TTL Turns Tumultuous Twenty

By Mike Ferring

It was never supposed to be quite like this, but 20 years after water gurgled into the ditch that was the Salt River along  the 202, the small body of water that became Tempe Town Lake is still a key part of Arizona Yacht Club sailing. Now the lake is attracting massive real estate development to twist and snuff out lake breezes, but is paying off Tempe’s gamble to spend perhaps $450 million for a bit of water in the desert.

This Saturday, November 9, Tempe will stage a birthday party and you’re invited.

Tempe Town Lake Boating Coordinator Ryan Allison reports that the 20th Anniversary Celebration will run from 11am-4pm, with opportunities to try everything from free boating activities and exercise classes to a rock wall and zipline. He says, “The lake will be staged with activities on both sides from the marina all the way west to the pedestrian bridge.”

The entire marina parking lot will be closed to all public parking from 5am-4pm. After 8am, the marina gates will open to permit parking only. If you plan to boat out of the marina that morning you will have to park offsite at the Arizona Heritage Center off of College Ave or under the 202 off Lakeview Drive.

Ryan says, “If you’re planning to take out your personal watercraft on this day, during these hours, please be patient as parking and lake access will be extremely busy. The lake itself will also be very busy with boating from Rural west to the pedestrian bridge. Boating east of rural will likely be a good option with less traffic.”

Like to know more about the history of this section of the river? The Arizona Republic has put together a nice retrospective tracing the lake from beginning to its position as the second-most-visited tourist attraction in the state, after the Grand Canyon. Click here to read about it.

Lasers cluster downwind with some of the TTL real estate development in the background. Photo: Mike Ferring

Lake Pleasant Week 4 with Tucson Sailing Club Joint Gathering

By Marshall Williamson, Spin Fleet Captain 

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

Tucson Sailing Club: Photo by Marshall Williamson

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

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

 

 

Buccaneer 18 Championship Had It All!

By Rob Gibbs

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

Kudos and Thanks!

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

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

Clean Regatta

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

Racing Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results

Joel Hurley and Tony Chapman – Bucc 18 Champs!

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

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

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

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

The whole BNAC 2019 Gang!

Sail Like a Girl & Win – November Meeting

By Deb Heisler, Rear Commodore

Haley King Lhamon

Eight women, a 32-foot Melges, good manners, humor and determination were the mix that led the Sail Like a Girl team to victory in the 2018 Race to Alaska (R2AK). Co-Skipper Haley King Lhamon was part of this history-making, all-woman crew and is joining us at the November AYC monthly meeting.

Here’s a nice video profile from Cruising Club of America.

The meeting is Tuesday, November 12, at Dave & Buster’s, Tempe Marketplace (map). It’s near Lucille’s, Smokehouse. Please arrive early for dinner as our program begins at 7:00 pm. Guests are welcome.

The R2AK is a 750-mile boat race that must be completed with no motor and no outside support. Sixty percent of the teams finish. Each team has to navigate its way from Port Townsend, through the tides of the Inside Passage and finish in Ketchikan, Alaska. First place grabs the first-place prize of $10,000 nailed to a block of wood. Second place gets a set of steak knives.

With limited experience and a few novice sailors, the Sail Like a Girl team never imagined they would win this mettle-testing, endurance race, especially after colliding with a large log in the middle of the night. They just wanted to finish.

This is a race of extremes: cold water, squalls, currents that run up to 15 knots, and unyielding rain. The women’s Melges was outfitted with two stern-mounted “bikes” that turned propellers to move the boat when the wind died. And die, it did. The team ended up biking about half the time and finishing under pedal power.

Haley has been involved in racing since age eight. Listed among her other memorable races are co-skippering her J/35 Grace E on a nonstop, screaming broad reach to win Division II and the J/35 fleet in the 2002 Chicago-Mac Race and skippering a Snipe on the US team in the Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship in Uruguay in way too much wind, against Olympians.

Residing with her family on Bainbridge Island, Haley is past Commodore of the Port Madison Yacht Club. As the Sailing Coordinator at Bainbridge Island Parks & Recreation, she stays busy organizing classes and instructing. And as a volunteer, she coaches the Bainbridge Island High School Sailing Team and serves on the youth committee and board of The Sailing Foundation. Haley has a habit of saying yes because she doesn’t want to miss out on anything! I’m so glad she said yes to Arizona Yacht Club.

