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May Meeting: Weather for Sailors

Consider this quote from one of the most experienced navigators in the world: “To a sailor, understanding weather is as important as boat preparation and knowing how to tack.”

John Jourdane. Photo: Sailing World

The navigator is John Jourdane and the quote introduces the book, Modern Weather for Sailors. It also introduces our May monthly meeting speaker, that same guy and the book’s author, John Jourdane.

The meeting is Tuesday, May 8, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

You may remember John from his November 2013 visit, when he regaled the club with stories of his travels. He’s sailed over 300,000 miles, covering the distance between the West Coast and Hawaii 54 times, crossing the Atlantic Ocean 12 times, and sailing around the world three times, including two Whitbread Round the World Races.

How’s that for preparation for explaining (briefly) this complex subject: weather and how it affects sailors.

 

John Jourdane’s book on sailing weather.

Coming Down to the Last LP Weekend

One more weekend to go before the standings are set for the Spring Race Series.

The next-to-last started off with excellent-but-shifty—nice wind, but tricky, moving from the south to the west and various places in between. It kept the racers and race committee on their toes.

Sunday went soft. Light wind. Minimal racing.

Week 4 Results.

Blowing toward the north mark. Photos: Mike Ferring

A study in right of way, according to the RRS 2017-2020. Photos: Mike Ferring

Sean Brown and crew came in classy blue team shirts. Photos: Mike Ferring

Oops. Photos: Mike Ferring

Loads O’Wind for St. Patrick’s Lake Pleasant Weekend

Puffy, of course, but lots of wind to make it a great, fun weekend on Lake Pleasant. Hang on, here’s comes another one!

Results here.

The lake hasn’t disappointed us this spring, with lots of good wind to drive the spring racing series. The Catalina 22 Race Committee did a good job of adjusting to wind that swung wildly from south to west and then someplace else.

Craig Seaman’s Renegade scratches its way upwind. Photo: Lucas Newland

 

The new Melissa Kay, Ferrings’ J/70 downwind. Photo: Lucas Newland

 

Martin Lorch (near) and Marshall Williamson heading to the leeward mark. Photo: Lucas Newland

Chase the Tall Cactus

Ready to chase the Tall Cactus? The race is Saturday, April 28, with the first boats starting at 9 am. This is a pursuit race, in the style of the Governor’s Cup, which attracted over 50 boats in December. Okay, it’s a carbon copy, except that this time everybody will find all the islands and the finish line. Or they should.

Sign up and find the documents on the Racing page.

The course takes you from a start line in the middle of the lake (exact position will vary depending on wind strength), north to take Horse and Balance Rock islands to port, then heading south to leave Bobcat Island to port and then finishing at Scorpion Bay Marina, where we’ll celebrate with club-provided nibbles and a cash bar. (Be sure to tip well; apparently some of you didn’t in December.)

Now, what was that about “Bobcat Island”? It’s the chunk of land that we’ve been calling “No Name Island” up to now, but Event Chairman Tom Errickson has learned it’s actually and officially called Bobcat Island. How to recognize it? It’s very hard to see until you’re right on top of it, since it blends into the hills behind. After rounding Balance Rock, if you set a course for about 150°, you’ll be pointing in the right direction. Aim to the right of the cell phone towers on the hill. You’ll need to clear the point at Two Cow Cove, near where the Sheriff’s station sits, and then head a little to the right.

The GPS coordinates are (approximately) 33°51′17″ N 112°16′50″ W or, in decimals, 33.854853 N 112.281728 W.

After Bobcat, go to Scorpion Bay Marina, round to the north of all the breakwaters and sail toward the shore. You’ll spot the finish line. Finish and then tie up and join us for adult beverages. Here’s a satellite picture of Scorpion showing the finish line.

Here are pictures showing Bobcat. The pictures were taken in early March, with high lake level.

