Todd Christensen Memorial Regatta does not disappoint!

The 2017 running of the Todd Christensen Memorial Regatta was in epic “Todd” conditions.  Sailors enjoyed 15k of breeze both days under sunny skies and a changing tide that saw both flat and bumpy water.  Jeff Janders and committee ran a reaching leg for several of the races that pumped adrenalin into the tired muscles by the end of the day.

But there were a lot of letters on the scoreboard.  No OCS’s, but many DNS and DNF’s as boats were forced to retire.  The most notable was a head on collision between Will Nelson & Josh Markovich and J Rosenbach & Jessie Markovich in the first race that caused both boats to retire for the rest of the day.  That incident sent Josh to the hospital but fortunately it ended up only being “a flesh wound” (if you call a bruised rib flesh).  J’s boat had a big shark bite out of the starboard bow (courtesy graphics by Jessie), while Josh’s front crossbar got a pretty good size ding.  It was that foreceful!

Kelly Havig had her trampoline rip after winning the first race in the 17s and looking good in two more.  Al & Kailey Jones and Dave Wilder – all veteran sailors – uncharacteristically dumped their boats in different races and packed it in.  And Scot Chapman flipped at the start of the last race Sat. in spectacular fashion.

In the 18s Will Schwerger & Angie showed Jeremy & Jeannie Groesz and Jere & Jaedon Bott how it is done with straight bullets except on the last race Saturday.  Then Jeremy got the start of the weekend at the committee boat, fully powered up, at the gun.  Jeremy led wire to wire for the victory.  The rest of the time he and Jere were trading places for 2nd, and it all came down to the double-points distance race on Sunday to see who grab bragging rights.  (Jeremy got it, but not by much.)

After Kelly won the 1st race in the 17s, Lonnie Byers put on a clinic with a string of bullets – allowing Daniel Tarleton to steal a victory in the last race Saturday.  In fact, those two finished 1-2, followed by Dave Wilder who used his string of 2nds on Saturday to overcome three DNFs for third.  It was great to see 6 H-17s as this venue is a perfect fit for that boat.

The 16s were laughing all the way around the course in the first race as Peter and Laura were caught napping on the OR shore.  By the time they realized a race was on Jennifer Hoag was schooling “the old fellas”.  Good going, JJ & John.  Peter & Laura returned in fine form to load a 6-shooter with bullets.  Paul Carter & Tim Player put together a string of 2nds, except when they let Tim Webb & Jennifer Olegario slip by in the second race, and Rich Arneson & John Hilton in the 3rd race.   Rich & John were consistent all weekend to wrap up 3rd by taking advantage of a couple of DNFs for JJ & John.  Of the 8 16s, only 3 sailed all of the races – Paul, Tim, and Rich.

Saturday night Della, Carlissa and team opened up Della’s Diner for some delicious, homemade tacos & burritos (and homemade cookies) for the voracious sailors.  Action Repair Services (Jeremy Groesz) and Full Service Property Management (Peter Nelson) teamed up, with Jeremy providing a keg of beer and Peter soft drinks and water.  Chatter of the day’s stories filled the air.

After the kids arrived back from Cathlamet with ice cream Peter held a live auction.  Donations from: West Coast Sailing, Hobie Cats NW, Fisheries Supply, Tim Webb, Laura Sullivan – together with registration fees and contributions from John S. Hoag, DDS – swelled the net proceeds to over $1,500.  These funds will be donated to Hobie youth sailing.  In fact, a 3-day youth sailing camp is/was being held up the road at Lake Quinault just 3 days after this event – all courtesy of our fine supporters and contributors.  Please be sure to acknowledge our sponsors with business – and tell them Todd Christensen sent you!

Sunday’s long distance was looong — three hours long!  It was mostly double trap upwind except when it lightened at the turn mark.  Everything was pretty reasonable downwind till you got to Skamokawa.  Then the wind picked up another 5-10k and it was game on.  Committee set a downwind mark and then instead of going into the beach we beat up to a turn mark and then what was supposed to be a broad reach to the beach.

