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Gorgeous Day for Tall Cactus

The sun and the wind cooperated for the Tall Cactus Regatta Saturday (4/27), as organizer Mike Parker sent boats this way and that before we stumbled over the confused wind of Humbug, scrambling the results.

Tall Cactus brought out Scott McClintock and the Rio Hondo 40 with Emory Heisler at the helm. Photo: Mike Parker

Tall Cactus brought out Scott McClintock and the Rio Hondo 40 with Emory Heisler at the helm. Photo: Mike Parker

Boats left the start line near Pleasant Harbor Marina in order of PHRF rating, slower boats followed by faster ones and non-spins sent on a shorter course than the spins—just the kind of fun design that suits a for-fun regatta like this one.

The spins headed to the Coles Bay marker, trying to make out which floating white post was the one with the right words on it. Chuck Sears decided on a “no wake” for rounding, and then we all charged off for Castle Creek, around Balance Rock and Horse and then to the chaos of Humbug, to pick our way through the warm-weather revelers, trying to adjust to wind that’s this way and then that way, stopping and then big-puffing.

Greg Jackson on his Viper and Court Roberts on his Melges 24 decided to risk spinnakers after the first twisty blow forced everybody to pull them down NOW. It worked and Greg barely finished ahead of Court at the finish, joining Chuck Sears who had already arrived. Bob Worrall onboard Spirit, his C22, was the first non-spin across, chased by various other C22s.

Mike Parker stoked up the fire for an evening on the beach and a proper end to a fun day on the water.

Here’s a link to pictures that Mike took.

While AYC Races, LPSC Kicks Back with Lobster

What do you get when a great idea is paired up with hard work and a dedicated volunteer group? A fantastic Lake Pleasant Sailing Club (LPSC) weekend at Lake Pleasant!

Roland Cleveland and his group of volunteers put on a great LPSC inaugural event the weekend of April 18-21. Even a last-minute change of venue didn’t throw a wrench in the works. By Friday night, the campers were circled, the sailboats were secure, the campfire was lit and the marshmallows were melting.

Saturday morning brought more sailboats, campers, kayaks, etc. Around noon, 10 LPSC sailboats gathered near Scorpion Bay to begin a game of Follow the Leader around the lake. Led by Deedy and Doug Payne on Island Time, the crews showed off their best tacking and gybing maneuvers. The event ended when 15+ mph winds forced the crews to quickly lower their sails and seek a safe anchorage.

Dinner was quite the affair as the grills were fired up, the water was set to boil, and the side dishes began to appear on the tables. Hamburgers, hotdogs, and even lobster filled the plates of hungry sailors and campers alike.

Sunday morning dawned sunny and cool, as some members took to the water in boats and kayaks for an end of the weekend cruise. Others chose to pack up and head home to prepare for the work week. As the chairs were folded and the gear stowed, everyone agreed this event is sure to become a yearly tradition.

—Rhonda Brewer, LPSC

Tall Cactus Regatta Sails Saturday, April 27

Register now for the Tall Cactus Regatta:

Register Now

Here’s a list of people entered so far.

We call it the Tall Cactus Regatta, an easy-breezy tour of Lake Pleasant from the north launch area at Pleasant Harbor, meandering though coves and around islands, ending up in the upper end of Humbug Cove.

Once you arrive, set your anchor, and wrap up a well deserved siesta, the smell of an outback BBQ will be drifting over the anchorage, followed shortly by the club runabout motoring by to collect you for food, a bit of competition for the bean pot, and Mike Parker’s special secret rum punch.

This may be the year we get a Catalina 22 into First to Finish. Almost had it last year.

Details:

Saturday, April 27, 9am skippers meeting. 11am start. The starting sequence will be based on PHRF rating of your boat, with the highest numbers leaving first.

Three courses: Spin, non-spin, and dinghy will be published on the web, available by email, and at Lake Pleasant before the race.

Cost: $25 per entry. Each entry comes with one dinner. Each additional dinner is $10. Kids under 16 eat free.

Menu: Salmon burger, Pork Ribs, Chicken, Top Sirloin Steak, Salad, Rolls, Desert, Kid Food, and Drinks.

Entry and dinner purchases will be available at www.arizonayachtclub.org and you can enter just the race (and not order dinners) at the Skippers Meeting.

