Memorial Day Regatta
Western Regional Championships
Fern Ridge Lake
May 24-25th, 2003
by Mark Forrest
Western Regional Championships drew twenty-five boats to the Eugene Yacht Club's 40th annual Memorial Day Regatta. Team Disaster Area once again proved their skill in a variety of conditions, winning the Western Regional Trophy for the ninth time with 3 bullets in 5 races. "We registered as Team Disaster Area because we do sail as a team and everyone deserves equal credit," said skipper Chris Winnard as he, Andrew Kerr and Bill Ramacciotti accepted the perpetual trophy. In second place was Aggressive Tendencies (Witcher/Hart/Hess), a team of long time class supporters including class measurer Charles Witcher. Filling out the top five were Aquila (Stephens/Nash/Bauman) in third, Bob (Slijper/Sherlock/Gleason) in fourth, and Hitched (Kerry Poe and crew) in fifth. Class Vice President Ken Cardwell won a tiebreaker with Gordon Mattatal for sixth.
It looked cool and cloudy Saturday morning, but by the time the fleet reached the start line, the sun was out and clothes were coming off. Fair weather and a 6-12 knot southwesterly allowed the committee to pull off four straight races. The first race was a triangle course in light air. Andrew Kerr offered this advice for sailors trying to break out of the pack in big fleet starts. "One of the important elements, because the start was so crowded, was picking a low density area on the line and tacking on the first shift to get in phase with the wind," he said. “If you started in the second row, you had better have your oxygen masks ready to deploy.”
During the first beat of the second race, the wind progressively veered right. After riding this lift to near the port tack layline, several early leaders tacked back only to find themselves seriously over stood. Even Team Disaster Area was left searching for a hole through the starboard tack boats that had already rounded the mark and were setting their chutes. Good breeze and a twice around windward-leeward course were not enough help for teams to recover from this early mistake, as TDA clawed their way to a fifth.
With the boat end heavily favored, the fourth race started with a general recall as a flotilla formed and barged up and onto the course side. To counter, the committee moved the line until the pin was favored by 15
degrees. Boats that won the pin end were able to port tack the entire fleet. "Anyone who started at the boat end and did not tack immediately was four boat lengths behind,” according to Andrew Kerr. “In this class that is enormous. It is worthwhile to verbalize on board that when the boat end is favored, it is easy to be early and when the pin end is favored, it is easy to be late.”
Sunday brought with it the dreaded east wind and light, fluky conditions. This made for a race with opportunity for big gains (and big losses). After a delayed start, the teams finessed their way around the course taking advantage of every breath of wind to keep pressure on the sails. Much of the fleet was converged at the leeward mark rounding and the beat to the finish tested sailors’ patience. By the last ten boat lengths, many found themselves ghosting on less than a knot of breeze.
Several new Fleet 19 members debuted at this regatta. Sam Vogan has been crewing in the class for several years and bought hull number 908 this winter. Evert Slijper stepped up from the Thistle class and took home 4th in his first Santana 20 regatta. Slijper recently bought hull number 115 from two-time class champion Mike Sherlock. Sherlock showed Slijper the ropes as crew, and even helped him demonstrate his man overboard drill during roll tacking practice. This was not the first regatta for Jerold Skeen (hull number 704), who also had a strong performance at Camilla Cup on Folsom Lake in April.
The Eugene Yacht Club hosted a well run event with socializing that allegedly lasted late into the night. Fleet 19 extends special thanks to all the out of town boats, especially the four boats from Folsom Lake’s Fleet 12, who made this a memorable regatta. We hope to see you all at Huntington Lake for Nationals in July.
Disaster Area - Chris Winnard, Andrew Kerr, Bill Ramaciotti (1st Place)
Team Charles Witcher, Sherron Hart and Charlie Hess (2nd Place)
Team Aquila - Paul Stephens, Bruce, and Drew (3rd Place)
Evert Sliper, Mike Sherlock & Tim Gleeson - on " Bob" (4th Place)
Austin Quilty of " Moon" - Not pictured - Ken & Kris Cardwell. (6th Place)
|Name||Name||Club||Sail #||Position||Score||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Race 4||Race 5|
|Poe||Kerry||Willamette Sailing Club||82||5||33||15||7||7||3||1|
|Purdy||Lance||Stockton Sailing Club||497||8||40||2||10||8||13||7|