For a longer description of the race and biography of Haley, click here.

Sail Like a Girl Team at the finish bell.

Sail Like a Girl team aboard their Melges 32 Photo by: Richard Horst

LP Wind: Just the Facts

By Mike Ferring

What month has the best wind at Lake Pleasant?

There’s a lot of legend and guesswork swirling in the breezes of AYC. I remember vividly listening to the argument for moving the Birthday Regatta to February, the assertion that it’s warmer then and the wind is better. Well, slightly and not really.

The State Climatologist, Dr. Nancy Selover, flashed some fascinating charts on the screen during a meeting of the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club Tuesday (10/15), summarizing data collected at the two weather reporting stations at the lake. One station is near the visitor’s center and the other on North Barker Island, one of the larger islands northeast of Horse Island (see map below).

Here’s the bottom line graph, showing the seasonal shift in average monthly wind speed at both reporting stations.


The graph shows the average wind at the two Lake Pleasant observing stations.


Of course, averages are averages and can’t capture the variations of time of day and weather fronts, but they crunch all those variables into a smooth-flowing depiction of the seasonal changes.

You want peak? I’ll give you peak! The highest wind ever recorded was 68 mph in August of 2013. One of the monsoons that clobbered the marinas in 2018 (PHM in particular) topped out at 63.


The strongest winds recorded at Lake Pleasant. The station near the visitor’s center gets stronger winds than the one at the north end of the lake.


And, true, the average temperature in February is higher than January. By 1.6 degrees. Here’s the moving average at the northern station, which is quite similar to the southern one.


Temperature averages at the Lake Pleasant North station.


You’ll note that the nighttime temperatures at the lake are considerably lower than those in the city, which are kept higher by the heat sink effect of all that asphalt and concrete. In fact, Dr. Selover found that because of urban growth, the average low (the nighttime temperature) has jumped significantly. The difference in lows for 30-year periods (1941-1970 and 1991-2018) rose 7.1°.

Also alarming, the amount of rain and snow in Arizona and other Western states has been dropping and is expected to continue to drop—and you know how that will affect our hobby!


The location of the northern observation station at Lake Pleasant.

The Amazing Jerome Rand

Jerome Rand heels to port, remembering being slapped around by rough seas. Photo: Mike Ferring

Jerome Rand got a standing ovation when he finished speaking at the AYC October monthly meeting and I don’t recall that ever happening before. But then, it was quite the story he told.

The tale really needs to begin with his 2012 trek along the Appalachian Trail, beginning to end, which he described as being even more intense than sailing around the world—constantly having to look down and concentrate for 10-12 hours a day to avoid stumbling.

After that adventure, Jerome immediately began planning for the next one, that trip around the world.

He went back to work at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands and began scheming and saving. He decided to buy a Westsail 32 full-keel boat, choosing it for its history of strength and reliability. He would sail single-handed and nonstop in this 1974 boat. He had no sponsors or backers, just his own savings and his amazing drive to explore his limits.

Jerome Rand speaks to the October monthly meeting. Photo: Mike Ferring

The trip took 271 days, punctuated by the terror of being knocked down, suffering hours with bare pole in a cyclone, hanging on through pitching seas in the Southern Ocean, shivering uncontrollably during weeks of freezing cold, and running out of food after making it around Cape Horn. There was the proof: pictures of a skinny sailor, down from 190 pounds to maybe 140. Fortunately, his father negotiated a food drop at the Falkland Islands that saw him through to the Caribbean.

It was his biggest mistake, he says, confusing the term “serving” on the freeze-dry package for “meal,” which it definitely wasn’t. It left him dreaming of thick, juicy hamburgers. In fact, real food and the human voice were the things he missed most about being a civilian on hard ground.

There were offsets for the risk and the suffering. Jerome showed a video of a blazing sunset panorama framed by a rich rainbow. He lay on the bow pulpit of the boat for hours watching dolphin escorts. At the meeting, he played video of huge whales swimming alongside and, yes, under his little boat, feeling as if they could toss the boat aside with the flick of a tail.

Throughout the trip, Jerome was able to shoot 170 character digital updates to his family that his mother then posted to Facebook. (They were the PG version of his trip since he didn’t want to scare Mom.) Now he’s able to bring the story to the rest of us in talks, a feature story in Sail magazine, and a book he’s hoping to publish. Judging by the reaction at AYC, this next journey should be a rewarding one.