That little island with a tuft of vegetation is Bobcat Island. Picture was taken from the Discovery Center looking north. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Bobcat Island is hard to see, even when you’re close. It blends in with the background. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

As you begin to round Bobcat, it emerges from the background. Photo: Mike Ferring

Brilliant Conditions for the Second Weekend at Lake Pleasant

Racing at Lake Pleasant rarely gets any better than the conditions this weekend (March 3-4) at Lake Pleasant. After a light start Saturday, the wind built to a breezy crescendo, one so strong that the Spin fleet decided to loop Horse Island for two races.

Sunday didn’t really bother to build much, starting with good wind (from the south!) and staying that way. Yes, Spins went for the long run again, enjoying a bright, breezy one.

Results here, or on the Results page.

Bright sun, big breeze for the weekend’s Lake Pleasant racing. Photo: Jim Tomes

 

Marc Danner and team (daughter Avery and son Myles) getting the non-spin fleet going again, leading the Jib and Main fleet (JaM, note his T-shirt). Photo: Jim Tomes

 

John Mayall, Joel Hurley, and (barely visible) Mike Hester fly downwind in Mike’s Viper 640. Photo: Jim Tomes

Do You Daydream of Tropical Sailing?

And if not, why not?

One of the great benefits of knowing how to sail is access to gorgeous yachts in beautiful places. Clear green water, steady trade breeze, warm evenings with a  piña colada. Mmmm. Oops, sorry, I drifted off there for a minute.

You’ve seen the tantalizing beauty shots in sailing magazines. At the next AYC monthly meeting, Tom White of The Moorings yacht charters will tap into your wanderlust and show you how to make the fantasy come true.

Tom will be our monthly meeting speaker Tuesday, March 13, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces restaurant (that’s apparently what they’re calling it now) at Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

A Moorings charter catamaran saunters through a typical BVI backdrop in a typical BVI breeze.

Celebrating 60 Years of AYC with a Big Weekend

Scott Agan aboard a Stray Cat. Photo: Mike Ferring

Up and down wind marked the 2018 Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup: Sometimes flat-lined; other times spiked and screaming. Lake Pleasant showed lots of its faces for the weekend, the water decorated with some 65 boats for the occasion of the club’s 60th birthday.

Here are the results.

Congratulations to the 8 fleet winners: Bob Worrall (racking up nothing but bullets on his final scorecard) in PHRF Non-Spin (Jib & Main); Paul Miachika in Laser; Jerry Montgomery in Pocket Cruiser; Jim Tomes in Multi-Hull; Martin Lorch in PHRF Spin; Mike Hester (by one point over Al Lehman Jr. and Steve Quant) and Emory Heisler in Portsmouth. And Doug McMillan won Saturday’s Cruising race.

Huge thanks go to Wendy Larsen and Dave Christensen and their crew of Race Committee and to Regatta Chairman Bruce Andress, ably assisted by Rob Gibbs (whose Desert Winds Sailboats sponsored and heavily donated to the Leukemia Cup auction) and loads of others, including the Tucson Sailing Club (breakfast), Tiller and Kites and Roxx Vodka (Friday night happy hour), Al and Sandy Lehman (for the what I think I heard was the 43rd time helping with the event) and a host of others. It takes village to put on this annual craziness.

Some of the action at the weekend’s big regatta. Photo: Joanne Aspinall

Saturday’s RC Boat Committee. Photo: Mike Ferring

PROs Wendy Larsen and Dave Christensen. Photo: Mike Ferring

Artsy shot through the sail. Photo: Mike Ferring

Multis on the start Friday. Photo: Mike Ferring

And now the scores! Martin Lorch celebrates first place on Saturday’s races. Photo: Mike Ferring

Who gets the first piece of the 60th Birthday cake?! Photo: Mike Ferring

Rob Gibbs works the crowd for the Leukemia Cup auction. Event chairman Bruce Andress to his left. Photo: Mike Ferring

Sunday awards gathering at the end of the big weekend. Photo: Mike Ferring

Emory Heisler accepts the trophy from Bruce and Dave for winning the Portsmouth class. Photo: Mike Ferring

What’s it like to sail the Oracle Team USA cat?

