Gorgeous Lake Pleasant Race Weekend

There was enough 8-knot wind to combine with a splash of sunshine and 70+ degree weather to make it a memorable weekend on the water (3/14-15) and a nice escape from the harsh reality of the week’s news.

Myles Danner at the helm of the Santana 20 and moving fast. Photo: Mike Ferring

It was fun to watch the clash of rivals: Joel v. Martin, Paul v. Marshall, George v. Bob, and Jason v. Dan.

Joel got the best of Martin in the Santana 20 fleet, taking four races out of five. Unfortunately for Joel and AYC, his loyal crew, Grant Younger, is headed off for work in Chicago. We’re going to miss him! Finishing third was Myles Danner with his crew Marc Danner. They finished close behind the two AYC club champs on every race, showing impressive speed.

Thanks to my Sport Boat race committee (in alphabetical order): Steve Brown, James Dishong, Maryellen Ferring, Mike Hester, David Newland, and Mark Trainor.

Results when Rob Gibbs gets back from his family cruise.

Click on the picture below to see a bunch of them in bigger size.

Racing with The Stars… and Stripes!

Cruising Captain Heather McClain has organized an event for AYC members to race on two famous America’s Cup boats in San Diego Harbor, Stars and Stripes and Il Moro. It’s a trip Dave and Amy Henning took last year (that’s them grinding above) and Dave describes below..

It’s Saturday, July 18, from 12:30-4:30. Tickets are $125 for AYC members and $150 for non-members.

After the races, join us for dinner (not included in price) and a beach bonfire at Shelter Island. Hotel info coming soon. Limited space, so sign up soon.

San Diego America’s Cup Trip

By Dave Henning

Last summer, at the invitation of our new friends from the Nevada Yacht Club (NYC), Amy and I hopped aboard Stars and Stripes USA11, the 1992 America’s Cup entry, for a fantastic day of informal racing on San Diego Bay. Our hosts, both from NYC and from Sail USA11, were tremendously gracious, and we were treated to a wonderful experience.

During over a decade of chartering on San Diego Bay, we had always marveled at the majesty of this massive race boat as it went zooming past us, but we never seriously considered reserving a spot on board. When NYC offered to have AYC members join them for a trip, we decided this was our chance. The Nevada crew had reserved not only the American boat, but also Il Moro di Venezia ITA-15, the Italian entry from that vintage. With both boats crewed by experienced sailors, this excursion would not be a tourist’s luxury cruise, but instead an afternoon of racing at double-digit speeds.

The day began with a short presentation at Sail USA11’s little headquarters that covered the history of the America’s Cup and technical details of the design and manufacture of the boats we’d be sailing. We quickly moved onto the boats with a dozen NYC sailors on Il Moro and the remaining twenty or so (including us) on Stars and Stripes.

The hired crew consisted of men and women of all ages and sailing backgrounds, but each was incredibly friendly and helpful. While they handled some of the more advanced tasks like raising and lowering sails, all of us got a chance to grind the winches as much as we wanted and take the helm through a couple of maneuvers. In between all the boat handling, the crew found time to serve refreshments and take pictures at no additional cost to us.

Toward the very end of the day, we learned that the gentleman who had been coaching our group of grinders was actually Dr. Mark Niblack, a retired anesthesiologist and one of the two owners of the whole operation. From talking to Mark, it was clear that their company was never going to be a profit-making enterprise, but truly a labor of love. All of the crew were volunteers, happy to share their passion with us.

The Nevada Yacht Club made a whole weekend out of the event. After racing, we were invited to a dinner at Fiddler’s Green, a nearby restaurant completely covered in model sailboats and other memorabilia, followed by a beach-side bonfire in the evening.

We’d like to give special thanks to NYC Commodore Bobby Kawamura and Cruising Captain Mike Cox for opening their event up to AYC members and making us feel like part of their club from the start.

Tempe Town Lake Didn’t Disappoint

By Stacee Danner

Myles Danner looking comfortable on the Laser. Photo:: Sabrina Bryant

On Sunday (2/23), the wind didn’t disappoint, starting strong from the west for each fleet. What’s more? The first gun actually went off on time, unlike the previous two weeks when wind was light to non-existent.

The junior fleet raced five solid races, while the C14s competed in multiple races before they bowed out before the last start of the day, due to light winds. The Sunfish fleet sailed through the diminishing winds, and were officially the last ones on the water.

Smiles were seen on every sailor, due to the great winds, and great day out on the open water! A huge shout out and sincere thank you to Sabrina Bryant, who was on the mark boat and took several amazing pictures throughout the day.

When results are posted, you’ll find them here.

Click on the picture below to see the complete slide show from Sabrina.

Photos by Sabrina Bryant

Sunday’s Gentle TTL Action

Tim Mitchell aboard his gorgeous new Sunfish. Photo: Mike Ferring

The lake looked like glass at the 2pm start time. A flicker of breeze wafted from the west at 2:15. PRO George Tingom, screamed “Start ’em!” Okay, he probably didn’t, but the day needed some action.

Most of the Tempe Town Lake race group this Sunday (2/16) figured it might be another day of drifting, like the last day we were here. Or super light like the time before. Instead there was enough breeze to justify a few races and moving the windward mark out a distance to give the Lasers a bit more runway.

