Help ASF with Each Amazon Purchase

Do you shop at Amazon? The huge online merchant will give .5% (one-half percent) of the money from each of your purchases to our Arizona Sailing Foundation. As of mid-March 2020, the “Amazon Smile” program has donated $395 to ASF.

Your purchases cost the same. Amazon Prime still applies, if you’ve bought that service. ASF just gets a cut of all your dollars.

It’s simple. Instead of buying from, you buy from Sign up to have your purchases credited to ASF. That’s it. Takes less than a minute.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from instead. Route .5% of your money to ASF.

If you buy from Amazon, begin buying from instead in order to route .5% of your money to ASF.

Buffing Boats for Fall Action

Part of the executive team overseeing the fall boat preparation at Tempe Town Lake. (l to r) Grant Younger, Russ Hasty, Marc Danner and Mike Bernard. Photo: Mike Ferring

A large group of volunteers turned out at Tempe Town Lake Saturday, August 24, to prepare the Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) boats for fall classes and the AYC Adopt-a-Boat program.

By the time the morning work party finished, the boats were washed and prepped for action. New covers went on several of the Catalina 14.2s. New sails are ready for the O’Pen Bics. New parts are in place for the Lasers. The safety boats have new Bimini covers.

Adopt-a-Boats help boost the entry list for both 14.2 and Laser, making them two of the largest fleets in club racing. It’s a great entry point for people new to the game to try racing without having to own a boat.

The ASF Adult Learn to Sail class begins Saturday, September 7 and Opening Day for Tempe Town Lake racing and race committee training is the following day, Sunday, September 8. The adult class, is now full.

Myles Danner washed the cockpit of most of the Catalina 14.2s. Photo: Mike Ferring

Both of the ASF safety boats got replacement Bimini tops. Photo: Emory Heisler

David Newland and Grant Younger sort through Laser parts to assemble a complete boat. Background: Scott Sharples and Mike Bernard. Photo: Mike Ferring

Logan Frenchak is getting involved in sailing and volunteered to help prepare boats. Photo: Mike Ferring

Registration Open for Fall Racing

Click on the link to the AYC Racing Page for all the information, race documents and the registration button for the 2019 fall racing action.

Racing begins at Tempe Town Lake on Sunday, September 8, and at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, September 21. Plug your ears for the opening gun at Lake Pleasant: we’re firing the club cannon this year to kick off the new season and will follow it up with an Opening Day celebration later in the day.

Looking for crew or wanting to crew? Commodore Rob Gibbs is revising the crew list system this year, so watch for his update. In the meantime, ask around and mark your calendar for a crew party on Saturday afternoon and evening, September 7.

If you’d like to know more about this game we play, consider signing up for the Introduction to Sailboat Racing class. It will be Thursday evening, September 19, from 6:30-9 at the Eisendrath House. Here’s much more about it. By the way, it’s free.

Lori Reger reflecting on sailing a Sunfish on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

Bob Naylor has recruited enough Sunfish folks to create at TTL fleet for the fall. If you have a Sunfish under cover, knock the cobwebs off and bring it out to tangle with the other fish. Here’s background on the fleet.

The Ruth Beals Cup race for women at the helm has been moved to Saturday, October 12. Here’s more on that event.

All of the Arizona Sailing Foundation sailing classes are open for registration now, but the adult class is full. Click on the “education” link.

Learn Sailboat Racing from Seven-Time Champ Skip Kempff

Skip at the helm.

When Skip Kempff found himself sailing with inexperienced crew this last year or so, he realized he’d better find an organized way to bring them up to speed. The result was several pages of speed notes and tactical descriptions that someone new to the sport could study.

Now Skip has agreed to share his notes with a new ASF class to be held Thursday night, January 10, from 6:30-9. Let’s call it Introduction to Sailboat Racing Part Two. The class is free and open to both members and nonmembers. Sign up and more information here.

The class is now full and cannot accept more registrations.

None of the content of Skip’s class will duplicate the Introduction class that Maryellen and I have been presenting in September for the last several years. That class aims to orient new people to the basic procedures we use for AYC racing. This new class will take the next step, aimed at building boat skills and speed. It’s the kind of information that will equip new racers for what happens on the race course… or help skippers move up in the results.