Hard. Very hard. And complicated.

Speaking to February’s AYC monthly meeting, Oracle Team USA tactician Andrew Campbell said that despite the level of competition, sailing is sailing, with tactics similar to the ones he started learning as a Sabot sailor in San Diego almost three decades ago. The rest? Sailing the America’s Cup boat in Bermuda required a level of fitness unmatched in sailing, pumping maximum heart rate through a 20-minute race, dashing in coordinated choreography across the platform, and keeping the boat flying with controls less sophisticated than a foiling moth.

The complexity of the boat was amazing, for instance offering the ability to fine-tune the shape of the wing by adjusting camber differently from top to bottom depending on wind conditions. The team collected immense amounts of data that they spent hours analyzing in order to improve speed and handling.

In the end, of course, it wasn’t enough, but Andrew believes that Oracle Team USA might have been able to overcome Emirates Team New Zealand if they’d been able to compete in wind conditions more suited to their boat. More wind or less wind, he says, would have moved ETNZ out of its sweet spot and moved Oracle into its design target, enabling the US team to overcome the excellent sailing and design of the Kiwis.

How about the next America’s Cup in Auckland? The planned design will be a huge challenge, he says, but the boats will be fast and more maneuverable, with less energy spent pumping oil through the hydraulic system and more spent sailing. Watch for the personable and able Andrew Campbell to be part of it all.

 

Andrew Campbell at February’s AYC meeting. Photo: David Newland

 

Lake Pleasant Results Week 1

After a comfy-breezy Spring racing season start Saturday (1/27) that then turned into a becalmed Saturday, racing Sunday turned into a complete blowout. With wind hitting over 30mph, boats were scattered and multi-hulls capsized.

Mike Hester was seeing 15.5 kts under spinnaker on the run from Balance Rock, smiling a big smile until he tried to do a windward takedown. “Almost turtled the boat,” he says. “After we rounded the south mark and tacked, the boom broke at the gooseneck.”

Marc Danner was driving the Boston Whaler and went off to help. “We were assisting one of the Cats that turtled, but before that we had to give the Viper an anchor since they were drifting towards the rocks. They called us on the radio again as we were assisting the the Cat and told us the anchor wasn’t holding. We were dragging the Cat to No Name island so they could take down their sails.”

The Race Committee pontoon boat crew decided to pull up anchor and head off to help, ending the race. Marc says, “In that time we had three calls on the radio to assist other boats.”

Quite a race day!

Week 1 of racing at Lake Pleasant on the results page or click here.

Catalina 22s kick off the spring series on the mild Saturday racing. Photo: Lisa Schuff

Spring Racing Kicks Off

Cool temperature and a nice breeze greeted Lasers and Portsmouth sailors Sunday (1/21) at Tempe Town Lake, opening the spring racing season. Joel Hurley continued where he left off in the fall, winning two of three races, edging out Paul Miachika, who took the third. Mike Parker led Russ Hasty in Portsmouth.

Here are the race results (or check the results page).

It was always this close. Joel Hurley leading Paul Miachika. Photo; Mike Ferring

 

The Junior Performance Racing Class competed in their O’Pen Bics. Coach Rob Gibbs at right. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Intense! Russ Hasty in his Bucc. Photo: Mike Ferring

February: Oracle’s Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell

Five years ago, Olympic Laser sailor Andrew Campbell spoke to us at the Arizona Yacht Club. Now he’s been gracious enough to agree to a repeat visit, only this time he’s coming off an intense time as one of the tacticians for the Oracle Team USA America’s Cup campaign and one of the commentators for the television coverage of the event.

In 2016 he explained his America’s Cup role to Scuttlebutt, saying, “On the water I monitor multiple boats to make sure that we’re efficiently using our time. It doesn’t sound too bad until you consider that I’m also helping the mode choices for our boat, checking relatives against the other boat… and grinding our wingsheet, taking breaks while sprinting across the platform to the new helm to help steer through tacks and gybes.”

