A full clubhouse filled with an enthusiastic crowd included sailors of all stripes – Olympians and World Champions to evening buoy racing crews, cruisers on near and far waters and a many juniors – all of whom experienced memorable sailing adventures in 2019. With the bartenders keeping up with the demand, the stage was set for a fun-filled CYC Awards Party on Friday, January 17 celebrating a multitude of outstanding 2019 performances on the local, national and international stages, likely the most outstanding year in the Club’s history.
One notable comment came early in the night, when Olympian and multiple time World Champion Jonathan McKee was asked about how he won one of the Center Sound Races – he quickly replied that what was important was not that one race but rather the many races that CYC conducts each year on the Sound and Lake, likely more than any yacht club in the US if not the world. It is these races, he said, that provide the variety of experiences necessary for sailing and winning at all levels, and the Club should be congratulated and supported for providing these opportunities to Northwest sailors.
2020 Commodore David Barnes hosted the ceremony assisted by several other Officers and Board members.
First off were the additions to the Honor Roll of Champions – 6 more individuals (three for two separate events) for winning national or international regattas or awards of similar nature in 2019:
The remaining Awards came quickly, but not before Commodore Barnes emphasized that the true winners for the Discretionary Awards, as selected by the CYC Board in a secret ballot, were the Nominees, itself a true honor to be celebrated.
HANS OTTO GIESE – DICK ROSE was honored for his continued involvement in the development of the sailing rules, his extensive volunteer work explaining the rules to sailors around the country, and his contributions through The Sailing Foundation to the development of high school sailing around Puget Sound. Dick currently is Chairman of the Working Party of the World Sailing Racing Rules Committee, Secretary of the US Sailing Racing Rules Committee, Chairman of the World Sailing Case Book Working Party and a member of both the PIYA and US Sailing Appeals Committees and is a certified national sailing judge. In these various roles, Dick is a key (if not the key) person in drafting and interpretation of the Racing Rules of Sailing, and is busily involved in settling in on the revisions to the racing rules that will take effect after the 2020 Olympics (the 2021-2024 version).
The second nominee, Erin Timms, has been involved in youth sailing for many years. Although her efforts require traveling from Olympia to Seattle repeatedly, Erin was instrumental in organizing two successful 2019 youth events in Seattle: the Mallory Cup High School Double-Handed National Championships at Sail Sand Point in May with 20 teams from around the US attending, and later the Northwest Regional Optimist championships in September also at SSP (in 2018 she was a volunteer in helping putting on this Championship at CYC). As a member of the Sailing Foundation she works closely with the Foundation’s youth director, Andrew Nelson. Erin also is developing support for youth sailing in Olympia.
SAILOR OF THE YEAR – DALTON BERGAN won the RS Aero NorthAmericans at Cascade Locks with 7 bullets in 12 races and then proceded to win the US Sailing Championship of Champions, an invitational regatta among 20 winners of national championships. Sailed in the double-handed Ideal 18s, Dalton added Ben Glass as crew and they proceded to win with 6 bullets in 13 races. Dalton also had firsts at Frigid Digits, Turkey Bowl and two Thursday evening series, crewed on Blue, the winning Van Isle 360 boat, and was 5th overall in the Race to the Straits on Madrona.
There were three other outsanding nominees for this coveted award:
Michael Goldfarb, who had outstanding performances in four different boats, each named War Canoe, including winning the Melges 24 US Nationals on Mobile Bay and the J-70 UK Nationals on the English Channel and placing high in three world championships – the Melges 24 Worlds in Sardinia (4th) , the J-70 Worlds in England (14th) and the Etchells Worlds in Texas (9th); Michael was 2nd in class on his Farr 30 in Race to the Straits and placed highly on his Melges 24 and J-70 in regattas around the US.
