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It Was a Hoot at the Lake

Brats, buddies, and boats. We called it Hoot at the Lake and about 50 people turned out for a fun few hours at Tempe Town Lake Saturday (9/30).

The wind was light, but it didn’t deter lots of us from sampling a buffet of sailboats, including O’Pen Bics, Lasers, 14.2s, and Mike Bernard’s nice Sabot. Rob Gibbs brought two Desert Sailboats SUP boards to try. Sharon Bell brought games. Martin Lorch tended the BBQ. The Ferrings brought the food. Mike Bernard floated the boats. Andy Oliver was event chairman and supplied the tow vehicle.

Will Zornik and kids brought out the O’Pen Bics and had a ball sailing and flipping them. Photo: Mike Ferring

Some of the group gathered by the dock at Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

The wind came in small puffs most of the day, but it was still fun to try different boats. Photo: Maryellen Ferring

A lazy day and no rush to get to the water. Photo: Mike Ferring

The shaded area by the east dock proved to be an excellent place to hang out. Photo: Mike Ferring

Picnic, Play, Party at the “Hoot at the Lake”

All for fun: The Hoot at the Lake party on Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 1pm at the Grassy Knoll at Tempe Town Lake.

Mike Bernard has planned a bunch of zany sailing games for  the Hoot, including such things as backward sailing, competition pitting 50+ codgers and kids, and some SUP board rides.

Sharon Bell is bringing her Corn Hole game and Horseshoes for dry land play.

Maryellen Ferring is heading up the food brigade, planning a barbecue at lake’s edge.

Andy Oliver is the Chairman in Chief.

There’s no charge and no registration to attend. Just drop by and have fun.

All of this rises out of that survey you completed this summer. You said you’d like more social events in the club. About half the people who responded to the survey said they’d come to a pure social gathering like this one.

Fun sailing on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Debbra Heisler

Cool Weekend in the Pines

Nothing like a fistful of s’mores to bring the giggle to the campfire. Photo: Mike Ferring

The new AYC summer campout location works just fine: Dairy Springs Campground near Mormon Lake can be reached by paved roads, offers running water and permanent (if rustic) toilets, and even has nearby cabins for softies like your Commodore. It doesn’t have the aura of a tricky, hard-to-spell name like Kinnikinick, but that’s easy to overlook.

What hasn’t changed is a significant drop in temperature from the 100s of Phoenix to the 70s of the high country and the collection of friends ready to shoot the breeze, hike the hills, and take your 75¢ stake at Liar’s Dice. Add intervals of soothing rain and a hot grill to cook your dinner and this is a fun, casual, relaxing couple days.

Credit Steve, Angela and Kenneth for pulling it together once again and for talking the rest of us into dropping in.

Scroll down to see a slide show of pictures from Mike Ferring.

The traditional game of Liar’s Dice brings lots of laughs to an afternoon at the campground. Photo: Mike Ferring












Maryellen and Mike Ferring mug for the camera while Steve Nahkala prepares a traditional breakfast. Photo: Dennis Lynde

Commodore’s Celebration at The Yard in Tempe

Registration is now closed for this event.

This is the social event of the year for the Arizona Yacht Club, a gathering of friends highlighted by presentation of trophies and installation of the 2017-2018 Board of Directors.

Dress is business casual. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Cocktails at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7 pm.

Here’s a link to the Google map of the location.

The menu includes:

  • Caesar Salad
  • Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondu
  • Fried Chicken with Biscuits, Snow Peas
  • Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Snow Peas
  • Baked Penne Pasta with Butternut Cream Sauce, Roasted Squash, Red Pepper, Herbed Ricotta
  • Dessert

And then, they became pirates.

It happens every year—at a time of goodwill and peace on earth, normally pleasant AYC sailors release their inner Kraken and go for the things in shiny wrappings. The 2016 Party was no different and for all who were there, you can be a pirate till race season starts again. If you missed it, put down the eye patch, fold the Jolly Roger and promise you will never miss the party again.