Andrew will be our monthly meeting speaker Tuesday, February 13, 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.

After earning a spot as a four-time All-American at Georgetown University, Andrew went on to compete in the Laser class at the 2008 Olympics. (He met his wife, Jacqueline Schmitz, at Georgetown, where they were both members of the sailing team. They now have twin girls.)

The Campbells are a sailing family. Andrew’s father, Bill Campbell, is a three-time America’s Cup sailor who was part of Bill Koch’s team that won the Cup in 1992. Bill is also a former Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club.

USA Today quoted Bill Campbell saying his son’s mantra during his sailing career has been, “Keep showing up.” He tells a story of Andrew driving home from high school in La Jolla, Calif., and stopping at Mission Bay Yacht Club, where he kept a Laser.

“He’d stop, put the boat in the water, go out, tack a hundred times, jibe a hundred times, put the boat away and come home. He did that all the time,” Bill Campbell said.

“You keep showing up; you keep practicing. By showing up all the time, you’re doing more than the other guys. You’re getting better, and hopefully the results will show that. His commitment to the sport and his commitment to doing that was always impressive to me.”

Andrew Campbell (center) grinding in Bermuda.

Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup

Regatta Chairman Bruce Andress

Results

Final

Saturday

Friday

Online registration is now closed, but you may register on-site with a $50 late fee.

The event is February 16-18, with Multi-Hulls planning to score three days of racing and the other fleets opting for two. Boats in fleets not racing Friday (2/16) may practice at the Race Committee’s discretion.

You’ll find the race documents on the Racing page.

Donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by clicking here.

Regatta Chairman Bruce Andress will have the regatta at Pleasant Harbor, as in the past, with the Saturday night dinner at the “Hook” building, the metal building near the entrance of the facility. He says Dillon’s Restaurant will cater the food.

Schedule

Regatta Site Map

Friday
8-11am – Registration Open
11am – Skipper’s Meeting @ Regatta HQ Building
1pm – First Warning; No race will begin after 4pm
5pm – 7pm – Happy Hour hosted by Tiller and Kites and Roxx Vodka
Dinner is on your own – Dillon’s Bayou will be open at the Marina

Saturday
7am – Registration Open
7am – Continental Breakfast hosted by Tucson Sailing Club @ Regatta HQ Building
8am – Skippers’ Meeting
9:30am – First Warning; No race will begin after 4pm
5pm – Happy Hour @ Regatta HQ
6pm – Dinner is served – Raffle begins!
7pm – Leukemia Lymphoma Society Auction begins!

Sunday
7am – Continental Breakfast hosted by Tucson Sailing Club @ Regatta HQ Building
9am – First Warning; No race will begin after 1pm
Awards Ceremony will begin by 3pm or 15 minutes after the cannon, whichever is sooner.

Slip Rental Information

A  special overnight slip rate is available at $21/night. To reserve a slip, please contact Pleasant Harbor Marina at 928.501.5274 or 928.501.5269 or email them at MarinaOffice@pleasantharbor.com and let them know you are with the Arizona Yacht Club Regatta. You will need your boat registration when you check in.

Accommodations & Camping Information

Hotels close by include:

Dry Camping or Temporary Site (Electric and Water hookup only)

There is plenty of dry camping on-site. If you have an RV or Camper and would like water and electric hookup that is available as well. (Look for “Temporary Sites” on the map.) For reservations please call the RV Resort at 1-(800)-475-3272 or you can book online. Even if you are dry camping, we recommend a reservation.

Directions to Pleasant Harbor Marina

Lake Pleasant and Pleasant Harbor Marina are located off of AZ Highway 74 (aka Carefree Highway. From Phoenix, go north on I-10 and exit the Carefree Highway exit and go West. The turn in to the marina is before you pass the dam.

