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How Do We Break Down Barriers to Racing?

By Mike Ferring

An event that works well. Martin Lorch hefts the Governor’s Cup, flanked by crew James Morphis and Katie Yearly. At right: Event Organizer Tom Errickson. Photo: Mike Ferring

In 2018, AYC membership is higher than ever, with 235 member families as of June 1. We have active series at two lakes, well-attended monthly meetings with interesting speakers, a nonprofit arm in ASF with sold-out adult classes and well-subscribed kids’ classes, and large entries in the Birthday Regatta, Governor’s Cup, Tall Cactus and Ruth Beals Cup. We have high-level equipment to run our races. Our club communication, event registration, and governance are all excellent.

Yet, it’s smart to look for ways to improve. Is our membership getting gray? If so, how do we recruit and engage younger members and their children? While registration for “event” races is very good and series entries are still strong, not as many boats are showing up on the race course. How do we get more out?

Commodore Rob Gibbs has set up four committees to create various initiatives to strengthen the club, including one aimed at building the racing program, which I think is the core of the club.

Below are some thoughts, a combination of my own and those of a group of hard-core racers we pulled together for an hour recently: George Sheller, Martin Lorch, Joel Hurley, Skip Kempff, and Scott Richards. If you’re looking for solid answers, this is not the place. These are mostly questions and perspectives rather than answers or prescriptions. Here we go.

Overview

The task of growing the sport of sailing in Arizona confronts some broad society problems in addition to our own local ones:

  • Sailing has always been a minor sport, especially away from the coasts.
  • Boat sales have been low for years.
  • Participation in sailboat racing is dropping nationally.
  • There is increased fragmentation of all leisure activity.
  • There is general reluctance to commit time to any single activity.
  • Natural life cycles bring people in and out of sailing: career, kids, retirement, travel, health and fluctuations in disposable income.

AYC can’t change any of these mega trends, but we know we need to adapt our programs to them if we can. Our subcommittee has identified some of the barriers we might be able to influence:

  • Time commitment required for series racing.
  • Availability of crew.
  • Availability of boats.
  • Knowledge of the sport and its rules and the ability for new people to join the action.
  • Quality of the sailing: wind, competition, too many fleets and choices

Time Commitment

We now have more racing than at any time in the club’s 60-year history. Sailing in every event (as some of us do) requires a considerable time commitment. It also spreads our available entrants and boats across more sailing choices.

Choice is good, right? Options are good, especially in an era when there’s so much competition for our time. But it also means we’ll probably have fewer boats at each event.

This is seen most clearly in the spring and fall race series. At Lake Pleasant, Catalina 22, Multi-hull, and JaM fleets are scoring (and racing) Saturday only. On Sunday morning this spring it was not unusual to have 2-3 Thistles, 2-3 Sport Boats, and a half dozen Spins on the water. If one of those fleets was on RC, the numbers dropped. At TTL, we saw 4-6 14.2s, 4-6 Lasers, and 2-3 Portsmouth… and one of those fleets was always on race committee.

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

Do we need to increase throw outs so more people will participate? Or do throw outs simply mean “I don’t have to show up”? Is a season championship an outmoded concept? No one has proposed a good answer.

Members of our group noted that missing a weekend means giving up a good finishing position. You have to show up to place in nearly any of the fleets. Since it’s difficult to make all the races, do entrants simply give up and not bother to race other weekends as well? Instead of more throw-outs, is there a way to use the redress model and give missing racers an average of their other scores?

What is clear is that the one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, Tall Cactus) are working and appealing. They’re a small commitment, casual, and social. It’s a winning concept. But this caution: these events work partly because they’re unusual and special. Adding more would doubtless reduce the numbers for each.

Availability of Crew

We frequently hear skippers say they can’t find crew and we hear people who want to crew say they can’t find boats on which to sail. Clearly this is an issue we need to fix.

