Saturday, November 14, 2015

2015 HPDO Report - Kelly McGlynn

HPDO October 10-11, American Yacht Club


I have always heard about the 505, and now that I have graduated college (Brown ’15) I decided that it was the perfect time to check it out. A quick call to my good friend Parry Barclay and next thing I know I had a ride (Drew Buttner thankfully for took a leap of faith and hopped in the boat with me!) for the High Performance Dinghy Open hosted by American Yacht Club in Rye, NY. There was a solid fleet of twelve 505s, and a total of seven races over the course of the weekend.

This of course was my first time in a 505, so Drew gave me a crash course on Saturday morning. Then into the water and off the beach we pushed. As a newcomer to the 505, I wasn’t particularly heartbroken to find light breeze on the Saturday. As much as I love the adrenaline rush of flying downwind with a kite up, I have to admit it was nice to have a 5-10 knot introduction.

We sailed race one on Saturday morning in a dying northerly, which couldn’t really decide which direction it wanted to come from. There were some pretty huge angle and direction changes, making the sailing resemble a college race on the Charles River where positions in the fleet can change drastically at any time. The trick seemed to be to hedge left, since there the righties were limited and hard to take back across the course, but conditions were so variable that there were definitely exceptions to this. We had our ups and downs and managed to catch a nice shift and come back from a deep hole to finish 3rd. Ben Greenfield & Mike Komar stole the show and easily won the race.

Unfortunately the breeze died after the first race, leaving us all to float in postponement for a few hours before we could get any more racing in. With all the new control lines in the boat, Drew and I had plenty to talk about! When we did get going again it was in very light and variable conditions, and we finished the day with three races. The fleet was very tight throughout the day, and points were close at the end of it. Drew and I managed to win the two light wind races as I felt very comfortable in college-like conditions. We were tied for the top spot with Greenfield / Komar and Kivney / Russell only a couple of points behind us.

Sunday’s conditions were much more suitable for 505 racing. It was a classically beautiful fall day, with 8-12 knots of wind out of the south. The conditions were much more stable than they were on Saturday, and being in the front of the fleet was largely about having good boat speed through the chop and staying in phase with the oscillations. As a 505 newbie I was glad to have the chance to do some wire running, and especially happy that I had Drew in the front of the boat to coach me on how to drive the boat.

The racing on Sunday remained close; there were a lot of lead changes, and the regatta was up for grabs right through the last race. In the end, Drew and I were able to pull ahead, catching a few key points during the downwind legs of the last race. Greenfield / Komar finished in second just a few points behind us. A really close battle for 3rd with Falsone / Brendan winning the last race of the regatta and almost catching Scannell / O’Bryan (won two races on Sunday) and Kivney
/ Russell, but in Scannell /O’Bryan held on by a single point!

The 2015 HPDO was a great weekend of 505 sailing, but I’ve been told that I’d need to experience the boat with at least 5 or 10 more knots of breeze to really know what it is like. I do have to say, however, that for a crash course in the boat, it was pretty perfect.

Full results: http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1458
Photoboat Gallery: http://www.photoboatgallery.net/2015-hpdo-photos




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Capital Gazette NA's Article

A nice article on the 505 NA's was featured last week in the Capital Gazette: http://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/sailing_boating/ph-ac-cs-505-north-americans-092715-20150925-story.html

Other than their faulty wind instruments (common in this area), this is a great article!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 505 North American Championship - Chris Love Reports

North American 505 Fleet Gets Early Preview for Worlds; Hamlin/Zinn Lead the Way

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Warm Chesapeake water coupled with a pleasant September high pressure system forced the fleet of the 2015 International 505 North American Championship into three days of on-the-water chess in consistently light and shifty wind, before the northerly kicked in for a final honking day of high octane drag racing. This one-two combo may have been mentally draining and physically demanding for the 33 boats that attended this continental championship event hosted by Severn Sailing Association and Eastport Yacht Club September 17-20, but it will surely give them a leg up on the rest of the globe when they return to these waters in two year’s time to compete for the 505 World Championship.

