Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Heineken HPDO and R1 Championship - Drew Buttner

Columbus Day weekend in the northeast means it is time for our annual gathering in Rye, NY for the High Performance Dinghy Open. John Wyles started this event many years ago as a 505 regatta and has since grown it into one of the biggest multi-class events on the east coast. 505’s are still at its core and this year saw 14 team sign up to compete.

October in Rye, NY is like going to the casino … the weather changes daily and can be anything from mid summer heat to early winter storms. Everything has been seen over the years, and the 2014 version brought everything; wind, no wind, waves, flat water, cold, very cold, rain, and sun were all part of the weekend.

The forecast for Sat was not for the light-hearted. A weak nor’ easter was moving through the region and heavy rain, decent wind, and seasonably cold temps were expected. A few teams saw this forecast and mentally were already beaten. Even before the first race was held, positions 12, 13, and 14 were already decided. The eleven remaining teams dressed in their battle gear and headed out to the race course in 12-18 knots of breeze. The rain that made rigging “not very enjoyable” started to ease and an absolutely great day of racing resulted.

Zagol/Buttner jumped out of the gates early … literally being the first boat to gate, and took the lead in the first race with favorable left pressure and current relief. Behind them the fleet battled in a back and forth affair that saw many teams challenging near the front. Making the most of this was the team of Greenfield/Burd. Sailing the newly purchased 8852, the team found a great lane up the second beat and almost pushed into the lead. Kivney/Russell, sailing the newly purchased 9005, also found the fast land and moved into the top 3. The wire run to the finish was a blast and rewarded the three teams for their good upwind tactics.

For race number 2, the secret about the left was out, and more teams looked to gate early and play the left pressure. Ferrarone/Kaplan made the biggest jump and changed their 8th place finish in race one into a 2nd place finish in race 2. Amthor/Meller also were not fooled a second time and moved up to 3rd in the race with Zagol/Buttner notching another race win.

By the middle of race 3, the team of Zagol/Buttner seemed to be running away with the event as they lead again around most of the course. However, at the last windward mark they made a crucial mistake and rounded too early. After wiring into the right corner, the breeze picked up and shifted left. Amthor/Meller, with over 50 years of 505 experience in the boat, was not fooled and waited for this shift to carry them low and inside and to the race win. Connell/Heussler, who were back on the course after some morning issues, also played this perfectly took home the silver.

After 3 races, the fleet was tight with everyone finding moments of glory. Also by this time, the breeze started to lighten up a bit, the rain stopped, and the left pressure became even more of an advantage. Two more races were held on this first day. Zagol/Buttner would win one of these, and Greenfield/Burd would take the other. Connell/Heussler sailed another great race, but wanted to the get the evening started early and sailed in with one race to go?

Sunday saw sunny skies but even colder temperatures. The breeze was decent, but the forecast was calling for it to shift right and die to nothing by midday. The headed out early and got three races off in the dying breeze. Ted Ferrarone had seen the forecast the night before and called in a favor to a local high school and 420 stud. Weighing all of 120lbs, this stud took Ferrarone to the front of the fleet, and as the breeze died their scores improved. Ferrarone/Fernberger scored a 4, 2, 1 with the last bullet being such a horizon job that they were back on the dock sipping hot chocolate before the second boat crossed the finish line.

Wederoth/Fast also enjoyed the dying breeze improving each race, culminating in a second in the final race. Granted, this may have been due to Wederoth wanting to get back to shore to warm up. He held true to form and sailed in bare feet all weekend and had to be feeling the effects of frostbite by the end.

In the end, it was Zagol/Buttner that came out on top and were crowned the 2014 Region One Champs. Unfortunately, past winner Ferrarone refused to give up the trophy and “forgot” it at his house. This is the same excuse he has used every year since winning the trophy in 2011.

Congratulations to all for a great 2014 season. The HPDO was the last event of the year for Region One. A rough count showed that there were 17 active boats this year. That is a great number that hopefully can grow to 20 next year!  Already looking forward to 2015!