By a little after 4 o’clock the breeze had shut down entirely and the few boats still racing ghosted across the finish. Day over.

Here are the scores.


Barry McCartin power tacking. Photo: Mike Ferring

Clay Poulson in focus mode. Photo: Mike Ferring

Charging the upwind mark. Photo: Mike Ferring


Birthday Regatta Bash

By Bob Naylor, Regatta Organizer

And what a weekend it was! The Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup was Arizona winter sailing at its finest. Blue skies, sunny warm days, and light to moderate winds made for lots of great racing. Hundreds of sailors and supporters enjoyed strong competition and camaraderie. The laughter of friends, old and new, filled the cool evening air around the regatta tent, as the day’s action gave way to a brilliant full moon at night.

An Olson 30 heeling. Photo: Scott Jenkins

The success is in the numbers: 78 registered boats, over 70 boats sailing, 10 fleets, and 71-races completed—a great job by our skippers, crews, a weary Race Committee, and scores of shoreside volunteers. But it’s not just about the sailing. Our charitable fundraising totals more than $21,000 and is still being tallied.

The Cruising Fleet was the biggest fleet of the weekend. Three flavors of PHRF fleets duked it out: Sport Boats, Spin, and Non-spin. Emory Heisler somehow produced a Buccaneer 18 fleet. Bruce Andress alone fielded four out of six boats that comprised the Merit-25 fleet. Also new this year was the Sunfish Fleet with colorful sails darting around the Lake. Catalina 22s, Lasers, and Santana 20s rounded out the fleets.

Sunday morning saw some of the best action of the weekend. The wind was up, sails were full, and—in a few cases—fiberglass was flying! Principal Race Officer Rob Gibbs somehow managed to squeeze off a total of 71 races Saturday and Sunday. We had sailors from at least six states (AZ, CA, MI, NM, UT, WI). And the ASU Sailing Club fielded four boats: two Merit 25s, a Catalina 22, and a Catalina 30. They had a blast!

I guess you could call this “sailing to the rum line.” Photo: Scott Jenkins

Ashore, we had food, drink, and entertainment. We had fun! Martin Lorch kicked it off with a casual cookout Friday evening, with a little corn-hole action on the side, thanks to Bob Labine and his woodworking skills.

Kegs were cracked, corks were popped, and rum bottles ran dry, a scene repeated Saturday night. The nearby Peoria Artisan Brewery donated beer, J. Dusi Winery in Paso Robles more than rose to the challenge with great wine, and we enjoyed rum from both Goslings, courtesy of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and from the Smooth Sailing Rum distillery, owned by former Arizonan and AYC member Curt Naegeli, who traveled to the Regatta from Wisconsin to race in the Sunfish Fleet. One-design expert Brian Janney of North Sails San Diego presented a well-attended trim and tuning clinic.

Glenn Brostedt and crew were up Saturday way before first light, preparing another truly fabulous breakfast. Our delicious Saturday night dinner was again catered by Arizona Taste, which donated half the normal price of the dinner.Guest speaker Onne Van der Wal entertained us with stunning photos and stories from his presentation Sailing in America.

The new maritime band, The Keeltones, led us in celebration of our 62nd Birthday. In recognizing our founder and her legacy, we were honored to have Ruth Beals’ daughters Sue Bohl and Maggie Lindsey join us for the evening. Then the Keeltones brought it all home, with the last song going to Ricky G, who cut a mean rug stage-side.

Any ill effects from Saturday night were addressed with help from the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club. Commodore Doug Payne and first mate Deedy rolled out a great grab-and-go breakfast.

A school of Sunfish swirls around the start line. Photo: Scott Jenkins

When the racing ended Sunday afternoon, the scoring started. A tired and overworked race crew crunched the numbers, a whiff of white smoke rose above the papal RV, and the trophies were awarded. Taking home the gold were:
– Buccaneer 18: Cindy Pillote
– Catalina 22: Bob Worrall
– Cruising: Brandon Rawlings
– Laser: Barry McCartin
– Merit 25: Charles Landis
– PHRF Non-Spin: Mitch Starr
– PHRF Spin: Ben Towery
– PHRF Sport Boat: Tony Chapman
– Santana 20: Joel Hurley
– Sunfish: Randy Adophs

World famous photographer Onne van der Wal dazzles with photos. Photo: Mike Ferring

Equally successful this year was the fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The overall numbers are still being calculated and some additional donations are still pending, but, as of right now, our numbers look like this:
Individual Fundraising for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – $21,019
– Top Individual Fundraiser: Tony Chapman – $16,680
– Top Team: Spirit (Catalina 22 – Bob Worrall and Maureen Rojas) – $1301
AYC will present a check to LLS at the March membership meeting, where top contributors will also be recognized. Many thanks to those who “raised more than a sail in this year’s Leukemia Cup.”

Late Sunday afternoon, the parking lot had already begun to empty, the trash cleaned-up and the recycling finished. By Monday afternoon, the tent was down, the boats and last RVs were gone. Pleasant Harbor was again a patch of grass and a dusty parking lot. But, oh that Regatta, it was one to remember! Sixty-two years and still going strong, Ruth would have been proud.