A compact fleet on the second day of the 2015 International 505 North American Championship
Howard Hamlin and Andy Zinn managed to stay close enough to early leaders Ethan Bixby and Christopher Brady through the light stuff that their picket fence on Day 4 put them comfortably atop the podium. “I thought Ethan was totally untouchable,” said Howard after the victory. “He was going really well in the light stuff, but he just didn’t have it in breeze. We’re more all-around.” Bixby and Brady posted their only double digit scores in all three of the final day’s races and barely held onto second. Reigning World Champions Mike Holt and Carl Smit struggled early but found their stride on the last two days and finished third.

Hamlin and Zinn have been sailing together for ten years, near their home base in Long Beach and around the world, but this was their first taste of Annapolis. “It’s a nice feeling to be a California drag racer and be able to win in a shifty light place. We’re not going to read too much into it though—we won’t necessarily see the same conditions at Worlds.”

2015 North American Champions Howard Hamlin (helm) and Andy Zinn (crew) lead the pack on the final day.
Some of the other top contenders for 2017 are taking notes now. “We all work on our speed and the boats and everything else,” said Mark Zagol, who sails with Drew Buttner and finished sixth this weekend, “but this event just shows how important the mental aspect of sailing is going to be for that regatta. Lots of lead changes, and challenging wind—gotta be ready to battle for an entire week.”

For Craig Thompson, who won the 505 East Coast Championship in August with regular crew Mike Curtin but struggled at this event, it was all about lessons learned: “In Annapolis, you can’t be one dimensional. That’s why Howard and Andy won. Big breeze, medium breeze and shifty, light wind, it doesn’t matter—they could even grind it back when they found themselves in the cheap seats.”

Mike Holt (helm) and Carl Smit (crew) showing some serious intensity on a tight reach leg.
While many 505’ers used this regatta to start preparing for Worlds, the primary focus for the 66 sailors hailing from all corners of the US and Canada was simply to perform the their very best at the pinnacle 505 event for 2015 against some of the world’s top 505 sailors. Local sailor Ramsay Key has been away from the boat for a time, but was sure to find himself a ride when he found out this regatta was coming to his hometown. “Having raced a number of different boats,” said Key, “I don't think there is a better boat that the 505: its part tactical collegiate dinghy, part high performance skiff, and part engineering.  Nothing is better than hoisting the chute in 15 to 25 knots and taking the sleigh ride downhill!”

This event caps off the major events for the class this year, but there’s plenty to look forward to in 2016. After the first three grand slam events, Key and anyone else from the International 505 fleet who can make it back to Annapolis will have another chance to tune up on the same racecourse as SSA and EYC team up again to host the 2016 505 East Coast Championship in preparation for the US to make a big showing at its home event in 2017.

Macy Nelson (helm) and Eric Anderson (crew) are blinded with spray on a beat to windward
Top ten:
1 Howard Hamlin/Andy Zinn 1, 4*, 4, 3, 3, 5*, 3, 4, 1, 1, 1, 21
2 Ethan Bixby/Christopher Brady, 2, 1, 5, 1, 2, 4, 2, 2, 15*, 12*, 10, 29
3 Mike Holt/Carl Smit , 16*, 2, 9*, 8, 4, 1, 1, 3, 4, 3, 5, 31
4 Jesse Falsone/Keith Davids, 10, 3, 13*, 7, 1, 2, 4, 1, 8, 7, 11*, 43
5 Riley Gibbs/Reeve Dunne 3, 6, 1, 15*, 16*, 6, 8, 13, 9, 2, 3, 51
6 Andrew Buttner/Mark Zagol, 4, 11*, 7, 2, 5, 8*, 5, 6, 7, 8, 7, 51
7 Tyler Moore/Rob Woelfel 5, 9, 8, 10*, 6, 3, 9, 14*, 2, 10, 2, 54
8 Stuart Park/Ryan Cox 13, 5, 17, 5, 21*, 20*, 6, 11, 3, 4, 9, 73
9 Jeff Boyd/Rachael Boyd 6, 16, 2, 4, 7, 7, 7, 12, 19*, 18, DNC*, 79
10 Henry Amthor/Dustin Romey, 18*, 22*, 3, 9, 17, 17, 10, 7, 10, 5, 4, 82