Friday, August 1, 2014

505 Rudder Fittings 101

Have you ever broken a set of rudder fittings on your 505? There is a new article on the class website all about 505 rudder fittings and how to prevent failure. CHECK IT OUT!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 North American Championship Report - Craig Thompson

Hosted by Santa Cruz Yacht Club - May 21-25 2014
Report by Craig Thompson, USA 8854,
All Photos courtesy of John Navas and available for purchase, see below.

Day 1 – Thursday May 22 – Races 1, 2, 3

Day 1 of the 505 North American Championship had three races sailed in a southwesterly breeze that ranged from 6-10 knots. The conditions were atypical for this venue, but provided some great tactical racing that was fair and challenging. Holding lanes was critically important and the teams that kept their boats powered up and in the best pressure ended the day on top.

Two teams delivered standout performances; Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn in USA 9080 and Augie DIaz and Fritz Lanzinger in USA 8808 ended the day with all top three finishes and all three race wins between them. Particularly impressive was in Race 2 when Howie and Andy hit the gate launch at the start, did a 360⁰ turn to exonerate their penalty, and recovered to finish second in the race!

After racing, a competitor's de-brief was held on the SCYC deck where the top finishers from the day lead a discussion about what they were doing to get their boat around the course the fastest. One the best things about sailing in the 505 class is the open sharing of information and the ability for teams in the middle to back of the fleet to be able to ask questions of the top teams. This allows new sailors in the class to be able to get up to speed quicker and have more fun on the race course.

Day 2 – Friday May 23 – Races 4, 5

After a brief postponement to wait for the fog to clear, Day 2 of the North American Championship delivered two races in classic Santa Cruz conditions ranging from 18-28 knots. Downwind boat speeds approached 20 knots in the second race of the day as the top teams worked hard to keep their boat ripping and upright. There was some swimming and some carnage, including several broken rudder fittings and a broken boom. All boats should be back on the water tomorrow.

Mike Martin and Adam Lowry in USA 9106 won both of today's races as they showed superior speed and boat handling. Mike Holt and Carl Smit in USA 9115 also showed great speed and consistency to finish the day with a 2nd and a 3rd. Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn still hold the overall series lead, which now includes a throwout after 5 races. Other notables from the day were 505 rookie Michael Menninger and crew Matthias Kennerknecht as well as 45 year class veteran Jeff Miller and his crew Pat Diola; both boats finished the day with two top-5 finishes.

For those of you who don't know, Mike Martin is the only 505 sailor ever to win the World Championships as both a skipper and a crew. Adding to the drama, Mike Martin won his first Worlds crewing for the regatta leader Howie Hamlin. Mike Martin and Mike Holt have become the skippers to beat when the breeze is on ever since finishing 1-2 and the 2009 Worlds in San Francisco. Keep an eye on Mike and Mike if the breeze continues to rip this weekend.

Day 3 – Saturday May 24 – Races 6, 7, 8

Day 3 of the 505 North Americans had three races totaling eight for the series leading into the last day of the event. We had an on-time start and the first race of the day was sailed in 10-18 knots as the seabreeze tried to establish itself. The second race of the day started in 18 knots but quickly pumped up to 25-30 knots for the rest of the day resulting in some fantastic racing conditions. The waves were larger than Day 2 which resulted in excellent surfing downwind and boat speeds in excess of 20 knots.

The top four teams set themselves apart from the rest of the fleet on Day 3 of the Championship. Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn continued their streak of consistency, but unfortunately had to retire from Race 7 with a broken main halyard; they maintain the overall lead going into the final day. No surprise to anyone, Mike Martin/Adam Lowry and Mike Holt/Carl Smit moved up to second and third respectively. It will be a tough battle on Sunday for the Championship title, with the top three boats all within ten points of one another and another classic Santa Cruz forecast on tap.