Excellent turnout for solo circumnavigator Jerome Rand. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Jerome Rand entertains the AYC bunch with stories and pictures of his trip around the world. Photo: Mike Ferring

 

Jerome met some AYCers when he was Watersports Director at the Bitter End Yacht Club in the BVI. From left: Chuck Sears, Joe Motil, Maryellen Ferring, Bonnie Motil, Chris Smith, Bob Whyte, Mike Ferring and Jerome. Photo: Martin Lorch

 

LP Fall Week Two Proves Flukey

And how unusual is that?

On Saturday we gave some serious thought to giving up when the wind failed to show until well into the afternoon, but when it arrived we enjoyed some good racing, bouncing west-east on windward-leeward courses.

Sunday arrived with with strong north wind and let us get enough races in before going slack… and heading home.

Mike Hester on his Viper picked up where he left off in the spring, by leading the Sport Boats despite some stiff competition from Court Roberts and the Melges 24 team. Mike tested his new fiberglass repair Saturday by slamming into Laurent Dion’s Viper, but apparently avoided a return to the shop.

Yes, Joel Hurley was a clear first in Santana 20 and Rollin’ in the Deep kept rolling in Spin while Marshall Williamson in Shazam has shown huge improvement from past seasons (maybe it’s that new sail). You’ll find all the results here.

Photo above of spins headed to the start line was taken by Joel Hurley.

 

TTL Race Weekend #3

By Clay Poulson, Portsmouth Fleet Captain

Juniors downwind. Photo: Deb Heisler

Week three of the 2019 Tempe Town Lake race series turned out to be a dandy. The racing dinghy fleets were greeted with fairly steady westerlies ranging up to the mid teens. A bit up and down but generally, we had great wind for TTL.

The good winds attracted lots of sailors and with nearly 30 boats on the water representing five different fleets, the sailing was just great.

In action were Lasers, Sunfish, C14s, and the Juniors. Plus a gaggle of ASU students showed up with their FJs and asked if they could sail.

“Of course! All are welcome… you just have to show up.”

Those ASU boats did show up to sail. They had three boats and more then six sailors so they traded teams each race. We never knew who any of them were but they got in five good starts and five good races. Great to see you guys!

Starting and racing with them were the C14s. Whether old guy experience or a faster boat, the C-14s came around the course faster then those college kids’ FJs.

The first four races the C14s had match racing with the Ferrings and Scott Richards duking it out. The Ferrings took three of the races, a few by a wide margin, though the Richards team did squeak out one good win. Dave Henning showed up to make the fourth and fifth heats.

The Sunfish also got in five heats. Gary Oberbeck was the fastest boat all afternoon with a string of bullets. Jeff Bryant took most of the seconds, with Bob Naylor once sneaking into the back-up position. Tim Mitchell battled into the tough winds all day and had a line full of well earned thirds.

We also saw three Open Bics and one Radial Laser in the Junior class. The Bics looked awesome with their sporty lines and the kids hiking out with all their weight. Colin Gibbs and Myles Danner fought neck and neck, each earning two bullets and two seconds. Likewise Michael Haggart on the Laser and Ethan Wei traded positions with two threes and two fours apiece.

All great racing, though the big class this weekend at TTL was the Lasers with 13 boats on the line. I must say it was almost a clinic as club and class champion Joel Hurley ran away with four straight wins. Paul Miachika had a good consistent day with two seconds and two thirds. Scott Sharples had a single second and a third. Chuck Norris had a nice consistent day getting a second and Mike Bernard took the other third.

We did see very impressive sailing by the leading Laser and the committee did hear words of advice from our sailing champion which I will pass on to the other sailors.

After winning one race Joel, speaking half to the committee half to no one, said, “Those other guys don’t know how to change gears. I get away from them in the light stuff. They don’t loosen everything up… they just keep it all tight.”

A few words of honest advice for all dinghy racers out there: you need to learn to change gears.

Great sailing weekend at TTL!

Results of the racing. Revision for DNS scores due.

Maryellen and Mike Ferring wait for a start. Photo: Deb Heisler

TTL Fall Series Opening Day

By Marc Danner

The day started with the Junior More sailing class rigging boats with new sails! (The ASF board voted to replace the well-worn original sails with crisp new ones.) The kids practiced starts, rounding the marks in the right direction and trying capsize drills (to cool off).