Complete results at http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1440
All photos courtesy of Ted Morgan and Dan Phelps. Full galleries below:
Ted Morgan Gallery
Dan Phelps/SpinSheet Gallery

Regatta Report - 2015 Dale Jepsen One Design regatta - Bellingham Yacht Club - Jon Henderson

Unless you were winning an Emmy Award, or having a baby, there was no good excuse to miss the 2015 DJOD!  (except maybe the scheduling conflict with the 505 North American Championships in Annapolis).  17 505 teams showed up in Bellingham for the Dale Jepsen One Design regatta, making us the biggest fleet two years in a row!  Thanks to all who traveled to Bellingham from Canada, Seattle, Port Townsend and Rich Mundell even flew in from Santa Cruz!  There is a great new fleet building locally in Bellingham with a lot of excitement!

Saturday was rainy but warm, and all boats launched in drifter conditions.  The breeze filled in nicely before racing 6-18 out of the South - Southeast.  Shifty puffy conditions made for challenging racing, and you had to constantly be on your toes, and have your heads out of the boat upwind.  Downwind was a mix between DDW and wiring out, and transitioning between the two often multiple times per leg.  Also not getting too greedy and sailing too far on starboard pole when it started getting soft.

Defending champs Phil and Reto were the team to beat.  Also going fast were Mats and Rich, Cody and Jon, and Erik and Gabe.  Other teams were going fast too but fell victim to the many pitfalls of the course.

After racing we all hung out at the Bellingham Yacht Club and had an AWESOME dinner of pulled pork that was super scrumptious.  Having had a good day on the water some chose to slip out early and skipped the karaoke, but heard it was fun, and the keg was killed rather quickly.  And because PVG was conspicuously absent, we overlooked the debrief.  See what happens Paul?

Day two had a forecast that was upgraded to 20-30, and that is what it was.  There were some monster puffs.  The final race was run in full planing conditions.  Phil and Reto just motored over the fleet at the start but Erik tacked out on to port and found more wind, and a nice right shift that brought them within 30 seconds of them at the windward mark.  Cody / Jon, and Lee / Josh were not far behind.  Miles and Jack also started late, but suffered a breakdown.  So off we went an a wild ride with the kite up, the boat bouncing like mad.  We were "sending it," or at least working on that technique.  Erik and Gabe rounded in second and got second for the race, which put them past Cody/Jon, and Mats/Rich (they had a breakdown) for the 2nd overall!

Congratulations to Phil and Reto for a convincing win.  They won 4 out of 6 races.

Great thanks to host BYC, sponsor Samson Ropes, regatta organizer / head chef / MC Mike Poulos, and PRO Mick Corcoran for putting on a great event.  Also thanks to all who traveled to Bellingham Yacht Club, the host of the 2016 505 North American Championships!

Next up for Region 6:
October 3,4 CYC Seattle - Puget Sound Sailing Championships (PSSC)
November 7,8 Kitsilano Yacht Club -Blue Nose Regatta
November 21, 22 CYC Seattle - Turkey Bowl

Results are here:  http://byc.org/raceresults/2015/DJOD-2015_P1%20-%20505_Overall(2).htm

All photos courtesy of Jan's Marine Photography






Full gallery here: https://janpix.smugmug.com/Events/Dale-Jepsen-One-Design-Regatta-1/i-C8WPGvn/A

Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 505 North American Championship Preview - Craig Thompson

Less than one week remains before the start of the 2015 505 North American Championship, hosted by Severn Sailing Association and Eastport Yacht Club. Learn more about what to watch for during the event.


The fleet after a start at the 2007 NA's hosted by SSA.
This regatta is a dress rehearsal for the World Championship which will be hosted by the same clubs at the same time in 2017. 40 teams from across the continent are registered to compete next week, below is a preview of the notable entries that will likely be vying for the top spots:

Jeff Boyd / Gordy Carruthers - Kingston, ON: Jeff has been infrequent at events in recent years, but he is usually steering the top Canadian entry at the NA's. Jeff is a former America's Cup Tactician that literally wrote the book on the 1983 America's Cup. A great sailor and a great guy, count on Jeff and Gordy to put together some solid finishes.

