Div. 4 Championships (Harrison) Recap

For those of you opting not to drive to Harrison Lake Labor Day weekend for the Hobie Div. 4 Championships, you missed a doozy.  Harrison is highly regarded for its dependable medium breeze and flat water.  If you like to trap out and put the bow down, this is the place for you!

And this year did not disappoint!  With 5 double-trap races on Saturday and 4 on Sunday, all of the sailors were all smiles.  But because it wasn’t ‘white knuckle’ sailing, you hit the sandy beach with energy left over!

Saturday started out not looking good.  Smoky skies from the fires and a northerly (wrong direction), along with predictions of ‘stagnant air’ had many of the sailors worried of a long day on the beach.  The AP went up at 1100, but by 1230 it was down, boats were off the beach, and racing was on.

Harrison is a tricky spot tactically.  Sometimes the left pays, sometimes the right, and sometimes the middle.  The left is the traditional, safe bet.  But this weekend it was the middle and right that consistently paid dividends.  There were a few capsizes and pitchpoles to emphasize the puffs coming down.  On particular race Peter Nelson augered in with Todd Morrill, following right after Will’s footsteps with Josh Markovich.  Like son; like father.

The crewing situation was a mixed bag, particularly in the 16 fleet.  When JJ Hoag showed up sick with food poisoning, she turned the reins over to Kailey Jones while JJ’s dad, John, provided tactics and coaching support.  Meanwhile Peter was crewing (sometimes) for Todd, while Laura Sullivan was with Al Jones, and Matt Markovich jumped on Paul Carter’s boat.

On Sunday JJ returned to smiling form.  But Laura was out with a sore back after being thrown into the mast during a capsize on Saturday.  So John and Al jumped on one of Paul’s 18s and proceeded to load their ‘Hobie pistol’ with bullets.

The 18s had a good showing, with far less crew movement, with teams from Kelowna, Seattle, & Vancouver.  The 17 fleet saw a resurgence as well with about 6 boats on the line.  There were even 2 Waves and a 20 that graced the waters.

Paul Evenden’s wife, Debbie, made a delicious dinner for the sailors Saturday night, and it was mowed down by the voracious sailors.  Everyone was in shirt sleeves and it was warm and pleasant evening eating dinner with friends at the beach.  Tough to beat.

Harrison is a fantastic venue if you like flat water, double-trap breeze, tactical waters, beaches, and warm weather.  Thanks, Paul, for organizing it and making it so much fun.

Mini-Mega Recap – “Romancing the Shore”

Aug. 3 – 11 saw Div. 11 putting on a Hobie Mini-Mega event at Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club in New Jersey.  This event would crown North American champions in: H-14, H-16 Women, H-16 Youth, Wave, H-17, and H-18.

Div. 4 sent sailors to compete in the H-16 Youth and H-18 events.  The two youth teams included Will Nelson & Josh Markovich along with Jennifer Hoag & Kailey Jones.  “Coach” John Hoag provided beach support and coaching to both teams.  In all 10 youth teams showed up from around the country and old friendships were quickly reacquainted and new ones developed.  The way Hobie youth get along seems so unique compared to other youth groups and continues to impress and instill “The Hobie Way of Life”.

The winds were light-to-medium and the crews were challenged with lumpy water from lots of boat traffic in NY harbor.  Both teams were “hanging around” the top of the fleet.  In the end, the girls got the better of the boys with a strong, 2-3 finish on the last day to finish 4th to the boys’ 5th.

There was a bit of confusion when 3 teams (incl. Will Nelson) were declared ineligible because they turned 21 in the year of the event (rather than after the event).  The 3 teams were allowed to compete with the understanding they could not be crowned champion.  Because the 3rd place team was ineligible, JJ & Kaylie officially finished 3rd in the “youth’ event.  Congrats to both teams!!  They both sailed an incredible series and should be quite proud of their accomplishment.  Kat Porter defended her crown and won the event.

The Hobie 18 champion was easily decided by Ken Marshack, who seemed to have a whole ‘nother gear upwind and downwind.  He had it pretty well locked up by Tuesday.  All week he had straight bullets except for three thirds, the result of 3 OCS’s.

Five of the 8 teams were from Div. 4, thanks especially to the driving of Paul Evenden, who trailered 4 boats, including Doug Westin’s!  Teejay & Angela Fox brought out Gillian Thomson’s boat to round out the team.  While Teejay & Angela were helping out on committee, the other teams were learning how to sail through the slop and chop.  It was quite challenging, but by the end of the week it was clear that all of the teams were much faster.

The Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club is a perfect spot.  Sandy beach.  Party tent.  Picnic tables.  Large parking lot and staging area.  Showers.  Support buildings.  The two highlights were the continuous beer keg in the shop with free beer, and the ice cream truck that miraculously appeared several afternoons of the regatta.  To put icing on the proverbial cake, the weather was perfect — warm, sunny (except for 1 day), with wind each of the days, and low humidity.  We got lucky on this one!

Many thanks to our hosts Jim Doty, Greg Raybon, and a cast of dozens of Div. 11 volunteers who made it possible.

NW Area Championships — Skanault??

After an(other) epic weekend at Skamokawa, Div. 4 sailors rallied again at Lake Quinault the following week.  Some went directly from Skamokawa to Quinault, while most others trickled in throughout the week.

Wednesday saw the start of Tim Webb & Kelly Havig’s, 3-day, “Just Add Water” Youth Sailing Camp.  OMG.  How much fun was that to see all these kids having soooo much fun.  It was tough tearing them away from the water.  On more than one evening several of them took off after dinner to get more play time on the Hobies!  Tim & Kelly & crew kept them constantly occupied with games of skill and chance that improved their sailing knowledge and kept them involved.  It didn’t hurt either that the entire week and weekend was full of sun and wind!

By Friday afternoon most of the ‘usual suspects’ had arrived and everyone was into full-time Hobie time.  Lots of mini-parties sprouted and there was a fair amount of catching up as well as the usual boat tinkering.

Saturday and Sunday had consistent 5-15k of wind that challenged all of the crews tactically.  The highlight, though, was Sunday’s first start when everyone but PRO Skip Anderson was in on a little fun.  Seems it was Skip’s birthday, and when his back was turned the plan was laid.

As the final seconds of the Hobie 18 start counted down there was total chaos on the line.  Boats were headed downwind, upwind, off the wind, anywhere but on the start line.  The 16s managed to crowd into the action and as the horn sounded the entire fleet dove into a chorus of “Happy Birthday”.  To say Skip was bewildered and dumbfounded was an understatement.  It was classic Quinault connivery!!

Many lingered on after the weekend for a few more days, not quite ready to give up such beautiful times.  The idea was hoisted that perhaps a little more planning, imagination (and connivery) be invested in that week between Quinault and Skamokawa to make it “Quinault Race Week” or even “Skanault Race Week”!!

Photos courtesy of Jan Anderson.

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!