David Rogers exemplifies excellent sailing on his own boat and as crew on other boats. Shortly after to moving to Seattle, he joined CYC in 2017; he is now sailing on his own RS Aero with middle of the pack finishes in a very competitive fleet at PSSC and the RS Aero North Americans. David also was the main trimmer and tactitian on Crazy Ivan, a J-80, with wins at the West Coast Championship and Grand Prix, and served as tactitcian on Hamachi for its overall first place in the TansPac race from LA to Honolulu.
Keith Whittemore skippered two different J-24s, each named Furio, to outstainding wins, including Kiel Week in Germany, the largest sailboat regatta in the world, where Furio won both the J-24 class and was named the outstanding boat of the regatta (which featured some 4,000 sailors on 1,870 boats racing in 36 different classes), and in a new boat the J-24 World Championships in Miiami against 78 other boats featuring 5 previous J-24 World Champions. His crew in both regattas included CYC members Shelby Milne and Mark Rodgers, and Brian Thomas and Willem Van Waay.
BOAT OF THE YEAR – HAMACHI, a J-125 skippered by Shawn Dougherty, was first overall in the 50th running of the TransPac race from LA to Honolulu, besting 85 boats ranging from 33’ to over 100’. After 8 days of racing, Hamachi finished 44 minutes ahead of the 2nd place boat. Shawn noted in accepting the award that his crew (CYC member David Rogers along with Jason Andrews, Frederic and Lucas Lafitte, and Matt Pistay) used aggressive jibing techniques honed on Puget Sound to protect its lead going into the finish. The large model Polynesian Proa they get to keep for winning is on display in the CYC Trophy case.
Other nominees, each with many firsts and other top finishes throughout 2019: ABSOLUTELY, skippered by Charlie Macaulay with firsts in class at Center Sound, and PSSR; ELUSIVE, skippered by Jeff Whitney with firsts in class at Blakely Rocks, Scatchet Head, Whidbey Race Week and Summer evenings; and MORE JUBILEE, skippered by Erik Kristen with first in class at Center Sound, PSSR, Spring Wednesday evenings and SYC Tri-Island Short course.
The evening featured two special presentations.
Special Sailing Recognition. Junior Staff Commodore Jakob Lichtenbeg remarked that over the years CYC sailors had won Olympic Gold Medals and 13 World Championships, and as demonstrated tonight there were many championships in 2019 at the highest levels from the mid-Pacific to the Baltic Sea.
Nevertheless, the Club wanted to recognize the performance of one crew that raced in one regatta some 3,000 miles away from CYC and yet, in this day of internet and social media, had the Seattle sailing community abuzz with their performance. Jakob asked the crew of the J-24 Furio to come forward and talk about their J-24 World Championship win in Miami. Skipper Keith Whittemore was sailing on warm waters but Brian Thomas, Shelby Milne and Mark Rodgers came forward. Brian said that the regatta featured light, medium and strong winds, which the crew handled well - they could switch gears quickly to maintain consistent speed, due in large part to their experiences sailing in the very competitive Seattle J-24 fleet on the Lake and Sound.
Keith had provided a video of the start of the key 9th (and next to last) race of the regatta with Furio defending a small 8 point lead over 78 other competitors, including 5 past J-24 World Champions and numerous national and regional champions. Brian Thomas narrated the video, noting that Keith had said earlier that day was all they had to do was win that race and the rest would be easy. No pressure!
The video, which was used to mark the starting line, showed Furio down toward the pin end of the line within two minutes of the start – turning to create room to maneuver and gain speed. As the voice on the video counted down the last 10 seconds, Furio was fast approaching the line, the second boat from the pin, and timed its start with speed exactly as the gun went off! Brian noted the wind had been heading during the pre-start, and then with a bit more of a header, Furio was first to tack to port and crossed the entire 78-boat fleet! A second video showed Furio’s commanding lead at the weather mark. It was an exciting event that had everyone in the Clubhouse glued to the video screen.
Jacob said the Club would create a suitable recognition of this event and in the meanwhile presented a photograph of the winning crew that would be hung in the Clubhouse. He also urged CYC members and guests to see the plaques hanging on the wall outside of the Office that the crew get to keep until the 2020 J-24 Worlds in England.