—Mike Parker, Cruising Captain

Lake Pleasant Vista. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lake Pleasant Vista. Photo: Mike Ferring

LPSC Will Not Dye Lake Pleasant Green

Because we don’t live in Chicago, don’t expect Lake Pleasant to be dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. But Lake Pleasant Sailing Club (LPSC) can expect a great day of sailing and an even greater raft up on March 9-10.

The day will start with a Pot-of-Gold Treasure Hunt on Lake Pleasant. Ten numbered pots of gold will be hidden on the shore around the lake. You’ll be given 10 clues to help you find the treasure. In order to confirm your success, you must take a digital picture of  each pot-of-gold. The boat  crew with the most pictures will win a prize. In case of a tie, your cruise directors will think of some blarney-inspired way to declare one winner at the raft up that follows. Watch for more details on the LPSC website.

At 4 pm the Paynes and the Goldmans are hoping you’ll join them for a fun, blarney-filled raft-up in a location yet to be announced. Be ready to party hearty with the LPSC Irish and/or Irish wannabees. They’re planning a contest to test your knowledge of Irish trivia and a limerick competition. Please bring an appetizer or dessert to share (the more Irish-themed the better). Please plan to enjoy dinner on your own boat. Watch Meetup, the website and email for more details. Of course, all AYC members are invited to join LPSC at this event.

—Rhonda Brewer

Southern California Racing Calendar

Here’s a link to the 2013 calendar for the Southern California Yachting Association, which includes the Arizona Yacht Club.

Click to link to the full publication.

Click image to link to the full publication.

Lake Pleasant Sailing Club Sweetheart Cruise

Traditionally February is the month Mardi Gras, Presidential birthdays, and of course love. This year is no exception! On Saturday, February 9, Lake Pleasant Sailing Club (LPSC) members and AYC members are invited to sail Lake Pleasant for one of LPSC’s most popular events—the Sweethearts Cruise. However, because new cruise directors, Tim and Rhonda Brewer, are trying to change things up a bit, a couple of new features will be added to the day.

As usual, only females will be allowed to “man” the tiller or the wheel during the race. The gender  and number of crew members are completely up to the skipper, but crew is restricted to sail trim and serving duties. Skippers are invited to meet at the BBQ area of the Lake Pleasant Marina before the race to register their crew and to participate in the pre-race fashion show. Each skipper will earn a one-minute time credit for each piece of pink attire her crew is wearing—up to 10 minutes/boat.

In addition to a description of the cruising course, each skipper will be given a packet of activities that may be completed during the race for additional time credit. Be sure to have a working radio on your boat. As you can see, the Sweetheart Trophy is up for grabs this year!

As always, AYC members are invited to join this event—the more the merrier!

By Rhonda Brewer, LPSC

Icebergs on Lake Pleasant?

The Lake Pleasant Sailing Club’s first on-the-water event is scheduled for January 26, the first full-moon weekend of the year.

However, LPSC staff meteorologists have predicted that cold weather in late January may create icebergs on the lake. Being the hearty, civic-minded sailors that we are, we have decided to combine our Moonlight Cruise with an Iceberg Retrieval Mission. But of course, before we brave the cold, iceberg-ridden waters we will need to fortify ourselves with food and libations. So, plan to meet at the Waterfront Grill at the Pleasant Harbor Marina for a pre-mission, no-host dinner at 6 pm. Bring empty Thermoses to be filled with hot chocolate.

The mission plan is to be on the water between 8 and 9 pm with full bellies and Thermoses, ready to retrieve those pesky icebergs. Make sure you outfit your boat with the official iceberg retrieval tool—a boat hook. Additional information and supplies will be shared at dinner.

As with all sailing events this year, members who would like to overnight raft up after the event are invited to organize and choose a location. There are usually guest slips available at Pleasant Harbor Marina for $20/night.

As with most LPSC events, Arizona Yacht Club members are welcome to participate. Please consider joining us for the first planned on-the–water activity of the year.

Rhonda Brewer, LPSC

Gorgeous Conditions for Governor’s Cup

Emory Heisler aboard Chris Smith’s J/80 as the sun begins to set on Lake Pleasant. Photo: Chris Smith.

