Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016 505 Canadian Championship Report - Evan Jennings

Have you ever wondered how much wind was enough? Yesterday at the Canadians, many if not all of the 11 boats present found out.

As this article in the Squamish Chief tries to convey to a non-sailing audience, there was a ton of breeze. The reliable thermal showed up hard.

 Canadian 5O5 fleet 1 thanks Phil Cragg, an early and constant supporter of the event, who provided his personal motor yacht to the race committee and drove it up from Vancouver to ensure that the regatta would be feasible. Without his drive and encouragement, this regatta wouldn’t have happened.

The race committee did a great job in very deep water and tons of breeze. RO Rob Woodbury, a Olympian in the Finn, and his team Bev Parslow of West Van YC, Mike Unger, Martin Peircy, Andy Hunt and Simeon Faehndrich were very professional and effective.

Fred Grimm took on the thankless task of running shore operations with grace and a smile and kept everyone fed.

Cynthia Des Brisay did the results and Charles Hansen and Brian Trainor did things too numerous to mention with thoughtfulness and generosity.

Kits Yacht Club hosted the event with support from WVYC and SYC.

There would not have been a Canadians if it weren't for the support of the American fleet, who came out in numbers on the Canada Day holiday. (I hope you guys are having a great Fourth!)

Phil Cragg and Reto Corfu leapt to a convincing lead and widened it during the first day, though Mats Elf and Brent Campbell got a foreshadowing bullet when the breeze continued to build at the end of the afternoon. Mats and Brent kept them coming and managed to just edge the Canadians out by the narrowest of margins after two races in 30 knots on Sunday. As Phil aptly put it, the trophy for top Canadian was bittersweet. Paul Von Grey and Miles Johannessen put in a consistently solid performance for 3rd.

What the results don't show, except perhaps by the number of DNS, RET and and DNFs, was that there were times when Squamish harbour looked like a giant nautical yard sale, with capsized boats scattered all over the bay. That said, there were tons of grins on peoples' faces when they got ashore. The speeds were unbelievable. And there were some stand out performances by all. A tip of the hat to Jon and Mike, who had moments of brilliance upwind going low and fast. Also Pierre and Tom - travelling the furthest and putting in a solid performance until an unfortunate strain injury took them out. Hope you come back next time. Tell the other Californians what they missed. Katherine and Josh had a super solid last race, placing 3rd in the strongest winds of the day.

The final rankings:

8823USAElf / Campbell(3)221111071
8192CANCragg / Corfu11132(6)1482
80USAJohannessen / Von Grey2(4)324217133
9116USALong / Dyck6(7)566333264
8755CANTrainor / Jennings7(8)457536285
8263USAKowalski / Ginther596(12 DNS)5441296
8866CANDes Brisay / Hansen839(12 DNS)312 RET47357
6991USAStarks / Flanagan9674(12 DNS)12 DNS50388
8631USAJeangirard / Crawford458(12 DNS)12 DNS12 DNS53419
8017USASeestrom / Poulos11(12 DNF)1012 RET12 RET12 DNS695710
7206USAFitzpatrick / Pittack10(12 RET)12 DNS12 DNS12 DNS12 DNS705811


2016 SSA Spring Series Report - Ian Connors

(Late posting, this event took place May 14-15, 2016

With the forecast saying everything from 0 to 30 for the weekend, no one quite knew what to expect until they showed up. Saturday saw 10 boats hit the water for two races in a pleasant 8-10kt southerly. A couple of puffs tempted teams to try wire running, but no one took the bait. An impending front began sucking wind out of the race area on the last leg and the fleet elected to wait it out and see if conditions improved. After 20 minutes a westerly filled in to get off the last scheduled race before building enough to provide sun, 12-15kts & the best sail in of the season. Timing was perfect as the front started dumping rain just as the last covers were being tied on.

Jesse convincingly won the first race with yet another "first time back in years" driver, while Henry & Russell made deadly use of motorcycle seating downwind to sail through the fleet on races 2 & 3. (Henry claims it's only so he can use his hoop as a backrest). Macy & Eric captured a bullet as well.

Teams woke up to 59° water, lower air temps, and a full-on westerly blow on Sunday. After a fleet safety discussion, 4 teams agreed to race under the condition that if one team went in our needed assistance racing would be over for the day. Drinks in hand, the rest of the fleet helped launch Henry & Russell, Ian & Eric, Sterge, and Macy & Eric into a steady low to mid 20's with some "forget laylines, I guess we aren't gybing for awhile" puffs. In a race of attrition, Sterge missed the start, Ian had a breakdown after one leg, and Macy missed the finish line- devastatingly dropping from first to second overall though he would have won the race & series. No one is immune from forgetting to check the course!

It was great to see so many new faces out on the water this weekend- especially Gretchen & Lauren making their first appearance in a new to them boat, and Paul with a new crew to the class & significantly more sorted out boat.

2016 Elvstrom Zellerbach Report - Parker Shinn

(Late Posting, this event took place on April 30 through May 1, 2016)

Last weekend St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the biggest Elvstrom/Zellerbach regatta since it’s conception and did so in spite of the fact that only five 5o5’s made it to the start line.  Apparently people thought France was the cool place to be…  Regardless, San Francisco certainly did not fail to deliver once again.  Both days saw great breeze ranging from 12 to 20 knots as well as plenty of devious currents to deal with.

In the first race the ebb was still in full affect making for short upwinds and long downwinds with Jeff Miller stringing together a series of puffs on the last downwind leg to pass Mike Martin and take the bullet.  From there on out though things got a bit trickier with the current.