Commodore Bruce Andress started the evening dressed in his signature “Santa on Vacation” outfit. New club members were welcomed followed by a well-received presentation of things to come in 2017. Bill and Barbara Cunningham presented a stunningly long line of new burgees they had collected over the summer. Thank you!

The Trophy presentation followed with the giant Governor’s Cup going to Paul Miachika and the brand new AYC Governor’s Cup rodeo buckles to Mike Hester (Monohull) and Brett Johnston (Multihull).

Fleet Captain John Riddell then demonstrated that PowerPoint is not a fossilized relic and can still be used to show strangely bizarre pictures of the Commodore motor racing, the Vice Commodore dancing in Seoul, the Rear Commodore looking like Warren Beatty (or was it George Hamilton?).

John went on to introduce the new Regatta formats for 2017 and beyond, including a new Ruth Beals format, the Triple Crown, and other “From the fertile mind of the Fleet Captain—this is going to be fun!” Stay tuned.

Bruce then started the “gift exchange/pirates gone wild” highlight of the evening. With over 50 gifts exchanged, most pirated several times, the action was fast and at times hysterical. Strangely, Bethany Tuvene could not hang on to a bottle of booze to save her life. In the end, she did walk away with a Jim Beam Honey.

And then there was the Blunder Bucket. The nominations for the most blunderesque moments were several, but there was a clear winner from the start. Two GovCups ago there was a SolCat upside down jammed against the dam. This time the nomination was to the same person, different boat! The SolCat was replaced by an awesome Nacra Inter 20 and on the drive home after the first time out sailing it, amazingly a set of very pricey composite sails somehow ended up on the freeway! A trashed jib was recovered but the main was never seen again. And the winner is: Josh Kimble! Well done, kiddo! Previous BB winners are proud of you!

Here are some really mediocre photos. The prestigious “Official Club Photographer” position, by the way, is open. If you do have some quality images, please share!

Commodore Bruce doing his best MC
Josh, Brett and John. Brett with his new rodeo buckle.
Mike telling new Viper owner Freddy, “You too can have a rodeo buckle one day.”
A table full of pirates with two hulls.


Cool Summer Camp-Out August 12-14

What, a more civilized summer camp-out? Organizer Steve Nahkala this year will move the AYC weekend in the pines from its traditional Kinnikinick spot to the Dairy Springs Campground. The new spot has amenities the old one doesn’t have. A paved road. Permanent toilets. Get this: running water. Clearly Steve’s getting soft.

But you can count on the features that has made Kinnikinick an AYC fixture, which boils down to hanging out with good friends in a cool place for a couple days. Swapping stories and playing silly games, headlined by Liar’s Dice and Pasture Golf.

Here’s much more on the event, including its history and what to expect.

In this historic shot, Bill Hutchinson waves hello.

In this historic shot, Bill Hutchinson waves hello.

Commodore’s Party 2016

Your new AYC Board of Directors is in charge now, taking office amid shiny classic cars at the annual Commodore’s Party held this year at the Martin Auto Museum. Here are some shots by Mike Ferring:

The new Commodore is Bruce Andress; Vice Commodore is Victor Felice; Rear Commodore Jason Donkersley; Senior Staff Commodore Peter Lehrach; Junior Staff Commodore Chris Smith; Racing Fleet Captain John Riddell; Cruising Fleet Captain Tom Errickson; and Membership Directors Bob Whyte and Mark Howell. Tony Chapman will continue as Treasurer and the board has not chosen a Secretary.

The evening’s top award, the US Sailing Sportsmanship Award, was presented to Wendy Larsen for her willingness to jump in and help (including organizing the Commodore’s Party). Paul Miachika received the big punch bowl for Club Champion, accepted by his crew, Rob Gibbs. The Blunder Bucket went to Chris Smith, pretty much for being Chris Smith, but specifically for launching his spinnaker upside down.

ASF President Cindy Pillote recognized Scott Burkhardt for his considerable work organizing ASF’s educational programs, presenting him with the “Heavy Lifting” award. George Tingom was given a special award for his hard work and dedication to ASF over the years. Ethan Swartz received the Linderman Most Improved Junior award and Ema and Wilson Davis got the Wayne Jason Tucker Outstanding Junior Award.


Jolly Buccaneer Christmas Party 2015

AYC Christmas 2015-3

The “before” picture.

When the package were all unwrapped and the gifts “pirated” and pirated again, all that was left was a warm glow, lots of good memories and a stack of debris.

Who was pirated most? Close call between Larry Green and Victor Felice, mostly exchanges that determined what would end up in their liquor cabinets.

In a close race, Paul Liszewski was elected to Ye Olde Blunder Bucket, one of AYC’s highest honors. Paul was chosen for the act of driving his Hobie 33, Rollin’ in the Deep, into one of Lake Pleasant’s many submerged islands. At high speed. An estimated 8 knots. Blam! Rollin’ in the Not Deep Enough. Paul’s been an AYC member for nearly 25 years and this was his first Blunder “win.”

Thanks to Tom Errickson for emceeing the show, to Jim Brewer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for making an appeal for Leukemia Cup entries and LLS donations, to catamaran Fleet 42 for showing up to cheer on Governor’s Cup winner Jim Tomes, and to a lively crowd of AYC people. Photos below from Mike Ferring:

Ready for Some Kool Kinnikinick Kamping?

Steve Nahkala works the barbeque at Kinnikinick.

Steve Nahkala works the barbeque at Kinnikinick.

The annual Kinnikinick weekend is Friday-Sunday, July 31-August 2 this year. No need to register; just show up in the cool pines of Northern Arizona.

Once again Steve Nahkala will be heading up the trip to the cool and people will begin to filter into the campsite Friday, ready to enjoy the remote beauty of the location and the fun gathering of AYCers and friends. The activities are as rustic as the surroundings, with “pasture golf” and horse shoes and Liar’s Dice.

Here’s much more information on the event, including map directions.

LPSC Cinco de Mayo Raft-up

The Lake Pleasant Sailing Club has decided to invite AYC members to the club’s annual Cinco de Mayo Raft-up on Saturday, May 2. (Normally this big LPSC flotilla is restricted to its members.)

The event is in Two Cow Cove (see map) and boats will start gathering around 1 pm. You can monitor the traffic on VHF channel 68. Here’s a flyer with further information.

LPSC offers a word of warning: Lake Pleasant party boaters are shooting for a world record raft-up of 1000+ boats tied together in Humbug! Traffic at launch ramps and parking lots could be intense.


Celebrate on the Water with the Commodore

The air-conditioned interior of the Phoenix tour boat.

The air-conditioned interior of the Phoenix tour boat.

Sign Up Now

It’s been a great year. The Birthday Regatta. Racing at LP and TTL. Capacity crowds at meetings. New members. So let’s celebrate! Join your Commodore and fellow members and friends for Arizona Yacht Club’s Party of the Year on the Phoenix on Lake Pleasant. It’s going down (the party, not the boat) Saturday, May 9. The three-hour cruise, complete with music, food, drink, and more, departs promptly at 6 pm. Boarding starts at 5:30.

Sloop Dogg Racing (Chris Smith) will host a complimentary (Free!) and complimentary (You look great!) pre-party Happy Hour and a Half starting at 4:30 pm near the shuttle waiting area in the parking lot at the top of the hill.

AYC volunteers will ferry guests from the top of the hill to the marina boardwalk.

We’ve arranged to be able to enter the marina without paying the gate fee. Just tell the person at the gate that you’re there for the Commodore’s Celebration.

So, No Gate Entry Fee + Food + A Sunset Cruise on Lake Pleasant = $45 per adult and $35 per child. The food will be an Italian buffet and bottled water. Adult beverages will be available for $5 each (some fancy ones a bit more) and soft drinks for $2.50 at the on-board cash-only bar.