Temperatures in the mid-80s, wind mostly in the comfy 8-10. Pretty much perfect—and the sailors who spent the Governor’s Cup Saturday (11/24) sailing to and fro on Lake Pleasant were pretty much all smiles.

How do you sail 26.2 miles on Lake Pleasant? According to the diabolical plan of organizer Mike Parker, you do it by sailing north, south, east, and west in intersecting lines around obscure buoys, a floating porta-potty, and a couple islands. Surprisingly, the wind was willing to play along. William Fairchild brought his runner’s GPS along for the ride on Peter Hartleb’s J/80 and found that they logged just over 28 miles for the race, finding they didn’t need to do much upwind tacking that could have lengthened the race.

That pirate planner, Mike Parker. Photo: Fatima Chaoui.

In fact, the first finishers were back home before dark and didn’t need the nearly-full moon for navigation. Who won that gigantic Governor’s Cup Trophy? We’re waiting for word from the official scorekeeper and maybe some more conversation about which of those obscure buoys were intended to be rounding marks. All to be sorted out shortly, we hope.

From left: Keith Kintigh, new members Austin and Kirsten Clary, and Brenda Shears tense up for one of the mark roundings during the all-day Governor’s Cup Regatta. Photo: Fatima Chaoui.

Gathering for the morning start to the 26-mile race. Photo: Fatima Chaoui.

Gorgeous conditions during the 2012 Governor’s Cup, with good breeze and warm temperatures. Photo: Fatima Chaoui.

John Bagwell Elected New LPSC Commodore

By Rhonda Brewer, LPSC

Season’s Greetings from the LPSC! It’s difficult to believe that another year has passed, and yet none of the AYC or LPSC club members look a day older! It must be the fresh air and exercise we all get while sailing on our beautiful Lake Pleasant.

LPSC Board elections took place in November and a new board, led by Commodore John Bagwell, is already planning fun and educational water-based and land-based activities for next year. Of course, AYC members are invited to join almost all LPSC events.

LPSC members will be celebrating this festive season with a Christmas Party at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course on December 8.  Besides sharing great food, beverages, and conversation, members will be shuttled to the Tempe Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade. Rumor has it that at least one LPSC member will be participating in the parade.

LPSC members Steve and Helen Eshleman are organizing members to cooks and serve breakfast on Saturday, January 19 for Leukemia Cup participants.  LPSC members look forward to supporting the AYC at this yearly event.

We wish all AYC members a safe and happy 2013!

Governor’s Cup Regatta Offers Long-Distance Fun

By Mike Parker, AYC Cruising Director

Does the little sailboat racer inside of you feel a bit cramped, congested, or perhaps confined?

Don’t race much, but want to have a “semi structured” event to cruise our fine Lake Pleasant—perhaps exploring new stretches of water?

Is that a trophy or what? Court Roberts hefts the Governor’s Trophy, won last year aboard his Melges 24. Photo: Mike Ferring

Leave our excellent “round the buoys” racing for a day and stretch your sea legs for 26.2 miles up, down, and around Lake Pleasant in the  Arizona Yacht Club 2012 Governors Cup Regatta.

Aside from the fame and fortune, you could become the proud caretaker for 12 glorious months of the largest trophy AYC has to offer.

This year’s regatta will be similar to last year’s, with a start off the south Pleasant Harbor Marina entrance buoy, crisscrossing the lake, and ending up at the north ramp No Wake zone.

Preliminary guidelines (really):

  • There will be strategic legs that round the floating pottys (just in case crew needs to go)
  • Uber close legs near the bar/restaurants on the water, with phone numbers on the map for pickup orders
  • Open water legs (as much as we have in Arizona) will be scheduled for the later parts of the race, just in case darkness falls before the end
  • Multiple classes with take-home trophies for top finishers
  • A special prize for the most “Holiday Inspired” boat and crew (and TLAPD is a Holiday)
  • Minimal entry fee and NO WHINING! — mostly because your Cruising Director wants to race too this year.

And this addition:

I have received some questions about the Governor’s Cup Regatta that I would like to share with those interested, along with my answers.

