NW Area Championships & Youth Clinic — Lake Quinault never fails!

NW Area Championships

What a venue!  PNW sailors were treated to another epic weekend at Lake Quinault the weekend of July 14-15.  Hot weather inland brought the Quinault doctor in on time Saturday with first race off around 11:30.  Pro PRO Charley Rathkopf ran 6 races in medium breeze that delighted all 30 boats and the 2 Miracle 20s and Wagz’ 16 who showed but didn’t race.

Many of the racers were looking for another 2-3k from the 10-13k, but the flat waters made for super comfortable conditions.  Just as the wind would start to build it would let off, teasing the sailors but keeping carnage to a minimum.  T-shirts and shorts were the order for the day, with several of the ubiquitous wetsuits reminding us this is still the Northwest.

The 18s were the most competitive class, with an epic duel going on between Ken Marshack/Valerie Pioszak versus Ethan Salkind/Laura Sullivan.  In the end it was Ken/Valerie who prevailed, but only by 2 points.  Earning honorable mention was John Hoag/Paul Carter who, besides debuting John’s new (to him) 18 managed to also win two of the 9 races.

In the 17s Kelly Havig went into Saturday night feeling pretty good having won half of the day’s 6 races.  But she faltered in the light airs Sunday and gave the lead over to Dave Wilder who showed consistency pays with only 2 bullets but no worse than a 3rd.  Scot Chapman showed great strength in the breeze, good enough to edge past Dan Tarleton by one point.  It didn’t help Dan’s cause to fall asleep on the tramp for race 8 and miss the start despite winning 2 of the 3 races Sunday.

In the 16 fleet Peter Nelson/Joe Seuk sailed away with a strong performance, while Jennifer Hoag/Jaedon Bott nailed down silver.  This youth team will be attending both the 16 Youth nationals, as well as the open North Americans later in the season.  Good luck, girls!  This was Jaedon’s first regatta in the 16 fleet.  Not a bad start!

Tim Player/Ross Bretherton carried 3rd place into Saturday night.  But a strong finish from Jeff Janders/Sue Davies pushed Tim & Ross back to 4th.  Jeff was a hallmark on the leaderboard during the 80s and early 90s, so it was good to see him back on the water with a bone in his teeth!  And thanks for bringing the chase boat, Jeff!

Big, big kudos to Al Jones for organizing the best regatta in the division for the umpteenth time.  J Rosenbach put together some good looking trophies, and Matt Markovich and clan provided some handsome t-shirts for the competitors.  We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the indefatigable Molly Brown, er Laura Sullivan, who not only organized Saturday’s dinner, but carted a bunch of necessary equipment out to the lake.

Last, and most certainly not least, Bob Combie and “Grouchy” Tim Dorwin quietly put together a race management clinic that could not and should not be overlooked.  They reset the course multiple times over the two days, and did so quickly and accurately.  Unless you travel to other regions to race, you really cannot fully appreciate how good these guys really are.

Results are posted here.

Youth Clinic

The unsung heroes from Quinault would be the many volunteers on the beach who prepared a delicious Saturday dinner AND were instrumental in supporting the 3-day youth clinic.

First and foremost would be “Happy” Tim Webb.Tim’s “other” job is as a school teacher, and those skills were well on display as he corralled 8 energetic kids into focusing on having fun while learning sailing.  Jaedon Bott and Will Nelson showed the young sailors the ropes out on the water along with support from Laura, Paul, and Peter.

The kids advanced quickly from Day 1 skills of learning basic sailing to the skills of Day 2 and 3 involving trapping and rounding marks.  Their hungry faces were constantly fed by Laura & Dana Groesz who tirelessly worked the kitchen not only for the kids but also all of the “hangers on”.

Acknowledgement/Disclaimer: If you chipped in and helped out — even if it meant washing a pan or picking up some trash — and you got left out of this list then please accept my/our humble apologies for the oversight.  It takes a village to put on such an epic 5 days and we greatly appreciate your efforts.  Thank you so much!!

 

Stadium racing in Comox is the bomb!!

OMG!!  If you have never done stadium racing (like me) it will blow your mind.  Stadium racing is short-course racing that revs up the heart rate, puckers the ole sphincter, and is an adrenaline rush the kind of which you have never experienced.

James, Stuart, and Andrew Robinson up in Comox put this together, and it is the bomb!  They let us borrow their Diam 24 trimaran for the weekend.  It comes with a furling jib and Code Zero.  This is the training boat most of the French teams use with names like Banque Populaire and Francois Gabart sprinkling the headlines.

You start with a reaching start, just like in the America’s Cup.  Except the turning mark at Comox is only 2 boat lengths from a rock jetty!  That first time my rudders cavitated for 3-4 seconds, hurtling us straight for “the wall” and ultimate extinction, before they dug in and saved us and the boat from obliteration.