The address is 40202 N 87th Ave, Peoria, AZ 85383. Here is the Google Map.

Gary Jobson’s AYC Night

The Caddy Shack overflowed Tuesday night (1/9) to hear sailing legend Gary Jobson talk about his projects, the America’s Cup, and sailing in general. Punctuated with funny stories and lots of video, Gary’s presentation brought the audience to its feet for a closing standing ovation.

The next night Gary offered some of the same presentation to the New York Yacht Club, which has announced that it will challenge for the America’s Cup next time around. He told us he would urge them to commit to two challenges, since the recent pattern has been that the defender would successfully defend the first time and might be defeated the second. He said that NYYC had raised an impressive amount of money to mount the challenge and could be a serious contender.

Gary Jobson with the AYC monthly meeting. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Lots of good stories for entertainment. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Gary Jobson takes over the room. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

The bar lineup. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Before the monthly meeting, Gary Jobson met with the kids in the juniors program. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

January Meeting: Gary Jobson

Gary Jobson

Gary Jobson is certainly America’s most famous sailor.

He was inducted into the first class of the Sailing Hall of Fame and everything flows from there: college sailor of the year twice, tactician for Ted Turner’s winning America’s Cup campaign, winner of oodles of races, offshore and on, all of which vaulted him to his role as author, commentator, TV producer, speaker (over 2,600 lectures he says),  President of US Sailing, and now VP of World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport (formerly called ISAF).

Gary will be our January monthly meeting speaker Tuesday, January 9, 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.

This will be Gary’s third visit to AYC and if you were at either of the first two, you know what an entertaining speaker he is—and how popular he is. Because of the expected large turnout, we’ve arranged with the Caddy Shack to reduce the menu options that night to three (hamburger & fries, chicken fillet sandwich & fries, and Greek salad) in order to make sure we can serve everyone who would like to eat.

Like more details on Gary’s amazing list of accomplishments? Click over to his website for a quick briefing.

Got 15 minutes to spare? Watch Gary’s ESPN story on Ted Turner’s 1979 Fastnet victory.

 

Spanker Buccaneer Gift Exchange

Donna Benson marvels at the size of the Daisy Spanker. Photo: Mike Ferring

The “Daisy Spanker” gift was the hit of the night, a “sail” fashioned from some giant-sized women’s undies, first received by Donna Benson, then Buccaneer-claimed by Deb Heisler, and finally pirated by Gene Walentiny (who denied speculation about what he planned for them).

Sharon Bell confessed to gifting the Spanker and to cooking up the colorful description of the origin of the “sail,” reprinted below.

The event was the annual AYC gift exchange, emceed by Tom Errickson, and rich with the usual assortment of alcoholic beverage gifts, including a couple we’re still trying to figure out. Velvet Falernum anyone?

Then the meeting turned to the serious business of choosing the “winner” of the Blunder Bucket, a tradition almost as old as the Daisy Spanker. Two worthy nominations were submitted: George Tingom for leading the Governor’s Cup until he decided to round the wrong island and Paul Liszewski for toppling overboard Rolling in the Deep when racing. Paul’s crew had refused all inquiries about what happened, claiming some kind of crew-confidentiality agreement, but James Morphis was an eyewitness and embellished the nomination with great detail.

George Tingom, proud recipient of the Blunder Bucket. Photo: Mike Ferring

Still, it would be hard to deny George the honor for booting the Governor’s Cup, the crowd loudly applauded and he proudly accepted.

Here’s Sharon’s account of the origin of the “Daisy Spanker.”

Webster’s Dictionary “spanker”

  1. a fore-and-aft sail or a mast that is aftermost in a sailing vessel
  2. something outstandingly fine or large

The “Daisy” Spanker is a light air reaching sail, where the apparent wind has a significant effect to create angles less than 90 degrees. It is guaranteed to gain interest and pause your competition long enough for you to finish first in your fleet.

