This month we’re digging deep… deep into the East Valley that is! Come join us for libations and camaraderie at Fibber Magees in Chandler: 1989 West Elliot Road, Chandler, AZ 85224 on Tuesday Sept 25th at about 5:30 to about whenever. As usual, the club will spring for some appetizers and we’ll all enjoy the fellowship! Click the link below to add it to your Google Calendar!
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Our sister club in Tucson is hosting its annual San Carlos Cruise beginning October 22nd.
Ports of call will include San Pedro Bay, Las Cocinas anchorage, and of course San Carlos. For more information visit their website page about the cruise or contact Richard Sebastian, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 520-404-8370.
The first crew party held at the lake was a really great gathering! Lots of people, both members and potential members got together, shared their sailing experiences and a great meal.
The event also had a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Blind Buccaneers. We raised a little over $160 towards their trip. They are fundraising through the end of October. If you would like to support them but were not at the event, donations are eligible for an Arizona Tax Credit (see your tax adviser for more details!)
Much thanks goes to Sharon Bell, and Heather and Josh McClain for organizing the event!
By Heather McClain
This is the unofficial start of the sailing season in Phoenix! Need Crew? Want to crew on a boat?
On Saturday, September 8, from 4-8 pm, we’ll toss a crew party at the end of E dock at Scorpion Bay Marina. The purpose of the event is to be a matchmaker between captains who need crew and crew who want to sail… and to just have a fun time with other sailors or those who are contemplating sailing.
- Bring your boat! Show it off, brag, socialize, and go for a sail to test out crew/boat opportunities.
- We have a few dock-friendly games such as corn hole, horseshoes, board games if you want.
- Bring your own chairs! We have about eight already out there.
- Arizona Yacht Club will serve hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone. Please bring a dish to share and BYOB. Can bring a bag of chips or get fancy. (Please connect with Heather McClain if you want to know more about what to bring, e.g. dessert vs side dish.)
- We will have one electric grill and one electric smoker. No fires on the dock…oh my! You can have whatever grill/stove you want on your boat to add to cooking opportunities or not. Up to you.
- Join the “Dockside Chat” with AYC Commodore Rob Gibbs.
- There are a limited number of slips available for day use and/or overnight rental, please contact Sharon Bell if you are interested in that.
- One boat owner has room on a boat for up to six people to sleep overnight. And there may be other boat owners with available bunks. Just ask if you don’t want to (or can’t) drive home safely.
- The rules of Scorpion Bay are to be respected as there are many boat owners out there. Good neighbor rules apply.
Here’s to a great (and safe) sailing season in Arizona!
In conjunction with our effort to focus more on our members and the relationships that make our club strong, we had an AYC Happy Hour at 4 Peaks Brewing in Tempe last Tuesday. The Club sprung for some appetizers and there were about 25-30 people that showed up!
We’re going to continue this “Off Week Happy Hour” effort moving it to different parts of the Valley so different members can attend. How do you know when and where they are? The Club Calendar will be updated with the events and we are trying to utilize the Facebook Events Page more as well! We’ll also include them in the roughly weekly email update with what’s going on.
We’d love to have your help to organize one! These are the kinds of events that help make our club great, so if you are interested in helping put a Happy Hour together in your part of the Valley, email Cruising@ArizonaYachtClub.org.
The mercury in Phoenix was banging on the 112 mark when a large delegation of AYC members headed for the beach: Long Beach. We came for temps in the mid-60s, wind in mid-teens, and competition in the stratosphere.
It was the annual evacuation to Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week (LBRW) and this year about 35 people from Arizona showed the AYC colors. David Newland, Maryellen and I brought our J/70 to play with the big guys, helped by Will Suto from San Diego. Mike and Sarah Hester, John Mayall, and Joel Hurley raced Mike’s Viper 640. Mike and Jo Grijalva raced Shockwave with their usual AYC pals.
And this year there were two AYC pickup crews racing the Long Beach Yacht Club charter Catalina 37s. John Riddell’s Crazy Train bunch were back this year, joining Rob Gibbs’ Cactus League crew in the 11-boat fleet. Both of these teams collect in frat-house-style rent-a-houses and add to the legend of LBRW. (Ask somebody from Cactus League about Gardyloo Traveling Road Show, the team from Seattle that keeps adding to its, mmmm, reputation.) Read more about Rob’s trip in the Commodore’s Corner.
With parties at LBYC and Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, sailing on three courses plus random legs, 136 registered boats, and some of the best sailors in the West, good wind and cool temps, LBRW will keep Arizona sailors coming back. It’s certainly not all the hardware we bring home.
The racing photos on this page are from Tom Walker Photography. If you like them, please buy them from him.
Wednesday night was the first of many hot nights out at Tempe Town Lake. The wind started to build out of the west with gusts of around 10kts.
Two boats started on the line with the one minute “call out” by the Ferrings. We were able to get in four races before they had to dash off for the Phoenix Mercury game!
This is great, low-pressure racing before next season. So if you just bought a boat or have one in the garage, come on out, hone your skills and have fun!
See you on the water next Wednesday. Here’s further information.
By Bob Naylor
My brother and I spent a weekend at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport and had an absolute blast. It was a great, very memorable experience for us.
The weather was not cooperative! I haven’t been that cold and wet in a very long time; but, it worked in our favor to some extent. The rain, wind, fog, drizzle, and cold temperatures really reduced the crowds. Those who bundled up and braved the weather were a hardy, die-hard, lot—and a great deal of fun to be with.
Never had I enjoyed a hot bowl of clam chowder more than that Friday when I had seriously underestimated the weather and utterly failed to anticipate the misery of a wet and very windy New England day, exploring the Race Village exhibits in my favorite pair of Arizona shorts and a sailing-themed Hawaiian shirt.
Just to ensure hypothermia had every opportunity to set in, we then joined a small, rain sodden, crowd of sailing enthusiasts to watch the M32 catamaran races from the windy shore of Fort Adams. To give you some idea of the wind that day, the M32s raced with a reefed main and no headsail. It was WINDY.
I dressed more reasonably for the rest of the weekend, although I was still cold—and wet—much of the time. I twice ran into Daniel Forster at Fort Adams. You’ll remember he was our AYC guest speaker in April, sharing with us the best sailing photographs from his long long career photographing sailboats. He was set up along the sea wall at Fort Adams, properly dressed in heavy foul weather gear and taking photos on Friday of the M32 cat race and on Saturday of the in-port race. We had fun catching up, and he provided some good local tips for us as well. Very nice guy.
Saturday morning, windshield wipers slapping all the way, we drove to nearby Bristol, RI, and toured the Herreshoff Museum. That was a great couple of hours as well—lots of gorgeous wooden boats, sailboats and motor launches, designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff, who also designed all of the winning America’s Cup boats from about 1890 to 1930 or so. We could have easily spent the day there, but left after a few hours to return to the Race Village for the in-port race.
The in-port race on Saturday also had strong winds, though not as heavy as the day before. The Volvo Ocean 65s handled the heavy air much better than the catamarans did the day before.
Following a really cold and wet afternoon of watching a really great race, we made our way from the Race Village to the Newport Yacht Club, where my AYC membership card was welcomed, albeit suspiciously (Arizona, really?). We enjoyed drinks and dinner there in the company of some lively, fun, local Newport sailors, really a great bunch of folks who made us feel right at home.
My AYC membership card generated a lot of conversation. People seemed amazed to learn that we sail in the desert, and they are equally confused to find that we mostly stop sailing for the summer months, just as they’re launching for a few short months of sailing in Narragansett Bay (which looks like some awesome sailing, by the way).
To the amazement of all, the pea-soup fog and drizzle on Sunday dissipated about 40 minutes before the start of Leg 9. The gray skies, half-mile visibility, and the moaning of the fog horns gave way to sunshine and blue skies (the first we had seen all weekend!), and the start of the Leg-9 race was really great, with plenty of wind.
We were aboard a boat in the VIP spectator zone and had a wonderful view of the race. It was great fun to be in the armada of spectator boats that chased the VO65s out as far as the sea buoy, where heavy swells forced most boats to head back in for the day.
Then came Monday and the drive to the airport. The sun was shining brightly, birds were singing, it was WARM and DRY with a lovely and slight spring breeze—an absolutely beautiful day. Nature is cruel that way.
When Matt Reynolds introduced us to Extreme Sailing at a monthly meeting last year, more than a dozen AYC members took up the invitation to see the October races in San Diego.
In June, Matt will be back with a highlight reel of stories from the first event.
Watching from the shore is free, but a bunch of us from AYC paid for the upgrade to ride on the wild, foiling GC32 catamarans during racing. What a kick! I was hanging onto the tramp of the French-shouting Swiss entry Alinghi as the crew scrambled around me, ducking flying lines and trying to keep up with the radical speed of the race. I highly recommend it.
Second best: A Silver Pass that offers entry into the VIP viewing area just off the finish line with great food and open bar, television coverage, the skippers’ news conference, a technical tour of a GC32, and (if you’d like), a RIB ride during racing. The Silver Passes are $350 each and we’ll auction off a pair of them at the meeting to benefit AYC’s 2019 Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup. Come ready to bid!
The meeting is Tuesday, June 12, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.
You have a new Board of Directors at the helm after the Commodore’s Celebration Saturday night (5/19). The changeover to the new crew went very well, with over 70 members turning out for the party at The Yard in Tempe.
The formal part of the event is the installation of the board and new Commodore Rob Gibbs and the awarding of trophies and offering thanks to the people who made last year work so well. This year’s US Sailing Sportsmanship Award recipient is David Newland, who did such amazing work to get our Lake Pleasant boats in shape and keeping them that way in his role as Lake Captain. Here’s a lot more description of what David did this last year.
After a vote of the jury, George Tingom will get to keep Ye Olde Blunder Bucket another few months and we hope he takes better care of it than he has lately. You see, part of the responsibility of receiving this coveted trophy is its care and feeding—keeping it prominently displayed on one’s mantle. After winning the prize in December, George instead kept it in his car! Nominated for this transgression—and then foolishly trying to defend doing it—won it again for George.
The Wayne Jason Tucker Award for Outstanding Junior went to Myles Danner. The Jerry Lindeman Award for Most Improved Junior went to Ethan Wei and Matthew Haggart. The Heavy Lifting Award for contribution to ASF went to Mike Parker, who took over the High School Sailing Team this year.
Photos by Mike Ferring and various others who picked up his camera when needed:
When the sails get baggy, it’s time for Sail Bags. When the draft goes from 40% to 80%, it’s time to retire and recycle.
Maryellen Ferring put out the call to AYC members to look through their dusty piles of old sails and bring them to her—and lots of people responded. The picture shows them folded and boxed at the TabBand shipping department, ready to head off to Sail Bags in Maine to be recycled into various bags, purses, and cases.
In return, AYC will get a number of Sail Bags’ items to use for prizes, auction items, and giveaways. How many? It’s all based on what they find in those boxes. So, many thanks to the people who contributed… and isn’t it nice to have them out of the garage?
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 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.
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.
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!
Here are a few more shots Mike took:
Right now there are 235 member families in the Arizona Yacht Club and in online voting during April, they selected the next board of directors.
The new board’s members are: Rob Gibbs, Commodore; Marc Danner, Vice Commodore; Sharon Bell, Rear Commodore; George Sheller, Racing Fleet Captain; Heather McClain, Cruising Fleet Captain; Skip Kempff, Membership Director (two-year term); Mike Ferring, Jr Staff Commodore.
Bruce Andress moves to Sr Staff Commodore and Andrew Oliver will continue in the second year of his two-year term as Membership Director. The new board will elect a Secretary and Treasurer.
Rob Gibbs is a familiar face at AYC, having served as Membership Director and now serving as one of the key instructors for the Arizona Sailing Foundation. In addition to the adult Learn to Sail program and the Powerboat Safety classes, Rob teaches the Junior Performance Sailing class, which includes his son Colin.
The new board will be installed at the Commodore’s Celebration on Saturday, May 19. More information and registration for this event here.
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.
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.
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.
Last year’s Commodore’s Celebration at The Yard in Tempe went so well we decided to do it again.
Dress is business casual. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Saturday, May 19. Cocktails at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm.
The menu includes:
- Soft Pretzels and Provolone Fondue
- Caesar Salad
- Meat Loaf with Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
- Roasted Salmon with Cauliflower, Snow Peas
- Baked Penne Pasta with Butternut Cream Sauce, Roasted Squash, Red Pepper, Herbed Ricotta
- Apple Cobbler with Bourbon Caramel Dessert
Here’s a slideshow the Commodore put together.
Tempe Town Lake offered five high school sailors its best mix of twists, turns, puffs, and lulls Saturday (5/5), as they competed in a close-fought contest to pick the year’s high school champion. The five competed in Lasers this year, running windward-leeward races to the east.
After one of the round-robin boats turned out to be taking on water (that’s slow!), the organizers considered various ways of offering redress to people using the slow boat. In the end, they determined that there should be a tie between Ian Altobelli and Bella Hutchinson, with Jude Brauer in third.
Mike Parker headed up the high school class this year, with able help from Dick Krebill, George Tingom and Larry Green. Andy Oliver was the PRO for the champ race, Katherine Roxlo, Joel Hurley, Cindy Pillote, Erika Parker and others helping out.
Here’s a slide show of photos by Mike Ferring:
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.
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.
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.
Consider this quote from one of the most experienced navigators in the world: “To a sailor, understanding weather is as important as boat preparation and knowing how to tack.”
The navigator is John Jourdane and the quote introduces the book, Modern Weather for Sailors. It also introduces our May monthly meeting speaker, that same guy and the book’s author, John Jourdane.
The meeting is Tuesday, May 8, beginning at 7pm (but arrive early for dinner). Monthly meetings are held at Aces @ Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281-1205 (map) and both members and non-members are welcome to attend.
You may remember John from his November 2013 visit, when he regaled the club with stories of his travels. He’s sailed over 300,000 miles, covering the distance between the West Coast and Hawaii 54 times, crossing the Atlantic Ocean 12 times, and sailing around the world three times, including two Whitbread Round the World Races.
How’s that for preparation for explaining (briefly) this complex subject: weather and how it affects sailors.
- Opening Day at Lake Pleasant September 24, 2018
- TTL Fall Racing Opens Hot September 18, 2018
- Are You Cat Curious? September 17, 2018
- AYC 4th Tuesday Happy Hour – Fibber Magees in Chandler September 17, 2018
- October San Carlos Cruise with the Tucson Sailing Club September 13, 2018