Scott Richards and Skip Kempff getting off the line in light air. Photo: Mike Ferring

ASF Develops New Sailors

Page Keppel is high on sailing, learning in the ASF Opti class. Photo: Scott Keppel

Presley Keppel’s grandparents live in Seal Beach, California, and belong to Los Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Her dad Scott says, “Every time we go to California she wants to go sailing. We asked if she wanted to try an Opti 1 class and she yelled ‘Yes!’ She loved Opti 1 and will be doing the next class in the spring.”

The Arizona Sailing Foundation (ASF) has been introducing young and not-so-young sailors to the game for over 15 years. This fall, the Opti I program for kids was sold out, with 10 children trying out the Optimist 8-foot boats, guided by instructor Natalie Harper.

Natalie picked up the program after the departure of originators Kathleen and Dan Buckstaff, who did so much to get it going. Now Natalie has told the ASF board that after the spring class she’ll need to pass it on to someone new, since she’s won a promotion at work that will require her weekends. Natalie has done a brilliant job, so it’s a big hole to fill. If you or someone you know might be a good candidate for the volunteer position, please contact ASF President Cindy Pillote.

Momma and Ducklings. The Opti I class follows the safety boat. Photo: Scott Keppel

The wind was too strong for sailing, so it was chalkboard time. Photo: Scott Keppel

Presley and Page: new Opti friends. Photo: Scott Kappel


Women’s Clinic Sept 23 at Del Rey Yacht Club

SCYA is sponsoring a women’s sailing clinic September 23.

The Southern California Yachting Association will present a Women’s Boating Clinic on Sunday, September 23 at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. The price is just $99, including all instruction, continental breakfast, lunch, and appetizers at the end of the day.

The workshops will be on the water or in a classroom, and the women may choose some of several sessions being offered. Registration is available here.

For further information, contact Rosalie Green by email.

Here’s the line-up of classes:

On the Water Classes:  Each student observes and then practices the skills with guidance and feedback from the instructors. Four-Five students on each boat.

Anchoring Safely

Learn and practice the steps for anchoring properly. Learn about anchorages strengths and liabilities, type of holding ground, exposure to the prevailing wind, what conditions are best for anchoring here. What is the minimum anchor and ground tackle for the type of boat, how to determine where to drop, how the helm and foredeck communicate for a smooth process, how to check you are holding, retrieving the anchor. All student will have the opportunity to practice helming and lowering and retrieving the anchor.

Beginning Sailboat Racing

You ready know points of sail and basic sail trim. How to get started: learn how to find skippers needing crew, how to be a crew the skipper will invite back. Read the race documents. Learn the start procedure, buy a rule book, practice with your team. Also learn the steps necessary to be a racing skipper.

Intermediate Sailing

You already know the points of sail and basic sail trim. This workshop allows you to practice helming and trimming skills and basic tactics. Coaches inquire what you want to learn, observe and teach additional techniques to help you be more effective in your position

Electronic Navigation Basics

On the water always know where you are. Learn how to use everyday tools e.g. smartphones and tablets, GPS to navigate, which Apps are needed to accomplish the task. Practice finding your Latitude and Longitude, plotting a route.

Taming the Dinghy and Outboard Engine

Learn how to get in and out without falling in the water. Once in, let’s start that outboard. Check off the recommended steps, tips on pulling the string, learn what to check for if it doesn’t startup. Once the outboard is on. practice driving it. Learn what a prudent person should have in the dinghy in case of emergency.

Handling Boat and Docking Under Power

Learn the basics of docking and boat handling under power. What is necessary in pre-departure checks. How to start the boat’s engine, how wind and waves effect the boat’s response, how to maneuver forward, reverse, right and left. What cues to use to end up where you want to be. Each student will have a chance to practice.

Sail Trim

See trim demonstrated corresponding to points of sail. Observe how various trim adjustments change the shape of the sails e.g. halyard tension, Cunningham, outhaul, vang and fairleads. Learn how to use them effectively.

Classes dockside or in the classroom:

Suddenly Skipper

Know what to do if the skipper is impaired or falls overboard. You have tools at your disposal learn how to use them. Learn how to call for help on VHF, how to locate your position on GPS, find the MOB button, how to communicate your position. Learn where the emergency equipment is. Know what Mayday is and how to call it.