The idea for this sail was conceived by Robert “Black Heart” McDoogle in 1865. To many people, he was as cold as a well-diggers toe in January, but he loved his wife (Daisy) who was of voluptuous size and suffered an unfortunate tendency to pass gas after eating certain foods. One day after a particularly forceful series of emissions he had an idea, rushed on deck with Daisy’s bloomers and hoisted them off a loose line on the aft mast. Low and behold, the bloomers filled with wind and held tight while the ship lurched forward. Captain McDoogle named the new sail a “Daisy Spanker” in honor of his wife.

The 2017 Christmas party was presided over by the snowbear. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Tempe Town Lake Fall Fleet Champs

Can we say roll-over tack? Laser champ Joel Hurley. Photo: Mike Ferring

In a fall season light on wind, credit the fleet champs who dodged and weaved to use zephyrs of air to stay in front.

Dave Haggart winning C14 of course. Not only does he sail magnificently in all conditions, but he has to do it after driving for a couple hours from Prescott!

And this fall, Joel Hurley mostly used an adopt-a-laser to win the fleet, showing off death-defying roll tacks to keep the boat moving. Imagine how he’ll do now that he’s bought his own boat.

When the Buccs were roll-tacked into the Portsmouth fleet, Mike Parker looked over his field of boats and chose an odd-ball Catalina 16.5 to win Portsmouth.

The next generation of sailors competed this fall in O’Pen Bics, learning more about racing sailboats from Rob Gibbs and fellow parents Will Zornik and Dave Haggart. Colin Gibbs used experience and talent to win the Bic season championship.

Congratulations to all!

Here are the full results for the fall season.

Next Gen: Ryan Zornik aboard an O’Pen Bic. Photo: Mike Ferring

Mike Parker took the Portsmouth class. Photo: Mike Ferring

A cluster of 14.2 sailors on race committee duty. Photo: Mike Ferring

Martin Lorch Lugs Off Governor’s Cup

Martin Lorch.

Martin Lorch and crew managed to out-race 50 other boats to take the gigantic Governor’s Cup at Lake Pleasant Saturday (12/2).

The wind was fairly typical for the lake, with moderate northerly wind until close to noon when it shut down completely, rising again as a light wind from the south an hour later. It’s a pattern that favored the early-starting boats in the pursuit race and George Tingom made it pay off for him, sailing solo in his Capri 14.2. George had a big lead in the race but made a fateful error when he rounded the wrong “unnamed island.”  George contends that the race chart was too vague, so he didn’t know which small island to round. As far as we know he was the only one to make this mistake, but it’s always most difficult to know which way to go when you’re leading the race!

Jim Tomes was the fastest and first multi-hull entrant to finish, capturing that fleet’s award. First multi-hull non-spin was Chris Picknally. First monohull non-spin was Richard Krebill in a Capri 14.2. Tony Krauss was the first of four Hobie 16s to finish.

In addition to the big trophy, winners in three divisions (spin, non-spin, multi-hull) won sailing bags donated by SLO Sail and Canvas, makers of sails, boat covers and other canvas products.

The race ended at the Scorpion Bay Marina Grill with a post-race party.

Thanks to Race Organizer Tom Errickson and his volunteers, Tom Ohlin senior and junior and Bill Cunningham. Dave Christensen consulted his well-worn chicken bones to come up with the handicap ratings and start times for the pursuit race.

Here is a picture of the handwritten finishing order at Scorpion.

