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.