There will be dancing: Appropriate footwear recommended, barefoot dancing encouraged.

The Phoenix is a 65-foot, 149-passenger, air-conditioned vessel with an enclosed main deck and an open-air, canopy-covered upper deck. Each deck can seat up to 100. There are two restrooms on board and the boat is handicap accessible. You can learn more about the boat and its crew by visiting:

The Phoenix, our party room for the Commodore's Celebration.

The Phoenix, our party room for the Commodore’s Celebration.

Carefree Highway Cleanup Success

A hardy band of AYC highway litter pickers picked a peck of blue bags full of filth and declared, “We’re making progress.”

It’s true. The first time AYC litter pickers picked the sides of Carefree Highway around the Lake Pleasant Parkway intersection, the junk stacked high. This time, the crew worked the west end of the Adopt-a-Highway length and completed the job in less time than expected (sending us off to Wild Horse for lunch that could have been called brunch).

We do this a couple times a year to keep the highway clean (getting there) and to have the Arizona Yacht Club name posted on signs around the 25 mile marker. If you’d be willing to pitch in for a couple hours next fall, please contact Thom Dickerson, the smiling straw boss.

Litter pickers on Saturday, March 28: Thom Dickerson, Peter Lehrach, Martin Lorch, Katherine Roxlo, Mike & Maryellen Ferring.

Highway Cleaners (l to r): Peter Lehrach, Martin Lorch, Mike & Maryellen Ferring, Thom Dickerson. Not pictured because she was taking the picture: Katherine Roxlo

Highway Cleaners (l to r): Peter Lehrach, Martin Lorch, Mike & Maryellen Ferring, Thom Dickerson. Not pictured because she was taking the picture: Katherine Roxlo

Help Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup March 28

We need your help to do a good deed, hang out with some AYC pals, and get some publicity for the club.

We’ll meet at 8 am on Saturday, March 28, at the intersection of Lake Pleasant Road and the Carefree Highway to clean up our stretch of highway 74.

The yacht club will provide the safety vests, gloves, pick-up sticks, plastic garbage bags, and plenty of water. We’ll clean the west half mile, starting at the traffic light at Lake Pleasant Road and the Carefree Highway and working our way west.

When we’ve piled purple plastic bags eyeball high, before 11 am, we’ll retire to the Wild Horse Saloon for lunch, paid for by the yacht club.

Would you help? Contact Thom Dickerson if you can.

A previous AYC work party. A highway cleaning crew with Mike Parker, Jo and Mike Grijalva, Mike Yarnell, Dennis and Claudia Swift and Chuck Sears. Thom Dickerson is behind the camera.

A previous AYC work party: Mike Parker, Jo and Mike Grijalva, Mike Yarnell, Dennis and Claudia Swift and Chuck Sears. Thom Dickerson is behind the camera.

Carefree Highway is Cleaner Today

Thanks to Thom Dickerson and a band of AYC highway cleaners, the Carefree Highway near mile post 25 is a bunch cleaner today. Thom reports that they filled about 40 bags with litter and then headed to the Wild Horse Saloon for lunch. Great work!

Highway cleaning crew with Mike Parker, Jo and Mike Grijalva, Mike Yarnell, Dennis and Claudia Swift and Chuck Sears. Thom Dickerson is behind the camera.

Highway cleaning crew with Mike Parker, Jo and Mike Grijalva, Mike Yarnell, Dennis and Claudia Swift and Chuck Sears. Thom Dickerson is behind the camera.

Unofficial Summer Sailstice at TTL – 21 June!

2014SummerSailsticeCome down and cool off at Tempe Town Lake on the longest day of the year, Saturday, June 21 at 4pm! And since we can’t not race, we’ll do one-minute on-the-water starts. Everyone just go! Pride is the prize! Afterward we’ll meet up a Pho Cao for some additional cooling off. No entry fee, no NOR or SI, just come out and sail.

Sign up, win prizes, get more info!  Click Here!

Sign up for 2014 Commodore’s Party

Sign Up Now

Fire knife dancers are part of the program this year.

Fire knife dancers are part of the program this year.

This year, the Commodore’s Celebration turns Polynesian. How about a luau?

It’s the way you’d expect it to happen in Hawaii, with the entertainment, food, and style of the islands, but somewhat closer to home. Mesa. Here’s a link to the Royal Islanders site and its spirit of Aloha. And here’s the map of the location.

Cindy Pillote invites you to the year’s big party, the Commodore’s Celebration.
When: Saturday evening, May 17, with partying beginning at 6pm, dinner at 7pm, and awards about 7:30
Where: 7820 E. McDowell Rd. Mesa, AZ 85207
What: Entertainment, fun dinner and much mingling with your sailing buddies
How Much: $50 for adults, $25 for children; cash bar
Why: Honor winners and workers and to bring on the new AYC Board of Directors
Dress Code: Informal
Who: Kids and guests welcome
The Menu: Kalua Pork, Teriyaki Chicken, Rice, Hawaiian Baked Beans, Tropical Fruit Salad, and Punch
Adult Beverages: Beer and wine at $5 each in cash.



New Year’s Sailing

We go sailing sometimes just because we can. On New Year’s Day we can. Without chipping through the ice.

Mike's J/80 warming up for a Saturday race. Photo: Peter Hartleb

Mike’s J/80 warming up for a Saturday race. Photo: Peter Hartleb

On Wednesday (1/1/2014!) we’ll join the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club for a casual sail on Lake Pleasant and then convene at the Pleasant Harbor Marina Waterfront Grille (their spelling) to watch football, eat, and consume adult beverages.

We’ll gather at the dam at 2pm and then head north, maybe making it around Horse Island if the the wind is better than the forecast (70 degrees but very light wind). Rhonda Brewer of LPSC has come up with some football trivia questions that she’ll loft to the fleet on VHF channel 68. Keep track of them on paper and Rhonda will offer the answers when we get back to the Grill (my spelling).

Rhonda suggests wearing your name badge so we get to know each other better. For AYC people, that would mean your membership card.


Pirate Party Booty

Good times, lots of great gifts (lots of booze), and good stories filled the night Tuesday (12/10). The restaurant looked festive with lights and snowflakes and Tom Errickson brought an adorable, big, inflated Polar Bear that we set up by the gift table.

Kyle Clark started with a nice bottle of rum and ended up with this. Photo: Emory Heisler

Kyle Clark started with a nice bottle of rum and ended up with this. Photo: Emory Heisler

Tom and Emory Heisler did a great job getting everyone riled up to pirate gifts. And pirate they did. Poor Kyle Clark was the night’s big loser. He went from a lovely bottle of special rum to a bilge pump!

One of the members pointed out to Emory that the awarding of the Blunder Bucket is to done at the Holiday party so Emory solicited nominations. He got five or six, but in the end, he and his worthy crew Jonathan Abel-Millman were the unanimous winners for improperly rigging the Bucc’s spinnaker on TTL, head to clew.

Tony Chapman was a close second for letting his crew fall overboard, which is ironic because Tony first nominated his crew for falling off the boat—but then Leo Baumann pointed out that while he wasn’t there to personally witness the event, it seemed to him more like it was the man at the tiller who blundered.

—By Lori Reger

Tom Errickson and Gene Walentiny unearthing a gift. Photo: Emory Heisler

Tom Errickson and Gene Walentiny unearthing a gift. Photo: Emory Heisler

Getting Stronger by Getting Together with LPSC

Arizona Yacht Club and Lake Pleasant Sailing Club have stepped up efforts to work together, to promote the sport of sailing and to increase participation in each other’s events.