  1. Will there be a short course for small boats.
  2. YES, there will be a “Half Marathon” of 13.1 miles, same start – Portsmouth only
  3. Will there be a Single Handed class? If I have 5 boats that want to race single-hand that can fall into ONE rating system, I will make it happen. Fleets will be determined from registrations completed Tuesday, November 20.
  4. Will there be “Course Marks” distinguished from other navigation aids? The course marks are islands, floating potties, and navigation buoys. All are listed in order and GPS coordinates are included on the long race SI.
  5. For the buoys, your requirement is to round one buoy in the direct vicinity, along a line of buoys. You can round whatever one is more convenient, trying not to gain a DISTANCE advantage. I have tried to make the approaches to the buoy lines equidistant from the previous mark. Of course, not as sexy as 7 Vipers rounding one mark all together with the yelling and churning up the water, but you can watch that during the Fall and Spring  Series and the Birthday Regatta.
  6. YOU will be the Race Committee. Keep an eye on your fellows on the water, encourage and assist as needed.

I have received some questions about the Governor’s Cup Regatta that I would like to share with those interested, along with my answers.

1.       Will there be a short course for small boats

a.       YES, there will be a “Half Marathon” of 13.1 miles, same start – Portsmouth only

2.       Will there be a Single Handed class

a.       If I have 5 boats that want to race single handed that can fall into ONE rating system, I will make it happen.  Fleets will be determined from registrations completed Tuesday, November 20.

3.       Will there be “Course Marks” distinguished from other navigation aids?

a.       The course marks are Islands, Floating Potties, and navigation buoys.   All are listed in order and GPS coordinates are included on the long race SI.

b.      For the buoys, your requirement is to round one buoy in the direct vicinity, along a line of buoys.  You can round whatever one is more convenient, trying not to gain a DISTANCE advantage.  I have tried to make the approaches to the buoy lines equidistant from the previous mark.   Of course, not as sexy as 7 Vipers rounding one mark all together with the yelling and churning up the water, but you can watch that during the Fall and Spring  Series and the Birthday Regatta.

4.       YOU will be the Race Committee.  Keep an eye on your fellows on the water, encourage and assist as needed. 

Ladies Day at the Lake

AYC is pleased to support the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club’s third Ladies Day@the Lake on November 10.

Please pass this info along to any woman you know who would like to learn more about sailing. There will be something for every skill level. Instructors include Mike and Maryellen Ferring, Fran Weber — winner of the 2012 SCWSA Peggy Slater Award, Nancy Erley, Lynn Buchanan and other notable sailors.

The Ladies’ Day@the Lake is a day-long, sailing summit for women sponsored by Lake Pleasant Sailing Club (LPSC). It is designed to introduce women to and/or enhance their skills in recreational boating through both land-based seminars and on-the-water workshops.

Five packages are available to choose from, each specially designed with classes complementing each other to give the student a comprehensive day of instruction at their level of sailing experience. Our instructors have been carefully selected for their subject knowledge and instruction skills. A small teacher-to-student ratio in these courses will assure students will receive personal attention.

All instruction, light breakfast, use of boats, water, goodie bag, course materials and a box lunch are included in the $85 fee for the Day@the Lake. Take advantage of this sure-to-be-fun learning opportunity. Remember, course enrollment is limited and registration closes on November 3rd or when a course is full. Don’t be left watching from the shore!

PACKAGES

Welcome Aboard / novice
Full day in the classroom and on-the-water
For the newbie to learn the ropes, parts of the boat and what makes a sailboat work. Then take the helm of a sailboat to practice capturing the power of the wind. (All day classroom, dock-side and on-the water instruction.) This package includes the basics of boating safety, sailing terminology, points of sail, rules for Arizona waterways with hands-on sailing experience.

Pleasure Sailing / novice & experienced
Day sailing, vacation cruising and blue water sailing
Its all about having more fun. During this package students will review rules of sailing, best safety practices, preparation to get your boat underway as well as learn tips and more from experienced sailors and cruisers.

The Accomplished Sailor / intermediate to advanced
Reach the next level
Women choosing this package will learn ways to better make the boat do what they want. Participants will practice essential skills, discover tips and use practical skill building exercises to take them to the next level.

Racing 101 / novice & experienced
For friendly competition
Sailboat racing offers many opportunities to hone skills and stretch sailing legs. As an introduction to the exciting world of sailboat racing, this course package will culminate in a just-for-fun race. (must know port and starboard!)

Take a Kayak / novice or experienced 
Learn the basics 
Get a solid start or refresh your knowledge for flat water kayaking. Course focuses on safely taking a kayak for exercise, enjoyment and exploring the far reaches of Lake Pleasant and elsewhere.

Further information and registration available here.
Debbie Huntsman
Lake Pleasant Sailing Club
Commodore

623.780.8787

How to Charter a Sailboat at the “Pre-Meeting Meeting”

The ideal as sold in countless charter advertisements.

I think one of the great pleasures of sailing comes when a charter company in some exotic place hands you the keys to an expensive sailboat and tells you to “shove off.” Soon after I post this, Maryellen and I will catch the end of the Whidbey Island Regatta and then spend a week on a boat in the San Juan Islands. Cool, huh?

[Note: as of August 4, this meeting is full so we can’t accept any more RSVPs. Because of the positive response, we’ll hold more of these pre-meeting meetings, perhaps even on this same subject.]

If you’ve thought chartering seemed like a fun thing but didn’t know where to start, or you’ve done a little but would like to do more, join us before the next AYC monthly meeting for an informal conversation on charter destinations, costs, and procedures. During this 30-minute “pre-meeting meeting” at 6pm on Tuesday, August 14, you can ask questions of frequent-charterer Ralph Vatalaro, Maryellen, and me. We’ll do it for two people or 10, but no more than that, so send me an email to reserve your spot. We’ll gather around a table at the Caddy Shack @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe. (map)

This “pre-meeting meeting” concept is the brainchild of Vice Commodore Decker Williams and the charter idea came from Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock (who’s right now chartering in Canada). If we get some interest, we’ll do it on various topics throughout the year.

—Commodore Mike Ferring

MDR-SD Race and Catalina Weekend

Next up on the AYC calendar: the Marina del Rey to San Diego race plus the traditional weekend at the Isthmus on Catalina Island. The gathering at the Isthmus will happen Friday-Sunday, July 6-8. It includes games and food with the SMWYC, as usual. Contact Matt Clark of SMWYC to let him know you’re coming. And contact AYC Cruising Captain Mike Parker for further information.

This is the 45th year the race has been held, and our partners at the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club are hoping for a very big turnout. Here’s their appeal:

We’re doing the 45th MDR to San Diego Anniversary running of this prestigious event which in the past drew over 350 boats. This year, we would really like to reach 45 boats for the 45th running.

We’re planning on having a great pre-race party with a professional band, award-winning BBQ cookery from Big Mista and we’re expecting so many people that we’re hosting it in our parking lot.

It’s an easy event, starting right in our Marina, and now we have professional weather routing services for the race.

We’re starting the San Diego race on Saturday June 30th and will finish in San Diego on the 1st in time for the 4th of July on Wednesday.

We’re also having a return cruise to Catalina if you have the inclination, at the same time as Del Rey Yacht Club, which is going there on the 5th of July for the fireworks. Here’s the SD-MDR NOR.

Marina del Rey to San Diego to Isthmus 2012

It’s one of the fun weeks of the summer: the Marina del Rey to San Diego race followed by the gathering at Catalina Island at the Isthmus.

Here’s the notice of race for the MDR-SD portion, the weekend of 6/30-7/1.

Then we’ll gather at the Isthmus on July 6-8 for the annual event with the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club (SMWYC). For those who haven’t done this before, you should know that our friends from SMWYC put on a great weekend, with barbeque, volleyball, horseshoes, and a fun race of some kind for the Commodores or the Commodore’s representative. AYC participation has dropped off in the last couple years, but Cruising Captain Mike Parker says he plans to be there and hopes you’ll join him.

More details of the Isthmus event still to come.

New Year’s Day Raft Up in Cole’s Bay!

I hadn’t heard anything else about this so I thought I would post something…I’m going to leave the dock around 10:00 with hopes to make it to Cole’s Bay in the 12:00 hour.  Forecast looks pretty good!  Hope to see you out there…

 

2011 Marina Del Rey to San Diego

MDR to SD is 2-3 July!

Get your Race Documents!  Right Here! Comment back if you are participating!