The real story of Day 3 was Michael Menninger and veteran crew Matthias Kennerknecht who won the day with a 1, 3, 1 to climb the standings all the way to 4th place. Michael and Matthias are borrowing Mike Martin's second boat, USA 8714, which won the 2009 worlds in San Francisco. Michael may be new to the 505 class, but he is no stranger to high performance sailing coming off last year's Red Bull Youth America's Cup. Michael is exactly the type of sailor we are trying to attract to the class, and we hope this got him hooked and he continues to race with us. Now is a great time to get into the class with many great used boats available and the 2017 World Championship taking place in Annapolis Maryland. I personally can’t think of a better boat and a better group of people to spend my time racing against.

Day 4 – Sunday May 25 – Race 9

 The fourth and final day of of the 505 North Americans was raced in a mix of conditions ranging from 10-20 knots. There was high drama in the first race of the day, as Mike Holt and Carl Smit jumped out in front with the lead pack while Howie Hamlin/Andy Zinn and Mike Martin/Adam Lowry were back in the pack forced to grind their way back. Both chasing teams made big moves on the first downwind leg; choosing to gybe-set and stay in more pressure. On the second beat, Martin/Lowry had clawed back to third, while Hamlin/Zinn were deep enough that they would have lost the regatta lead without picking up more boats.

The courses sailed for the series were primarily the "505 Worlds Course" which now consists of a windward-leeward-windward-reach-reach-windward-leeward- finish. Before the class changed to the larger spinnaker in 2002, the Worlds Course had two sets of reaches and one run. As a result, the class veterans not only love the reach legs, but they are much better at them then the younger guys. This was very apparent as we saw Hamlin/Zinn grinding down boat after boat in Race 9 all the way back to 5th place by the last leeward mark. Unfortunately for them, Mike Martin had passed Augie Diaz/Fritz Lanzinger which meant that they only had a one point series lead. Hamlin and Zinn had a great last beat to move into 4th place, but Matt Woodworth and I passed them on the downwind and keep the overall standings close.

The race committee planned for two races to close out the series, but unfortunately the seabreeze faded to zero during the second race and abandoned the race on the second to last leg as the time limit of 80 minutes was approaching. This meant that Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn had secured the 2014 North American title. This was Howard's 7th North American's victory and the first in over a decade (1990, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2014). Note that this year Howie turned 60 and has been racing in the 505 class for 38 years; to still be at the top of his game after all these years is an incredible testament to his hard work and dedication to the 505 class. A big congratulations as well to veteran crew Andy Zinn who wins his first North Americans after many hard fought years in the class. Pat Diola was awarded the Dave Cahn Sportsmanship award for 2014.

A huge thank you to the Santa Cruz Yacht Club for hosting an amazing event as well as all the sponsors, organizers, volunteers, race committee, and everyone who devoted their valuable time and energy to making this one of the best Championships that the class has hosted in recent memory.

Related Links:

FULL PHOTO GALLERY courtesy of John Navas
Note: High resolution photos can be purchased for $50 per or $150 for 4 and there are many more pictures available than what is shown in the link above. If you are interested in purchasing photos, please email John Navas



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 North Americans - Website, Registration, and NOR

Registration is now open for the 2014 North American Championship hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. At this stage we are a lock to have over 40 teams competing, and there is a chance we could break into the 50's. Please register now if you plan on attending; this is an event and a venue that is not to be missed!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2014 St. Francis YC Spring Dinghy Report - Mike Holt

This past weekend 19 505's descended on St Francis Yacht Club for the first event of the season on the US West Coast.

Saturday greeted the fleet with a light Easterly breeze and partly cloudy skies, not good indicators for a great day of Five-Oh sailing. Unfortunately for the 19 boats this turned the day into a waiting game and finally at 2:30 with a light Westerly breeze spreading across the course we were sent out.

We got a two lap windward leeward started and fastest out of the blocks was Pat Diola and Jeff Miller, leading from start to finish from a chasing pack. The race was close all the way around with the wind filing in and dropping out, making wire running occasionally the way to go downwind and the right hand side of the course the way to go upwind. Unfortunately for Pat and Jeff the outcome of two laps of racing was to cross the line to silence, victims to an OCS start. This left Paul VonGrey and Parker Shinn to pick up the win from Rob Woelfel and Mike Holt with Justin Schaffer and JB Turney taking 3rd.