Special Volunteer Recognition. Commodore David Barnes noted that although the Club does not have an award for outstanding volunteers, the Club indeed requires many volunteers for it to succeed, and the Board wanted to recognize certain individuals who services were vital to the Club, including two recent CYC members:
Finally, several people have been coming out on for evening races on the Sound and Lake and most of the big regattas for many years with little recognition despite their key role in the racing program, and our racing PROs wanted them to be recognized: DEB PRINCE, CHRISTINE BOUNDS-POULIN, ANN CRONIN, LANGELY SEARS, CATLIN GIBSON, JEN FOX, CATHERINE PICA AND BRIAN MILLER.
In addition, David recognized Jakob Lichtenberg's successful tenure as Commodore and presented him with a J-24 model for his significant efforts.
GARY HORDER AWARD for outstanding Junior Sailor – DIETER CREITZ, who dominated Northwest Optimist sailing, winning the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit with 7 wins in 7 regattas, and was first overall at the USODA Northwest Regionals (4th consecutive year), the Pumpkin Bowl regatta in Vancouver BC and in the CYC Turkey regatta, 2nd overall in the San Francisco Heavy Weather Regatta and Slalom Regatta, and had good finishes in other national and international Optimist events. Dieter skippered his Dad’s boat, Three Ring Circus, an Olson 25, in Down the Sound, and crewed on Pickled Beets, a Melges 24, in several CYC evening series, and on Smoke, a TP 52, at Grand Prix.
The two other junior nominees were:
Jaedon Bott has been racing catamarans since she was 11; now 15, she participated in the 2019 Hobie 16 North American Championships in BC where it rained 4 inches and everything in her tent was soaking wet before the racing even started. She finished 16th of 38 boats. In November Jaedon competed as an adult in the 2019 Hobie 16 Womens World Championships in Florida, where she finished 16th out of 25 boats overall. This past summer, Jaedon raced with her younger sister, Kaia, on an FJ.
Jacob Posner and his family had a 8-month trip to Europe in 2019 but he managed to sail in the Lake Garda regatta in Italy featuring some 1,300 Optimists (Jacob noted that each race contained 150 boats and “Overall, I finished 72nd in Silver fleet and my best finish was a 22nd. It was a good feeling to round the weather mark and see 130 boats behind me!”); Jacob returned to Seattle to take several firsts in class in Opti regattas and place high in other events;
BOATING FAMILY OF THE YEAR – Geoff and Allison Pease with sons Nathan, Gary and Konrad. Geoff has been active at CYC for a long time and consistently volunteers to help the office, to help the Junior Program and to be the PRO for many of CYC's races. Son Nathan has been racing Optis for several years. Next year, Nathan plans to bring his friends to CYC and start a Lynnwood High School Sailing Team. Gary is also now racing Optis, and Konrad helps out wherever he can. Allison supports all of these sailing activities and has volunteered to cook many times at CYC in 2019.
CRUISING BOAT OF THE YEAR – COQUETTE. a Jeaneau SO 45, owned by Cathy Sherwood and Kent Powley; they left Seattle in August 2018, traveled south to Mexico, and in 2019 cruised to El Salvador and Panama (taking a break to line-handle friends to transit the Panama Canal), and have made their way to the Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Marquesas, Tuamotus, and Society Islands before heading to remote Palmerston in the Cook Island Group. They have left Coquette on the hard in Tonga for the cyclone season and will return for more South Pacific cruising. Cathy and Kent recently spoke at the Monday lunch about their cruising adventures.
The other nominee, SOLSTICE owned by Ron and Peggy Watt, spent 9 weeks sailing on the inside of Vancouver Island and crossed over to Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlottes) where they explored many areas of the Park before returning to Seattle. Ron and Peggy also participated in several CYC cruises and organized others; the Watts attended most of the 2nd Thursday Cruisers potlucks and in November talked about their Haida Gwaii trip.
