Santana 20 Nationals

Huntington Lake, CA

July 14-18

Photos and Story  by Andrew Kerr

Cal Trans - 2003 National Champion


2003 Santana 20 National Championships – report by Andrew Kerr.


This year, Nationals was held on Huntington Lake from July 14th to the 18th with the High Sierra regattas both the preceding and following weekends.  18 S20’s entered the High Sierra regatta and used it as a very effective tune up event for the Nationals. This was a time for teams to research the lake and get as much valuable practice as they could.


For those who have not been to Huntington Lake, it is one of the most picturesque venues in the country. Tall trees, clean flat water and a fairly clockwork like wind that comes in at 10:30 in the morning.  It is an ideal place for a vacation- quiet, relaxing and with plenty to do for those not sailing – hiking, biking, jet skiing, visits to the hot springs, Yosemite park and more are some of the many attractions.


This year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the high Sierra regatta, which is run by Fresno YC and featured 3 races over the course of the weekend. With local knowledge saying to sail to the Boy Scout camp on the left shoreline the fleet fought hard for a pole position on the left side of the starting line. The big challenge of the weekend was negotiating the windward mark, which was located at the top of the lake just past the dam. At the top of the lake the wind faded and shifted all around catching many teams unaware of the holes and shifts.


Class veterans Charles Witcher/ Sherron Hart and Charlie Hess from Fleet 12 on Folsom lake gave the fleet a clinic on sailing the shifts and the velocity and won both races – the first race win was by a huge margin while the rest of us battled for clear air on the zig zag course down the lake.


Two time Olympian Charlie Ogletree and his team of UC Irvine coach Mike Pinckney and WD Schock dealer and lido 14 champ John Papadapolous on “ Cal trans” were scored OCS in race #2 which hurt there chances for the regatta- they did win the marathon 3rd race on Sunday showing impressive speed and smarts.


 The top 5 Results for the 50th High Sierra regatta were:


1st – “ Aggressive tendencies” - Charles Witcher/ Sherron Hart / Charlie Hess

2nd – “ Mini Me”- Bruce Golison / Andrew Kerr/ Bill Ramacciotti

3rd- “ Gremlin” – Gordon Wanlass/ John Andrew

4th – “ Head First” – Willem van Waay, Travis Wilson, Peter van Waay

5th - #587 – Craig Lee and team.


Gordon Wanlass team and Craig Lee’s team both showed good form in this event – both of them veterans of Huntington Lake regattas of the past.     


After racing on the Sunday the fleet gathered at the Fleet 12 welcome site and discussed the day’s racing in a format that was moderated by Andrew Kerr. This get together was very well attended and well received as different team members talked about what they saw out on the water. The fleet also enjoyed some great post race socializing and it was great for everyone to renew old friendships and make new ones.


Monday was the first day on the Nationals schedule with teams starting to arrive more in force. 28 Boats were registered for the Nationals with teams from Canada, Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon and California.


Notable road warrior teams were Rob Avery and his team from Canada, Britt Williams and his team from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Tim Dunton and his team from Cherry Creek, Colorado. A big thank you to these teams for making this great effort to participate – it really makes for a great class.


The organizers of the regatta – Fleet 12 - Sacramento, Fleet 5 – San Joaquin valley and the Fresno YC did a superb job of greeting, registering and measuring.


Each organizer had a bright orange event staff shirt on which was a great for the participants as you could easily get a question answered if you needed it. The whole day went extremely smoothly and is a credit to a lot of hard preparation work by our hosts.


Tuesday called for more registration, a seminar led by Andrew Kerr at the lodge, then two practice races, a get together debrief of the races afterward, the annual class meeting and then a social get together at the fleet 12 welcome site.


The practice races were held in a perfect 8 to 12 knot breeze with some very competitive starts. Class founders Tom and Jane Schock came out to watch and were also on hand at the debriefing/ post race discussion to offer advice. Tom’s first event on Huntington Lake was the High Sierra regatta of 1954 and it is one of his most favorite venues in sailing.


