Ye Blunder Bucket Trophy

The Blunder Bucket is the least sought-after trophy in AYC. However, nominations and its presentation has become the highlight at the Commodore’s Celebration and the Annual Holiday party. Winning this trophy requires creating the biggest blunder of the season in plain view of another member of the club, most of whom are more than willing to describe in detail your misfortune.
The nominating descriptions have always filled the room with laughter.

The justly-famous Ye Blunder Bucket, is permanently engraved with the names of the many members who have “won” this remarkable trophy.

Submit your nomination(s) to the Communications Team. You can nominate more than one member or multiple blunders for the same person.

Blunder Bucket Winners List (click here to unscroll the list)
2023 SpringMarshall Williamson yet again. He was nominated for three blunders this time but won by acclimation for an email dictation error of the most embarrassing, suggestive kind—one that sent the blunder voters into howls of laughter.
2022 FallCedric Lorch. Ignoring the woman skippering a boat in the Ruth Beals Cup Regatta, Cedric asked the male crew how he finished.
2022 SpringMarshall Williamson for a collection of blunders: speeding in a no-wake zone, for pocketing the Boston Whaler keys and taking them home to Tucson the night before another day of racing, and for once again breaking his riveted and patched-up mast, the same one that won him the Fall 2020 Bucket.
2021 FallMike Ferring. For ordering Thistles to sail a NEW course at Lake Pleasant: a highly dubious North-East-West (N-E-W) triangle. Martin Lorch spotted the creativity (and made this nomination), jumping up and down and radioing in the Blunder. Mike quickly stopped the race sequence, but the Thistles blissfully started, bravely setting off to make Mike’s pretzel-twisted creation a reality.
2021 SpringMartin Lorch. Seconds before the start of another close Santana 20 race, boats are rushing to the line. Wait, what’s with Watercolors? Cedric Lorch is on the bow, yanking at the spinnaker, shrimping instead of starting, yanking at the fabric to stuff sail and shrimp into the turtle. The boat turns, slices away from the line, out of control, and… what now? Martin Lorch is dangling from the lifeline, ankle-deep in Lake Pleasant!
Cedric reaches a hand as Martin scrambles back to the tiller, points at the disappearing fleet and… wins the race.
2020 FallMarshall Williamson. While turning his boat around to raise the mast in Bruce’s yard, Marshall broke the masthead. Then after repairs and while raising the mast, the mast broke in half like a toothpick. On another occasion, Marshall’s tow strap came off his trailer and a diver had to be called in to recover the sunken treasure…um trailer.
2020 SpringDave Haggart. Stepping from his sleek, powerful pick-up truck to trailer his Capri 14.2, noticing that the truck and trailer were skidding down the Tempe Town Lake launch ramp, sliding in gooey, green muck. Leaping into action, at first trying to push the 5,000-pound truck up the ramp, then jumping into the driver’s seat and with 4-wheel drive whining, the truck slowly emerging from the fetid flood. Swears an eyewitness. Opening the rear doors, about 50 gallons of water splashes onto the pavement.
2019 SpringDave Haggart. Stepping from his sleek, powerful pick-up truck to trailer his Capri 14.2, noticing that the truck and trailer were skidding down the Tempe Town Lake launch ramp, sliding in gooey, green muck. Leaping into action, at first trying to push the 5,000-pound truck up the ramp, then jumping into the driver’s seat and with 4-wheel drive whining, the truck slowly emerging from the fetid flood. Swears an eyewitness. opening the rear doors, about 50 gallons of water splashes onto the pavement.
2019 FallMyles Danner. Eclipses Cedric Lorch to become the youngest winner in AYC history at age 11. Myles won this distinction for his performance in the Governor’s Cup. In brisk wind before starting, he managed to turtle his father’s Laser, compounding the Blunder by losing the rudder to the deep. 
2018 SpringGeorge Tingom. Turns out George hadn’t seen the last of the Bucket, receiving it again in the spring. Part of the responsibility of the honoree is to proudly display the trophy on the home mantle. George kept it in his car. Then he committed the ultimate Blunder by trying to defend himself during voting.