GEORGE SPALDING AWARD for most inspirational junior –SAM AIRHART. Now 15, Sam took sailing lessons from CYC when he was 10. He was one of the first to join CYC's racing team when he was 12. He has volunteered every day as an instructor's assistant for the last three summers for a total of at least 1200 hours; showing up at 8:30 in the morning and would often staying until after 9:00 at night - that is how much he loves sailing. Both older and younger kids look up to Sam as he is knowledgeable, caring, and fun to be around.
Also nominated was JACOB POSNER, an 12 year old very successful Opti sailor (Jacob was also nominated for the Gary Horder award for outstanding Junior sailor) who is noted for his excellent conduct on and off the race course, with a nominator saying: “ Jacob is a great winner, never arrogant about his performance and demonstrably pleased with the good results of his teammates.”
DOG HOUSE AWARD for an unseaman-like activity – MIKE TAFT, for “Cooking Chili on the Rum Run Race with No Fiddles on the Stove.” The nominator reported: “After rounding Meadow Point and heading across the Sound to the finish, the wind had started to pick up and the boat was heeling over. The crew was having a good time and a tall pot of chili was on the stove waiting lunch when we finished at Port Madison. Ever generous, Mike was letting a newer sailor drive. We were hit with a bigger puff and the boat rounded up. Gravity overtook the tall pot of chili and it quickly slid off the gimbled stove and landed on the main halyard flaked on the cabin sole! Chili was splashed everywhere on the port side of the cabin, including the head. The head was the easiest to clean as we hosed down the plastic interior with the hand held shower; the halyard -- not so easy to clean!. It turns out that Mike had taken those pesky fiddles off the front of the stove.”
The other Nominees (and happy non-winners):
COMMODORE DAVID BARNES, on a family trip to Desolation Sound, they anchored in Tenedos Bay. They took their dinghy to an Island for a hike and swim, not noticing a slight hit on a submerged rock covered with very sharp oysters. Fortunately only one chamber lost air, and they were able to return to their boat in two trips, made more difficult when their outboard stopped working! While they were able to eventually fix the motor, they found out their dinghy repair kit was 5 years old and the glue had long gone dry. Fortunately two of their cruising neighbors overheard a telephone call to the Refuge Cove Store seeking a working dinghy repair kit, and brought their tenders by with good glue!
FLEET CAPTIAIN CRUISE CHRIS MCMURDOCH was cruising this summer with his wife Jennifer Lathrop on their Tartan 3800 Wind Dancer; one day they went into a cozy harbor somewhere off the Straits of Georgia to watch birds. They were using the cockpit plotter to chart their course, which they had set on a large scale – zoomed pretty far out ---so unfortunately they did not see some smaller scale (but large enough) rocks. Wind Dancer hit the rocks solidly, suffering significant damage to its keel and hull. After some safety dive checks, Chris and Jennifer were able to nurse Wind Dancer back to Seattle over the course of several days. Wind Dancer spent the whole summer at CSR getting rebuilt. It is every sailor’s nightmare, but in the end Chris, Jennifer and Wind Dancer survived and are back on the water.
WAYNE BALSIGER gave a brief update on the Heart of CYC Fundraising Campaign, noting that although sufficient funds had been raised to pay for the September haul-out of the Clubhouse, more needed to be raised to meet all of the Campaign’s goals. He received pledges for more than $5,000 from the crowd; any member willing to contribute for the first or multiple times can contact Wayne or the Club Office.
Werner Ohmes Foghorn Trophy– best Center Sound performance:
Northwest Challenge Cup – best overall in Center Sound, PSSR and PSSC:
Bill Lieberman Trophy – top CYC junior in USODA NW Optimist Regionals:
Dues amounts for 2020:
Age 19-24: $11/month - $132 annually
Age 25-29: $22/month - $264 annually
Age 30-69: $39.50/month - $474 annually (note: this is different than in 2019 - see the Commodore's letter here for details)
Age 70+: $22/month - $264 annually
Associate: $105.60 annually
Non-Resident: $132 annually
We can't wait to have an amazing 75th year in 2020!