But the wind between those 2 last marks was puffy — like 10-15k difference puffy!   One second you are traveled out in a 20k puff and the next moment you are sitting in 5k or less.  It was crazy!  A couple of boats (who shall remain nameless) augured in at the turning mark in the big breeze.  In the end, after 170 long minutes ‘in the saddle’, the difference between 1st and 2nd was 2 seconds!!

Peter and Laura stole the win from Paul & Tim, who were one good shoulder away from winning the race overall.  Paul had just had surgery on his shoulder and was told by the doctors “Don’t sail in anything more than 5k.”  Sure.  No problem.  I am only going to Skamokawa.  What could go wrong?!    

At the awards there were laughs and smiles and more stories to tell on shore about which side paid or didn’t pay.  But what really puts the cherry on top of the cake are Dean and Lucy.  They drive down from Seattle to Skamokawa every year to present the perpetual trophy with their son’s name on it to the overall winner of the long distance race.  The trophy was built by Dean and John about 3 years ago..

Todd’s name is enshrined as the first winner because he was defending champion of the long distance race when he passed away.  Then a youth sailor, John Ped, won it the following year — further cementing Todd’s legacy as a champion of youth sailing.  Last year Todd’s best friend, John Hoag, won it.  This year the organizer of Todd’s race, Peter, won it.  So somewhere up there we are sure Todd is all smiles!!  God bless you, Todd!

P.S. Andrew Richardson came down Sunday and got some great drone footage.  Here is the link if you want to see the finishes!  https://youtu.be/OqxCWuuSDXc

That was sooooo much fun!

Too much racing.  That was I came away with after yesterday’s sail.

It’s all Jere Bott’s fault.  He told Laura, who then told me, that he was thinking of going for a sale over Memorial Day weekend — Sunday specifically.  So there we are Saturday afternoon at Tim & Hannah’s wedding with the Hobie crowd and the talk starts.  Before we left the wedding we were on with 5-6 boats the next day!

We had picked the private beach in Normandy Park that John & Della Hoag have available.  By the time we arrived Jere Bott was there with Jaedon and Kaya, Josh Markovich with Matt, JJ Hoag, and Al & Kaylie Jones.  JJ & Kaylie kicked Al off the boat so he was wandering around looking for mischief.  Then Martin & Daniel Hollinsworth pulled in with their boat for a last voyage before they head for England (sniff…sniff).

We rigged our boats, but the minus 3′ tide resulted in about a 1/2 mile trek down to the water.  Before we launched Jennifer Olegario drove down from Seattle to see everyone.  She didn’t even come to sail — just to socialize!  Everyone was in a ‘social’ mood.  Al had the canopy set up on the beach with some chairs and we parked our coolers under that and went for a sail.

The forecast was supposed to be 5-10k.  Yawner.  But when we got out in the Sound it was a perfect 10-15k northerly.  With the flood on it was flat water and the five boats romped.  Over to Vashon Island, back to 3 Tree Pt., back out in the middle.  It was such a hoot.  I had forgotten how much fun it can be to not race!!

By the time we got back to the beach the party had swelled.  Carlissa Markovich, Bob Combie, and John & Della had all arrived to enjoy the day relaxing.  As we were packing up after several hours of smiles John & Della invited the entire gang over to their house for dinner and an after party.  It was the perfect finish to a perfect day.  Eating tiramisu and watching the sunset over the Olympics from their house left an indelible memory!

After a raucous day like that you can expect more fun sails (like the sail/campout we are planning over to Blake Island).  Can’t guarantee the wind and weather will always cooperate.  But the comraderie and laughs will always be there.  This group is something special!

Cultus Lake Recap

What a fun regatta!!  But it didn’t start out that way this year.  When sailors showed up Friday afternoon for a little afternoon sail it was cold and rainy.  ‘Hotel room sailing’ was quickly decided upon.