Race 2 followed straight after but by now the flood was running hard and the wind had decreased to non trapeze conditions. Justin and JB got an early lead on the fleet but failed to push hardest to the left with the boats to the left the proverbial "country mile" ahead of those that had gone to the right. Paul and Parker lead round, away on the flood, Justin and JB hanging on to second. On their heels was the team of Stuart Park and Ryan Cox. Sadly though as a contest the race was pretty much over as the left was the only way to go up the beat and the leading teams made no mistake to finish in that order. On returning to shore though there was to be a little more drama though as the results did not reflect the story I have told and showed a different one. One in which 5 boats incorrectly thought that the race was shortened sailed through the finish a lap early, confusing the race team and having many of us fall victim to the time limit! All was however corrected.

Post racing the StFYC supplied the usual excellent food and beer, all included in the entry and stories were swapped and excuses laid out...

Sunday dawned and unfortunately stuck very close to the forecast, that is to say, no wind. We waited and waited and eventually the PRO called the racing and we were done for the weekend and the results for two races stood, leaving Paul and Parker as the winners!


Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 Midwinter Championship Report - Craig Thompson

The 2014 Midwinter Championship was again hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club out of there Pass-a-Grille location on St. Pete Beach. This is an unbelievable venue for sailing (most of the time) and observing beach activities. The sand is packed hard and groomed every morning, the launch is relatively tame and gets deep quickly, and the bar is a short walk away. New for this year were the daily beach weddings immediately adjacent to our boat park.

This year’s event was highlighted by some weather-related glitches. Most teams showed up on Thursday and rigged their boats followed by an afternoon practice session. Breeze was light, 5-10 Knots, but the feel of pasty white northern skin cooking in the sun was a welcome break from the deep freeze. About 10 boats made it out for some rabbit starts and up/down’s.

Friday was forecast to be the best sailing of the weekend, with Saturday and Sunday looking very light. At the 9AM skipper’s meeting, the RC told us that they had been monitoring the weather situation, and that they wanted to hold us on shore due to some imminent lightning in the area. The fleet quickly got on the web and began looking at the weather situation for themselves. There was a massive front spanning the entire way from Florida up to New York, and we were right on the southern tip of it. It was unclear as to whether it would hit us, but the RC opted to wait and see, rather than trying to get a race off before it hit. This ended up being the wrong decision, as there was no rain or lightning all day.

The front continued to move closer and look more threatening, but the southern edge stalled and never encroached on our location. The fleet began to get frustrated and decided to launch and go out for a practice session. About 15 of the 18 boats at the event went out on Friday and were treated to a great day of sailing in 14-18 knots of wind. At the end of the day, we all felt pretty skunked considering the forecast for the balance of the weekend was horrible. We all decided that we needed to be more proactive in communicating with the RC early in the day so that they knew our capabilities of getting back in quickly in bad weather. The consensus was that we should nominate a class representative to be the point person for communicating with the RC on behalf of the fleet.

Saturday greeted sailors with dense fog and very little wind. It stayed like that all day. Literally all day. We were all dressed and ready to sail when the fog lifted, until we called it for the day at 4:30PM. We had a good opportunity to check out boats and drink beers. And it wasn’t raining!
Sunday’s forecast was not much better, although the morning looked a bit more promising as the fog was lighter and there was a bit more breeze. We started our first race around 10:30 AM in a light ESE breeze, about 5 knots max. At the first leeward mark, a thick fog rolled in resulting in some navigational challenges on the beat. Tyler/Jesse won the race followed by Ethan/Erik and Matt/Thomas. After the finish, the RC opted to wait for the fog to thin out to start the second race. We all sailed around the start line for about an hour and waited.