See you on the water,
Thank you to everyone that joined us to celebrate CYC’s 74th year.
We elected the 2020 board. You can find the new team on bottom of our https://cycseattle.org/Contact page.
We discussed our mission: Promote amateur sailing and strengthen the sailing community thru volunteer actions of our members.
We reported on the four pillars that is our interpretation of our mission:
We reported our financial situation. In essence we realized all of above while balancing our budget. In order to keep it this way we need to do a $1 monthly dues raise for 2020. Less than inflation.
We reminded each other that all of above is made possible thru your volunteering and financial contributions. Thank you.
Finally we got a good reminder to nurture our business membership partnerships and highlight our value proposition. We have taken actions to follow up.
To learn more about our evening see our Annual Membership Meeting presentation here: Presentation from Annual Membership Meeting 2019.pdf And always feel free reach out to anyone on the board to engage, ask questions and volunteer to make the club better.
On behalf of your friends on the CYC Board,
Jakob LichtenbergCommodore 2019Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle
Corinthian Yacht Club congratulates Keith Whittemore and Team Furio for their win at the 2019 J/24 World Championship in Miami!
Team Furio (photo credit Ron Rosenberg )
I believe Keith Whittemore’s Furio J/24 crew is a team of role models for so many of us in this sport that are learning how to leverage the benefits of our cumulative years of wisdom and experience. In other words, this team really enjoys learning and improving every day they spend on the water together… and over a period of 40+ years racing J/24s, that’s a lot of cumulative improvement!
Their experience has taught them how to prepare thoroughly and how to execute efficiently. They’ve enjoyed great success together over the years both on the water and off. They have extraordinary time management skills, they have great perspective, they know how to prioritize, and they work very hard and very smart together directly toward their next big goal.
The respect these sailors have for each other is remarkable. They understand the value of having fun with those friends you really enjoy sailing with, and competing against. They are among a handful of similar-minded role models that have worked together to create, build, nurture, maintain and continue to grow their local J/24 fleet here in Seattle on Lake Washington. They enjoy 25 boats on the starting line of their Tuesday evening races, and they often support and coach the entire fleet with evening BBQ and beer-in-hand post-race debriefs and Q&A by the winners of the night who are sometimes local pros or Olympic Medallists. They host their own website and blogs often posting coaching comments and video for all to learn from. They welcome new sailors like family, they help them find rides and even buy old J/24s and then encourage the beginners every step of the way. They have redefined sustainability.
They give, and they give more, and they keep on giving to help support their local J/24 fleet. These are the kinds of things Keith Whittemore’s experienced team does on a regular basis. They appreciate the benefits of their local training ground (or play ground?) they have created, and they have risen to the top of their game. Now, they get to bring the J/24 World Championship Trophy back to their home fleet and thank THEM for the wisdom, experience, friendship and support the entire local fleet has provided them with. Funny how it seems as though everyone wins when you get it right : )
Congratulations once again!
What’s it like to Win the Worlds? The The Final Day. By Brian Thomas (Sailish.com | Kurt Hoehne |November 3, 2019)
An interview with Keith Whittemore about winning the 2019 J/24 Worlds (Sail World | David Schmidt | November 6, 2019)
At our Annual Membership Meeting this Friday 11/15 (6:00 p.m.) we will discuss the state of the club including an update on the financial condition of the club. The club is financially healthy and our results for the year are essentially projected to be net neutral; to assist in keeping it this way in future, the CYC board has decided to adjust the membership fee from $38.50 per month to $39.50 per month for adult (family) memberships age 30-69 (or from $462 to $474 per year). This represents a 2.6% increase and is expected to be just lower than inflation. The change will take effect 1/1/2020. The change does not impact other membership groups.
I will be paying my dues annually by check as this saves the club about 3% in credit card fees. If you do choose to pay yearly, you may pay either via check or via our webpage with your credit card. Look for information from the office on how to manage payment.