There was excitement in the air with the new Sunfish fleet getting a pep talk from fleet captain Bob Naylor. Bob drummed up a fleet with eight entrants this summer so he had other Sunfish to race against in his (actually his wife’s) new boat.

The wind did not disappoint! As each fleet started, the wind continued to build from the southwest, testing everyone’s skills and dumping several in the drink. Commodore Rob Gibbs assisted boats as they lay on their sides.

Many fleets were able to get three or more races in before the wind became too strong to continue. The Junior fleet played in the water while others struggled to get back to the dock, but all made it safely.

Here are the results.

To cap it off, the day ended with a celebration gathering at Fates Brewery.

Opening Day Celebration Sept 21

By Deb Heisler

I’ve been briefed that on past Opening Days we’ve had dinner and a movie with popcorn, a chili competition, tacos and a Mariachi band, USCG boat inspections, and even a burn the summer flip-flops ceremony.

Well, this year, pull out and don your favorite, decorative, or plain old silly sailing socks and cover those summer, moisture-deprived dogs. Just for fun, fashion, or flamboyancy. And because I know you probably have a pair.

Opening Day cannon fire. Well, maybe not THIS cannon.

Arizona Yacht Club will hold our Opening Day Celebration on Saturday, September 21, at the Lake Pleasant Spinnaker Point Ramada. We’re dusting off the cannon and starting our opening day with a BANG!

When it was suggested we use the cannon, I had visions of large artillery mounted on wheels–so if for no other reason, I’m going in order to see and hear this mini military equivalent. (Note: Lake Pleasant security has been notified so no one panics when the blast goes off.)

The first race horn will sound at 12:30 p.m. and after racing we’ll have some food, drink (BYOB), fun, and live music. The music will be provided by The B-Sides, a two-man band of acoustic and electric guitars. Band leader and C22 sailor Steve Dolter says The B-Sides plays a selection of about 40-songs and specialize in the “B-side” of Beatles albums.

Here’s the day’s lineup:

9:30       Coffee, juice and a variety of homemade breakfast burritos from Big Joe and Bonnie
10:30     Fire the cannon – Start pistol? Nah, we have a cannon. Go big or go home!
12:30     First warning – Don’t be late.
12:35     First race starts with a cannon BOOM.
5:00     Dinner, BYOB drink, and live music. Enjoy a delicious meal and relive the day’s racing or talk about what you did over summer break. It’s all good when you’re with friends.
6:00       Prizes – You get a chance to go home with something unexpected and useful.

Come join us to kick off and celebrate another great season of AYC racing. This is for the entire club, whether you race at Lake Pleasant, Tempe Town Lake or not at all.

VOLUNTEER HELP NEEDED

Below are some areas where we need YOUR HELP. If you’re not racing in this event, please consider giving some time to make it a fun day for everyone. Call or text me at 602.214.2053 or email Rear.commodore@arizonayachtclub.org

  • Dinner: Maryellen Ferring, our preeminent party planner, is leading dinner plans and needs a few helping hands.
  • Show up/help with set up (9:00)
  • Set up food table: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Wo/Man the Grill (Martin Lorch- AKA Grill Master needs a helper)
  • Monitor trash & recycling containers (Yes, we’ll recycle at this event)
  • Clean up: including taking down tables/chairs and help reloading the trailer

September Meeting: North Sails One Design

 

Eric Doyle of North Sails

The AYC September monthly meeting will feature North Sails One Design sailor Eric Doyle, one of the top Star boat sailors in the world and an America’s Cup veteran. The meeting is at 7p on Tuesday, September 10, at Dave & Buster’s at Tempe Marketplace (map). It’s near Lucille’s Smokehouse. Arrive early for dinner.

Eric started sailing as a kid on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, “Because it was so bloody hot you kind of had to be on the water in order to survive.” During college in Mobile, Alabama, he sailed Stars for the first time with the local fleet. “When I got out of college and was done racing small boats, I thought that the Star was just the coolest thing ever and started racing them.”

That led to an Olympic campaign ahead of the 1992 Games, and that in turn led to an important phone call.

“Vince Brun called me and said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come work for North Sails in San Diego, there’s a great Star fleet out here. I think it’ll help your career.’ So I packed up, pulled my Star boat out here, and started working for him.”