The fog lifted around 12:30PM and another race was started in a bit more breeze, ESE about 8-10 knots. Tyler/ Jesse took another bullet, but they had to fight off Augie/Reeve and Ian/James. The wind backed off slightly for the third and final day. Race 3 was highlighted by the Barry and Barrows brothers fighting it out for the overall results; they were deadlocked going into the final race. The younger brothers pushed hard, but in the end Matt/Thomas were able to translate their wisdom into speed and secure the bragging rights.
Congratulations to Tyler Moore and Jesse Falsone for their solid performance. If you are in the market for a new boat, check out the Classifieds Page where you can purchase the winning boat from this regatta for a great price. I would also like to congratulate Mike Coe and Russel Miller on the first regatta win for their “Dingleberries” upper mast support system which they invented in 2008. The system uses the spinnaker halyard to pull the trap wires up to the spin halyard exit when the sail is raised.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

505 Midwinters Video - Craig Thompson

A short video from the first two days of practice at the Midwinter Championship in Florida. Full report and photos to follow.

SCYA Midwinters Report - Mike Martin

The SCYA Midwinters regatta was held over the Feb 15 and 16 at ABYC in beautiful Long Beach, CA.

Photo by Rich Roberts / photo boat captain Jon Robinson

Here are the highlights:

  • 8 505s
  • Rigging on the beach in shorts and t-shirts
  • Dave Chatham returns to the 505 fleet with the purchase of 8786
  • Ben Benjamin returns to the 505 fleet sailing with Mike Martin
  • 4 races in 4 to14 knots of breeze on Saturday
  • Ben and Mike lead at first mark every race on Sat but struggle downwind
  • Andy and Howie School fleet with two 1st and two 2nd place finishes
  • Reeve Dunne and Jeff Condon sail fast and smart to be in 2nd overall on Sat
  • Howie has 61st birthday party on sat night with some very tasty Mexican food
  • 3 races in 2-5 knots of breeze on Sunday
  • Dan Downing and Gary Lee show moments of great speed
  • Andy and Howie School fleet with two 1st and a 2nd
  • Rob Woelfel and Mike Holt have a 1,2,3  to tie Ben and Mike for 2nd  overall (but lose the tie breaker)
  • Full Results
  • Photo Album

 Photo by Rich Roberts / photo boat captain Jon Robinson

 Photo by Rich Roberts / photo boat captain Jon Robinson
 Photo by Rich Roberts / photo boat captain Jon Robinson

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Late Posting - 2013 St. Francis Yacht Club Fall Dinghy - Ted Conrads

This year’s Fall Dinghy hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club showcased 15 boats with teams traveling from the far reaches of the Northwest to Los Angeles to compete on the classic racetrack framed by the Golden Gate Bridge to the north and Alcatraz to the south.  The venue lived up to its reputation with strong breeze and challenging conditions both days.  Saturday got off to a slow start as the sea breeze took its time before filling in with the wind speed ranging between 15 and 20 knots over 3 races.

It was a welcome sight to see Adam Lowry back in the front of the boat with Mike Martin driving as the team exhibited unmatched speed both on and off the wind with straight bullets through the first 5 races.  As Mike and Adam sailed away the rest of the fleet was remarkably close.  Ted Conrads and Brian Haines narrowly captured second, while teams Miller/Diola and Russell/Miles took 3rd in races 1 and 2.  The third and final race on Saturday was a nail biter for 2nd through 4th with Conrads/Haines flipping on the last jibe to the finish before teams Miller/Diola and Hamlin/Von Grey captured 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The morning conditions on Sunday were in stark contrast to Saturday with temperatures in the high fifties and a cool sea breeze in full force as the teams headed out for the 11 a.m. start.  The breeze was gusting up to 25 knots into a fading ebb tide. Racing was once again tight behind Mike and Adam with Conrads/Haines squeaking out a 2nd in race four and John Turney and his teammate Ashley taking silver in race five.  After sailing with AJ Conrads on Saturday, Rob Woelfel joined Mike Holt to christen Mike’s new ship on Sunday.  As expected the pair put in a solid performance with 3’s in races 4 and 5 before finishing off with a 2nd in the final race. As the breeze built the final race turned out to be a short but harrowing experience as Mike and Adam graced us with one mistake as they took a swim during the spinnaker set before recovering to finish 5th and solidly winning the event with 5 firsts and a 5th place as a drop.