Nothing helps keep memories fresh like photographs. Some skippers signed up for autographed, large-format photographs from Onne van der Wal (they’ll be arriving soon) and other photos from Onne will be available online. Scott Jenkins and Sabrina Bryant also got shots that are available here:
– Sabrina Bryant: https://sabrinabryant.smugmug.com/
– Scott Jenkins: https://n4779j3.wixsite.com/scott-artography/copy-of-sailing

And finally, no event like this happens without many hours of hard work by scores of volunteers. Hours of work went into race committee, event photography, food and beverage service, housekeeping and clean-up, “clean regatta” actions, sales of raffle tickets and drinks (both big money-makers), registration and check-in… the list goes on. Of the many people who helped, a few deserve special recognition for their out-sized contributions:
– Glenn Brostedt: led a sleep-deprived team of Tucson Sailing Club volunteers through the cold and dark of night to prepare a delicious hot breakfast early Saturday morning
– Rob Gibbs: assembled the Race Committee volunteers, ran 71-races in two days as PRO, and handled the scoring.
– Deb Heisler: did all the preparation and planning for the cookouts, and ran the Green Team that ensured this Regatta was Sailor For The Seas “Clean Regatta” certified, including provisioning recycling and composting bins.
– Al and Sandy Lehman: as they have for many years, devoted days to ensuring participants were welcomed, checked-in, and registered.
– Maureen Rojas: crafted a strong email and social media campaign, which she executed over several months, ensuring all parties were kept in the loop with schedules and planning, and generating event awareness that drove our great participation numbers. And, as though that weren’t enough, she and husband Rudy did yeoman’s work throughout the weekend, helping hands-on with many aspects of the overall event.

We’re deeply thankful for the hard work, time commitment, efforts, and leadership of our many volunteers who made the regatta a success:
– Race Committee:
                – ROB GIBBS: Principle Race Officer
                – Ron Anliker
                – Jo Grivala
                – Dave Haggart
                – Ed Huntsman
                – Bob Labine
                – Josh McClain
                – Heather McClain
                – Mark Mollison
                – Joe Motil
                – Lori Reger
                – John Turner
– Photography Boat:
                – David Blackman
                – Sabrina Bryant
                – Myles Hassett
                – Scott Jenkins
– USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 10-7
– MAUREEN ROJAS: Communications & Fundraising, Event Support
– DEB HEISLER: Green Team, Food and Event Support
– DAVID BLACKMAN: Fundraising
– AL and SANDY LEHMAN: Reception
– Tucson Sailing Club: Saturday Breakfast
                – GLENN BROSTEDT
                – Bob Burden
                – Peter Burgard
                – Alan Burgard
                – Larry Potter
                – Brian Dolan
                – Tony Krauss
                – Mike Gellar
                – Marshall Williamson
– Lake Pleasant Sailing Club: Doug and Deedy Payne, Bill Cunningham
– Weekend Warriors:
                – Bruce Andress
                – Matt Baker
                – Jonni Biaggini
                – Mike Davis
                – Tom Errickson
                – Maryellen Ferring
                – Deb French
                – Tarah Garcia
                – Emory Heisler
                – Megan Koopman
                – Wendy Larsen
                – Martin Lorch
                – Estella Naegeli
                – Bob Nesbit
                – Robin Naylor
                – Mike Parker
                – Dean and Kathy Robertson
                – Rudy and Maureen Rojas
                – Tommy Schaeffer and friends Nick and Seth
                – Peter Schweizer
– The Keeltones:
                – Michelangelo Caggiano
                – Steve Dolter
                – Steve Grothe
                – Charlie Joiner
                – Dennis Lynde
                – Wayne Powell

A mixed cloud of racing boats against the blue-gray mountains at the 2020 Birthday Regatta. Photo: Scott Jenkins



Tuning Your Sailing Body

Shroud tension. Check. Mast bend. Check. Keel faired. Check. Optimize backstay, traveler, outhaul, Cunningham. Check, check, check, check. Tune body. Body?

Keith Kocher

At the March monthly meeting, Keith Kocher will show us how to tune that critical bit of sailing gear, the human body. He’ll offer a functional lower extremity exercise routine that addresses balance, core and lower extremity strength for injury prevention and performance enhancement.  

The meeting is Tuesday, March 10, beginning at 7 pm at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Here’s a map link. It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace, so park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area. Please arrive early for dinner since our program begins right at 7. Guests are welcome.

Keith has been a  part of the medical staff for major league baseball organizations, has helped pro baseball players around the world, and was on the Phoenix Suns medical staff for 19 years. 

He received physical therapy training from Washington University in St. Louis and has over 25 years of experience in physical therapy and optimal performance training of pro athletes. He worked with Dr. Frank Jobe, the man who performed the first “Tommy John surgery” on then-Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Dr. Jobe and another baseball medical legend, Dr. Lewis Yokum, let Keith use his advanced manual therapy to rehabilitate and train pro athletes.

Keith is a member of the American Shoulder and Elbow Society. He practices in Tempe.

Are you in shape for a big hike? Photo: Mike Ferring

February Meeting: Cruising Beautiful British Columbia

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

With thousands of islands and places ranging from marine parks through old English inspired cities, the British Columbia Region is a water playland that has it all. Eagles swoop down for dinner, whales surface with curiosity and sea lions bask on the rocks. 

Colin Jackson

At our February monthly meeting, Colin Jackson from Cooper Boating will provide us with a peek into this region and an overview of the main cruising areas around the Gulf Islands, Sunshine Coast, Desolation Sound, Barkley Sound and the Broughton Archipelago.