In 1999, Eric won the Star World Championship and his first Gold Star. “129 boat fleet, that was a highlight for sure.” More recently, he and crew Payson Infelise won the 2018 North Americans. “We’re feeling pretty strong right now. So, hopefully we can continue rolling along.”

Since first starting at North in 1992, Eric has done some big boat sailing as well, including an America’s Cup campaign with Dennis Conner and two with Oracle. But in 2017 the opportunity came to return to the Star—and to San Diego. Now, as Class Leader for North Sails, he’s brought his Cup experience back to help improve one design sails. “It’s taken me two years to get the [Star] sails where they are now. We have made some nice improvements.”

Eric Doyle of North Sails competing in a Star.

Registration Open for Fall Racing

Click on the link to the AYC Racing Page for all the information, race documents and the registration button for the 2019 fall racing action.

Racing begins at Tempe Town Lake on Sunday, September 8, and at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, September 21. Plug your ears for the opening gun at Lake Pleasant: we’re firing the club cannon this year to kick off the new season and will follow it up with an Opening Day celebration later in the day.

Looking for crew or wanting to crew? Commodore Rob Gibbs is revising the crew list system this year, so watch for his update. In the meantime, ask around and mark your calendar for a crew party on Saturday afternoon and evening, September 7.

If you’d like to know more about this game we play, consider signing up for the Introduction to Sailboat Racing class. It will be Thursday evening, September 19, from 6:30-9 at the Eisendrath House. Here’s much more about it. By the way, it’s free.

Lori Reger reflecting on sailing a Sunfish on Tempe Town Lake. Photo: Mike Ferring

Bob Naylor has recruited enough Sunfish folks to create at TTL fleet for the fall. If you have a Sunfish under cover, knock the cobwebs off and bring it out to tangle with the other fish. Here’s background on the fleet.

The Ruth Beals Cup race for women at the helm has been moved to Saturday, October 12. Here’s more on that event.

All of the Arizona Sailing Foundation sailing classes are open for registration now, but the adult class is full. Click on the “education” link.

How to Get More Women Sailing

The poster for the inspirational movie “Maiden”

Have you seen the movie Maiden? It’s currently showing at the Harken’s theater at Fashion Square and it’s a truly inspirational and entertaining documentary tracing the 1989-1990 all-women’s campaign in the Whitbread Around-the-World race.

A boatload of women challenged the men in this grueling event, not only finishing the race, but coming in second in their division.

How do we get more girls and women into sailing? Here are two efforts to do that.

The first is simple. Fill out a survey, whether you’re a man or woman. Here’s the link. The survey is being conducted by the World Sailing Trust and it aims to determine how both men and women are introduced to the sport.

As they put it, “Its aim is to allow us to understand more about the realities of women and girls in sailing: what attracts them, what puts them off, why they drop out, the perceived and real barriers to participation that they might face and how this varies across countries, ages, classes and competition and different elements of the sport – racing vs recreational vs officials and, how we can increase women and girls’ participation.”

The second is Debbie Huntsman’s National Women’s Sailing Association, which joining with Tumble Weed Sailing to put on a WOWZR regatta November 1-3 (the weekend after AYC’s Ruth Beals Cup Regatta). Their event includes seminars and coaching culminating in racing.

More Bright AYC History: Arizona Highways 1962

Lido 14s racing in 1962. Click to see a bigger view.

Arizona Highways magazine in the 1960s was at the height of its fame: a lavish, glossy publication that was the state’s answer to Life magazine, with splendid color photographs shot with large format film cameras. In September of 1962, Arizona Highways chose to feature the nascent Arizona Yacht Club and Arizona sailing on the cover and in an extensive inside article.

Lori Reger found a copy of the magazine among our dusty treasures and then tracked down a digital copy in the Arizona Highways archives. Here it is as a slimmed-down PDF with the sailing section extracted.

Besides the high-production photographs, there are a few hundred words of description by writer Bill Dawn, most of them steam heated. If the copy had been acting, we’d say it was chewing the scenery. Here’s a short excerpt:

“Regattas are held every other week from September to May and the rock bound Arizonan dumps the desert sand from his boots and trades them for the crepe soled shoes of the sailor. The heat of the desert is exchanged for the heat of competition, the quiet air of the city for the cooling breeze that drifts above the water. The week’s tensions of profession or trade are quickly absorbed, becoming lost in the relaxed atmosphere and easy laughter of the week-end sailors.”

