to 3 foot waves.”
What is the future of sailing? I think we can agree the answer lies with the kids trimming the sails at an ASF Opti I class and their older brothers and sisters in Bics, Lasers, and anything else that sails to the wind.
What draws them to sailing when the competition is a fast-moving massive multi-player online game?
In August, we’ll find out what Colin Gibbs and Cedric Lorch think the answer is. We’ll hear from them and from dad Rob Gibbs and others who are putting together sailing programs for kids. This fall, the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) will launch a racing program for juniors, mostly in Bic O’Pens, and put them on the Tempe Town Lake race course at the same time as the adults. Can sailboat racing hold its own with the latest app?
The meeting is Tuesday, August 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.
AYC Honorary Life member Mike Yarnell has boxed up a library of classic sailing and racing books and is offering them to club members to borrow or buy. We’ll have them at the August 8 monthly meeting for you to check out.
The new AYC summer campout location works just fine: Dairy Springs Campground near Mormon Lake can be reached by paved roads, offers running water and permanent (if rustic) toilets, and even has nearby cabins for softies like your Commodore. It doesn’t have the aura of a tricky, hard-to-spell name like Kinnikinick, but that’s easy to overlook.
What hasn’t changed is a significant drop in temperature from the 100s of Phoenix to the 70s of the high country and the collection of friends ready to shoot the breeze, hike the hills, and take your 75¢ stake at Liar’s Dice. Add intervals of soothing rain and a hot grill to cook your dinner and this is a fun, casual, relaxing couple days.
Credit Steve, Angela and Kenneth for pulling it together once again and for talking the rest of us into dropping in.
Scroll down to see a slide show of pictures from Mike Ferring.
An outpouring of help Saturday (7/22), including a crane and a forklift, put humpty dumpty back on the wall again.
It will be quite some time before Pleasant Harbor Marina is fully operational, but AYC’s members picked their boats off the hard gravel of the dry storage yard and plopped them back on trailers where they belong.
Dog Year, the Mini 650 of Wendy Larsen and Dave Christensen, was the most damaged, with a big hole and some small ones needing repair. Fortunately, Dave has intimate knowledge of the innards of Dog Years and knows how to fix it. In fact, he’s had to repair damage twice before.
Steve Kusic’s boat had a mangled stern pulpit and a mangled trailer. Bruce Andress now has the boat on one of his trailers and will do the repairs.
All of the boats were put upright shortly after dawn Saturday following the damage a week earlier from blows from opening monsoons. Pleasant Harbor Marina isn’t doing as well. Damages there will take a long time to repair, though the marina reports that water and power have now been restored. They’re referring people to the PHM Facebook page.
Mike and Jo Grijalva and their predominantly AYC crew arrived at the finish line of the Transpac at 11:44 am Hawaii time Tuesday, July 17.
They were placed 5th in their division, but after two weeks in the Pacific, the corrected times of the entire division were within a few hours of each other.
Two storms on Friday and Saturday night (7/14 & 7/15) blasted Lake Pleasant, churning the lake, ripping up docks and hurling boats into each other.
Bruce Andress reports Monday (7/17) that Pleasant Harbor Marina is closed to the public and has very extensive damage, enough that he says repairs will run into the millions of dollars. Besides the private boats damaged, Bruce says that the AYC pontoon boat was blown some 30 yards by the wind, skittering across the economy storage lot and ramming into a cabin cruiser. The AYC boat has some damage, mostly to the trailer, and the cruiser has a hole in the side.
On Friday night, a reported 160 boats were damaged at Scorpion Bay Marina and docks were trashed. The marina closed Saturday except to members sorting through the damage. Many of the boats had been scarred by bashing against the docks. Power boats that were tied with sterns to the dock had banged into the docks until fiberglass broke and crumbled. As of 6 o’clock Saturday night, the power was still out.
Rear Commodore Sharon Bell’s boat had a puncture wound on the port side, a damaged bimini and broken stanchion, but came out better than boats nearby when her dock came adrift.
The dark clouds of another monsoon storm formed Saturday afternoon, clearing boats off the lake as high winds, surging water, and heavy rain banged against the marinas. This time the heaviest damage was to Pleasant Harbor Marina, where the walkway to the marina was wiped out and boats in the dry storage area were toppled.
The boat belonging to Dave Christensen and Wendy Larsen was knocked over. Rick Johnson’s boat was damaged. Steve Kusic’s boat was knocked off the trailer.
Dave wrote on Facebook: “The best thing that can be said is no one was hurt! It could’ve been very bad. The boat that is laying on its side on the right side of the picture [above], the owners were in the cockpit when it went over. They climbed to the the high side as it went. If they had fallen under….”
Wendy added that there were three holes in the hull of Dog Years and that 9 boats were knocked over.
Steve Kusic reported: “Runaway got knocked off of her trailer and landed on the boat next to her. The damage to Runaway looks minimal but the trailer is pretty tweaked possibly totaled. Runaway looks to still be seaworthy, thankfully.”
Just for fun.
A purely fun, social monthly meeting. You’ll have an AYC Bingo card. You and your table of sailing wizards will be called on to answer sailing questions. If you get the answer right, everyone in the room gets to mark the square. First to Bingo wins a fabulous prize.
Maryellen Ferring with a little help from Mike will run this game and we’re thinking up questions now. Not stumpers, just good sailing questions in 25 different categories.
To help beat the heat, the Caddy Shack will bring in $3 root beer floats, $5 with the very tasty addition of a shot of Jack Daniel’s.
The meeting is Tuesday, July 11, 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.