The meeting is Tuesday, February 11, beginning at 7 pm at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Here’s a map link. It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace, so park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area. Please arrive early for dinner since our program begins right at 7. Guests are welcome.

Colin will give us a deep dive into a sample itinerary among the thousands possible in the British Columbia region. He’ll mention flotillas and tell us how a club like ours can arrange one. And for racers, he’ll cover some of the big annual racing events like the Swiftsure race he won in 2015. And, Colin says, besides bringing local knowledge, he’ll bring bad jokes.

He’s worked his entire career in boating, beginning by cleaning them, then docking big boats in tight spaces even before he had a driver’s license. And for most of his career he’s been providing sailing instruction to students and clients. He took the helm of Cooper Boating some 23 years ago while still completing his university studies, since logging thousands of inshore and offs

hore miles on power and sailboats, coaching thousands of boat operators and participating in races such as the Victoria-Maui Race. Today he’s a happily retired boat builder and has rounded out his career by serving as Vice President Training – Canadian Yachting Association, and as director for BC Sailing Association.

Racine Falls in British Columbia.

Here Comes the Birthday Regatta

You can order Saturday night dinner here. Deadline for entry has passed, but you can still register to race with a late fee.

The biggest AYC event of the year is days away, the three-day regatta and maximum party starts on Friday (2/7) with practice in the afternoon and a big Friday night:

  • North Sails Clinic – North Sails has joined our Regatta! Don’t miss their Tuning and Trim Clinic on Friday evening. Click here to sign up.
  • The Rum Bar will feature drinks from Leukemia Cup sponsor Goslings, and, for the first time, from Curt Naegeli’s North Woods Distillery, located in Coleman, Wisconsin. Before moving out of the area, Curt was an AYC member. Now he’s back for the Birthday Regatta. Watch for his Sunfish with the sail featuring his signature product, Smooth Sailing Rum.
  • We’ll fire up the grill to cook burgers and dogs, with side dishes. Beer and wine will also be available.

After sailing on Saturday, don’t miss the year’s best party:

  • Dinner and Drinks – Dinner is being provided again this year by Scottsdale’s premier, award winning caterer, Arizona Taste, now in their 30th year. For just $25, they’re providing a delicious $50 dinner menu in support of our Birthday Regatta. Also available: craft beer from Peoria Artisan Brewery, and fine wine from J Dusi Wines in Paso Robles, California.
  • Must-see Entertainment – Over dinner guest speaker Onne van der Wal will share photos from the day and discuss the making of “Sailing in America,” his popular new photography book.
  • Celebrate our 62nd Birthday with cake and with a little help from our friends – Arizona’s newest maritime band, The Keeltones.   
  • “Pay it Forward” deals – Go home rich! Buy lots of 50-50 raffle tickets for the big drawing. Then after cake, auctioneer Rowlan Hill will lead our live auction to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arizona Sailing Foundation and the Arizona Yacht Club. Credit cards will be accepted, so bring them all.

Click here to preview some of the great offers on the auction block this year, including:

  • See the Grand Canyon: from the bottom up with a “bucket list” raft trip.
  • Relax in the Caribbean: choose from 8 Caribbean vacation packages.
  • How about a charter aboard a 42-foot catamaran?
  • Golfer? You’ll have two nice golf packages to choose from.
  • Bid for an overnight stay at Lon’s Hermosa Inn, one of Arizona’s most romantic destinations.

Check out the competitionClick here for a full list of competitors by fleet. Our birthday regatta will include at least nine fleets:

  • Buccaneer 18
  • Catalina 22
  • Cruising
  • Laser
  • Merit 25
  • PHRF Non-Spin
  • PHRF Spin
  • PHRF Sport Boat
  • Santana 20
  • Sunfish

With all this happening, you just gotta regatta – see you at the Lake soon!

Pictured above, The Keeltones, the Regatta’s musical headliner. From left to right: Charlie Joiner (CJ) – an animal on those drums; lead singer Michelangelo Caggiano (a wayward sailor from a secret harbor); guitarist and back-up singer Steve Dolter (C-22 sailor); keyboardist Wayne Powell (New Freedom heat); guitarist Steve Grothe (C-22 sailor); and guitarist Dennis Lynde (former AYC Commodore and member for nearly 50 years).  The Keeltones will feature original nautically-themed music by Michelangelo and a well-rounded playlist of your favorite sailing songs.  Mamas, don’t let your children grow up to be maritime band musicians!

Like to Host an AYC Happy Hour?

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

We are continuing our AYC-hosted Happy Hours each month at various locations around the valley. An evening of food, stories and a brew or two are a fun way to engage with fellow sailors and potential new members. Feel free to invite people you think are interested in sailing.

The Happy Hours are rotated around the Valley and held on Tuesday or Thursday evenings so members and guests can find one that works best for them. If you’re interested in hosting contact me and specify which date you’d like from the available dates:

Thursday 2/27/20, Tuesday 3/24/20, Thursday 4/23/20, Tuesday 6/23/20, Thursday 7/23/20, Tuesday 8/25/20, Thursday 9/24/20, Tuesday 10/27/20

Hosting duties:

  • Select one of the available dates and let me know.
  • Pick your favorite local bar/restaurant and reserve the date/time. Attendance ranges from 5 to 15 people.
  • Submit the date/time/location to AYC Rear Commodore for publication to website, Facebook and the AYC calendar.
  • Show up with an AYC table sign and buy up to $100 of appetizers (no beverages/alcohol) for those in attendance.
  • Collect the contact information of any guest (name, email, phone number) and submit along with receipts to AYC Rear Commodore.

