Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2015 Pacific Coast Championship - Chris Love Reports

Big Guns at 505 Pacific Coast Championship

The West Coast contingent of the American 505 Class showed off its big guns as well as its infantry this past weekend at the Pacific Coast Championship, hosted by Santa Barbara Yacht Club May 15-17. Though the 505 is a dinghy, the boat’s technical prowess and penchant for speed apparently qualified the fleet of 17 for entry to SBYC’s yearly Santa Barbara Skiff Festival, sharing the water with slightly smaller fleets of International 14’s and 29ers.

The fleet gets up to speed in a medium-light air start.

Even in the boat park, the favorites were known to all. Perhaps the most notable this spring is Santa Cruz, Cal. skipper Mike Holt who successfully defended his world championship in South Africa in April, and his crew Rob Woelfel, who was also in the front of the boat when Holt won worlds the first time around in 2014. Howie Hamlin, who sailed with his regular crew Andy Zinn, has been the driving force of the class since the 1970’s, and has won several major trophies along the way including the 1999 505 Worlds in Quiberon, France and the 2002 JJ Giltinan Championship, known as the world’s championship of 18ft Skiff Racing. Mike Martin of San Francisco won his first world championship crewing for Hamlin in 1999, then claimed the title again as helmsman in 2009. Martin and his crew, Adam Lowry, had planned to challenge Holt at the 2015 worlds, but were unable to get there due to unforeseen shipping complications. Another San Franciscan, Ted Conrads, who finished third at the recent Worlds, arrived with fill-in crew David Kenny, an accomplished part-time 505’er. Needless to say, these teams are intimately familiar with each other.

Friday’s racing kicked off in a spirited 10-12 knots and the veterans Hamlin/Zinn got off to a quick start with two bullets. The breeze dropped throughout the afternoon, culminating in a floater for part of race three, and a tough race for both Hamlin and Holt’s boats. Martin/Lowery took the win and the lead. With expectations high for more breeze, Saturday delivered a somewhat disappointing 6-8 knot choppy race course, but it was enough for Hamlin/Zinn to get back on track with two more first place finishes and top the leaderboard going into the final day. Sunday morning didn't look promising, but after an onshore postponement, the fleet went out for what turned out to be another two good, closely fought light air races.

Crowded starting line in light air.

Besides the roster full of sailing rock stars duking it out in the front, this regatta offered plenty of memorable moments for the entire fleet. SBYC’s deck was the perfect location for post-racing debriefs along with good beer, classic margaritas and even a stiff martini served under the guise of a "Cold Remedy,” loosening tongues and making for fun conversations between competitors. Sailors reported sightings and close calls with gray whales each day. In one instance, the local whales looked to be ducking the fleet on port tack. “In hindsight we should have lee-bowed them and lead them over to the right instead of crossing through to the left. Clearly whales are smarter than we are!” says Richard Mundell of Royal Victoria Yacht Club in British Columbia, Canada.

One boat served as the fleet’s recruiter, unexpectedly bringing on new sailor’s each day. On Friday Jeff Sharp jumped in to crew for Bob Tennant while crew Richard Mundell desperately sought some back therapy in downtown Santa Barbara. Then on Saturday and Sunday local youth sailing rock star and current 49er campaigner Dane Wilson gave 505s a try for the first time, driving for Rich (Bob had to fly home). Four people in one boat in one weekend!

When it was all said and done, it was the veterans Hamlin and Zinn who stood atop the podium with an impressive four race wins in seven total races. Next were Holt and Woelfel, edging out Martin and Lowery by a single point when factoring in the drop of their worst race. Not far behind in 4th were Kevin Taugher of Alamitos Bay, Cal. and local Don Smith, considered by the fleet to be an SBYC “founder” on account that he can remember when the current clubhouse was built, back in 1966. Their only race win came on the final race, putting the pair ahead of Ventura Yacht Club’s Ryan Cox and Garrett Baum on the tiebreaker.

Impressive distances traveled by sailors hailing from San Diego, Seattle, and even Hawaii made this a strong showing for the west coast fleet.Their ability to mix it up with the reigning world champion and have a great time doing it bodes well for the group as they look ahead to the North American Championship on the other coast, to be co-hosted by Severn Sailing Association and Easport Yacht Club in Annapolis, Maryland, September 16-20, 2015.

 Doug Hagan (helm) came from Hawaii to part the Santa Barbara waves with Paul Von Grey (crew).

Eben Russell (helm) and Brendan Teague (crew) skimming off the top of waves not far from the Santa Barbara shoreline.