Flyer

NOR

SI

(This is not the official MDR-SD site…use the docs at your own peril.)



44th Marina Del Rey to San Diego Race

As you may be aware, the date for the 44th Marina Del Rey to San Diego Race this July 2-3rd is coming up real soon.

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally invite you to participate in this great event celebrating the birth of our Nation, which has for years been one of the premier events in our Marina Del Rey and in the coast of California offered by Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club and Southwestern Yacht Club.

Specially this year since the Marina Del Rey to Puerto Vallarta has been canceled, this would be a great opportunity for us all to enter this event, start in our own Marina, race down to a GREAT location within the safety of our borders and still be back in time for your own barbeque plans if you so desire.

As a further incentive, the first 20 entries will receive a free event T-Shirt, we are to have a great party at our club on the 1st of July (Friday) with Painkiller’s Rum with Chocolate covered Strawberries specials, a BBQ dinner to start the festivities and a breakfast to participants and their crews on the morning of the 2nd prior to the start of the skipper’s meeting.

So get organized, get the crew and boat ready and come party down with us and a relaxed cruise back as we celebrate the freedom that a race such as this brings.
For more information, visit us at our website SMWYC .org, call us at 310-827-7692 or contact me
Themis Z. Glatman at 818-425-8752.

Tall Cactus Registration Form

Hello all!

The registration form for the TALL CACTUS Regatta is posted HERE and on the RACING PAGE.

Thanks!

The Big Cactus is Coming!

As in…..The Tall Cactus Regatta and Siesta – Lake Pleasant, April 30, 2011. SKIPPERS MEETING 9AM. START TIME 10:30am

Yes, it’s time to wrap up the general club activities at Lake Pleasant for the season with a final Fun Race and BBQ before we spend the rest of the 100+ degree summer daze hiding from Del Sol.

The lake should be brimming full for us to venture out from the safety of the lower lake and explore the upper reaches and coves with a finish line the north end of Humbug Cove.

The cove is bordered with high cliffs and is fairly wide. About mid-afternoon, the winds are typically blowing out of the South for an exciting spinnaker or wing and wing run. The sight of a half dozen colorful spinnakers drifting down the cove with the deep blue water and sky, the canyon walls turning many shades of red, passing around and through the on looking crowds is amazing.

If you are able to weave you way through the party boats, and resist the sirens calls to join them, the cove opens up nicely to a large basin to the finish line, with good anchor holding. You should finish with time to relax, take a swim, board other boats to revel, or take a nap.

The cove also has a few excellent spots for a secluded sunset dinner under the stars. There is also plenty of shoreline for any daysailors to beach, or tie up to a furniture boat for the post race activities.

Dinner this year will be steak or chicken, corn on the cob (campfire style) with salads, desert, and my now infamous Spiced Rum Punch!

This is it for the NOR and Sailing instructions will be handed out at the skippers meeting Saturday at 9am. If you would like an electronic copy, I will post it on the web and send return emails to those requesting.

The start will be a 10:30am near the PH Marina Dam side entrance with a reverse PHRF order so the faster boats starting after the slower boats. The idea is to have everyone finish at the same time.

There will be a ferry barge to shuttle participants to and from the campsite to your boat at posted intervals, typically one roundup to bring you in and one or two (depending on finding a skipper) to take you back to your boat. Bring a dinghy if you can. The barge has a limited use bathroom for participant use.

Campers are able to reach the site by truck, but I would not drive a low clearance minivan or small tire car there. Maps of the campsite will also be available.

Cost is $25 per boat, that includes one dinner. Additional dinners are $10. Kids (16 and under) eat free. Sign up should be online soon. If you prefer, you may email me your entry and bring a check or cash Saturday.

DEADLINE FOR DINNER REQUESTS IS:
@@ IN MY HAND APRIL 25 @@

You don’t have to pay by then, but I gota know cause I am shopping Tuesday.

Questions, comments, observations: reach me at azexpedition@gmail.com

Fair Winds
Michael Parker
Crusing Captain

My First – THE FIRST – Governors Cup 1994

 By Dennis Lynde

Well, this is from quite a while ago, but I was asked to recall a former Governors cup that I had participated in and my first was THE FIRST.