Ethan Bixby / Chris Brady - St. Petersburg, FL / Annapolis, MD: Ethan won the NA's in 2007 sailing with Erik Boothe the last time the event was sailing in Annapolis. The most seasoned veteran in the competition, Ethan has sailed 505's for over 45 years and is always in the hunt. Chris and Ethan have some recent experience together at the 2013 Worlds in Barbados.

Craig Thompson / Carson Turowski - Rye, NH / Newport, RI: Craig is fresh off a win at the 2015 ECC's in August sailing with Mike Curtin. Mike just started graduate school and was unable to attend, but Carson Turowski is stepping in as guest crew. Craig and Carson finished 5th at the ECC's last year in Annapolis. Look for this team to do well if the breeze is up.

Mark Zagol / Drew Buttner - Westwood, MA / Stonnington, CT: Mark and Drew won the 2013 NA's in Kingston, ON. These guys have extremely versatile skills and will be at the top of the fleet regardless of the wind conditions. Dont be surprised if you see an orange boat rounding a lot of marks in 1st place.

Mark and Drew holding the hardware in 2013
Macy Nelson / Eric Anderson - Baltimore, MD / Seattle, WA: Macy is another crafty 505 vet that is usually at the top of the fleet. Macy has stepped up his game in recent years, running a 3 boat 505 program and sailing more events than most of us could dream of. Macy and Eric had a solid showing at the Buzzards Bay Regatta in August, dominating the first day of racing. Macy is hungry for another North American crown to go with his other three ('83, '93, '94).

Howie Hamlin / Andy Zinn - Long Beach, CA: Howie and Andy are the defending North American and Pacific Coast Champions. They are one of the favorites to win this event; especially if there is a variety of conditions. Howie has been sailing with several other crews in Europe this summer, finishing 2nd at the UK Nationals with Jeff Nelson in Weymouth. Howie and Andy are the real deal.

Howie and Andy are a safe bet to be in the top 3
Mike Holt / Carl Smit - (Soquel, CA / Annapolis, MD): Mike and Carl are the defending World Champions. Mike has won the past 2 Worlds, winning in 2014 with Rob Woelfel. If the breeze is up, this is the boat to beat; even more so because Mike Martin and Adam Lowry will be missing the event due to an injury. Mike and Carl will be contending for the Championship on Sunday.

Mike and Carl cant think of a better venue than Annapolis
Keith Davids / Jesse Falsone - (Annapolis, MD): Keith Davids is a badass. Jesse is one of those guys who can crew for anyone and make the boat competitive. Jesse is the regatta chairman, but that wont keep these two from being in the hunt. Local knowledge along with pure athleticism and optimal weight for the Annapolis venue all add up to a winning recipie for Davids and Falsone.

Tyler Moore / Rob Woelfel - (Hampton, VA / Reno, NV): Tyler and Rob won the NA's together back in 2012. Rob has since won the 2014 Worlds crewing for Mike Holt in Germany. Tyler and Rob are always contenders and this event should be no exception. And if you plan on going to Lake Tahoe this winter for a weekend bender, make sure you keep Rob's number handy.

Ryan Cox / Stuart Park - (Moraga, CA): Ryan Cox is as talented a sailor as you will find in the fleet. Stuart Park continues to defy the laws of aging by being one of the oldest forward hands in this year's competition. Don't let his age fool you though, this guy is one of the best crews on the course, especially when the wind is up and he can stretch his legs.

Speaking of Tyler Moore and Ryan Cox, I think I count 8 sailors on this list who are regular or were regular 505 sailors. It would be great to see some young college studs get into the 505 for a campaign leading up to the 2017 Worlds. Anyone remember who won the last East Coast US Worlds?

Notable scratches:

Mike Martin: Kitesurfing accident causing injury. We wish him a speedy recovery but the timing sounds suspicious considering Annapolis as a venue.
Augie Diaz: Sailing the Snipe worlds. Must be nice to sail a dinghy where you can tack standing up and not hit your head.
Thomas Barrows/Matt Barry: Still developing their next generation gasket rubber that wont be ready until 2016.
JB Turney: Blew his entire Stimulus Package on house renovations in San Fran. Will save up for next year.
Newport, RI Fleet: Still thinking of a good excuse for not being there.
Tom Hurwitch: Currently holds the record for the most number of 505 events registered for and not sailed in. Will this be the year the streak is broken? No.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

North American's Article Spinsheet Magazine

A preview of the 505 NA's is featured on page 84 of the September 2015 issue of Spinsheet Magazine. See below or follow THIS LINK to read the full issue.



Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 East Coast Championship - Chris Love Reports

First Win for Thompson/Curtin Comes at Rooster Sailing and Rondar Raceboats US 505 East Coast Champs

Craig Thompson (Rye, NH) and Mike Curtin (Fairfield, CT) captured their first 505 class “Major” this weekend, the 2015 East Coast Championship at Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville, MA. The three-day regatta attracted 19 boats for eight races in a variety of challenging sailing conditions. This event is the third of the class’ annual grand-slam of major events which include the Midwinters and Pacific Coast Championships and the upcoming North American Championship in September.

The top 5 finishers plus PRO Neal Fowler. Awards and pinnies provided by Rooster Sailing.

“This season we did a lot of things well but were never able to put it all together,” said Thompson, “but at this event we were finally able to avoid mistakes that would put us in the back. We finally put the whole package together.” Thompson has been a fixture in the class since 2004 and this is his third season with Curtin, with his wife’s eldest brother. They sailed well enough in the first seven races to clinch the event before the final race on Sunday.

The closest competition for the newly crowned champions came from Augie Diaz and Drew Buttner, both established threats in their own right, but sailing together for the first time. “The 505 is largely driven by the crew, and I‘ve been very fortunate that I get to sail with superstars like Drew Buttner, Rob Woelfel, Fritz Lanzinger,” said Diaz (Miami, FL). The pair put together a string of top-three finishes, dropped a six, and won the final race on Sunday to tie the leaders on points and grab the silver podium position.

Class veterans Tyler Moore and Rob Woelfel took third, and Ethan Bixby / Erik Boothe managed a fourth place finish in a 505 borrowed from Macy Nelson, beating the provider of their charter boat by one place in the overall standings.

Weeks of perfect August weather on Cape Cod gave way to low pressure that covered much of the eastern seaboard this past weekend, leading to unpredictable sailing conditions throughout. Friday far surpassed forecasted expectations with a sunny day, big swell, and wind at 10-15 knots with gusts even higher at times. This gave the ultimate winners an early lead with four points after three races. On Saturday, the Nantucket Sound had an even worse forecast than Friday, but again surprised the fleet with a solid northerly at 10-15 knots on flat water. The three races on this day turned out to deliver the least consistent score lines across the fleet, with all boats recording at least one finish outside the top five. Sunday was the lightest of the three, beginning the day with marginal breeze, but eventually filling in to 5-10 knots for the final two races.

With warm Atlantic water from the gulf, a variety of Cape Cod sailing conditions, daily debriefs under the WYC tent, and 38 close friends gathered together, this year’s East Coast Champs had something for everyone. Several of these competitors will be back on the East Coast in a month for the 2015 505 North American Championship, September 16-20. The event is co-hosted by Eastport Yacht Club and Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, MD where the clubs will also host the 2016 East Coast Champs, and the 2017 World Championship.

Top ten:
1 Craig Thompson, Mike Curtin, 2, 1, 1, 6, 1, 3, 2, 14*, 16
2 Augie Diaz, Drew Buttner, 3, 2, 2, 3, 6*, 2, 3, 1, 16
3 Tyler Moore, Rob Woelfel, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 8, 9*, 2, 25
4 Ethan Bixby, Erik Boothe, 4, 5, 4, 2, 5, 13*, 5, 3, 28
5 Macy Nelson, Zack Marks, 6, 4, 5, 7, 8, 4, 1, 9*, 35
6 Henry Amthor, Dustin Romey, 7, 7, 6, 11*, 7, 1, 10, 10, 48
7 Tom Kivney, Gordon Russell, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 7, 13*, 12, 58
8 Ben Greenfield, Matt Gowell, 8, 8, 7, 13, 15*, 11, 14, 4, 65
9 Tom Sitzman, Jesse Falsone, 20*, 20, 20, 1, 3, 6, 12, 5, 67
10 Mike Komar, Ervin Grove, 20*, 9, 20, 12, 2, 12, 6, 7, 68

Full Results: http://www.usa505.org/home/2015ecc
Media Contact: Chris Love, 774-217-3394, http://chrisloveproductions.com/

Rob Woelfel (on wire) and Tyler Moore (helm) take the stern of the gate start boat on Friday

Craig Thompson (helm) and Mike Curtin (crew) take a wave going upwind against steep chop on Friday.