2018 FallGeorge Tingom. Apparently doomed to Blunder Hell, George is granted another term as Blunder trustee when he again fails to give the trophy proper respect and this time is not present for the vote.
2017 SpringPaul Miachika, deciding to go Josh one better, turned north on I-101 after racing his Laser at Tempe Town Lake, nearly got to his exit when the boat did a back flip off the trailer, smashed down on the port stern quarter and careened some 15 feet in the air before bouncing to a stop. Remarkably, no damage beyond one very battered boat.
2017 FallGeorge Tingom, sailing solo in his Capri 14.2 in the Governor’s Cup, enjoying an enormous lead, chooses the wrong “unnamed island” to round and sails off to an island named Oblivion.
2016 SpringChris Smith, pretty much for being Chris Smith, but specifically because at some time or other he flew his J/80 spinnaker upside down.
2016 FallJosh Kimble, after his first sail in his new Nacra 20, blasting home on the freeway when his pricey composite sails Kamikazed off the boat. A trashed jib was recovered; the main was never seen again.
2015 SpringDennis Davis for buying the latest, greatest model Santana 20 and then leaving it unsailed in his driveway for the last year and a half.
2015 FallPaul Liszewski for driving his Hobie 33, Rollin’ in the Deep, into one of Lake Pleasant’s many submerged islands. At high speed. An estimated 8 knots. Blam! Rollin’ in the Not Deep Enough. Paul had been an AYC member for nearly 25 years and this was his first Blunder “win.”
2014 SpringVictor Felice. Helping teach impressionable new sailors for ASF at Tempe Town Lake, Victor invited the two students on his boat to clip their keys to his carabiner which he then tossed into his bag before setting off for an afternoon of grueling, light-wind instruction. When the wisps of wind fluttered to a stop, Victor offered a further bit of instruction. here’s how you get the boat to the dock when the wind’s not blowing. Grabbing the mast, he rocked side to side until, you guessed it, the boat capsized, flipping students (but not Victor) into the water. Oh, and the whole cluster of keys, including the students’ keys, including one student’s keys to her boss’s house where she was housesitting for the weekend.
2014 FallJoe Motil. For so many, many things. For standing as a beacon to Blunder Bucket aspirants everywhere. Pick one. The time he stepped off an ASF student boat while deftly flipping his key ring into his side pocket. And missing. Keys were found months later when the Tempe Town Lake dam burst, revealing them in the mud below.
2013 SpringCedric Lorch scores again, this time for spearing a C14 mast into the TTL muddy bottom, appearing on the 6 and 10 o’clock news for this feat, and burying the mast so thoroughly that it had to be detached from the boat and marked with buoys until divers could free it.
2013 FallEmory Heisler for the minor infraction of rigging his spinnaker upside down at a Tempe Town Lake race.
2012 SpringThe PHRF Spin Fleet for hightailing it out of Humbug Creek after finishing the Tall Cactus Regatta, not sticking around for social hour and food.
2012 FallCedric Lorch for spearing the runabout into the back wall of the head on the RC boat, launching over the RC outboard en route. At age 16, Cedric is the youngest honoree in AYC history.
2011 SpringMartin Lorch. For losing his sheets overboard while “rinsing them off.” But as much as anything, for not having won the Bucket in 30 years with the club. (Note below that son Cedric didn’t wait nearly so long.)
2011 FallRay Gazzera. For faulty trailer hitch fastening. When the hitch didn’t fasten, his Catalina 22 went nose up, stern down in the parking lot. Thus securing the Bucket on his 12th nomination (see “Special” above).
2010 SpringJoe Motil. For so many, many things. For standing as a beacon to Blunder Bucket aspirants everywhere. Pick one. The time he stepped off an ASF student boat while deftly flipping his key ring into his side pocket. And missing. Keys found months later when the Tempe Town Lake dam burst, revealing them in the mud below.
