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