Rounding out the top 5 were Conrads/Haines in 2nd, Miller/Diola tied with Hamlin/Von Grey for 3rd and JB Turney and his teammate Ashley in 5th


Late Posting - 2013 HPDO Regatta Reports - Bryan Richardson and Ted Ferrarone

Bryan Richardson Report:
This was my first HPDO, but I had heard from absolutely everyone who had been that it was the regatta to beat all regattas.  Heineken sponsorship, beautiful venue, and a nothing but fast boats.  If you planned to go, but did not, you missed a a ride for the ages.  If you were not thinking about it, you absolutely positively must make it next year.

As the Nor'Easter rolled across the East Coast on Friday, it dropped torrential buckets on all of us driving up.  The rain finally let up by the time we got to the lot.  If you guessed the conditions from the protected lot of American Yacht Club, you would think we were in for a serene weekend.  But the predictions said otherwise, 20+ knots, big gusts, and big waves on Long Island Sound.  From our neck of the woods, you had Russell sailing with Matt Berry, Dr. Watson sailing with Sol, and I sailed with Peter Scannell

On Saturday, the Race Committee divided racers into two fleets racing in two circles on Long Island Sound to the South and East of the Club.  The 5os raced with the Vipers, F18s, and K6s.  Fireballs, Moths, Weta Tris, VX Ones and an array of other fast boats lined up at the other circle.

Conditions were epic, gnarley, demanding, and punishing.  The wind on Saturday started at around steady 20 knots gusting to 25 and built to around steady 22 with gusts reported at almost 30 knots.  The waves were HUGE confounding everyone's efforts to keep the boats up.  Not a single boat avoided the capsize on Saturday.  It was, however, a great moment to appreciate the incredible de-powering ability of our rigs as we were able to sail flat while Vipers and K6s held on for dear life as they headed upwind.  Carnage abounded.  Russell decided to tackle his boat and destroyed one of his carbon poles.  Whit Duncan lost his rudder.  Craig stayed the most upright in his sweet new ride and ruled day one.  Faced with simply far too many boats requiring rescue at once, the race committee cried uncle and called the day after two races.  To their credit, they had more than 35 people working safety committee and I don't recall more than 20 seconds passing before they were on the scene to help if you needed.  A truly impressive effort.

American Yacht Club staged an amazing dinner on Saturday night with a Heinken mini-keg at every table.  When asked for the best stories from the day from each fleet, Russell stole the show with an 8 minute rendition of Whit losing his rudder.  It was not hard to pass out that night after we put our boats to bed.

Before heading out Sunday, the conversation focused on what we had all learned from the previous day.  I found myself looking over Jesse's Heavy Air Crewing Notes and talking with Peter about how we could keep the boat moving and stay upright.  Peter and I talked through all of the steps of our gybes to be sure we worked more smoothly.  We found that when we got surprised by an errant launcher line that I had not secured well enough, slowed down too much as we went into the gybe, got our legs caught in line, or simply did not talk, a surprise would divert our attention for a split second and that was all it took to get dumped over.  Out on the wire, I started looking back more frequently to Peter's trim on the main to see where the boom was relative to the transom. If he was too far out consistently and the sail was flogging, was I low enough on the wire and/or did we need to rake more?  Peter gave me more consistent information on how the helm felt in his hands so I could adjust my weight and trim accordingly.  We moved the jib leads out to keep the air flowing.  Russell talked about how he talked constantly to his driver, Matt, to help him drive the bow into the large waves so he could stay low on the wire and keep the boat flat and fast.  This takes a lot of skill because if you get it wrong, you got thrown off your feet when a huge ass waves blasts you. Those of us less skilled at this were way high on the wire and provided less righting moment upwind.