2010 FallEmory Heisler. For knocking out the rear window of his tow vehicle with the mast of his Buccaneer. Because he hadn’t closed the latch on the hitch while on the way to the fiberglass repair shop.
2009 SpringJohn Mayall. For breaking the first rule of sailboat racing. Stay in the boat. John fell out of Tony Chapman’s Viper during races in Charleston, SC. Twice. 
2008 SpringRick Johnson. This time for leaving race marks in the water after a race weekend.
2008 FallRick Johnson. This time for acting as Prime Advocate of the new “X” course design and then racing it totally wrong.
2007 SpringRicky Gilchirst. Apparently having it in for Mike Parker (see 2005 Spring), nearly sinks Mike’s Buccaneer while sailing in the Club Championship races.
2007 SpecialRay Gazzera. Granted special “Lifetime Achievement” Ye Blunder Bucket award for an awesome 11 nominations without a single victory.
2007 FallJohn Riddell. For recruiting crew for a Lake Pleasant race and then not showing up himself. (This could be a pattern with John since he gave birth to both the Viper and Megabyte fleets and then stopped sailing in them.)
2006 SpringArno Marcuse. The Rear Commodore wins for the above—for failing to ensure the Blunder Bucket was awarded in the Fall.
2006 FallGeorge Tingom. While trying to nominate the women entrants of the Ruth Beals Cup, George disrespects the women and is promptly boomeranged. nominated and chosen for Ye Blunder Bucket.
2005 SpringRicky Gilchrist. “Shameless fleet building” by T-boning Mike Parker’s Santana 525. End result. Santana 525 with big hole is totaled and is traded for Merit 25, adding one more boat to the growing Merit fleet.
2005 FallNot Awarded
2004 SpringDennis Martinelli. Dennis agrees to tow an ASF boat to the storage area, but encounters a non-functioning gate, requiring him to drive around the lot to the opposite side. Clang! Mast-up boat becomes mast-down boat when it meets the height-limiting overhead bar. This is the first of many dismastings by what become known as the “mast-eating bars.”
2004 FallDave Christensen. After the Thanksgiving Lake Havasu races were abandoned due to high winds, Dave and the Bad Idea crew decided to go for a joy ride downwind at 9.5 kts with spinnaker up. A gust rounded them up, knocked them over, ejected a crew member, shredded two sails, and broke the spin pole.
2003 SpringSteve Kusic. Tactician successfully mis-navigates fastest boat in Tall Cactus fleet to afternoon of bird watching and running around on the Agua Fria.
2003 FallPatty Rosky. Bill Snuffer was having engine problems outside the harbor at Lake Pleasant in very light winds, 45 minutes before to the first race start and after other boats had left. Patty Rosky approached. Patty, claiming not to know how to tow a boat, powered up her diesel and sped away, leaving Bill adrift.
2002 SpringDennis Martinelli. Sleeping in and falling off the boat at the Birthday Regatta. Dennis awoke to the sound of the telephone and groggily answered to a hectic voice asking, “Where are the Sailing Instructions?” Dennis sprinted from his warm bed to Lake Pleasant, in record time, to deliver said instructions. During the race day, weary Dennis “SPLOSH” fell off the transom of an AYC Yacht, forcing a MOB drill. During the Commodore’s Ball Dennis attempted to defend himself, sealing his award of Ye Blunder Bucket.
2002 FallPeter Schweizer. Peter rose to nominate the race committee, saying they’d been slow to rescue him and that his masthead fly was bent in the process. Instead, Peter was stung by the boomerang, the nomination that came back to hit him in the face. “Nominating the people who rescued him?” went the murmurs in the crowd. Bam! Peter won the prize.
2001 SpringJim Douglas. In the Marina del Ray to San Diego Race, Jim sailed Pretty Woman for 27 hours and thought he’d finished the race, even though he couldn’t find the Race Committee boat.
2001 FallPat Blumm. Claiming he was following the directions of nominator Steve Groce, Pat backed a club boat into a tree, snapping a shroud. “It was rusted anyway,” says Pat.
