2002 Firecracker Regatta

Klamath Falls, OR

By Laura Corbit


As is common with lake sailing, this regatta demanded that you be ready for just about anything. Three races were completed, though more were attempted, in 0-18kts. The boats hit the water Saturday morning in a fairly mild breeze and awaited the first race. There was some delay as the race committee waited for the breeze to fill in, but in hopes of getting a race in before lunch, the first race was started in light wind. In hopes of keeping weight low in the extremely light air, many of the foredecks retired below. When after about half an hour I heard the sounds signaling that the race was abandoned I emerged and naively asked "were we winning", but looking around I quickly realized that with no wind to speak of, and thus no wind direction, it is very difficult to tell who is ahead. Everyone returned to shore under tow, and there were some close calls with the sandbars.

The crews enjoyed their siestas and remained on call. Binoculars and even a telescope up on the hill were consulted frequently in hopes that something good was brewing further up the lake. Late in the afternoon the committee boat hit the water again anticipating a late afternoon breeze but a few radical shifts made setting the course difficult and the committee decided to call it a day. Several teams remained on the water in hopes of at least getting some practice, and as luck would have it, a steady wind from the north filled in and the boats got in a few practice laps.

Sunday morning had much the same feel as Saturday and the pressure was really on for the race committee as the morning passed with no wind. Around 10 am several of the crews couldn't stand to be on land any longer and hit the water ahead of the race committee, perhaps hoping that if they were on the water the wind would come. Lucky for everyone it did. The first race was started with a moderate breeze from the north. However, shortly after the start of the downwind leg, the wind shifted 180 degrees, and those boats that had gotten their spinnakers up, had to get them down in a hurry. To quote Andrew Kerr, "you had to be ready to tack at any moment and to shift gears constantly". As gusts approaching 20 kts streaked down the lake, a lot could be gained by keeping a close eye on the fleet ahead as they broached or even auto-tacked in the gusts and shifts.

After two races were completed, the winds settled down, a little too much and there was some uncertainty as to whether there would be a third race. The committee set the course for a west wind and started a race but abandoned it as gusts started to come in from the south again. They promptly shifted gears and started another race now with wind from the south as the chop and white caps started to form. BOB and Disaster Area started the race tied for first and there was a lot of tight boat handling before the start, as the left side was greatly favored. Some of the boats were a little tentative in the gusty conditions allowing Disaster Area (Chris Winnard, Andrew Kerr, Laura Corbit) to get a port start at the favored end. They held on first through the race which won them the regatta. BOB (Mike, Sean & Ryan Sherlock from Eugene,OR) was a close second overall. They are gearing up to sail the Thistle Nationals together this August and their time on the water together was apparent in their excellent crew work. 3rd place went to Ross Cooley ( "Joreanne") and his team (Laura Zane and Rick Gilstrap ) from Eugene YC, many of you will remember him from his hard work in organizing last year's Nationals. 4th went to Ron Fish, we look forward to seeing him and his crew as well as Mark Forrest and crew representing fleet 19 at this year's Nationals.

Many thanks to Gary Naseth for running the hoist for everyone, to the race committee for toughing it out, to everyone at Klamath YC for running a fun event, and to all the S20 sailors for some great racing.

                        Firecracker Regatta                             
                        Klamath Yacht Club                              
                        Klamath Falls, OR                               
                        July 6, 7 2002                          
Skipper                Sail #   Race 1   Race 2   Race 3   Total    Place
Chris Winnard           138      1        2        1        4        1
Mike Sherlock           115      2        1        3        6        2
Ross Cooley             474      7        4        2        13       3
Ron Fish                779      6        3        4        13       4
Doug Smith              264      3        5        6        14       5
Paul Stephens           656      4        8        5        17       6
Mark Forrest            279      5        7        8        20       7
Hector Rosado           777      9        6        9        24       8
Kevin Goodrich         636      10       10       7        27       9
Gary Naseth             733      8        9        10       27       10
Jennifer DuNesme        342      12       12       12       36       11