The seminar was very well attended and featured a lot of great questions and different perspectives from different teams. We continued this theme at the post race discussion and this proved very popular and well attended.


The class meeting featured the election of a new board and the class expressed its appreciation for the hard work done by the outgoing board.

2003/ 2004-elected board members were:


President – Phillip Infelise, (Denver, CO. / Long Beach, CA).

Vice President – Mark Forrest, (Eugene, Oregon)

Secretary – Gordon Wanlass, (Newport Beach, CA)

Treasurer – Fred Luvisi, (Newport Beach, CA)

Western Regional Director – Kris Cardwell, (Sacramento, CA)

Eastern regional Director – Edith Collins, (Atlanta, GA.).


After the meeting San Diego fleet 7’s Ellen Schmidt and her “ Purple Haze” team cooked up excellent fajitas for the fleet and the group also enjoyed a donated keg of Samuel Adams beer. Thank you Ellen and the sponsors!


Wednesday’s racing featured 3 windward / leeward races of various lengths with the subsequent race to be started 15 minutes after the last boat finished. The starting line was fast and furious with crowds of boats everywhere to be found. The strategy (formula) of the day was to get off the line clean with a good lane and head to the left shoreline and then pick the right time to tack in the shifts and velocity before then making the final approach to the mark which was on the other side of the lake. The action was non-stop with all of the teams working overtime to keep the boat going fast and shifting gears non-stop in the puffs and lulls. On this day no one did it better than the Ogletree/ Pinckney/ Papadopolous team who managed to win all 3 races and cement an early lead in the regatta.


The Golison/ Kerr/ Ramacciotti team on “ Mini Me” overcame two OCS starts to post a 2nd, 9th and 5th while the Witcher/ Hart/ Hess team posted a very steady 3rd, 4th, 3rd day and the van Waay/Wilson/ van Waay team recovered from a first race 7th to also post two very good 2nd’s.


There were many notable performances this day – one in particular was Ross Cooley and his team of Laura Zane and Rick Gilstrap from Eugene on “ Joreanne” who posted all top 10 finishes in the demanding conditions. Another notable performance was the downwind speed of the team led by class veteran skipper Ron Fish with Jerald Skeen (a former Daysailer Champion) in the middle and Leeanne Fish on the bow calling the breeze. This team would round the weather mark in the 20’s and be in single digits by the leeward mark!


Day two on the Thursday featured more tactical posers with the right shore very occasionally paying dividends for those who ventured there at the right time. The key element was for the team to stay aware at all times and be constantly making adjustments to keep the boat moving fast.


The team on “ Mini Me” led the first race all the way around only to passed by “ Head First” and “ Cal Trans” on the second beat and that was the finishing order. In the second race of the day “ Mini Me” held the lead from wire to wire with “ Head First” just edging out “Aggressive Tendencies” for 2nd. “Cal Trans” won the third race with Ron Fish and team sailing a great race to take 2nd and “ Aggressive Tendencies” 3rd.


A left shift on the latter part of the run to the finish line put “ Head First” in 10th for the race and set up a tight battle for 2nd with “Mini Me” and “ Aggressive Tendencies”. The team on “ Cal trans” held a commanding lead – but in this sport one can never say never with possibilities abound. The bottom line though was that Charlie’s team was too talented and experienced to give away 12 points in one race – but that certainly did not deter the 2nd and 3rd placed teams.


That night the class held the annual banquet at the resort lodge with great food and many a story told of fortunes won and lost on the racecourse!

Phillip Infelise was deservedly awarded the class service trophy, (the Kerr perpetual) for his outstanding services to the class- congratulations and thank you Phillip from all of us. It was a great evening that everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy.  Both Allan Shedd and Edith Collins ( the regatta’s Chief Judge) were in attendance from Atlanta and it was great to see them. 


The last day of racing had one long penultimate race for the fleet – “ Mini Me” was OCS again but recovered extremely quickly in to 2nd place by finding clear air and velocity slightly to the right of the fleet. The “ Head First” team port tacked the fleet from the pin end (a small luff up at that end had put “ Mini Me” over the line for the third time in the regatta) and took the lead. “ CalTrans” took the lead back later on in the beat as the fleet tacked it’s way up both shorelines.