Troubleshooting Marine Diesels

Learn how to identify the most common problems with marine diesels. Learn what to check before leaving the dock. Also learn what can be easily fixed, what tools and parts are needed.

Troubleshooting Other Boat Systems

The stove won’t turn on, water won’t come out of the faucet, an electronic item isn’t turning on, how to open and close thru hulls. Learn possible

Provisioning Tips

Learn how to make the most of your space and equipment. How to include, prepare healthy attractive meals and store them safely. Get ideas for a suggested menu for an overnight to the island and for a week-long cruise.

Tips on Purchasing a Boat

Be a knowledgeable boat shopper. Learn what to consider from A-Z before purchasing a boat.

How to Prepare for Cruising

Learn what skills are necessary for going on a successful cruise. Learn effective strategies for overnight to Catalina and for longer trips.


High School Championship 2018

Tempe Town Lake offered five high school sailors its best mix of twists, turns, puffs, and lulls Saturday (5/5), as they competed in a close-fought contest to pick the year’s high school champion. The five competed in Lasers this year, running windward-leeward races to the east.

After one of the round-robin boats turned out to be taking on water (that’s slow!), the organizers considered various ways of offering redress to people using the slow boat. In the end, they determined that there should be a tie between Ian Altobelli and Bella Hutchinson, with Jude Brauer in third.

Mike Parker headed up the high school class this year, with able help from Dick Krebill, George Tingom and Larry Green. Andy Oliver was the PRO for the champ race, Katherine Roxlo, Joel Hurley, Cindy Pillote, Erika Parker and others helping out.

The High School Championship competitors 2018: Alex Baros, Ashley Baros, Bella Hutchinson, Ian Altobelli, Jude Brauer. Photo: Mike Ferring

Here’s a slide show of photos by Mike Ferring:

Let the Season Begin!

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.

Race results are here.

The Buccaneer fleet topped out at four entries for the season, which meant they were combined with the Portsmouth fleet and worked race committee.

Natalie Harper leads the Opti 1 class at Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring


Jump Into the Busy September AYC Calendar

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.

A little personal coaching from the safety boat on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

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.

August Meeting: The Future of Sailing

Launching the Opti. Photo: Mike Ferring

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.

Register Now for Sailing Classes

Registration is open now for the fall Arizona Sailing Foundation sailing classes. Click on Arizona Sailing Foundation Education in the navigation bar at the top of any AYC web page and then select the type of class you’d like to take.

With Tempe Town Lake back in business, the full offering of classes will be available there, including Adult Beginning Sailing, Opti 1&2 for kids, Junior Performance Sailing in the O’Pen Bics, and High School Sailing on Tuesday afternoons. All classes are led by US Sailing-certified instructors and each of these classes will accept students who have never sailed before.

If you have questions about the courses, contact Mike Ferring, who can either answer your question or direct you to someone who can.


Two Adult Beginning Sailing students sailing with instructor Emory Heisler. initially all students in the class sail with an instructor, with two students to each instructor. Later the students will sail two in a boat with the instructor watching from a safety boat.

Consider Taking a US Sailing Safety at Sea Course

The US Sailing Safety at Sea course is an excellent way to get up to speed on staying safe on a sailboat. In one or two days, you’ll learn (or be reminded) about everything from PFDs and EPIRBS to weather and first aid. The two-day version of the course will even dump you in the water to try out some of this stuff.

You’ll find out more here, including being able to search and register for courses being offered within driving range of Arizona. For instance, there’s one scheduled for San Diego on July 30-31, at the Silver Gate Yacht Club on Shelter Island. Here’s a flyer describing the course in more detail.

Maryellen and I just attended the one-day course at Santa Barbara, which was also taught by Bruce Brown, who you may remember from his talk to an AYC monthly meeting a couple years ago. Bruce is an excellent instructor and entertaining speaker and runs most of the courses on the West Coast, including the upcoming one in San Diego.