The flood started to come in on shore with a distinct current line running just to port of the starting line.  If you ventured across it all of a sudden you were sitting in almost 2 knots of current.  While it was fairly clear what to do upwind, the downwind legs got complicated as you tried to weigh sailing toward shore to get into the flood vs. jibe setting into the pressure.  It didn’t seem to matter much for Mike Martin and Adam Lowry though.  They had a different gear from the rest of us once the breeze came up and finished the day with 2 bullets.

Day 2 started with a long postponement on shore and had some of us wondering if the breeze would fill in at all.  The wind was oscillating between North and East and the westerly wasn’t forecasted to fill in until 2pm.  Luckily though… the breeze filled in early and by the time we got on the water there was 15 knots on the course.

With the later start the current was already flooding hard on shore so most people wanted to start on port and get right as quickly as possible.  I thought we finally got lucky in the first race when a third of the way up the last beat Mike and Adam broke the primary line on their boom vang.  We pinched to get above them as they fiddled in the boat and didn’t think we’d see them again for the rest of the race.  We should’ve known better.  In the last 200 yards of the beat they hooked into a nice righty and made up a ton of distance.  Then on the downwind it was their turn to get a lucky break when our spinnaker pole popped off the mast twice.

In the last race it was Bob Tennant and Steve Bourdow who were able to get the boat ripping and challenge Mike’s speed.  They beat him to the top on both laps and only got passed on the downwinds… hey doesn’t that sound backwards?  Mike held him off at the finish, but not without exposing his mortality.

In the end it was a great regatta with plenty of breeze along with big shifts and current to navigate.  Despite the less than stellar turnout it seems like the rest of the fleet have had enough stinky cheese so Santa Cruz next weekend is going to be awesome.  Make sure you don’t miss it!

2016 Santa Cruz Spring 505 Regatta - Mike Holt

(Late Posting, this regatta was held on May 14-15, 2016)

Eleven boats turned up in Santa Cruz for the late Spring regatta, with many excuses made for non attendance…. For the eleven that did race, wow. Santa Cruz is one of those venues that when it is good, it is great, although it is not always that way. For me, Santa Cruz memories are made up of big rolling waves, cold water and strong breezes, conditions that in my mind John Westell designed the perfect weapon for. It would be hard to imagine sailing in those conditions in many other boats!

Well, this past weekend delivered the stuff of dreams! Saturday, sunny, fresh breeze and great rolling waves. Breeze was agreed to be around 18 knots for the most part and oddly for Santa Cruz the wind was strongest closest to the shore. With a tight and crowded line and a very competitive fleet, starting was not the easiest of maneuvers to complete, but as usual as soon as you did you were looking for your first opportunity to get onto port and head for the right hand corner. Race 1 for me was a bit of a blur and for the first time in a while, Rob and I managed to put the boat in a board up position right at the first leeward mark, giving the following boats a more difficult challenge to round it! We were off the pace Saturday and Andy and Howie were racing with Adam and Mike at the front with the rest of us engaged in a tight battle behind. Gybe set was the order of the day and any time you thought otherwise you were punished. Adam and Mike ended with three straight firsts, nice work!

Saturday was good, Sunday if you liked “epic” conditions was about as good as it gets. We were racing in wind and sea conditions that were getting pretty close to the top end, wind steady in the 20’s with gusts close to 30, seas that downwind had our boat equal part airplane and submarine. The course was set up well offshore, which certainly reduced the right hand component of the course, but all of us being pre conditioned to go right we saved a few tacks and apart from Steve and guest star Nick pulling off a successful visit to the “other” corner we all hit the right corner. Downwind though the right was the path of choice, more breeze offshore this time and less maneuvering made this the way we went. Over the course of the day’s three races almost everyone had at least one swim and boat handling was thoroughly examined. Race one of the day was won by Steve and Nick and as Rob said in our boat, “If I was them I would head in now and call it good!” Handily taking down some of the best heavy weather 5O5 sailors in the World, in their backyard. The rest of the day was a blur of spray and fun and Rob and I came out best with a 2,1,2 scoreline to close the point gap on the first two boats but not enough to change the standings overall.

  • Adam Lowry assisted by Mike Martin. Consistently fastest upwind, slower down 
  • Andy Zinn supported by Howie Hamlin. Fast up and down, need to keep the mast side up more
  • Rob Woelfel dragging Mike Holt around. Off the pace Saturday, better Sunday
  • Steve Bourdow, needed two drivers to get through the weekend, Mark Christensen Saturday, Nick Adamson Sunday. Either combo sailing fast and challenging the front hard.
  • Reeve Dunne managed by Parker Shinn. Steady day Saturday, followed by disappointing gear failure on Sunday. Warranty work for Mike?
  • Pat Diola assisted by Jeff Miller. Didn’t seem to have their usual wheels and “protected” the ship for the NA’s on Sunday
  • Rich Mundel handled by Bruce Edwards. Despite only sailing Sunday and Rich driving a minivan, they were right in the mix all day Sunday in the big breeze.
  • Rob Waterman Aaron Ross. Competitive upwind, need to work on downwind, another “protecting” the boat for bigger events, or was it bodies?
  • Matt Merchant supported by Tim Murphy. Maybe the 10k wasn’t a good idea after all Tim? Sailed well on Saturday, struggling on Sunday.
  • Segah Meer assisted by Steve Andreas. Another one day show, this time Saturday but getting around well.
  • Bobby Noyes supported by Terry Neff. A “new” boat on the water after a refit by Larry, looking very fast. Not the easiest weekend to start over but acquitted well and survived the conditions.