The race comittee postponed launching on Sunday with gusts clocking 30 knots on the Sound.  But just as forecast, the winds dropped slightly down to around 20 knots consistently and we launched.  As we headed out we saw Zagol and Drew limping back to port with a broken rudder on their ride and they were out for the day.  Kivney and Craig battled it out for first and second in the third race while Ted Ferrarone, Craig, and Russell and Matt battled it out for first, second and third in the fourth and fifth race.  Everyone's sailing improved dramatically the second day as the rhythms and requirements of sailing in heavy air started to click.

I will say that as a light/short (but dangerously handsome) crew, heavy wind has always been intimidating to me.  My last big jump up this learning curve came at last year's Hampton regatta where we were served with 17+ knots each day.  The weather this last weekend at HPDO was the most challenging conditions I have ever seen and there were more times I would like to admit that I thought of telling Peter that we might want to wait it out on the shore.  But as Jesse and Macy always tell us, you don't get good at sailing in big breeze (and getting over your own fears of doing so, without getting your ass out there and just getting used to it).  And once you get more used to it, holy god you realize how awesome this boat is (and how completely crazy San Fran must have been).

The weather over the weekend was punishing, but in reflection there were a couple of big lessons learned that helped me climb up the learning curve into the consistent 22+ knots range.  First, use the de-powering ability of your rig early and sail the boat at 90% speed as close to 100% of the time as you can.  If you feel bound up, stand her up a bit.  Don't start with too powerful of a set up or you will waste all of your precious physical (and mental) energy too early.  Second, a good driver is a huge asset as you figure it all out.  If you have not sailed with Peter Scannell, the guy is a pro.  His talents kept us upright (and allowed us to stay up and do it the right way the next time) more than a few times.  Third, you will fall over.  So make sure you don't use up all of your energy getting your boat back up.  Work out a routine for who will do what job to get the boat back up.  I either stood on the CB next to the boat and hopped in as it came up while Peter pulled at the end.  For god's sake don't forget to uncleat your jib and vang before you try to stand her up or she will go right back over.  Flip the boat up into the oncoming wind if you have a choice or try to get her up with the bow pointed straight in.  Fourth, when you gybe, work together with your driver to rotate the kite around.  Not doing so creates a mess of sail and lines that will likely cause errors and a capsize.  Finally, don't lose a drop of speed as you go into your gybe or you will go over.  At the same time, if you do go into your gybe fast, it was amazing to see how smoothly it could all go. That means be aware of when you were zooming down the back of a wave vs. screeching to a halt as you climbed up the next one.

So don't miss HPDO next time, seriously.

Ted Ferrarone Report:

The 2013 High Performance Dinghy Open at American YC served up amazing conditions for their 10th Anniversary. 14 505’s signed up for this year’s event, although not all made it around the track intact. Saturday saw a smoking 25 kt easterly with large steep waves, fully testing the boathandling skills of the fleet. After 2 races, the RC had seen enough carnage on the mixed-fleet course (who knew it would be so easy to turtle a Viper?) and sent the fleet in to recuperate with the ample supply of complimentary Heineken.

After Day 1, Craig Thompson held a narrow lead over NA Champions Drew Buttner and Matt Zagol for 1st and 2nd, with wily veterans Tom Kivney/Gordon Russell holding a one point lead over Ted Ferrarone/Simon Gerson for 3/4.  Matt Barry and Russell Miller showed amazing upwind speed but spent most of the day testing innovative downwind techniques, showing off their rudderless sailing skills and also trying out a “heavy air” reefed spinnaker pole.

Day 2 dawned slightly less windy (only a steady 20…) but with even larger waves. Drew/Mark decided to practice their rudderless sailing skills and headed for the barn early. 3 quality races ensued, with plenty of spills and thrills. Matt/Russell stopped sandbagging and stayed upright on a few runs, sneaking past Ted/Simon for 2nd, while Craig/Matt posted a solid 1, 2, 1 to lock down the victory.

Big thanks to Zhik and Heineken for all the goodies, and AYC for hosting us.