There’s also some actual description of Arizona sailing, when AYC racing was being done mostly in Lido 14s at Canyon Lake and sometimes at Saguaro and Roosevelt. Lake Pleasant then was much smaller and hard to reach.

They wrote, “Much is being done to improve Lake Pleasant, on the Agua Fria River. Heretofore the trip was a rugged one, the road very bad, the ‘natural launching ramp’ bumpy and steep, and the level of the lake uncertain. The brave one who made the trip, towing his sailboat through the heat and dust over the rough road could be certain of a wonderful sail on a beautiful, uncrowded waterway, surrounded here, not by steep walls, but by gentle, rolling hills and the same strange spectacle of desert landscape surrounding a body of water.”

There’s also a description of a Phoenix sailor who did very well in what they called the “Trans-Pac.”

“Owned and skippered by A. B. “Bob” Robbs, Jr., Phoenix, Arizona businessman, ‘Nam Sang’ completed the grueling 2,225 mile run from Los Angeles to Honolulu in 10 days, 16 hours, 26 minutes and 25 seconds. She finished at night amid the glare of searchlights playing back and forth across the Basin. The victory, bringing Robbs and his exhausted but exhilarated crew the Class A and overall fleet handicap championships, came over a fleet of 41 entrants.”

Arizona sailing making history 57 years ago.

“Nam Sang” in the Transpac from Arizona Highways magazine.

Plan for the Summer Campout

The AYC Summer Campout will be August 2-4 this year, again at Dairy Springs campground, but this year as a joint venture with the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club.

You can just show up and grab a spot, but organizers Matt and Andi Baker can also reserve a spot for you. Email Andi to let them know you’re coming. And you can also reserve a spot on the parks website.

Think soft breezes, mesquite smoke from the campfire and lazy afternoons in hammocks. AYC Junior campers can participate in chopping wood, starting fires with flint and steel, and making cowboy coffee. For those with refined coffee taste we will be hosting the National Championship Latte in a Dutch Oven Barista Competition. Brush up on your coffee making skills, and bring your best Williams-Sonoma along.

We hope the Museum Fire will be well contained and we can expect blue sky. The Newman fire closure area just north of our Campground will NOT affect any planned activities.

Get in touch by contacting Andi Baker or commenting on the event page on Facebook or by calling 505.550.1218.

Here’s lots of information about this traditional summer getaway.

Read about the event and see pictures from two years ago at Dairy Springs.

Steve Nahkala tends the fire at an AYC summer campout. Photo: Mike Ferring

July Meeting: Yacht Delivery for Fun and Adventure

By Debbie Heisler

Note: New location for the monthly meeting. Information below.

Debbie and Emory Heisler in full-foul on one of their deliveries.

Have you ever dreamed of sailing across big blue oceans? What about being in total command of your own vessel for a vacation to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, or other areas of the world? Or getting paid to drive a charter boat for someone as a captain or just being crew? It’s all possible with a little planning and a sense of adventure.

Emory and I will share photos and stories of all the “fun” we had during our Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Atlantic Coast to Caribbean (and back and back and back again) sailboat delivery and sailing adventures. Newport, RI. City Island, NY. Chesapeake Bay. The Bahamas. Florida. Puerto Rico. BVIs. Bermuda… and back. Together we sailed over 5000 nm in six months on other people’s boats. Emory will also share his experience and guidance about the USCG Captain’s licensing process. It’s sure to be both fun and informative.

The meeting is Tuesday, July 9, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are now held at R.T. O’Sullivans at the corner of Hayden and Thomas. Both members and non-members are welcome to attend.

Debbie’s favorite boat during their trips along the East Coast, a Vagabond 47 ketch.

Gearing Up for the Fall!

Viper 640 on Lake Pleasant

I know you are hiding from the heat of the Summers in Arizona, but just as we have some of our hottest days, we want to get you thinking about this year’s sailing season!

First off…if you don’t own a boat, the AYC offers the Adopt-A-Boat Program at Tempe Town Lake so members can use an Arizona Sailing Foundation Capri 14.2 or Laser to race. Up at Lake Pleasant, Tiller and Kites now has an ocean of RACING boats to charter for the racing series! Whether you and your friends want to get on one of their many J24s and race in Spin or Non-Spin fleet, or you want to each charter a Coronado 15 and make up your own fleet, the choice is yours! Of course you will have to prove your skill during a check out sail…wait, what? You don’t know how to sail?