As the first ‘official’ Hobie regatta of the season, it was fun seeing good friends again.  There was lots of chatter on the beach and catching up as we waited for the breeze to fill in.  Finally it did and it was boats off the beach.

Winds were light-to-moderate with large shifts and enough big puffs to keep everyone honest (and upright!).  The highlight of the entire weekend, including Saturday — was watching the 3 youth teams battle in the H-16 fleet.  JJ Hoag and Jessie Markovich were by far the most entertaining.  You could hear them giggling and laughing all the way around the course.   And when they won a race — which they did on multiple occasions — the high 5’s and cheering were unstoppable.

While the two girls were trying to put a tight cover on John Ped and Alex LeBlond, they let Will Nelson and Josh Markovich head to the other side of the course.  And on a couple of those races the latter two sailed themselves into victory circle.  That proved to be just enough as Will/Josh eeked past the two tied teams by one point to steal the victory.

In the 18 class a very strong showing of 12 boats hit the line.  Peter & Laura showed great upwind speed, but it was Paul & Vanessa who showed everyone how to sail downwind.  But a lousy second race put Gillian in the driver’s seat, just 2 points back of Peter/Laura after Saturday’s racing.

The dinner Saturday night was particularly cool in that many of the pu-pus looked like sailboats!  There was lots of catching up to do, and later that night a gang of 8-9 teenage sailing thugs were seen roaming the streets of the resort pounding down a 1/2 gallon of ice cream!  Dangerous stuff.

Sunday started out looking promising.  But the wind never filled until very late in the afternoon.  PRO Steve Brunson set a short course and rattled off 4 very short races.  The races were quite refreshing because it was like short-track racing, with a premium on crew work.  In the end the Von Stubbe’s were able to overhaul Gillian and grab second place.

Other notables were Will and ____.  New sailors from Vancouver borrowing an older boat.   They got everyone’s attention right off the bat with a 2nd place in the first race.  Sandbaggers!

PSSR recap

It was a lighter-than-usual turnout for PSSR, but not a lighter-than-usual wind.  At least on Saturday.  Sailors arrived at the Corinthian Yacht Club, Seattle clubhouse at Shilshole to 20-22k of southerly breeze.  Since this was the first time out for the season for most of the sailors, fear and trepidation coursed through the parking lot where boats were being set up.

Two new sailors — Josh Curtis and Paul Hollister and crews — showed up to check things out.  Josh had towed his boat up from Harstine Island while Paul just brought his daughter, Anna, to check out the action.  It was mutually agreed to keep Josh on shore while Paul hitched a ride on an inflatable to watch the action from the water.

Saturday’s breeze was “full on”.  Jeremy Groesz and Jennifer Olegario came out to the start line on Jerry’s Hobie 18, and quickly turned around and packed it in.  Martin & Dan Hollinsworth got through the first weather leg before packing it in.  That left Tim Webb/Val Groesz, Paul Evenden/Tawnya Fox, Peter Nelson/Laura Sullivan on the course.

It was pretty much ‘ass & elbows’ that first race.  But by the 2nd race the sailors started to remember how to handle big breeze.  But when Tawnya fell off the boat at the leeward mark in the 2nd race they finished and headed to shore.  Peter & Tim didn’t need to be asked twice — it was dang cold!  So the sailors headed for the clubhouse and some bar sailing.  Both days we all retired to Geo’s Cuban restaurant because it was so dang good!

Sunday was much, much calmer.  We had the two 18s (Evenden & Groesz) and two 16s (Nelson & Webb) starting out in about 10k and gradually easing off until races were called around 2:30 due to lack of wind.  But 4 races were run and it was really a lot of fun.  Tee Jay Fox even got out on the water and started training his new crew — Tawnya’s finace’ Andrew.  Cool kid (if I am allowed to call him that).