And remember we can adjust the dates to help accommodate your availability to host.

Spring Racing Action Now

Spring racing kicked off Sunday (1/12) at Tempe Town Lake and Saturday (1/18) at Lake Pleasant. Even though the season is underway, it’s not too late to jump in: Sign up now and get the race documents on the racing page.

Mark Trainor summed up the Lake Pleasant opening weekend in a familiar phrase: feast or famine. Saturday was famine, as light wind kept the boats creeping and allowed only a couple races each, always in low gear. Sunday was the feast—way too much feast!

Wind in the upper teens with puffs into the 20s tested race teams on Sunday (1/19). Here Mike Ferring hits 9kts under main alone. Photo: Mike’s GoPro

The wind was licking the high teens at the 9 o’clock race time and rose from there. With all the boats overpowered, it was a contest of bravery/skill/weight on the rail. The climax came as we watched the PHRF spin boats reaching back from Horse Island rounding.

Dean Johnson’s Andrews Governor’s Cup 21 had a nice lead and was flying south under spinnaker, one of only two boats risking it with the heavy wind. As we watched, it appeared that Dean turned left as he approached a very blown-long finish line in order to avoid illegally passing through it. The boat jibed, flipping three of the crew into the water, one of whom was able to grab the trailing main sheet and scramble back on board. The spinnaker meanwhile was flapping out of control. The two swimmers were pulled out and taken to the Peoria fire station to be warmed up.

The Tempe Town Lake kickoff was a wheeze-off, with wind so light it was nothing at all. In spite of that, the fleets managed to get two races in. We knew we were moving by watching light posts on the south shore. Meanwhile, the Portsmouth race committee snacked from Clay Poulson’s shoreside charcuterie.

The day before, 8-10 boats turned out for a practice run at Lake Pleasant. The wind was light there, too, with moments of moderation, but it was a good way to shake off the rust and make sure all the lines still worked (what do you mean the spin halyard is wrapped around the forestay?).

Wendy Larsen volunteered as the day’s PRO (Principle Race Officer) and attracted a good group of people for a morning race committee clinic where she explained the basics of running races at Lake Pleasant before bringing them out for the afternoon’s practice.

Practice Start on Saturday, January 11. Photo: Sabrina Bryant

Nice form at the Lake Pleasant practice day. Photo: Sabrina Bryant

Water in Arizona – Past, Present & Future

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

It’s something we don’t often think about, but our very existence in Arizona relies on the mighty Colorado, Lake Powell, Lake Mead, and the reservoirs of Roosevelt Lake, the Salt and Verde rivers. Where does all this water come from? Where does it go? Who were the visionaries behind our water systems? Attend the January monthly meeting to get the answers and learn about the state’s water history and its pioneers.

Sandra Hurlbut

Our speaker is Sandra Hurlbut from Arizona Project WET. She’ll inform and enlighten us about all things water, so bring your questions and curiosities and let’s discover something new.

Our first meeting in 2020 will be on Tuesday, January 14th at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace. Please arrive early for dinner as our program begins at 7:00 pm. Guests are welcome.

Use this map link to the location, near Lucille’s Smokehouse on the north side of Tempe Marketplace. Park on either side of Lucille’s. To locate our meeting room, ask the host at the front desk or make your way to our private meeting room in the back of the gaming area.

Read Project WET Blog posts written by Sandra.

Sandra Hurlbut is an Educator Coordinator with Arizona Project WET, a program within the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and the University of Arizona. She’s responsible for the Aqua STEM educational outreach program.

Sandra has been involved with environmental and natural resource issues since the early 1980s and has been with the University of Arizona since 2014. She has a passion for water conservation and is a skilled educator and facilitator. Her experience includes positions within academia, medical research, private industry, and state government. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology – Chemistry from Elmira College, a Master’s degree in Energy & Environmental Studies from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from the McCormack Institute at the University of Massachusetts – Boston.

TTL Fall Series Winners

Gary Oberbeck. Photo: Mike Ferring

How dld the first Tempe Town Lake race series go for the new Sunfish class? Quite well, thank you, and congratulate longtime Sunfish fan Gary Oberbeck for a fall series home run. Gary not only won the fleet, but he did it with a perfect score: 16 points in 16 scored races. All bullets.

Bob Naylor formed the class for fall to have a place for him to race his wife’s Sunfish (true). Jeff Bryant was convinced: he sold a perfectly good Laser and picked up a Sunfish and used it to finish second in the series. Tim Mitchell was third and Bob Naylor fourth.

When perennial C14 champ Dave Haggart was injured in a bike crash, Dick Krebill broke a leg, and John Mayall decided to skip some races, it opened the door for Maryellen and me, Mike Ferring, to win the class. Dave and Amy Henning finished second and John and Joyce Mayall third.

The hotly-contested Laser fleet win went to Paul Miachika, topping a 17-boat entry. Joel Hurley finished second, Mike Bernard third, and Chuck Norris fourth.