The group said we need to know more about the crew list people in order to decide whether to consider them. Possible answer: adding questions to the form and perhaps vetting all crew-list additions by phone to find out more about them and clarifying their commitment.

The key requirement for regular crew: to show up on time, every time, ready to race. Could we have a pool of people who would commit to sail on a given weekend and then make sure they get on boats? Would the new Go Sailing app help?

What about having a crew class where potential crew could learn the fundamentals? Or is the existing Introduction to Sailboat Racing class sufficient? (I think it should be.)

Availability of Boats

Paul Miachika silhouetted in Tempe Town Lake’s afternoon sun. Lasers are a popular one-design fleet. Photo: Mike Ferring

Sailors need boats and often new people don’t have boats, can’t afford boats, or aren’t ready to commit to a particular kind of boat. If they can’t crew, they drift away from the sport.

The adopt-a-boat program has been a boon, getting people onto boats who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sail and simultaneously strengthening the 14.2 fleet. But it has its limitations: people want to sail at times when the adopt-a-boat program isn’t operating. Is there a way to overcome this?

Is there a way to create a parallel keel-boat program? Would it be possible, for instance, to field a Tumbleweed Catalina 25 as a JaM entry with newbies onboard? Could we find a way to put a Catalina 22 or Santana 20 in play?

What about getting the juniors on board a keel boat for Lake Pleasant racing?

Why don’t people get their boats on the water? Many, including some board members, don’t do it. This might be a good target for a little market research.

Knowledge of the Sport

Are we doing enough to familiarize new people with the way the game is played? What additional classes or sailing opportunities could we provide to get people over the threshold and into the sport?

At one time, the club offered a “Challenger” fleet for new racers and put an experienced sailor on the boat for a while to help speed the orientation. It took a dedicated person to coordinate (Patty Rosky in that case), but it worked for a while.

Could we have a non-scored race weekend (or race day at TTL) where leaders of fleets could help people new to the fleet to compete better and to introduce new people to the different boats?

Quality of Competition

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that we can do to improve the wind. But what about the fleets?

Skip Kempff rightly says that the strength of the club depends on the strength of the fleets. How do we work to build them? Are there too many fleets for the number of competitors? Does this dilute the racing? How could we funnel boats into certain fleets to reduce fragmentation?

George Sheller would like to see us guide people into fewer types of one-design boats, perhaps C22, C14 and Laser. It’s unrealistic, he admits, to think that anyone would sell a PHRF boat to move into one of those fleets, but it might be possible to encourage newbies to go in that direction.

Thistle, Laser, and Santana 20 (and formerly Buccs) have been aggressive about finding boats for potential skippers, even lending them boats to try them out. How could we support this effort?

One stop-gap approach at Lake Pleasant would be to start more than one fleet at a time while scoring the fleets separately. For instance, one Sunday morning the Sport Boats started with the Spin fleet, which was more fun than sailing in a tiny fleet. However, Bob Worrall and I nearly came to blows on the VHF when I was PRO and wanted to start two JaM boats with the C22s. He wouldn’t hear of it. I think his viewpoint on this is short-sighted, but we’d need to get the Fleet Captains to agree if we go this way. (In contrast, Scott Richards and the Thistles welcomed the Fireballs into their start when there were three Fireballs racing.)

We also want to make sure there remains an avenue for those of us who enjoy higher-performance boats.

What can we do to support the fleets in attracting new members?

Summary

I hope this somewhat rambling essay can start the discussion. There are some specific steps we can take and others that will come from talking about it.

These include:

  • Continue to run and promote headline one-day events (Beals, Governor’s, and Tall Cactus)
  • Attack the issue of matching crew and skipper
  • Survey members to learn why they aren’t racing more often to discover answers
  • Look at providing boats for a few newbies
  • Consider combining fleets on starts
  • Funnel new members into existing one-design fleets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Beer Can Racing

Wednesday night organizer George Sheller. Photo: Mike FerringWhat are you doing Wednesday night? How about coming out for some highly casual racing at Tempe Town Lake?