Headcam view from Rob Woelfel and he and Tyler Moore win Race 1 of the regatta on Friday.

The fleet blasts downwind in flat water on Saturday. Photo by Jerry Woelfel.

Andrew Jones (helm) and Arielle Darrow (crew) are all smiles upwind on Saturday. Photo by Jerry Woelfel.

Craig Thompson (helm) and Mike Curtin (crew) douse the chute ahead of the fleet. Photo by Jerry Woelfel.

The 2015 East Coast Champions, Craig Thompson (helm) and Mike Curtin (crew.) Photo by Jerry Woelfel.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015 Buzzards Bay Regatta Report - Drew Buttner

All regatta photos courtesy of Fran Grenon at Spectrum Photo.

If you grew up racing sailboats in New England, then you probably spent many summers attending the Buzzards Bay Regatta. As one of the biggest events in the United States, BBR brings youth, adult, dinghy, keelboat, serious, and recreational likes to THE best waters in the country.

A tight pack heading upwind shortly after a start.
Photo credit: Spectrum Photo
2015 did not disappoint, with over 300 boats (11 505s), big wind, warm waters, and lively parties. The racing was held over three days and challenged everyone both on (physical sailing, long days) and off (lots of people and not a lot of parking) the water. Of special note this year was the Harbor Master which positioned themselves at the mouth of the harbor to control the chaos. They decided that the 505s and F18s were not following the speed restrictions and warned us all to slow down over the loud speaker.  This made for some good laughs in the parking lot.

Mike Komar and Ted Huebner sailed a great series. The were especially strong downwind.
Photo credit: Spectrum Photo
North winds dominated all three days which is very unusual given that the seabreeze in Buzzards Bay is second only to San Fran in terms of reliability. Back to back low pressure systems passed just to the east and brought strong fall northerlies that challenged the tacticians and put a premium on finding the best pressure. Nelson/Anderson dominated Friday posting a 2-1-1 and put the pressure on the rest of the fleet. They made very few mistakes and were the only boat to be fast/smart both upwind and downwind. Friday also marked the return of Andy Herlihy to the 505 after a 9 year absence. Hopefully this was more than just a one event cameo at his home club. Sailing with his brother Dan Herlihy, the two switched on and off driving the boat and were reminded how 505 sailing puts a huge smiles on your face ... and how sore you can be after a long day on the water.

This regatta featured 0% sit-running. Isn't life better that way?
Photo credit: Spectrum Photo
Saturday's winds were a repeat of Friday, with a 10-12 knot northerly and manageable changes in direction and velocity. The race committee challenged the fleet with five awesome races. Komar/Huebner couldn't decide which part of the fleet they liked best ... front, back or middle. Each race they tried something different posting a 1-5-10-2-7. Like everyone, they felt frustrated by the chop and shifting breeze, but also felt like rock stars when they got the boat dialed in correctly. Just about everyone had their moment in the sun (and also stuck in the mud). Zagol/Buttner won the day by showing some uncharacteristic downwind speed. Three times they found themselves outside the top 5 but managed to make the slow/low mode work downwind. Combined with a few key shifts, they clawed their way back each time, often making the final pass less than a boat length from the finish. Moore/current-world-champ-Smit started to figure things out by the end of the day and won two of the last three races. The scores were tight at the top with three teams ready to battle on Sunday.

The final day dawned like groundhog day with a forecast that was the same as the previous days. However, things changed quickly as the second storm that was supposed to track out to sea stayed close to shore. In the parking lot, the wind didn't seem that different and other than a little drizzle everyone rigged up as normal. Just before launching the RC came over and said that a small craft advisory had been issued for the day. This caught a few of us off guard, while the rest of us just didn't believe it. We launched and headed out the harbor. By the time we got to the race course we all believed the RC. Winds were 15-18 and building. Rigs were raked back, reefs were put in, and trap rings were lowered. By the start of the first race the breeze was up to 18-20 with a few higher gusts. The only issue was that the rabbit was no where to be found. Thompson/Curtin pulled the most impressive feat of the day, ripping their spinnaker during warm-ups, racing back into the harbor for a change, then blasting back to round the pin right on time. And they kept on blasting all the way around the course. Only Moore/current-world-champion-Smit were able to match them. Moore/Smit found the breeze more to their liking and won both races of the day. Zagol/Buttner were able to score a 3-2, while Nelson/Anderson struggled to a 5-6.

Thompson/Curtin heading upwind.
Photo credit: Spectrum Photo
After 10 solid races, Zagol/Buttner had earned the overall prize and coveted title of BBR Champion. Note that they did have a bit of a hometown advantage having competed in the event in 1992 when they finished 7th in the club 420 class with Buttner driving and Zagol on the wire. The winner that year ... Andy Herlihy.

Team Kokatat, circa 1993. Drew at the helm and Mark in front.
FULL RESULTS: http://www.regattanetwork.com/clubmgmt/applet_regatta_results.php?regatta_id=9973
FULL IMAGE GALLERY: http://spectrumphotofg.ifp3.com/#/gallery/bbr15blue/bbr15blue-7465-ifp3/

Thursday, August 6, 2015

2015 Columbia Gorge Dinghy Invite - Kevin Taugher

Gorge Dinghy Invitational, July 24-26, 2015: (photos courtesy Sean True and Erika Winner)

More photos over on the CGRA Facebook Page

While a few west coast 505ers were trying their luck in the UK, nine hearty teams ventured to the Gorge and were rewarded handsomely with great times and three days of excellent and varied sailing.  This was also the I-14 North Americans (18 boats), and RS Aero NA’s (22 boats).    There is some renewed 505 interest in the northwest and great to see some fresh faces and a lot of excitement for 505 racing.  The NW guys are looking forward to hosting the NA’s in Bellingham, WA next year and it should be a great event.


As a Gorge virgin I was eager to finally get to this famous sailing venue I had heard so much about.  I heard more than once “what you’ve never been here before?”  Yes life got in the way.   The 505s sailed here for the 2008 North Americans and were back again in 2013 and 2014.  I was fortunate to team up with Blaine Pedlow when his regular driver had a late conflict.   The fly-in, fly-out program was perfect for me.   Blaine recently acquired a VanMunster from Pegasus and this was a weekend of firsts - first time for Blaine racing this boat, brand new Alto mast and two guys that have never met.  But it worked out exceedingly well. Both of us had similar temperaments, had fun and sailed well together.   Ryan Nelson (505 sailor from SF) and owner of Rogue Rigging drove our boats, made daily breakfast for us on his camp stove and did a beautiful job rigging Blaine’s new Alto mast.  Ryan styled us pretty good.

Fortunately Blaine has numerous Gorge trips under his belt and knew the ropes.  After some wrangling with the camp host, we camped on-site in the overflow area, along with about half of the 505 fleet.  Fortunately for us, the Thunder Island Brewery is located literally 50 yards from our tents.  It became the de facto hang-out for 505 teams.  The beer, food and views are excellent and it was sure convenient to walk back to tent city.
  

I guess if there is one certainty about the Gorge is that it’s never certain. Each day and each race saw different weather and different optimal tracks.  I never spent so much time looking backwards for the next puff.  The biggest gains (and loses) were had downwind in staying in pressure and executing fast gybes.  The puffs didn’t seem to last long so there was no guaranteed best track.  Mike and Adam seemed to manage these conditions best.  The pack was usually pretty tight at the weather mark, but even if Mike and Adam got back a few places they could put a hundred yards or more on the fleet by the leeward mark.  By the second lap they were never challenged.  The rest of us had really excellent tight racing all the way through with frequent position changes.

Friday sailing conditions were the best of the weekend with sun and wind all day. While it looked like it could hit 30 it seemed to top out around 22 and most teams raked to 0.  In race 1, Mike and Adam jumped into an early lead followed closely by Mats Elf and Eric.  Blaine and I chased hard but Mats and Eric didn’t give an inch.  Mats has been sailing 505s regularly in the Seattle area. He teamed up with Eric who is a student at Yale, working a summer internship in Seattle and hopes to land a job in the bay area and continue west coast 505 sailing.   Eric and Mats had some insane speed and were always pushing.