Colin Gibbs continued to dominate the junior fleet, followed by Myles Danner and Ryan Zornik. Clay Poulson managed to schedule his extensive international travel so that he could make it to TTL most weekends and handily won against light competition in the Portsmouth fleet in his Fireball.

Spring racing begins January 12.

One-man band Clay Poulson stretches to set the pole while not letting go of the tiller. Photo: Mike Ferring

Annual Holiday Celebration and Pirate Gift Exchange


Gene Walentiny demanded a pirate audit. Photo by Deb Heisler

By Deb Heisler and Marc Danner

This year the annual holiday party and pirate gift exchange was a great success with over 70 people attending.  As usual, there was lots of laughter, moans of defeat, and a few people who had to keep picking a new gift again and again, and again.  Like Gene Walentiny who got so tired he actually called for an audit. Sorry Gene, pick again!

Dave & Buster’s created a warm and welcoming venue with holiday decor, delicious food and the opportunity for the kids to get their game on.

The evening started with the welcoming of new member Jeff Coulter, and a  Birthday Regatta update by Bob Naylor. Next up, and on behalf of fellow sailor, Steve Campo,  his wife Christina shared Steve’s battle with Diffused Large B Cell Lymphoma, a few of the struggles they faced,  and how they overcame it.  Steve is on his way to recovery but due to the effects of treatment was unable to attend.  She also expressed their appreciation for all of the support they received from AYC members.

Click here for a short video of the evening created by Deb Heisler

Commodore Rob Gibbs congratulates the youngest Blunder Bucket winner in AYC history, Myles Danner. Photo by Marc Danner

Prior to beginning the gift opening and pirating of the loot, Commodore Gibbs opened up nominations for the Blunder Bucket. Rob started by nominating previous winner Dave Haggart for never taking the award home. Throughout the night the nominations continued: Tony Chapman nominated Mike Hester for the largest fiberglass repair bill, Rob nominated David Newland and Matt Baker for sailing in heavy winds at Lake Pleasant and David at Tempe Town Lake during Wednesday Beer can races. During the Buccaneer 18 North American Championships, David decided to take the Bucc out when the races were postponed and turtled it. In the end, Myles Danner (11 years old) walked away with the Blunder Bucket for turtling his laser during the Governor’s Cup and losing his father’s rudder to the bottom of Lake Pleasant.  

The Governor’s Cup will be awarded to our winner, Court Roberts at the January meeting so we hope to see you there.

On behalf of the AYC Board, I want to thank each of you for engaging in this years events. Whether you were racing, planning, volunteering or simply showing up. It all matters and makes our club what it is. We race. We gather. We sail. We have fun! May your holidays be filled with love, laughter, and shared memories.

Photo By Deb Heisler

AYC Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup: February 7-9

By Bob Naylor

You can order Saturday night dinner here. Deadline for entry has passed, but you can still register with a late fee.

Celebrate the improbability of a yacht club thriving in the middle of the Arizona desert for 62-years! Happy Birthday, AYC! Register and race in the Birthday Regatta – top finishers in each class will be recognized with awards. These classes are expected:

  • Three-day racing: Multi-Hull, Viper 640
  • Two-day racing: Buccaneer 18, Catalina 22, Laser, PHRF non-spin (jib & main), PHRF Spin, PHRF Sport Boat, Santana 20, and Sunfish
  • One-day event: Cruising – PHRF distance race

Sail with us, over 200 sailors and “shore crew,” and 70+ boats. Sail under blue skies in front of the Black Mountains near Castle Hot Springs, Buzzard Neck and Humbug Bay. Celebrate with us under the stars, between the saguaro and ocotillo, with the burros and coyotes on Lake Pleasant, just 45 minutes northwest of Phoenix.

Our Keynote Speaker this year is award-winning nautical photographer Onne van der Wal. He will be on the water during the day taking photographs that will be shown during the dinner Saturday night. More about Onne van der Wal here.

Finally…this event doesn’t happen without help from a small army of Volunteers! This year you can sign up for what you’d like to do online using Sign-Up Genius. Check out the different needs and volunteer on this page.

To read more and sign up for the Birthday Regatta visit the Birthday Regatta webpage.

Congratulate the LP Fall Series Winners

Lake Pleasant called up the biggest wind of the season for AYC’s final day of the fall series, enough wind to break boats and send lots of sailors back to shore. By late morning racing was over and the final standings locked down.

Paul Liszewski checking main trim as the team goes Rolling in the Deep. Photo: Mike Ferring

Congratulations to the fleet winners: Bob Worrall, Catalina 22; Paul Liszewski, PHRF Spin; Mike Hester, PHRF Sport Boat; Scott Richards, Santana 20; and Jason Rziha, Thistle.

Paul Liszewski’s party boat, Rolling in the Deep, won with a net score of 22 in 20 races, after the 20% throwouts, another dominating performance over a much improved Marshall Williamson in second and Charles Landis in third. Bowman Jeff Coulter said Dean Johnson’s Andrews 21 had a shot at third until the Sunday winds locked the spin pole to the mast, collapsing their final two races.

Sport Boat Champ Mike Hester won the fall in a tiebreaker. Photo from February by Mike Ferring

Mike Hester went into the final weekend with a huge lead in PHRF Sport Boat, but his weekend ended with a bang—a collision before the start of the first race Saturday. This time the starboard side of his boat was battered and shrouds frazzled. It was the port side of his Viper 640 Nectar Sled that splintered in a crash at the Viper Worlds just three months before.