To learn more about the state of the club I encourage you all to join me at Annual Membership Meeting. Find the event page here: https://cycseattle.org/event-3586013 . Please register, join me and vote. If you cannot make it this Friday, please visit the same web page address above, where you will find a printable ballot and instructions for voting.
Thank you for your support of CYC’s mission.
Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle
Regattas continue on this fall with the CYC Junior sail team. The Cascadia Fleet race was hosted by Sail Sand Point this past weekend and it was a mixed regatta of high school and collegiate sailors. CYC's Ballard group had teams in both the Gold and Silver Fleets. Ballard's Gold Fleet placed 3rd out of 24, with the UW taking first place. The kids did well with good wind but soggy weather. Also this weekend, CYC Junior sailor Isabelle McNabb competed in the Pumpkin Bowl hosted by Vancouver YC and she placed 4th in the Laser 4.7 division. The week-end prior to this was a Team race regatta, again hosted by Sail Sand Point and Ballard placed 5th. There is lots of sailing going on with these kids and they appreciate the opportunities to get on the water.
The CYC Junior Sail Team had a great weekend at the Trick or Treat Team race regatta hosted by the Anacortes Waterfront Association on Fidalgo Bay. There was lots of sunshine and wind on Saturday and less wind on Sunday but the kids had a great time sailing, spending time together as a team and they won the costume contest! The Ballard group placed 7th in this event, which consists of three double handed boats racing against another team of three. Fun was had by all!
Thank you to all the 90 guests and volunteers that turned out for the Clubhouse’s 50th Birthday Party this past Friday evening! As luck would have it we discovered via old newspaper clippings on display at the event that our clubhouse made its initial transit through the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks exactly fifty years to the day before the night of the party, October 18, 1969. Bill Lieberman who was Commodore in 1969 set the stage sharing his experience riding in the clubhouse as it made the transit. John Ellis, Commodore in 1958 and an original member of the club from its founding in 1945 was also in attendance and shared background on the club's private bond offering that funded the clubhouse and grounded the audience in the rich history of capital campaigns at the club. Additionally, longtime members and family contributed memories of the club and its special meaning and impact to them including but not limited to Chuck Sanborn, June Vynne, and Herb Holly, Commodore ’99. Our fundraising efforts were a huge success, netting $25,650 in financial pledges to the Heart of CYC Campaign plus an additional $500 of in-kind services with Valholl Brewing and an offer by an employee of Miller & Miller Boatyard to see what they could do to help with our planned overhaul.
Special thanks go to our Chefs Catherine Weatbrook, Kaley Walgren, & Elizabeth Prout who cooked up a delicious dinner as well as the cast of event volunteers that made it all happen: Cindy Barrett, Peggy Watt, Wayne Balsiger, Suzette Connolly, Teri Evernden, Shauna Walgren, Kim Dubois, and Aryn O’Haleck.
-Vice Commodore, David Barnes
The 2019 racing season is coming to an end, and it is time to consider the 2019 CYC outstanding performers. The Board will select the Award winners who will be announced at the Awards Party to be held in January 2020.
If you have a suggestion for a 2019 CYC Award, please provide it (with a brief bit of background explaining the basis for the nomination) to Ken Johnson, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by mail:
3706 So. Ridgeway Place
Seattle, WA 98144
Or you can drop them off at the CYC Shilshole office. Ken assembles the nominations and presents them to the Board for its decisions.
CYC Boats Take 4 of Top 6 Places; Mark Bradner’s Return Wins Fourth Championship. In addition to Return’s first place, other CYC boats that did well at the 2019 SJ 24 North Americans are Grauer Geist (staff commodore Ken Johnson) in third, Fancy (Jeff Kendall) in fourth and Manhattan Transfer (Mike Irish) in sixth.
As crews from Seattle to Bellingham gathered in Oak Harbor on June 28 for the 2019 San Juan 24 North American Class Association Championships there was great pleasure in greeting friends from previous championship regattas and concern about the light wind weekend forecasts.
