Birthday Regatta Bash

By Bob Naylor, Regatta Organizer

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

An Olson 30 heeling. Photo: Scott Jenkins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Racing with The Stars… and Stripes!

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

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

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

San Diego America’s Cup Trip

By Dave Henning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AYC Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup: February 7-9

By Bob Naylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Chapman takes 3rd @ SA ISAF Regatta

This year’s Sailing Anarchy ISAF “Sportboat” Regatta was held at Coronado Yacht Club, Coronado California.  It’s a location that is not unfamiliar to AYC Sailors.  In the past, they have hosted some of the small boat fleets for the SD NOODs held in March.  Bucc and Viper sailors know it well.  The Viper fleet bailed on Opening Day events at Lake Pleasant and trucked out to the coast for this event.  The Viper overall winner was a boat with a Ullman Sails Sailmaker on board, with the runner up being Drew Harper, from Spinnaker Sailing – the West Coast Viper Distributor.  Keeping that in mind, what a great showing for the AZ Viper Fleet!  Congrats TONY!

Sailing Anarchy has a whole section on it. You can play “Where’s Stacey” on the page as well!

Here is the YouTube video sponsored by Ullman Sails