There have been two meetings of representatives of the two clubs. The second this week developed some specific steps to explore, explained in this report:

An AYC/LPSC joint committee has been created to build a bridge between the two groups. Ralph Vatalaro and Mike and Maryellen Ferring are representing AYC while Tim and Rhonda Brewer are representing the LPSC. The purpose of the committee is to increase communication, share information and co-plan events that are of interest to members of both groups. The initial meeting occurred Tuesday, October 29 at the House of Tricks restaurant in Tempe. Over glasses of wine, fabulous dinners and even a dessert or two, they suggested these next steps.

  • Staging a low-key sailing event on January 1, with members of both clubs invited to spend a couple of hours sailing and meeting at the Waterfront Grille for food, drinks, and football.
  • Setting up a sailing event for late winter or early spring that would encourage members of each club to team up with some members of the other club. We talked about trading crews, a poker run, or even a Capture the Flag theme.
  • To promote understanding, each club—AYC racing and LPSC cruising—the group discussed an information exchange. Mike and Maryellen volunteered to present a program at an LPSC membership meeting tentatively titled, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sailboat Racing in Just 30 Minutes. The program would include information on start procedures, fleet descriptions, ratings, protocols, etc. as well as an invitation to race with AYC. Tim and Rhonda Brewer or other interested LPSC members might reciprocate with a presentation about cruising and exploring Lake Pleasant or raft-up protocols and expectations.
  • The group discussed the possibility of joining forces to get more boats for a Catalina Cruise in July 2014. (Both clubs have had cruises to Catalina, but attendance has collapsed for both.)
  • Maryellen invited all LPSC women to the casual Women Who Sail parties. A couple dozen women interested in sailing gather quarterly for wine and appetizers at one of the women’s homes. Rhonda will talk to the Board to get approval to share LPSC email addresses for invitations.

All members of the group left the meeting encouraged about the plans. If you have feedback, questions or suggestions, please contact Ralph, Maryellen, Mike, Rhonda or Tim.

LPSC_LOGOLPSC has several events planned between now and the end of the year, as Rhonda describes:

The last few months of 2013 are filled with fun events, both on land and water. Besides the Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas party planned by Mary, Robin and Crystal, we have five more exciting events lined up.

On November 9 and 10 John Bagwell and Roland Cleveland are planning a Walk the Plank raft-up/camping party in Two Cow cove. Those of us on boats will raft up in the cove while the RVers and tent campers will set up on shore. The fun officially begins on Saturday, however, rumor has it that some members are planning to set up campsites on Friday afternoon.

As a complement to the Walk the Plank event, Tim and Rhonda Brewer have planned a Show Us Your Booty sail beginning at 10 am in front of the dam. Basically, we will chase each other around the lake exchanging “booty” between boats.

On November 17 LPSC members will host guests on the third Sunday Sail. Response to the September and October sails was extremely positive, so please consider joining the November sail as a host boat.

To prepare ourselves for 2014, on December 28 Tim and Rhonda will host a Tack Into 2014 sail. It will be similar to the Follow the Leader sail last spring, however, the fleet will be required to change tack and follow a new leader every 15 minutes.

Following the Tack Into 2014 sail on December 28, we hope everyone will gather in the barbeque area of PHM to share in a Potluck Dock Party. Please consider attending this party even if you don’t participate in the Tack Into 2014 sail. This is a great way to spend the end of 2013 with friends who share the love of sailing!

Head for the Woods August 9-11

The campsites are set in the pines of cool Arizona. Photo: Mike Ferring

The campsites are set in the pines of cool Arizona. You’ll see everything from RVs to pup tents. Photos: Mike Ferring

The temperature at Kinnikinick campground is consistently 30-40 degrees cooler than Phoenix.

What more do you need to know?

Last year this traditional AYC outing in the cool woods was revived and strengthened by Steve Nahkala, and he’s back for a second year, teeing up pasture golf and the rest of the games.

Here’s the background, schedule, and so forth.

If you have questions, you can ready Steve on his mobile phone at 602.717.8962.

The night ends with a blazing fire and lots of chatter.

The night ends with a blazing fire and lots of chatter.