On the second beat the wind went left 40 degrees as we saw 240 degrees on the compass and went straight up the lake. “ Cal Trans” won the race and regatta followed by “ Head First” and “ Mini Me”, “ Gremlin “ posted a 4th in the race and a noteable performance was by Jeff Keenan’s team on “Grendil” who were in the top 5 all the way to the end before ending up a very respectable 8th.


Congratulations to Charlie Ogletree, Mike Pinckney and John Papadopoulos who sailed a terrific regatta. This same team won the 2001 Nationals in Klamath Falls.


Fleet 12, Fleet 5 and the Fresno YC did a superb job – so many people for the class to thank – Ken & Kris Cardwell, Todd & Barbera Craig, all of fleet 12 and 5, the Race committee and all the volunteers, the Fresno YC, Jim Moody, Mel Morrison, Charles Witcher and Sherron Hart for the wonderful trophies and all the competitiors who participated to help support the class.


We look forward to seeing as many class members as possible at next years Nationals in Long Beach which will be raced inside the break water out of Alamitos Bay Yc, the site of the 1984 Olympic Games sailing regatta.


Results: (top ten):


1st - “ Cal trans” – Charlie Ogletree/ Mike Pinckney/ John Papadopoulos

2nd - “ Head first” – Willem van Waay/ Travis Wilson/ Peter van Waay

3rd - “ Mini Me” – Bruce Golison / Andrew Kerr/ Bill Ramacciotti

4th - “ Aggressive tendencies” – Charles Witcher/ Sherron Hart/ Charlie Hess

5th - “ Altitude Sickness’- Payson Infelise/ Phillip Infelise/ Jon Bell

 6th - “ Gremlin” – Gordon Wanlass/ Tony Long/ John Andrew

7th -  “ Yikes” – Ron Fish/ Jerald Skeen/ Leeanne Fish

8th - “ Moon” – Ken Cardwell/ Austin Quilty/ Kris Cardwell

9th - “ Joreanne:” – Ross Cooley/ Rick Gilstrap/ Laura Zane

10th - “ Aquila” – Paul Stephens/ Drew Bauman/ David Paufler



Event Photos - From Andrew Kerr

Event Photos - From Todd Craig




OGLETREE 921 1 1 1 2 6 1 1 13
VAN WAAY 586 7 2 2 1 2 10 2 26
GOLISON 919 2 9 5 3 1 6 3 29
WITCHER 20 3 4 3 14 3 3 5 35
INFELISE 679 15 3 4 6 4 5 10 47
WANLASS 77 8 5 7 11 5 9 4 49
FISH 779 9 13 11 5 11 2 13 64
CARDWELL 457 4 11 6 23 8 4 12 68
COOLEY 474 10 7 8 13 10 15 9 72
STEPHENS 656 5 20 9 20 9 13 6 82
LEE 567 17 6 16 7 7 7 22 82
NICHOLS 783 14 15 12 4 14 17 11 87
BOWERS 924 11 12 18 15 13 11 7 87
AVERY 549 6 10 14 9 15 22 17 93
WILLIAMS 920 18 18 10 19 12 8 21 106
FORTIER 99 12 14 15 DSQ/26 17 12 15 111
FORREST 279 24 8 22 8 18 19 16 115
MURSCHEL 331 21 17 13 12 19 21 14 117
SCHMIDT 371 13 22 20 17 16 20 18 126
SAMSON 38611 20 16 23 10 23 14 23 129
KEENAN 206 16 OCS/26 21 16 20 23 8 130
ERDRICH 927 19 19 17 18 21 16 20 130
DUNTON 368 23 21 19 21 22 18 DNF/26 150
HARPER 28449 22 23 24 22 DNF/26 24 19 160
McKEEVER 713 DNF/26 DNS/26 DNS/26 24 24 DNS/26 DNS/26 178