Race 2 and 3 saw more of the same set-up but with building breeze to 18-20.  Class veterans Aaron Ross and Rob Waterman showed some serious wheels and were challenging at the top for a while.  The fastest movers downwind seemed to be Katherine Long and Pat Diola who sailed a little underweight but made it work.  Katherine has a newer Rondar that is beautifully rigged.    By this time Dave Chatham and Ben Glass made it out and pushed hard for races 3 and 4.  It was a Van Munster smack-down with Blaine, Mats and Dave all racing VM’s.  I haven’t seen this many VM’s in one place in a long time.   The I-14s were on the same track and we had to keep our eyes peeled as they had quite a few turtles splattered around the race course.   Friday night we had great 70 degree weather and sat out until 10pm at the Brewery feeling very fortunate for a great day of racing at such an awesome venue – with great beer.

 Saturday (races 5-8) was a complete opposite of Friday with misty rain all day but the wind came up so we had 4 great races.  Race 8 was probably the windiest of the weekend hitting 25knts or so.   By day 2 our fleet grew in numbers as a couple additional Seattle teams showed including Erik Coburn and Gabe Hill (sailor from Western Washington University) sailing Aaron Ross’ older  Hamlin and Colin Dunphy and Alex Simanis (Alex owns Ballard Sails which were used by Colin and Mats) sailing Blaine’s older restored Hamlin.   Race 5 was one of only two races where we tank-ran downwind.  While most of us hugged the shoreline for current relief, Colin and Alex showed the way sailing the rhumbline for pressure and jumped from 4th to 1st and looked to be untouchable.  Also looking strong on day two was Lee Laney and Josh Dyck from Bellingham who finished 3 and 2 in races 5 and 6.  Josh is an avid kite-boarder and has only been sailing 505s for 5 months but you wouldn’t know it by how well they sailed.   Pretty cool.  Saturday evening it was back to the brewery, then over to the camp area where CGRA laid out a great catered dinner.   The I-14s kept us entertained taking cracks at a beaver piƱata.  You can imagine the jokes.


Sunday (races 9-11) was the trickiest day.  The wind shifts seemed larger and bigger lulls in between gusts.  The clouds hung low and threatened rain all day.   Downwind was especially challenging.  After race 9 the wind completely died, shifted to the north then back to the normal direction and built again to 12-18 for two more great races.  Mats and Eric put together a solid day to narrow the gap on me and Blaine.  Aaron and Rob picked some great puffs and moved from 6th to 1st on just one downwind leg.  Katherine and Pat were consistently very quick and strung together some great races especially races 10 and 11 finishing 2, 4.   Eric and Gabe also strung together a fine day and once in front were impossible to pass.
 
All in all a great trip.  As we spoke more about it, sounds like this needs to remain an annual 505 fixture.

Full Results:


Pos
Sail
Skipper
Crew

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Total
1
9106
Mike Martin
Adam
Lowry

[1]
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

10
2
8782
Kevin Taugher
Blaine Pedlow

3
2
2
3
2
[6]
2
2
4
6
2

28
3
8823
Mats Elf
Eric

2
3
5
[DNS]
6
4
3
4
2
3
3

35
4
8084
Aaron Ross
Rob Waterman

4
4
4
5
7
[9]
5
5
6
4
7

51
5
8824
David Chatham
Ben Glass

[DNS]
DNS
3
2
5
3
4
3
5
RET
RET

55
6
9116
Katherine Long
Pat Diola

5
5
6
[DNS]
8
5
6
8
7
2
4

56
7
8616
Lee Laney
Josh Dyck

[DNS]
DNS
7
4
3
2
DNF
6
9
7
5

63
8
7156
Erik Coburn
Gabe Hill

[DNS]
DNS
DNS
DNS
9
8
7
7
3
5
6

75
9
7153
Colin Dunphy
Alex Simanis

[DNS]
DNS
DNS
DNS
4
7
8
9
8
8
8

82