Almost as big as he is: Martin Lorch hefts the Governor’s Cup, flanked by crew James Morphis and Katie Yearley. At right: Event Organizer Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

Event Chairman Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

Governor’s Cup winners aboard the Santana 20. Martin Lorch, Katie Yearley (behind the sail), and James Morphis. Photo: Mike Ferring

A happy member of Brandon and Jessica Rawlings’ crew. Photo: Mike Ferring

Rear Commodore Sharon Bell. Photo: Mike Ferring

Boat buddies. Kevin Edwards and Rick Johnson. Photo: Mike Ferring

The Shazam team poses in the team shirts. Photo: Mike Ferring

Tom Errickson to the rescue. Photo: Bill Cunningham

Rolling in the Deep slips along behind the islands as the morning wind disappears. Photo: Bill Cunningham

Lake Pleasant Fall Race Results

Strong wind greeted us on the final weekend of the fall race series, finally gasping for a lull on Sunday afternoon and leaving us with this list of winners: Steve Grothe overcame a missed first weekend by firing four bullets on the last Saturday, putting him ahead of Bob Worrall in Catalina 22 on a tie-breaker; Fred Rahn won multi-hull; Martin Lorch put his 222-rated Santana 20 up against the 88-rated Hobie 33 of Paul Liszewski and won PHRF Spin; Tony Chapman won PHRF Sportboat; and Jason Rziha beat Skip Kempff by three points in Thistle.

Congratulations to the winners and to everyone who competed this fall.

The scores for the final weekend of racing are on the results page, or by clicking here. 

After the racing, the champ buys at Wild Horse. Martin Lorch (left) pops for dinner for the Rolling in the Deep crowd and the photographer, Marshall Williamson.

Thistles rounding this fall. The final results were about this close, with Jason leading Skip. Photo: Charles Landis

December’s Meeting: Twisted Gift Exchange

December’s monthly meeting brings the annual AYC gift exchange, a gift exchange with a twist. You might say twisted, even. The meeting is at 7 pm, Tuesday, December 12, at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe.

Here’s how the gift exchange works:

  • You bring a wrapped gift valued at about $20.
  • You pick a number from a hat to determine the order in which we select gifts.
  • We’ll have two people called to the front of the room at the same time.
  • Each person can choose to pick a wrapped gift from the pile or play pirate and take the gift from someone who’s already opened one.
  • Gifts can be “pirated” only twice before they’re safe from further theft.

Some of the gifts can be pretty weird, but if you’re looking for a prized gift suggestion: Liquor always seems to bring applause!

What’s the Christmas gift exchange like? Here’s what happened in 2015.

Victor Felice holding tight to a gift in 2015. Photo: Mike Ferring

Victor Felice holding tight to a gift in 2015. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jeff Johnstone’s AYC Visit

It all started with the legendary J/24.

Jeff Johnstone recounted to the AYC November monthly meeting how his father Rod chose the size of the J/24 40 years ago for one critical reason: he could build a 24 foot long by 7 foot wide boat in his garage. Anything bigger wouldn’t fit. When they rolled it out, it not only floated, but beat all comers with a family crew on board.

Since then, there have been over 14,000 boats with the famous J/ on the side, a record of success they could never have imagined back then. Jeff recalled the path from J/24 to J/121, the company’s latest offering, a 40-footer designed for comfortable ocean cruising and racing with a smaller-than-typical crew. Instead of six crew hiking, the J/121 has water ballast that Jeff says “you never have to feed.”

Jeff made a lightning fast trip to Arizona for the Tuesday night meeting, flying in Monday, working in his hotel room Tuesday morning, playing a round of golf at Rolling Hills in the afternoon and then taking the red-eye home in order to make it to a scheduled sailing session in Rhode Island Wednesday morning. AYC members showed their appreciation by filling the room at the Caddy Shack.

What kind of event brings out large numbers of boats? Jeff ran through the list of some of the most-attended regattas in the world, regattas that bring hundreds: the Fastnet, the Around-the-Island (the island of Wight), the Chicago-to-Mac, the Bridges race in San Francisco Bay and several others. How about a 600+ mile race in the Grenadines? Jeff says people buying the J/121 are looking for interesting races in interesting places and that doesn’t have to mean wet and cold!

Jeff Johnstone recounts the history of J/Boats, from the legendary J/24. Photo: Mike Ferring

That’s the famous Fastnet rock, the rounding point of one of the most popular sailboat races in the world. Photo: Mike Ferring