2000 SpringDon DeFreze. For the 2000 Championship Races. Don forgot his jib sheets and had to raise and drop his mast several times before he could get his boat in the water.
2000 FallSteve Groce. While launching at 3am during low tide at Marina del Ray, Steve’s Catalina 25 and Suburban proceeded to slide down the ramp. Trophy nominator Dave Nowak was awakened to come to the rescue.
1999 SpringJim Ney. For dismasting the Committee Boat.
1999 FallRick Gilchrist. For his antics at the Wild Horse Bar during the Birthday Regatta.
1998 SpringDon DeFreze. After a day of racing, he sunk his trailer and car on the launch ramp while retrieving his boat at Lake Pleasant.
1998 FallRick Gilchrist. For racing with an 80 lb anvil on his boat.
1997 SpringErick Smaltz. For going to the wrong mark at the Tall Cactus Regatta.
1997 FallCurt Naegeli. For floating out into the ocean at Catalina Island’s Cat Harbor after Falling asleep in his dinghy.
1996 SpringDave Nowak. For wrapping the anchor line around the prop, untangling and re-anchoring without tying off the bitter end.
1996 FallSteve Nahkala. For backing the new committee boat into the edge of the canopy at the Sailboat Shop and damaging both.
1995 SpringAmy Croteau. For pretzeling her mast while trailering home. She forgot to tie it down.
1995 FallBob Conner. For putting the Committee Boat on the wrong trailer.
1994 SpringGeorge Dvorak. While sailing at night in Mexico, George gives his wife Carol navigation instructions to “follow the moon” while he takes a nap. He forgot the earth and moon move. They were miles off course when George woke up!
1994 FallRick Johnson. For losing his wife overboard during the Fall Series.
1993 SpringPaul Nowak and Greg Bennett. For showing off their sailing skills when both capsized their Lasers and lost their dagger boards and rudders before the start of the race, ending their race season early. From Will Nowak. Back when we all sailed Lasers together, sometimes we would take the rudders off and sail the boats from the bow, steering the boat by heeling and sheeting. One time while doing this, a big gust came, Paul and Greg both capsized and their rudders fell out of the boats and sank to the bottom of Lake Pleasant. From Paul. Made for a nice ride back to the dock.
1993 FallFleet Captain Eric Smaltz. For engraving the Fall Series trophies to read. Spring Series.
1992 SpringJon Dixon. For not checking the contents of the piñata at the Regatta de los Niño’s Marineros.
1992 FallGeorge Sheller. in one ugly race day he forgot his sails, lost his keys, lost his crew, had a collision, and left his wife at the lake.
1991 SpringDon DeFreze and Frank Bigelow. They were unable to coordinate duty at the helm and therefore neither was there when Windlass attacked the committee boat.
1991 FallMike Easley. For using his engineering skills to mount cleats backwards.
1990 SpringDon DeFreze. For his great crew work on Windward. His enthusiasm went a little overboard and so did he.
1990 FallDave Nowak. For several reasons. Hanked jib on upside down; tried to put boat on wrong trailer and, when he realized it, backed up into the boat the trailer belonged to; hailing Beamreacher on the radio, but really only talking to his wife who was in the store next to where he was docked. And for being nominated so many times.
1989 SpringFrank Bigelow. Became confused about the date of the Spring Picnic and thus failed to be present at his installation ceremony as Commodore of the AYC.
1989 FallAl Lehman. For almost sinking his own boat because he forgot to turn on the bilge pump while his boat was in a slip at Roosevelt Lake for a couple of weeks.
1988 SpringMike Ewens (PHRF). With a crew of five navigators (?) rounded an intermediate mark of the course and headed for the finish line.
1988 FallFrank Putnam. For delivering the Junior Sailing’s Sabot and transport trailer to a total stranger’s house down the block from the house where he had picked them up.
1987 SpringDon Alverson (PHRF). In his excitement to go sailing, he removed his safety chain before launch; however, his boat slid off the trailer before he reached the water.