Event Website:
Full results:

Top ten:
1 Howard Hamlin, Andy Zinn, 1, 1, (7), 1, 1, 5, 2, 11
2 Mike Holt, Rob Woelfel, 3, 2, (5), 2, 3, 1, 3, 14
3 Mike Martin, Adam Lowery, 2, 3, 1, 3, 4, 2, (6),15
4 Kevin Taugher, Don Smith, 6, (7), 2, 4, 5, 4, 1, 22
5 Ryan Cox, Garrett Baum, 4, 5, 4, (6), 2, 3, 4, 22
6 Jeff Miller, Pat Diola, 5, 4, 3, 5, 6, (12), 5, 28
7 Douglas Hagan, Paul Von Grey, 7, 6, 11, 7, (18 OCS), 6, 8, 45
8 Robert Tennant, Rich Mundell, 9, (15), 12, 9, 11, 7, 7, 55
9 Pierre Jeangirard, Antoine Laussu, (14), 9, 9, 12, 12, 8, 10, 60
10 Edward Conrads David Kenny, 8, 14, 6, 10, 10, (18 DNC), 18 DNC, 66

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Region 1 Training Session Report - Drew Buttner

The first training session of the season was held on May 2-3 in Stonington, CT. Although the water was still chilly, the air temps were very nice and the sun was shinning brightly. Sailing out of the New England Science and Sailing (NESS) facility, two great days were had with winds topping out at 16 knots during the expected afternoon sea breeze. Focus for the weekend was boat handling with many tacks and jibes, followed by many more tacks and jibes. Rust was flying off of every boat and by the end of the session, everyone had found their groove and the sailing started looking like 5o5 sailing.

After sailing on Saturday, Heather Zagol put on an amazing dinner with burgers, dogs, homemade mac and cheese, grilled broccolini, and homemade brownies to top things off. AMAZING!

Many thanks to NESS and to Mark Zagol for making it happen and to all the boats that made the trip.

Session #2 is in two weekends. Unfortunately, the original plan for Saunderstown had to be scratched. Not exactly sure where the launching will be out of, but people are going sailing in the area that weekend. An update will come out soon.

Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta Report - Mike Martin

The 505 fleet had 13 boats show up for the Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta this past weekend. It was great to see several recent additions to the fleet out racing.  Harrison Turner was out in his recently purchased  7875, which looks like a brand new boat.  Harrison teamed up with Rich Mundell, creating a great program.  Another new face was Adam Roberts who teamed up with Reeve Dunn in AJ’s Greenie. Reeve and Adam put on a great show rounding the top mark in 2nd in the final and windiest race of the weekend.  Not only were their new faces, but also all of the top West Coast teams showed up, providing some great racing.

SF Bay delivered the wind that it is famous for, with light shifty races early and breeze building all day to some proper conditions in the afternoon.  StFYC race management of course lived up to its reputation of delivering great courses on the Cityfront with 3 races on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday.  The super team of Steve Bourdow and Michael Menninger in 8714 started off with a horizon job in the first race, asserting their dominance early and making the rest of the fleet wonder if they were going to walk away with the event.  There was a good fight amongst the fleet for the lesser places, with lots of positions changing every leg.   Adam Lowry and Mike Martin were apparently not OK with getting beaten by their spare boat, and responded with wins in the next 2 races.  Steve & Michael, Jeff Nelson & Howie, and Pat & Jeff Miller were hot on their tail providing some tight racing.

Sunday started off with a lots of south in the breeze, which led to some very tricky racing.  Again with a great display of smarts and speed, Steve & Michael walked away with the first race.  As the breeze built, it became slightly more stable, and Adam & Mike were able to pull off a win. This resulted in a tie going into the last race. The stage was set for a show down, but Tommy Fink & JB Turney and Reeve Dunn & Adam started to steal the show with a big lead at the first mark in the super shifty and windy conditions.  Lots of places changed including the lead which changed at least 5 times during the final race. On the final run Steve & Michael, with some great down wind boat speed, snatched the lead to win the event on the water.  Unfortunately there was a minor detail of sailing through the restricted finish line on the first run. (Perhaps reading the sailing Instructions would have been a good idea.)   In true 505 fashion there were no protest, when Steve & Michael learned of the restriction upon returning to shore, without anyone asking them, they did the sportsmanlike thing and retired from the race.  Hats off to them for 1) kicking everyone’s ass on the water, and 2) showing great integrity off the water.  They showed that they are true winners.

Complete Results:

More Photos: