By Kenneth Johnson -
The Lake Fall Regatta held on Saturday September 11 capped the 2021 Lake Racing Season. Light shifty slowly-dying winds challenged the excellent Race Committee (PRO Troy Childs ably assisted by Catherine Picha) and the skippers and crews of the participating J-24s, San Juan 24s and Thistles.
Racing started at 11 am in a 6-7 knot wind that shifted erratically from south-east to south – forecasted (unfortunately all too correct) to slowly die to 1-2 knots by early afternoon, causing the final races to be mercifully shortened. Somehow the small three boat J-24 fleet got in three races, with Staff Commodore Jakob Lichtenberg on “Hair of the Dog” consistently finishing first. No such consistency for the other two fleets. In the 7 boat San Juan 24 fleet, CYC Director Mark Bradner on “Return” and Staff Commodore Ken Johnson’s “Grauer Geist” split their two races, each winning fairly easily after a good start by Return in race 1 and Grauer Geist in race 2 and building large leads by the first weather mark. As the wind began to die in the shortened second race, Return (which was last around the prior mark) and Mike Irish’s “Manhattan Transfer” traded leads in the last 200 yards before the shortened upwind finish, with Return getting the last wisp of wind to finish 2nd by “2 or 3 inches” and thus earn a deserved win for the regatta.
The 9 boat Thistle fleet saw the most inconsistency, with Graham Vaughan combing a 1st and 5th on “Zugzwang” to edge out Marc Daudon’s “Fleetfoot2”’s combined 4th and 3rd place finishes to win the regatta. “Heart of CYC” capital raising chair Wayne Balsiger’s first on “Rainbow” in the second race could not overcome his 7th place finish in race 1, and he finished 3rd for the regatta.
For the 2021 season, both the Tuesday night J-24 racers and the Wednesday night fleets of SJ 24s, Thunderbirds and Thistles got to race on 17 of the 20 scheduled race nights, with the lack of wind (and one errant power boat that careened into the docked Race Committee boat) winning just three of the nights. For the J-24s, with up to 23 boats racing, Kevin Downey on “Sine Nomine” bookended the year with wins in the Spring and Fall series, Lucas Lafitte on “Big Tuna” took the Interim series and Scott Milne on “Tremendous Slouch” won the Summer series.
For the 4 boat fleet Thunderbirds on Wednesday night, Craig Burnell’s “Predator” won each of the four series. Almost as consistently, Director Mark Bradner’s “Return” took first in the Spring, Interim and Summer series in 8 boat San Juan 24 fleet before being dethroned by Staff Commodore’s Ken Johnson’s “Grauer Geist” in the Fall series. Johnson commented that Grauer’s success was greatly assisted by him being with family on the East Coast for most of the series with his crew, led by Treasurer Remmert Wolter helming, sailing the boat in his absence. The 16 boat Thistle Fleet saw Graham Vaughan’s “Zugzwang” finish strongly by taking the Summer and Fall series; JD Reddaway on “Hakana Matata” won the Spring series, with “TTFN,” jointly owned by Neal Freeland and Brooke Stabbert, taking the Interim series.
All in all, a successful season with participating building during the year as more crews became vaccinated and comfortable in racing. Thanks to some in the J-24 fleet, we got to see the successful introduction of robo-marks (which had their fits at the beginning but became very helpful by the end of the season). And much appreciation to Fleet Captain-Racing Matt Wood’s continued support, PRO Troy Child success in finding fair courses in the challenges of Lake sailing at its best, great work by the unheralded whaler drivers and finally but not the least to the Race Committee volunteers.