Mark Trainor and Court Roberts had been sharing the tiller on Court’s Melges 24 until the final two-and-half weekends of racing, when Club Champ Joel Hurley stepped off his Santana 20 and began driving the Melges—aggressively and very well, of course. With Mike Hester on the trailer for the final weekend, the Court/Mark/Joel boat tied him for the series win, just losing in a tiebreaker.

Former Club Champ Scott Richards’ win in Santana 20 was his swan song before heading to a great job in Massachusetts. Past S20 winners Joel Hurley and Martin Lorch gave Scott a departing advantage by taking a couple weekends off.

Take a breath. After a two-month pause and maybe some “winter” racing, the spring series begins January 18.

Sign Up for the November 23 Governor’s Cup Regatta

The Governor’s Cup regatta will be Saturday, November 23, with the first boats starting at 12:30 pm from a start line at the south end of Lake Pleasant.

This is a pursuit race, so your handicap determines the time you start and your start time will be posted on the AYC website the day before the race, November 22nd. 

Awards will be given for the top-finishing multi-hull and the top-finishing monohull boats. The Governor’s Cup (a perpetual trophy) will be awarded to the top-finishing boat in the fleet with the most entrants. In addition to the prize for winning there will be other prizes available for boats that finish the race. Awards will be presented at the December AYC meeting. A brunch will be served starting at 10:00 am at Spinnaker Point as a pre-race social. The regatta costs $10.00 and you can sign up now using this link.  

Almost as big as he is: Martin Lorch hefts the Governor’s Cup after winning in 2017, flanked by crew James Morphis and Katie Yearly. At right: that year’s Event Organizer Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lazy, Crazy Daze of Autumn

The pictures tell the story. Surprisingly patient sailors waiting for a breath of air on Tempe Town Lake (11/10). Kick back, enjoy the sun. Don’t move or you’ll yank the laminar flow from the drooping sails.


Emory Heisler tries out a Sunfish in the reclining position. It was that kind of day. Photo: Mike Ferring

Seven Sunfish were out, decorating the water with colorful reflections. Longtime Sunfish sailor Gary Oberbeck showed the others the way around the lake, as he has all fall (you know he’s doing well when his 20% discards included first-place finishes).

Paul Miachika and Will Zornik headed the Lasers, with Paul winning two races and Will one. The Bic kids showed more sense than the adults: they went in early.


Concentration on a light-air day. The kids had it figured out. Photo: Mike Ferring

The C14 fleet was on race committee, a large gathering of them, including but probably missing several, Ron and Lynn Simzyk, John and Joyce Mayall, Mike and Maryellen Ferring, and David Henning.

The Sunfish lit the lake with color. Photo: Mike Ferring

Will Zornik focuses downwind. Photo: Mike Ferring

Clay Poulson watches for flow. Photo: Mike Ferring

Paul Miachika managed to be out front on two out of three races. Photo: Mike Ferring

Gary Oberbeck shows the other Sunfish the way around the course. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lori Reger loves to cruise around TTL watching the races. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lake Pleasant Week 4 with Tucson Sailing Club Joint Gathering

By Marshall Williamson, Spin Fleet Captain 

The Lake Pleasant Fall Series experienced “No” to light winds on Saturday (11/2) and the usual stronger winds early Sunday, but diminishing by late morning. The C22s were sailing Saturday, while Santana 20s, Sportboats, and Thistles were out both days, getting in two finishes Saturday and four on Sunday.

Tucson Sailing Club: Photo by Marshall Williamson

Many thanks to the large number of spin fleet folks who came out for RC both days: Paul Liszewski, Steve Nahkala, and Bob Brie did a great job handling PRO duties. Cindy Williamson Creech spent all day Saturday photographing those on the water, seeking a full spinnaker, which was a rarity.  

The post-racing “social” at Spinnaker Point was a big hit, and drew a record crowd! Sponsored by AYC and Tucson Sailing Club, specialty burgers, zesty chicken, and cold beverages were enjoyed by all. Special thanks to the J/24 Jim Bird crew; Eric Whiteman and friend Sarah who brought a large pot of delicious vegan gumbo. Tom Creech contributed a tasty “Indiana corn salad” which rounded out dinner.



Buccaneer 18 Championship Had It All!

By Rob Gibbs

From high winds to no wind, from recycling to composting, and from DC to Alaska, the 2019 running of the Buccaneer North American Championship had it all! The regatta was held at Lake Pleasant, Arizona from 22-26 October. We had teams from Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alaska and of course the home teams from Arizona. The food was magnificent, the camaraderie was jovial, and the competition fierce!

Kudos and Thanks!

Regattas don’t happen without a lot of effort and volunteers. All of the competitors gave much thanks to the Race Committee that consisted of PRO Wendy Larsen, Scorer Dave Christensen, Mark Boat Driver Mike Grijalva, Committee Members Jo Grijalva, Dale Buccanan, Chuck Landis, Bob Naylor, and Lori Reger. We also had Shore Crew! Deb Heisler helped organize the on-site food, which was a homemade TACO EXTRAVAGANZA on Wednesday night, and catered-in Mexican food on Friday night, as well as continental breakfast every morning and a sandwich and snack line.