NO PROBLEM! The Arizona Sailing Foundation has announced it’s fall Learn to Sail Schedule. Adults learn in the Capri 14.2 and Kids start out in the Optimist on Tempe Town Lake. More advanced Juniors can continue to build their skills in the Opti, O’Pen Bic, or even Laser in our “MORE Junior Sailing” program.

Done that already or (heaven forbid) dinghies just not your thing? The Sailboat Shop at Lake Pleasant’s Scorpion Bay Marina and Go Sail Arizona at Pleasant Harbor Marina both offer ASA approved courses in keelboats. Tillers and Kites is an International Yacht Training School offering certification from dinghies all the way up through running spinnaker on a keelboat. And for combination of online-learning with on-the-water practical skill building check out Southwest Sailing and their NauticEd sailing education program.

We know everyone has a busy schedule, but plan now to make sailing one of the “big rocks” in your calendar that you plan everything else around!

John Mayall & Crew Joyce on Tempe Town Lake

“Dog Watch” at R.T. O’Sullivans

AYC Members got their first “taste” of our new Regular Meeting Venue, R.T. O’Sullivans in Scottsdale on Thursday night. Around 40 members and potential members showed up for fun, food, and camaraderie. The feedback was very positive! We’re looking forward to having our first Membership Meeting there next week on the 9th of July!

Members and Friends gather to partake of the Fellowship

 

Many of the usual “Pirates” approved of the new location!

Lots of positive feedback about the food!

Like to Play Host to an AYC Happy Hour?

By Heather McClain, Cruising Captain

AYC Volunteers needed—Easiest and most fun volunteer gig EVER!

AYC has been holding monthly Happy Hour gatherings (or “Dog Watch”) at various bars and restaurants around the Valley, either on Tuesday or Thursday from about 5:30p to, well, until people leave. The Dogs have been in different areas and different days to make it easy for members and nonmembers to find one they can attend nearby. The attendance varies from a handful to 20+.

So, how would you like to host one?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Select one of the available dates for the Happy Hour you’ll host (see below).
  • Pick your favorite local bar/restaurant.
  • Show up at the right place and the right time, and buy up to $100 of appetizers (not beverages/alcohol) for AYC members and potential AYC members who attend.
  • Collect the contact info of the potential AYC members at happy hour (name, email, phone number).
  • Submit by email the contact info to Heather McClain and the receipt for reimbursement to Treasurer Tony Chapman.

Interested? Here are the available dates:

Thurs 8/22/19, Thurs 10/24/19, Tues 1/28/20, Thurs 2/27/20, Tues 3/24/20, Thurs 4/23/20, Tues 5/26/20, Thurs 6/25/20.

You want to host a Happy Hour but don’t know when? Contact me! We’ll work it out.

Happy Hour at 4 Peaks Brewing in Tempe.

Catalina Flotilla – 19 July

Avalon Harbor

The Second Annual Officially Unofficial Flotilla to Catalina Island will be July 19th this year. Last year we had some great fun meeting up with some of the more traveled of our membership in Descanso Bay before being given a great spot in Avalon Harbor. Some of the best wind I’ve EVER had going to and from Catalina to Long Beach.

The closest location to depart from is Long Beach but the other options that are a single day would be Marina Del Rae, Huntington Beach, or even Dana Point. For those more adventurous, the trip from San Diego is an overnight sail. You can trailer your boat over and launch in several different locations in any of those harbors, but if you are so inclined to charter, there are several different places to charter from but here are some of the more popular and known ones: Marina Sailing, Harbor Yacht Club, and Sail Newport Beach.

For those who haven’t ever taken to the ocean, the sail to Catalina Island is a GREAT way to get a feel for what it’s like to sail in open water. It is truly one of the easiest sails to begin your blue water sailing resume with. For those who are blue water veterans, it is a great weekend getaway from the Arizona heat and a welcome return to friendly waters.

A flotilla is a very loose thing…so if you are going to be on the island for any reason during that time you should let us know! If you are sailing over, we can look out for one another and schedule a call in to ensure everyone is all good.

If you think you are going or if you might go but would like more information please take a moment to fill our this form and we’ll get all your questions answered!

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Avalon, Catalina Island, California