The only bummer was that more boats didn’t come out.  But we know there were commitments and physical therapy and other stuff involved, so hopefully the crowd will come out for Cultus Lake.  Seattle sailors remember work party #2 is April 15 at Laura’s.  Sorry no photos.

Round Mercer Island “has a story to tell”

It had to be.  The first Hobie event of the season.  Probably no one had seen their boat for at least 5 months.  “April Fools” was stamped on the day early when PRO Peter Nelson managed to take a long walk off a short pier at Stan Sayer pits for an early swim.  The look of humiliation and embarrassment was not to be missed.  The embarrassment was further fueled when the dazzling duo sought immunity from racing when they discovered their tiller crossbar was missing!

A motley crew of Hobie sailors indeed!

Several new faces showed up, including Matt Hawkyard from Lincoln City(?), OR and his crew Nam (Pt. Townsend).  Nam was crewing for Matt, but also owns his own Hobie 16.  J0sh Curtis showed up from Harstine Island with crew Sam and another H-16, and both boats appeared more formidable than the usual “first timer”.  These guys (and gal — Sam is a girl) had game faces on that belied an experience level beyond their classic boats.

Not to be forgotten were the wannabees.  A.J. & Al showed up to check us out, but left their 18 at home, as did Paul Hollister and wife (whose name slips me.  Sorry!) from Tacoma without their H-16.  These guys wanted to see if Hobie Fleet 95 really was legit or not.  I can’t say the morning’s antics answered that question!  lol

With a 5k sou’westerly filling in and the forecast calling for it to die in the afternoon, we cancelled ‘the long course’ (round the island) and opted for a repeat of last year’s “1-bridge fiasco”.  Sailors were required to go through the east & west portals of the I-90 bridge in any direction they chose.  Interestingly, 3 went left and 3 went right.

The sailing in that light breeze should have been uneventful.  Right.

We gave the “C-fleeters” a 13-min. head start on the 17 and 18s.  Both Matt and Josh got off the line in great shape.  But the funniest part was 13 min. later listening to Paul Von Stubbe bringing Dave Wilder up at the start.  The yelling was something of epic proportions.

It was great to see Matt be the first to emerge through the 2nd required portal, and for a moment we thought this newbie might be able to pull out the victory.  Meanwhile, Jere & Jaedon Bott were on the north side of the bridge giving the bridge traffic fits and shudders.  They launched up onto one hull from a rogue puff that had them looking like Emirates Team NZ in the 34th AC.  Only with Jaedon grinding on the hydraulics were they able to save a capsize and avoid a major traffic incident on the bridge!

Paul & Vanessa VonStubbe accepting their award before the paparazzi get to them.

Then there was Jeff Rickard and crew Tory who had obviously been hired to measure the clearance of the bridge in one of the shorter spans of the east portal.  They were able to report back that a Hobie 18 mast canNOT make it through that span!  Thanks to the efforts of chase boat driver Mike Hensel, the crew was saved from a troll life of living under a bridge.

As the sailors closed in on the finish, it was fun to see everyone tacking for glory.  In the end, the Hobie mavens of Paul & Vanessa beat out defending 1-Bridge Fiasco Champ Dave Wilder to claim the victory.  (Paul was officially inducted as a Hobie Maven with the victory!)  Jere & Matt followed closely behind.

But the real battle was for last place.  Josh and Jeff were duking it out — crossing tacks and covering each other.  They finished a mere 30 sec. apart. But we suspect that if Jeff had not made his little “I-90 stopover” that he could have beaten Josh to the finish.

At the awards ceremony it was standing room only (there were no chairs!).  The perpetual trophy passed from a tearful Dave Wilder to Paul and Vanessa amid thunderous applause from the audience.  After a brief acceptance speech, Paul could be seen wandering off muttering something about getting hired on with Team Oracle USA.   We’ll see how that goes!  lol

It was, in short, a great time on and off the water seeing familiar faces and good friends, and making new ones.  Thanks to all who showed up, sailed, chased, swam, or otherwise put a smile on our collective face.