We start racing at 5:30 and go until sundown. We do a one minute sequence. I have a whistle and signal: 5 short blasts is “AP down,” followed by a 10 second gap, then one long as the start of the one-minute countdown. I try to give 3 shorts at 30 seconds, 2 at 20, 1 at 10 and then one long for the start. A single 360 turn clears penalties. We set short courses, so we’ve gotten up to seven races in. If the Ferrings are there, we use their automated starting gadget.

This started as a Laser thing, but others started coming out, which was great. We all start together.

This is not an official AYC event, so you’re on your own in terms of a boat, liability and fun. We start promptly at 5:30 pm and if you miss one or two races it’s no big deal since we don’t keep scores. This is good practice, with bragging rights and then (for those who want to) off to a local restaurant for dinner and drinks.

Have questions?  Email me.

See you out there,
George Sheller

Scott Richards Scores Close Champ Win

Close starts for the 2018 Championship races. Click on the shots in the story to see bigger images. Photo: Mike Ferring

It all came down to the final race, the sixth of six. On a near-perfect sailing day at Lake Pleasant (if you’re not bothered by a few random puffs), Thistle champ Scott Richards held a single point lead over Laser winner Joel Hurley. Joel would have to beat Scott in this single race—and finish first or second to take the tie-breaker. If he could, he’d win the Club Championship.

This is the annual Arizona Yacht Club race that pits the person in each fleet with the best score for the combined fall and spring race series. Each year those fleet winners compete in one-design boats in a race of champions. This year, the boat was the Thistle.

About one minute before the start, Scott goes swimming. Photo: Mike Ferring

About one minute before the start of the final race, Scott Richards reached with his foot for the hiking strap. And missed. He was suddenly in the water, calling for sister Sharon to grab the tiller and head up so he could get back in the boat. Soaked and dazed, Scott still somehow managed a good start and joined five other Thistles in the race to the windward mark.

Scott Richards (green boat) rides a big puff to the windward mark. Joel Hurley (white boat left) has to tack to make it. Photo: Mike Ferring

Joel and crew Will Zornik sailed a better beat and was sliding up inside two others to round first—but then, a slight header, forcing a quick tack. Thirty feet away a burst of downdraft suddenly shot Scott ahead and around the mark in front of them.

Downwind, Joel kept looking for a way around. Lots of jibes and jockeying for position. He managed to slip in front of Scott, holding second in the race, trailing only Mike Hester. If he could hang on, he’d win it all. Then upwind: Scott chose the right and Joel the left. Right worked; left didn’t. By the finish Scott was a couple boats ahead and celebrating his first AYC Club Championship.

Leeward mark rounding on the final race. Joel rounds ahead of Scott, but chooses the wrong side for the final beat. Photo: Mike Ferring

This field included many of the club’s best sailors and they put on quite a show, with lots of lead changes and close tactics. Some of the best left frustrated. Seven-time champ Martin Lorch (sailing with former champ Trey Harlow) grumbled that he’d simply had a bad day.

Former champ Dave Haggart and wife Stacey started with a sixth and fifth, but then figured out the boat and scored a pair of bullets. Mike Parker and Tony Chapman struggled except they too won a race. Mike Hester and John Mayall, the reigning champs, sailed well, but a couple mid-pack finishes pulled them down to a close third overall at the end.

The workers: PRO Skip Kempff and his RC crew, including Tom Ohlin, Cedric Lorch, Tom Glover, David Newland, Maryellen and me. George Sheller had to miss the day, but he did the set-up and organization.

Special thanks to the Thistle fleet for providing their boats for the races!

 

Your 2018 AYC Club Champion Scott Richards and crew/sister Sharon Richards. Photo: Mike Ferring

Here are a few more shots Mike took:

The class photo (l to r): Trey Harlow, Joel Hurley, Martin Lorch, John Mayall, Will Zornik, Sharon Richards, Scott Richards, Mike Hester, Dave Haggart, Stacey Haggart, Tony Chapman, Mike Parker. Photo: Mike Ferring

Watch the AYC Champ Race on a Party Boat

Watch six AYC fleet champs duke it out for the coveted Club Championship trophy. Defending champ (and Sport Boat fleet champ) Mike Hester goes up against a field of excellent sailors in a round-robin competition using Thistles.

2018 Club Championship entrants are: Thistle Fleet Champion, Scott Richards; Capri 14.2, Dave Haggart; Catalina 22, Steve Grothe; Laser, Joel Hurley; Multi-Hull, Brett Johnston; Portsmouth, Mike Parker; PHRF Spin, Martin Lorch; and Reigning Club Champion/PHRF Sport Boat, Mike Hester. Steve Grothe and Brett Johnston are not able to make the race, reducing the expected entry to six.

Champ Party Boat Signup

Fleet Captain George Sheller will take you around the course on a luxury pontoon boat and position you for best viewing at the start and rounding marks. Bring snacks and beverages and cheer on your favorite.

One of the Scorpion rental pontoon boats.

The races will be Saturday, May 12, beginning about 9 am and continuing until a champ has been selected. That could be as many as seven races, but often is five or six.

The party boat will leave Scorpion at about 1 pm to see as many races as remain at that time, including the choice of a champ. The boat is expected to be a 24-foot luxury pontoon boat with cushy seats.

George needs at least 12 people to sign up for the boat in order to cover the rental. The price per person is $25.

2017 Club Champs Mike Hester and John Mayall with the big cup. Photo: Mike Ferring

Big Finish: TTL Spring Racing

Spring racing is over and we can congratulate the spring champs: Laser, Joel Hurley; C14, Dave Haggart; Portsmouth, Andy Oliver. For the combined fall-spring, the champs are C14, Dave Haggart; Laser, Joel Hurley; Portsmouth, Mike Parker.

The Laser Fleet championship ended in a knife fight between Joel Hurley and Paul Miachika, with gusting and shifting wind on Tempe Town Lake for Sunday’s Semi-Final weekend (4/29) and the final on May 6. For the April 29 race, the city’s wind-strength light was flashing most of the afternoon, signaling wind over 15 mph. Since the breeze was coming from the southwest, it funneled through the buildings on the south shore, making sailing very difficult.

The final scores for the Spring Series are available here. And here’s the fall-spring combined, determining the fleet champions for the year. Many thanks to score-cruncher Mark Howell for figuring them out.

Grim determination. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Joel Hurley heads for the finish, ready for a sudden wind shift. Photo: Mike Ferring

Fleet Captain Will Zornik. Photo: Mike Ferring

Paul Miachika after a surprise puff. Amazingly he lost only a few seconds on the rounding. Photo: Mike Ferring

Court Roberts Wins 2018 Tall Cactus

It’s a bit of a gamble with a pursuit race. With some 41 boats entered in this year’s Tall Cactus, which ones would benefit from a light wind start and which ones would gain as the wind came up?

By the time they’d all gone around Horse, Balance Rock, and Bobcat Islands and crossed the finish at Scorpion Bay Marina, Sport Boats had passed everyone who started before them and finished 1-2-3. It was Court Roberts’ team (with Tony Chapman driving, Bob Whyte trimming) in the lead, followed closely by Mike Hester (with Joel Hurley), and not so closely by Mike Ferring (with Maryellen Ferring, Ray Chapman, and Gail Palmer).

Then all that was left to do was to party on the deck at Scorpion’s Grill on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Many thanks to Regatta Chairman Tom Errickson and to his helpers, including Tom Ohlin and Andy Oliver and several others.

Race winner Court Roberts chats with Maryellen Ferring. Photo: Mike Ferring

These two have seen some AYC history! Tom Ohilin on the left and Bob Worrall on the right. Photo: Mike Ferring

This is what it looked like as the 2018 Tall Cactus Regatta began. The wind filled in nicely later, giving later starters an advantage. Photo: Mike Ferring

Post-regatta party on the scenic deck of Scorpion Bay Marina. Photo: Mike Ferring

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.

Start Times by Name rev2

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

Strong Lake Pleasant Spring Racing

Lake Pleasant threw us a mixture of light and pleasant for the final weekend of the AYC Spring Race Series. Twisty on Saturday. Midday wind switch Sunday followed by a nice breeze.

Winning fisherman for the day was Bob Naylor!

When it was all over, we can congratulate the Spring fleet winners: Catalina 22, Steve Grothe; Multi-Hull, Jim Tomes; PHRF Spin Paul Liszewski (by one point over Martin Lorch); Sport Boat, Mike Hester; Thistle, Scott Richards. The newly reconstituted PHRF Non-Spin Fleet didn’t get the expected turnout, but that didn’t stop Carl Muehlenbeck from besting Marc Danner and his all-kid crew to win the spring.

Here are all of the Spring results.

The combined fall-spring scores produced these Fleet Champions who will compete in the Club Championship race: Catalina 22, Steve Grothe; Multi-Hull, Brett Johnston; Spin, Martin Lorch; Sport Boat, Mike Hester; Thistle, Scott Richards.

Here are the Fall-Spring combined.

Okay, would this be a Blunder Bucket nomination? It’s sort of a reverse-blunder bucket or a Beneficent Bucket award winner. Bob Naylor was loading his C22 onto the trailer when he discovered the boat and trailer had snagged a nice bass! He was a little worried about not having a fishing license and was running late to see his daughter head off for her prom, so it was trailer catch and release and clearly prize-worthy.

Close leeward rounding with the Sport Boat fleet. Photo: Charles Landis

 

Skip Kempff rounds ahead of Scott Richards in the spring series. Photo: Charles Landis

Sport boats starting within inches of the committee boat. Photo: Charles Landis

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Ruth Beals Cup 2017

Ellen Wesley is the 2017 Ruth Beals Cup champ, taking the overall honors at Lake Pleasant Saturday, November 11. Ellen sailed on one of Victor Felice’s J/24s and led much of the race, falling behind in light air rounding Balance Rock and then making it up with a bold move along the western shore when the wind died entirely. Counting on a whisper of thermal air movement, they ghosted up the shore and to a shortened course finish at “no name” island.

The scores for the 2017 Ruth Beals Cup are posted on the results page, or click here.

Maryellen Ferring finished second in her J/80 and Ryane Griffis was third in an Etchells. Eight boats were set to start the race, but Debbie Barlow’s Siren 17 lost a main halyard on the way to the race course and didn’t start.

We thank Fleet Captain George Sheller and Mark Howell for their work as the volunteer race committee. For speedy race results, they texted the finish times to scorekeeper Dave Christensen, who posted the results right after the finish.

Ellen Wesley won the Ruth Beals Cup despite the two characters flanking her.

Bob Whyte trims during the Ruth Beals Cup. Photo: Mike Ferring

Week 4 of Racing at Lake Pleasant

Score one for Perfect. Saturday (11/4) was as close to perfect as sailing gets: breezy, generally unshifty, and comfortable temps. I hope you were there. Sunday started out as one of those drifter things, with lots of boats timing out on a first race. Then, as some boats were about to give up, the wind came up from the south and it was game on. This time it was puffy and shifty, but we’ll take that over no wind any Sunday of the week.

The scores for week 4 of racing at Lake Pleasant are posed on the results page, or by clicking here.

Steve Grothe and daughter aboard Old Yeller. Photo: Mike Ferring

Slow boat, fast driver. Martin Lorch’s Santana 20 carries the highest PHRF number, but consistently clobbers the fast boats. Photo: Mike Ferring