1987 FallCharley Fife (PHRF). Fell overboard within 10 feet of the finish line in the last race of the Fall Series, and in doing so lost the series and his fleet’s championship.
1986 SpringDebbie Fife (PHRF). Learned the hard way that shoes are not to be stored in the porta-potti.
1986 FallChuck Dahill (PHRF). Invited same mutinous crew which earned Joe Laux this same trophy in 1985 with the same results.
1985 SpringJoe Laux (PHRF). Utter chaos in raising his spinnaker while being filmed by local TV stations during the Birthday Regatta.
1985 FallJoe Laux (PHRF). Invited a potentially mutinous crew on the Marina del Ray Race for the second time. They went.
1984 SpringTom Telfer (Catalina 22) Fell overboard during rafting maneuver
1984 FallDennis Lynde (PHRF). Chartering a “hot” racing boat for the Marina Del Ray/San Diego Race, he was beaten by his own boat.
1983 SpringMike Alverson (PHRF). In light air, his M-Scow was capsized in AYC Championship Races.
1983 FallJoe Belgen (PHRF). His mast climbing antics resulted in washing his masthead.
1982 SpringJim & John Chapman (M-Scow). Traveled to a California Regatta on the wrong weekend.
1982 FallWayne Tucker (PHRF). At del Rey race, instrument malfunction directed him 30 degrees off course.
1981 SpringSharon Smith (Interlake). Each race day was plagued with continuous breakdowns.
1981 FallDon and Joyce Alverson (PHRF). At Kino Bay, the tide went out before their launch, causing congestion at the ramp.
1980 SpringGill Wallace (PHRF). At a Fun Regatta, he went forward to change sails and fell off his boat.
1980 FallDan Schott (Thistle). During a downwind start, his mainsheet dragged the starting buoy.
1979 SpringBob & Melanie Ball (M-Scow). Their freshly waxed boat slid off the trailer, Melanie riding it down the ramp.
1979 FallTony Zelenak (Catalina 22). Before a race, a gust of wind heeled his Catalina, throwing him and his wife Karen overboard.
1978 SpringDon and Faye Hubele (PHRF). They were married and had a honeymoon regatta at Catalina, thus missed the Spring Series.
1978 FallWinona Hinkle (PHRF). She caught a dolphin at Lake Havasu (Dolphin 18’ sailboat)
1977 SpringJack Boland (Neptune 16). At Lake Havasu, his boat almost sank on their last tack, a few feet from the finish line
1977 FallDan Schott (Thistle). Went aground on Vacation Island, San Diego, CA.
1976 FallJack Hannafin (Lido 14). Emergency brake failed, truck, boat & trailer sank under water at the ramp.
1960-61Tom Dingnan (Daysailor)
1975-76Bob Alley (Thistle). Loading out on Ramp #3, the wind blew his boat off the trailer.
1974-75Lowell Spencer (Catalina 22). On port tack his boat damaged a Thistle on starboard.
1973-74Doug Peacock (PHRF). On port tack, smashed a Catalina 22 on starboard at the starting line.
1972-73John Carter (Lido)
1971-72Bob Lewry (Thistle). At the finish line he fell off his boat.
1970-71Phillip Poland (Coronado 15)
1969-70Lowell Spencer (Interlake). Raced with the plug out of his boat.
1968-69Harold Pachman (Thistle). Started on port tack and hit every other Thistle starting on starboard.
1967-68Jim Boardman. Started race by going through line backwards
1966-67Thad Williams (Snipe)
1965-66Thad Williams (Snipe)
1964-65Ev Dean (Lehman 12). Stepped onto his boat at Saguaro Lake and capsized at the dock.
1963-64Bob Beers (Lehman 12). Storm capsized his boat at Saguaro Lake
1962-63JT White (Satellite)
1961-62Dave Shapiro (Interlake). Due to a wind shift, sailed his boat, loaded with six persons, over his trailer and into the trunk of his car at Canyon Lake. Insurance covered the “wind damage” to the car.