In 1994 I was working for The Sailboat Shop and had the pleasure of selling a new Hunter 26, which he named Wit’s End, to Cliff McCrumb, a Phoenix police officer, and real nice guy.  He and his wife were going to go cruising, but his dad is a long time sailor also and had owned a few sailboats.

Hunter had just come out with their new 26, which was a real departure from previous Hunters, and had a lot of freeboard, a centerboard, full batten main and working jib. You really could not put a large headsail on this boat, since the shrouds were all led to the outside of the deck and hull which prohibited an overlapping jib. This was really a cruiser with a lot of space below, an open transom and a large cockpit.

Cliff decided he would like to try his hand at racing, which he’d never done, so I volunteered to crew for him, and along with a friend of his, Tom Comtois, we decided to enter this new race.  This was the First AYC Governor’s Cup.

Back then, the new dam at Lake Pleasant had just been completed the year before, and none of us were real familiar with the new lake, and it was in the process of still filling, so this sounded like a real fun challenge and a cool way to learn the new lake.

In 1994 the race was held on January 1st, pretty cold at night, but beautiful during the day. Cliff rented a slip at the then new marina and launched before I got there. When I arrived, like any good racing sailor, I asked him if he had cleaned out the cruising gear for the race, and could I get him a cart to take everything off the boat. He said don’t bother, we would race it like it was equipped, and we did. Sleeping bags, BBQ’s, two anchors, batteries, dinnerware, cushions, heaters, etc, etc, and with all the lockers full to the brim. I couldn’t touch a thing.

With “Wit’s End” being a new boat, Cliff only had 2 sails, a working jib, and full batten mainsail (if you don’t have one, get one). The full batten main was a new toy for mono hulls back then. Anyway, we entered the non-spinnaker class, which was a 2 lap 25 mile race of the lake. There was also a 4 lap 50 mile course for the spinnaker boats. Thank goodness we did not enter that class.

Starting out there was a good size fleet, and I don’t remember if we had 2 starts or just one combined fleet start, but there was very little wind and not much to come for quite a while. We settled into drifting mode, I was on the helm, trying not to pinch in a boat that had a lot of freeboard and a small headsail, but lo and behold, because of the small headsail, which was easier to fill in light to no wind, and the full batten main, we were out pointing all the boats that had a large headsail up and a standard main.

This kept up the whole first leg of the race, with this sail and wind combination being just right. And with even with all the gear on board, during a lull we had plenty of momentum to carry us through.

It took us the better part of a day just to get to the far end of the lake and find the first mark, which was a small buoy with flashing yellow highway emergency lights, not very bright, and prone to slipping off to one side of the buoy. Well, we found the marks at the far end of the lake, rounded them alright and tried to make compass references on the chart (remember, no GPS back then).

We finally finished the first lap in the light, and then it got interesting. It was not a full moon, and it got dark at the back of the lake real quickly. We fumbled our way through the course in the black of night, with absolutely no lights at that end of the lake. Luckily we had a wide assortment of flashlights with us, (remember the full lockers) and were only scared 4 or 5 times when we would shine them down on the water and see rocks ghosting by  a short distance away. Also luckily we had all brought winter gloves and jackets, and Cliff pulled a propane heater out and set it in the cockpit next to our feet.  Cruising Boat, remember?

We rounded the last mark and headed for the finish line at the other end of the lake at about 11:30pm and THEN the wind kicked in. We had a broad reach in about 15 knots of wind for the rest of the race and made it back down the lake in about 45 minutes, just screaming along.  We had lost sight and sound of all the other boats and had no idea of where any of the competition was. We finished about 12:19, and motored to the dock.

Cliff asked if we were hungry, pulled out his BBQ and proceeded to make pork chops, green beans and warm bread and coffee for the crew. Something warm to eat at 1:00 really hit the spot. Cruising boat, remember?

You can imagine our surprise the next day when we were awarded 1st place in our class. We thought it was pretty amazing, and even though it got cold that night, we had a great time, never ran aground and really enjoyed ourselves. If I remember correctly, some of the spinnaker boats were finishing the next morning after a 4 lap journey.

EDITORS NOTE:  Have a story from “back in the day” that you’d like to share?  Please contact Emory Heisler or Rob Gibbs by email at CompassPoints@ArizonaYachtClub.org