As Byron Skubi, the experienced PRO running the racing, said the Friday night wind forecast for the weekend was “terrible.” A variety of wind forecasting sites showed winds on Saturday ranging from 2-3 knots perhaps getting to 4-5 knots late in the afternoon and only marginally better for Sunday. And there would be a building flood tide both days. The gathering fleet was reminded that only one race was needed to name a 2019 champion although the deed of gift for the Class Association trophy required 3 races.
So as boats motored out Saturday morning on the 40-minute trip from Oak Harbor to Penn Cove, the light winds on Saratoga Passage and the flat glass on Penn Cove were not promising. But as boats headed west from the entrance of Penn Cove there was a dark line observed on the far west end of the Cove which slowly moved eastward and finally reached and then passed the Race Committee boat located just off of Coupeville.
Not to worry – the wind filled in with 5-6 knots westerly and Byron sounded the first warning signal on time promptly at 11:00. The wind was fairly consistent building to close to 10-11 knots in the afternoon before settling back to 6-7 knots. A northerly shift mid-day created a small delay as the windward mark had to be dragged north. Byron ran eight, count them, eight great races on Saturday – windward-leeward courses, some long, some short, with both windward and downwind finishes. David Steckman of Oak Harbor, the Regatta organizer, got the racing off to a great start by dominating the first race on his renamed Juan Solo, followed by Mike Klep’s Bruce from Bellingham and Mike Irish’s Manhattan Transfer from Seattle. Pre-race favorite Return was over early at the favored pin end and its delayed restart after ducking most of the fleet resulted in a 7th place finish.
But Return bounced back handily, winning the next 3 races to regain the lead, with Juan Solo and Ken Johnson’s Grauer Geist keeping close with top 4 finishes in each race. Racing got closer as Return had another over-early call and finished 5th in the fifth race and got trapped on the far left side of the course in the 6th race resulting in a 4th place finish before grabbing a 1st and 2nd place result in the last two races of the day. Meanwhile Grauer rebounded with two firsts and a second, and Juan Solo kept close with its consistent top 4 finishes.
At the end of Saturday, after 8 races (one throw-out permitted with 6 races completed), Return had a 2 point lead over Grauer Geist with Juan Solo just one point further back. Jeff Kendal’s Fancy lurked in 4th place while Bruce, after two second places in the first two races, had fallen to 5th overall as it suffered both a OCS in the third race and a DSQ in race 7.
Proving the forecasts wrong again, a nice wind came in again on Sunday, and Return quickly took advantage to clinch its Championship win with two firsts and one second in the first three of four races held that day, followed by a safe second in the last race. Meanwhile Juan Solo and Grauer Geist were battling it out for second place – after winning the third race Grauer just had to finish just one boat behind Juan Solo in the last race to match her second place finish in the 2018 regatta. However, she lost track of Juan Solo at the start and had to go left while Juan Solo and Return headed to the right hand favorable Penn Cove current on the north side – at the windward mark, Juan Solo had a boat length lead on Return with Grauer another length back. The first two boats headed to the southern shore, where there is supposed to be a favorable eastward current. Grauer followed about half-way to the shore and, believing it had a favorable downwind angle to the long leeward mark, was the first to gybe. Nothing like being in the middle, and forced to watch boats on the south shore sail by and, at the same time, boats further behind at the windward mark that gybed toward the northern shore also found stronger wind and sailed by! Juan Solo held on to win the last race and second place as Grauer sailed to its worst finish, which became its Regatta throw-out.
The racing was close and competitive. Of the 12 boats in the regatta, 4 had at least one first place, and 7 boats had at least one top-three finish. A single mistake on the course pushed all the boats back in the fleet. Even the top three boats had 6th and 7th place finishes.
At the awards ceremony Mark Bradner noted that he had been sailing with the same crew for 15 years, and that crew consistency was instrumental in Return’s win: Gary Reifel on foredeck, David Valentine on main and David Fukuhara on sheets. Return previously won the SJ 24 NACA championship in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Boats had to be conscious of building tide both days (the low was about an hour or so before racing started). It was easy (too easy for some of us) to get pushed to the starting line early, causing many loud calls to “Stay Up, Stay Up” as boats tried to jockey to keep from crossing the starting line early. The Race Committee called boats over-early in most races, but in only the third race did it signal a General Recall (of course many skippers said they had had great starts and it was other boats that were over early). The Race Committee wasted no time in hosting the black flag and a conservative restart followed.