The class tries out various flares on the beach in Santa Barbara. Photo: Art Vasenius

The class tries out various flares on the beach in Santa Barbara. Photo: Art Vasenius

Bruce Brown is the guy with the lime green PFD around his neck and the tether keeping him the classroom. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

Bruce Brown is the guy with the lime green PFD around his neck and the tether keeping him the classroom. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

Successful Sailboat Racing Seminars

Martin Lorch on the panel of Club Champions. Photos: Mike Ferring

Martin Lorch on the panel of Club Champions. Photos: Mike Ferring

We had an excellent turnout for two racing seminars leading up to the start of the fall 2015 season, with 16 in an Introduction class and some 35 at the Advanced Sailboat Racing seminar.

The Advanced seminar was led by three AYC Club Champions, Skip Kempff, Martin Lorch and Dave Haggart, focusing on starts, wind, and tactics. Skip has long practiced the Vanderbilt start, using timed runs away from the start line in order to hit the line at speed on time, and he advocated that method for people new to the game. Martin offered a couple pages of wind tips to be ready for the shifty wind on our lakes. And Dave offered some tricks for herding your competitors in the direction you want them to go.

The sailors ranged in experience from beginners to champions, fueling a discussion that continued even after the meeting adjourned. Most of the beginners had been in the room the night before when Mike and Maryellen Ferring offered a fast course in fast racing, presenting an introduction to the sport that included documents, rules, race courses, start sequence, start tactics, wind shifts and more.

Now it’s time to take it all to the water.

Some 35 sailors gathered to hear advanced sailing tips and exchange ideas.

Some 35 sailors gathered to hear advanced sailing tips and exchange ideas.

September Sailboat Racing Seminars

Fleet champs celebrating on Rolling on the Deep. Photo: Chris Smith

Fleet champs celebrating on Rolling on the Deep. Photo: Chris Smith

We have two sailboat racing sessions scheduled for mid-September, one for experienced racers and the other for sailors new to the sport. Best of all, both are free.

Introduction to Sailboat Racing class will be Wednesday, September 16, from 6:30-9 pm. To register, please fill out this form. More information here. We’ll give you a high-speed introduction to the basics, from how to register to race to how to start. The class is conducted by Mike and Maryellen Ferring.

Advanced Sailboat Racing seminar will happen the next night, Thursday, September 17 from 6:30-9 pm. The seminar will feature four of AYC’s Club Champions (16 championships among them), Dave Haggart, Martin Lorch,  and Skip Kempff. To register, please fill out this form. We’ve asked the three to offer presentations on tactics, light wind sailing, and starts, and then we’ll open the seminar to questions from you. What do you want to know?

Both sessions will be held at the Tempe Police Department Apache Substation at 1855 E Apache Parkway, near McClintock (map).


Wilson Davis Will Compete at a US Sailing Junior Olympic Clinic and Regatta

Wilson Davis

Wilson Davis

Wilson Davis will compete at the Rochester Yacht Club at Lake Ontario, New York, representing Arizona Yacht Club. Surprisingly, Wilson’s father Dennis says Wilson will be the only US entrant, with everybody else coming from Canada. It all happens between July 31 and August 2.

US Sailing has been setting up the events at various places throughout the country, combining competition with high-level training for young sailors. Here’s more on the program.  And here’s more on the event. And here’s a video from US Sailing:


Cedric Lorch Wins His Third High School Championship

Cedric Lorch has now won the High School Championship for the third year in a row, each time teaming with different crew. This year Cedric teamed up with Alex Baros to snatch the 2015 crown at Tempe Town Lake, sailing in Capri 14.2s on Saturday, April 18.

The morning races were sailed in light air, but by afternoon the breeze stiffened and the regatta was completed in good wind.

Here is an account of the day from ASF high school coordinator and regatta organizer George Tingom.

Three-time winner Cedric Lorch (left) with crew Alex Baros (right) and event organizer George Tingom (the guy in the middle).

Three-time winner Cedric Lorch (left) with crew Alex Baros (right) and event organizer George Tingom (the guy in the middle).

Full Class for ASF Learn to Sail

The fall ASF Learn to Sail class is firing up this coming Saturday (10/11) with some 20 students, according to Rob Gibbs, the guy in charge.

We now have the minimum number of volunteers needed for the first weekend, when the Arizona Sailing Foundation puts one instructor on each of the C14 student boats to help the new students actually sail during their very first day of class.

