2006 Western regional Championships
By Andrew Kerr
This years Western regional championships were held at Eugene Yacht clubs annual Memorial Day regatta and attracted a fleet of 26 S20’s. The Memorial Day regatta continues to consistently attract an excellent size fleet and the strength of Fleet 19 was in evidence on the Thursday night race prior to the event with 22 boats on the line. Teams wore foul weather gear on both day’s of the regatta but were also rewarded with excellent winds and racing. Hector Rosado graciously hosted an excellent party for the fleet on the Friday night that was attended by many and it was great to see so many familiar faces and also to meet some new ones.
Saturday’s racing saw wind direction ranging between 205 and 225 degrees with velocity ranging between 5 and 15 knots. Gusts ranged down from both valleys bordering the race course, which kept teams on their toes and watching for the last shift and band of velocity that would come down to the starting line.
In race # 1 Jerald Skeen’s team on Atomic Punk came on strong out of the left side and led at the weather mark but were passed just before the jibe mark by Team Disaster Area with Bruce Golison skippering with Andrew Kerr & Lance Purdy. Disaster Area went on to win the race, followed closely by Atomic Punk with Chris Murschel's team on Loose Nuts taking an excellent third. The pack was right behind and boats finished very close together.
Race # 2 a number of boats in the fleet jumped on a late left shift that made the pin end favored and getting on to port tack at a premium. The wind was gusty and oscillating 10 to 20 degrees so staying in phase and tacking in velocity was key. The fleet split left/right going up the first beat – ultimately the last shift was to the left and that favored Disaster Area, Sea Bear (Jason Crowson, Patricia Purdy, and Josh Grass from Richmond YC) and One Eye Jacq (with EYC commodore and S20 veteran Doug Smith and his long time crew John Lee Ward and two time S20 Class Champion - sailing with Mike Sherlock in ‘91 & ‘92 Shannon Clune.) These teams finished 1, 2 & 3 - followed closely by Loose Nuts and class veteran Ross Cooley and his team on Joriann.
The last race of the day saw the wind oscillating back and forth – the fleet got off the line in about 7 knots of wind in a right phase with those further up the line shearing off the boats to leeward. Doug Smith's team showed excellent patience as they waited until the wind phased back to median and tacked in a good wind line. They proceeded to lift up on port tack and this enabled them to cross the fleet from the right which was led by Gordon Mattatal and his team of Don Southworth and Mike Merrifield on H20 Boa. These two teams were 1st and 2nd with Disaster Area finishing in third. Road warriors Mark Erdrich, middle Austin Quilty, and bow John Poimiroo on team Fusion (out of Folsom Lake YC) had a very good race and finished 4th.
That night the fleet enjoyed a great salmon dinner that was served by the Sea Scouts with S20 sailor Kevin Goodrich (sailing with Jerald Skeen & Gale Morgan on Atomic Punk) quarterbacking the effort. This team worked hard all weekend onshore preparing and serving both breakfasts and dinner and deserve a lot of thanks from all of us. Kevin never stopped working the whole time - I arrived at the club on the Wednesday with my family and Kevin was in the kitchen working away and he did this every day morning and night. This was a typical display of the spirit of volunteerism at Eugene YC.
Sunday saw a similar wind direction with the valley’s again coming in to play with both gusts and shifts ranging down. Disaster Area was able to start on port at the pin end with a late left shift and took the lead that they held for half the race until team M Fusion got to the right on the second beat and passed Disaster Area just before the weather mark. On the downwind leg H20 Boa and Nicholi Lenn and team on Crash Test Dummies made a move by jibing early to port in the dying breeze that was temporarily shifting NW on the downwind leg. Teams had to drop the spinnaker and go up with the Genoa as the wind swung forward. With the new breeze filling in H20 Boa took 2nd behind Fusion with Disaster Area just nipping Crash Test Dummies for 3rd.
Race # 5 saw the right side of the course pay and many teams got jammed at the port end of the line while two time class champion (‘96 & “99) and regatta Chairman Paul Stephens and team on Aquila and Fusion got away on port tack and hit a 15 degree right shift to round 1, 2 at the windward mark. Fusion won there second race of the regatta followed by Aquila, Disaster Area ended up 3rd in the race and Kim & Jay Magers on Fast Forward sailed an excellent race to finish a close 4th. Kim was one of three woman skippers in the fleet – the others being Denise Murschel and team on Pizzazz and Leeane Bale Fish and team on Giddy Up.
It was also great to see a number of new boats in the fleet; this is a great sign for the future. Let’s continue to encourage these new sailors with the welcoming spirit that the class is well known for.
The final race of the series saw a line squall go through the fleet on the first beat – 20 knots or more with heavy rain – teams worked hard with Genoa up - sailing the boat as flat as possible was of upmost importance. An important element of boat speed in these gusty and overpowering conditions was to ease the Genoa and the mainsail out a small amount at the same time to keep the slot wide and the boat tracking straight. This race was won by team Disaster Area, with H20 Boa a close 2nd and Chet Bowers and his team on CIA Pacha in 3rd.
Once the boats were put away the prize giving was held at the EYC club house led by regatta chairman Paul Stephens. It had been a great weekend of racing with 26 boats as stories were shared and teams socialized in the true spirit of camaraderie of the S20 class. Team Disaster Area won the Western regional Championships with H20 Boa 2nd, One Eyed Jacq 3rd, Fusion 4th and CIA Pacha 5th.
At the end of the day though the real winner was the class, this was excellent regatta both on and off the water. A big thank you to everyone at Eugene YC for a great event - regatta chairman Paul Stephens, the race committee led by Principal race officer Richard Johnson and all the volunteers both on and off the water.
On a personal note I would also like to thank S20 sailors Aric & Ann Frydendall who generously allowed my family to stay in there motor home and also to Hector & Sue Rosado who kindly allowed us to take there S20 Cool Cat out for a sail.