With many boats lumped close together after the start, the wind just lifts over all the boats. Boats that did well got to clear air quickly, even if it meant ducking boats, irrespective of where on the Cove they sailed. And skippers also had to balance the wind and the current. As the current built, the counter-clockwise Penn Cove current is said to favor the northern side (the right-hand side going upwind in the westerly) and the south side of the Cove going downwind – but until the current really set in going up the left hand side or the middle, wherever there was clear air, paid off. And going too far to the north side commonly resulted in boats overstanding the weather mark, letting boats coming in on port sail a shorter distance and tack underneath them.
All in all, and despite having just 12 boats participating, the 2019 regatta was great fun with challenging competition and racing, proving again that when all the boats sail about the same speed it doesn’t really matter how fast they are going. The pleasure of one-design racing!
On Friday night the Class elected its 2020 officers: Dave Steckman of Oak Harbor as Commodore, Mark Bradner of Seattle as Vice Commodore and Jeff Kendall of Seattle as Fleet Measurer. The Class also decided to hold the 2020 North Americans on Shillshole bay in Seattle and to have a small group review the class specifications to see if any should be modified (most have been in effect since the mid-1970s).
The excellent Oak Harbor Yacht Club hosted the regatta. Thanks to Club Manager Joe Catanio for the excellent food and drink each night and OHYC Commodore Ferd Johns for welcoming all of us.
Dennis and Marjie Wade Clark joined us for dinner Saturday night, and Dennis gave an engaging talk about the origins and history of the San Juan 24, followed by questions regarding the boat’s design. Marjie was the winning skipper of the first SJ 24 North American regatta, sailed on Bellingham Bay with over 50 boats participating! To date she is the only female skipper to win the regatta; her father designed and built the wire sculpture of the boat that graces the SJ 24 NACA trophy. Chuck Skewes of Ullman Sails noted that he got his start in the sailing industry working for Dennis as an apprentice sailmaker in the mid-1980s. Chuck also described his “year as a professional skipper” and commented on sail trim issues he observed from the Race Committee boat.
Ullman Sails was the principal sponsor of the Regatta and contributed money, prizes and support. Other main sponsors: Oak Harbor YC and Indigo Slate (t-shirt design and cash), followed by Jan’s Marine Photography, Samson Ropes, Swinomish Casino & Lodge and Oak Harbor Marina.
Wayne Balsiger of Seattle chaired the protest committee, aided by Bill Weinsheimer and Chad Holcomb, both from Oak Harbor. In addition to PRO Byron Skubi, others on the Race Committee were Chuck Skewes from Ullman Sails, Larry Munns, Jane Mays and Avis Berney. Many thanks to them and the volunteers on the mark boats – without them a regatta is not possible!
Regatta photos available at: https://janpix.smugmug.com/Events/San-Juan-24-National-Championships/
Boat Skipper Fleet Points
1. Return Mark Bradner Seattle 21
2. Juan Solo David Steckman Oak Harbor 27
3. Grauer Geist Kenneth Johnson Seattle 29
4. Fancy Jeff Kendall Seattle 46
5. Bruce Mike Kleps Bellingham 52
6. Manhattan Transfer Mike Irish Seattle 69
7. Toto Allan Wilson Oak Harbor 77
8. Sweet Jesus Sean Busby Seattle 79
9. Obi Juan Steve Hucke Oak Harbor 88
10. Snappy Tom Gil Lund Seattle 88
11. Swift Bill Brown Oak Harbor 121
12. Miss Mayhem Melissa Davies Seattle 125
Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle7755 Seaview Ave NW (Pier V)Seattle WA 98117(206) email@example.com
47° 41.14' N 122° 24.22' W