Contact Rob if you can help. A US Sailing instructor certification is not necessary to help out, since the class will be overseen by Mike and Maryellen Ferring, both certified.

The ASF Learn to Sail class is the only US Sailing certified course in Arizona and over the years has taught hundreds of adults to sail. Here’s more information on the course.


Fame & Fortune: Sailing World Highlights AYC Birthday Regatta

A two-page picture spread opens the Sailing World coverage.

A two-page picture spread opens the Sailing World coverage.

Sailing World magazine has given the Arizona Yacht Club star treatment in the June issue: five full pages on January’s Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup.

The story by Meredith Powlison with photos by Meredith and Peter Howson plays on the usual “isn’t it amazing they sail in the desert” angle, but does an excellent job of taking it the next step, explaining about the lake, the club, and the sailing we do. Meredith crewed with Viper 640 skippers Jim Sears (visiting from California) and Trey Harlow (with Russ Marcellus on a borrowed boat) and on Chris Smith’s J/80 (with Sheila Reed, Craig Quist, and Peter Lehrach).

She extensively quotes several of our members, including Birthday Regatta Chairman Emory Heisler, Tony Chapman, Chris Smith, Peter Lehrach, and Sarah Hester. She also details how some of her races went awry when our Famous Lake Pleasant Breeze pulled some nasty trick, including a 180-degree wind shift.

The story is accompanied by some dazzling pictures, nicely laid out in Sailing World’s new picture-forward format. Unfortunately, if you don’t subscribe to the magazine (and you should), the story doesn’t seem to be available online, at least not yet. I think it’s their policy to hold online material from the magazine until subscribers have had a chance to read it.

Two more pages from the Sailing World coverage, including a Lake Pleasant map and shots of your AYC pals.

Two more pages from the Sailing World coverage, including a Lake Pleasant map and shots of your AYC pals.

Also, The Arizona Republic ran a story about the ASF High School Sailing program, written by an ASU student, Harmony Huskinson. “It’s a powerful feeling to know that you’re controlling this 100-pound piece of fiberglass,” she quotes Maddie Cordova as saying. Learning to sail, learning to right a capsized boat; it’s all part of the curriculum in the program. Here’s more information about the classes.

Cedric Lorch Repeats as High School Champion

High School coach George Tingom presents winning trophies to Madison Cordova and Cedric Lorch.

High School coach George Tingom presents winning trophies to Madison Cordova and Cedric Lorch.

He did it again. After the finish of the seventh race of the 2014 Arizona State High School Sailing Championship, the clear winners were skipper Cedric Lorch from Valley Lutheran HS and crew Madison Cordova from Veritas Preparatory Academy. Last year, Cedric teamed with Mitchell Wenger to win the 2013 championship.

The wind and temperature (4/19) were perfect for sailing this year, made even more interesting by wind shifts that helped the winning boats rise to the top.

Cedric and Madison swept the competition, and of the five boats racing, only the team of Wilson Davis and Peter Blake were able to break their string of victories. Bharath Tata and Jake Xu were very consistent, putting up five second place finishes to finish second for the day.

Race committee chairman, high school sailing coach, and instructor George Tingom said that this year’s event was by far the most enjoyable so far, both for the contestants and the crowd cheering from under the blue canvas shade along the north shore.

Strong wind pushed the High School Championship to seven races.

Strong wind pushed the High School Championship to seven races.

“We could have declared a winner early,” he said, “but the wind was very nice and all the kids were having fun. Three of the seven races were three times around using all of the distance allowed in the East Basin of Tempe Town Lake.

Said George, “We have a fantastic core of volunteers that without doubt will make this event a strong foundation for high school sailing in the state of Arizona. We’re hopeful of fielding a bigger turnout for next year’s race on Saturday April 18, 2015.”

The class portrait of the 2014 High School Championship competitors.

The class portrait of the 2014 High School Championship competitors.

Final – Corrected Results after one throw-out
1st Place 6 Points – (Cedric Lorch / Madison Cordova)
2nd Place 14 Points – (Bharath Tata / Jake Xu)
3rd Place 17 Points (Wilson Davis / Peter Blake)
4th Place 22 Points (Alec Arthur / Daniel Moore)
5th Place 24 Points (Ema Davis / Daniel Mobley)