Next leg is downwind.  Keep the kite up.  What?  We are already there?  Crap!  Hurry up and douse!  Unfurl the jib!  We’re going right out of the gate.  Ten seconds later we are tacking within five feet of the jetty.  Fans are shouting to us from the overhanging outlook 10 feet above, and rooting us on in the middle of our tack.  Meanwhile Stuart is giving the play-by-play over the loudspeaker.  Stay focused.

Got a minute to collect our thoughts and clean up the carnage on the upwind leg.  Only a minute.  We’ve closed on Andrew and the cross will be close…inches close.  Which way out of the upwind gate?  We’re going left.  Crap!  We have to thread our way through the pilings from an abandoned pier.  Whew.  Made that.  Into a gybe.   Where’s Andrew?  Crap again!  He went outside and gained another 3 boat lengths.

Come on, gents!  Only one more short lap to go!  Stuart is still blaring the play-by-play.  I can hear the crowd cheering us on.  Let’s go.

After one more lap of total chaos it is back to the reaching mark for the final reach into the finish.  Flying a hull as we get the horn!  Victory again.  Well, almost victory.  Second place.  It will have to do.  Especially since there are only two boats!   Somebody pass me a gallon of water, 5 Valiums, and 3 energy bars.  It’s only been a 15 minute race and I am ready to collapse.

What?  We’re in sequence again already?  We gotta do it again?  Yeahhhh, baby!  Bring it on!!!  I want more!

(More photos to come.)

Jericho & R2AK Update

Jericho can be dicey sometimes.  Some times you can be sitting out there in 60 deg. wind shifts (like last year), and other times you can be hauling ass in a beautiful, 20k westerly (like this year).  Yep.  That’s right.  If you skipped Jericho this year you missed out on a doozy, and if you were there you are still wearin’ the smile smeared all the way across your face !

Saturday saw 5 races in 17-22k with gusts to 25k.  Water was flat owing to a 2-3k flood that caused a bit of havoc at the weather mark for some of the sailors.  The flat water allowed the skippers to put the bow down, grin from ear to ear, and let out an occasional “Whoop!”  Watching the F-18s barrel down the shore under kite was fun, but the real bonus was the incredible scenery.  Sunny and warm both days with the urban, Vancouver skyline to the east giving way to the snow-capped mountains to the north.

Those of you not watching the R2AK tracker, I highly suggest you keep it off if you want to get anything done during the day!  The race is on and updated pretty much regularly so you can sit there watch the tracker and your grass grow all at the same time.

It is pretty exciting with Morgana Buell’s team “Sail Like a Girl” leading the race as of this writing.  But the lead is slim and nothing is given, especially this early in the going.  But it is pretty cool to see this team of 8 women sailing their Melges 32 like it is stolen.  Go girls!!

‘Lectronic Latitude rocks it with youth on Nacra 15s in 30k!!!

Hats off to Latitude 38.  This S.F. rag posted this article about youth teams on Nacra 15s in 30k!!  Yee haw!  Included Nick Lovell (Johnny’s boy from Olympic Tornado fame in the 90’s).  This stuff pumps me up.  The photos are awesome!!

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About Last Weekend

May 18, 2018 – San Francisco, CA

On Monday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, we asked the West Coast about their weekend. Last Saturday in San Francisco, we had gnarly, gale-force winds offering both glory and carnage for sailors. In response to our query, Kimball Livingston wrote the following subject-line-only email: “We sailed teenagers on Nacras on Saturday. All day.” Intrigued, we asked for pictures.


(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Local Nacra 15 sailors Jack Sutter (helming) and Charlotte Versavel — both of whom are 15 years old — looked pretty comfortable in last weekend’s big winds.

© 2018 Bryan Paine


As it turns out, there was a Nacra 15 clinic held at St. Francis Yacht Club last weekend with juniors from around the country. Local boats included sailors Jack Sutter and Charlotte Versavel, as well as Hoel Menard and Cali Salinas.


Coach Bryan Paine photographed all the action. Nick Lovell — the 13-year-old son of Tornado silver medalist Johnny Lovell — sends his bows deep.

© 2018 Bryan Paine


“As chair of our junior committee,” Livingston wrote, “I can say that we are pleased to find that the Nacra 15s are manageable for young teenagers  — much more stable than 29ers. Last Saturday’s clinic was sailed in an ebb-tide drubbing with gusts to the high 30s; without that manageability it would have been over in a hurry. Not that it was easy. The only skipper who didn’t capsize was 13-year-old Nick Lovell from New Orleans.”


Sutter and Versavel (crewing) out on the trapezes and lookin’ good.

© 2018 Bryan Paine


“When the weather moderated on Sunday,” Livingston — who is also a St. Francis Staff Commodore — continued, “we sailed the kids under the Golden Gate Bridge and almost out to Point Bonita. Then the coaches lined them up and said, ‘Send it.'”


“Here are Hoel Menard and Cali Salinas, sending it,” Kimball wrote us.

© 2018 Kimball Livingston

– latitude / tim