Green Team Leader Deb Heisler and all the “Landfill Trash” that we produced in five days!

Clean Regatta

This event met all the criteria set by Sailors for the Sea to qualify for the Silver Level Clean Regatta Certification. This is no small feat. There were 13 Best Practices that we chose to comply with, some easy like giving out practical gear as regatta trophies. Others were more difficult, like composting and doing “paperless” regatta management. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Rear Commodore Deb Heisler for her efforts to earn this certification.

Racing Recap

The Tuesday practice afternoon was fluky even by Lake Pleasant standards, with the wind shifting from south to west from the 10 Lane Boat Ramp. Mostly, the practice day is just to make sure you put the boat together correctly and shake out the cobwebs a bit, so everyone had fun with it.

Wednesday morning race day came and it was all game faces. The Skipper’s Meeting came with just a few questions, and then it was go time. Four races, all in pretty good breeze, came and went, and a trend in the scores began to appear, but the real story was the forecast for Thursday.

With no wind forecast less than 20kts all day and gusts into the 40s forecast for Thursday, it was an easy, however disappointing, decision to cancel for the day. Several out-of-town groups found their way to local breweries as everyone sought shelter from the relentless wind. That night gusts were recorded over 50kts, which made Friday a tenuous decision for the Regatta Management Team. With racing set to start at 9, sustained winds in the high teens and gusts in the low 20’s, with 4 foot, wind-driven waves demanded yet another postponement.

Racing was then set to start at 10, and while the forecast had wind dissipating, those who jumped out on the water found out very quickly that mother nature had not been informed of the forecast. Now on the water, postponement with more signals ashore was decided as people took shelter at the north and south ramps and the Pleasant Harbor courtesy docks. Finally, at 11:30, after taking multiple readings on the water and reviewing several more forecasts, racing would start at 12:30.

The wind did dissipate some and the wind driven waves were in the 1-2 foot range by 12:30. The first race of the day tested skippers and crew as it was at the top end of the range for racing the Bucc 18. Everyone stayed upright and we got four solid races in as the wind continued to relent into the afternoon and overnight.

Saturday was the final day, and it started early with good breeze, but it wouldn’t be Lake Pleasant without a bit of a drifter, and the third and final race of the day ended on just that. A course that was shortened at the south mark.


Joel Hurley and Tony Chapman – Bucc 18 Champs!

The Bucc Fleet has a strong history of honoring not only the winning skipper, but also the crew. On a two-person boat, the skipper and crew relationship is very important and can make or break the team. In fact, some of the owners were actually crewing their boats. The Bucc 18 Fleet Champion Trophy has both skipper and crew listed on it. In honor of one of Arizona Yacht Club’s winningest Bucc crew and one of the best sailors, either at the helm or as crew, that I’ve ever known. The Bucc 18 fleet commissioned the Crew Trophy in Honor of Dennis Martinelli. Finally, the B-Fleet trophy was created in order to encourage sailors to come out and improve their skills. But once you’ve won it, you are banished from the B’s! For all the scores, you can visit the scores page here.

  • The B-Fleet Trophy was awarded to Tom Gage and crew Sue Goodglick from Big Lake Sailing Club Alaska
  • In third place overall from Denver Sailing Association, Dave Spira with AYC crew Vanessa Wisbaum
  • In second place overall, from Potomac River Sailing Association, Jeff Neurauter with crew Heather Howard
  • Finally, in first place overall, from the Arizona Yacht Club, Joel Hurley with crew Antony Chapman. Joel and Tony had a total of 12 points over 11 races.

Additionally, we have some other awards: The Centurion award goes to the highest-finishing boat with a combined crew age over 100, which went to Dave Spira and Vanessa Wisbaum. The Oldest Boat award went to Jim Irwin for his early copy of the now revered Nickels Bucc. And the Sportsmanship award went to AYC’s own Dave Newland. His was the only boat to have a failure, which caused him to be the only capsize. It happened on Thursday morning, right after the second postponement. He didn’t let that bother him, though. He went in, fixed the boat, toweled off, and he and his crew Matt Baker got right back after it.

Thanks to Chuck Landis, Deb Heisler, Dave Spira, and Wendy Larsen for the photo gallery!

The whole BNAC 2019 Gang!

Governor’s Cup Camping Weekend

By Heather McClain ~ Cruising Captain

To our campers and glampers, AYC is having a camping weekend the same weekend as Governor’s Cup, November 22nd to 24th.

It will be located on the 10-lane boat ramp side of the lake. Reserve your spot now! We will have games of cornhole, washers, and disc golf. During the day there are tons of hiking trails to explore and we will have paddle boards (and kayaks if we can get our hands on them!) if you want to try out a new sport. There’s even a free Archery 101 class on Saturday morning. At night we will have live music around the campfire and s’mores.  And we will have THE GLOVE (those who attended the August campout know what I’m talking about)!

Click here to reserve your spot at Lake Pleasant Regional Park.  We are attempting to camp close to one another, as the campground is quite large.  If you want to camp near fellow AYC members, stay at the Desert Tortoise campground on Den Loop or Bajada Loop, campsites 133 to 162. Currently there are 11 spots left for the weekend. Please contact Cruising Captain Heather McClain with any questions. (cruising@arizonayachtclub.org) See you there!