2007 Santana 20 Championships


By Andrew Kerr


This year the Class Championships (aka National Championships) were held at Windy Crest Sailing Club, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 18th to the 22nd. The fleet sailed on Lake Keystone, which is an arm of the Arkansas River.


Windy Crest Sailing Club and S20 fleet # 37 did an outstanding job of hosting the regatta, both on the land and on the water. From a traveler’s perspective, everyone was very helpful with questions - the organizers actually wore orange t shirts saying – “question? Ask Me!” This was a great idea!


The first day of the regatta called for measurement and registration. Regatta chairs Steve and Mary Snider ran registration while IV Mc Namara and volunteers measured sails -  this all went very smoothly and it was great to be able to catch up with other S20 sailors from all over the country .


Tuesday was a full day of registration and measurement, practice races, and a post race seminar by Andrew Kerr.


The practice races were held in an easterly wind that was very shifty with velocities from 4 to 7 knots.  Steve Snider videotaped the on the water action which was viewed in the seminar.  We also had an open forum for questions and answers on every aspect of S20 racing.  This format proved popular with those in attendance and we will look to replicate it at next years Nationals.


After the seminar, the fleet enjoyed a fajita dinner with a keg of beer.


That night, an incredible thunderstorm hit the area that lit the lake up, blew down some tents, and caused flooding in others. The organizers were very sensitive to this and after the opening ceremony a postponement was signaled so that clothes could be taken into Sand Springs and put in dryers - by 1pm racing was underway.


Race # 1 saw a light south-easterly wind.  Mark Forrest’s team on Q and Bruce Golison’s team on Tinker Toy (Bruce Golison, Andrew Kerr, Blair Wallace) were called over early at the start so both teams restarted and then played catch-up.  Staying in the velocity and picking the right times to tack were the key elements as the fleet worked its way around the racecourse.  The wind lightened at the leeward mark and many places changed through out the race. Eric Kownacki’s team (Eric, Tom Jenkins, and Bob Martin) sailing Alexa, won the race, closely followed by Tinker Toy, while early race leader Bob Heaslet and his team of Bill Bond and Derinda Heaslet sailing on B3 finished 3rd. Eric’s team had sailed in Tulsa a few weeks earlier and showed excellent speed and tactics. Team Q  (Mark Forrest, Scott Forrest, Gerald Skeen) had a great comeback finishing 4th. Gerald is the skipper of the S20 Atomic Punk in Eugene and at this event he was doing the bow - it say’s a lot about him that as a skipper he would do the bow in a championships - he did a great job.


Race #2 saw the velocity increase to about 6 knots.  The emphasis was placed on staying in phase with the wind as the wind shifted 15 degrees - and sometimes more - so getting on the lifted tack and staying in the velocity was important.


At the windward mark, the big challenge for the teams all day was hitting the last few shifts and then executing a spinnaker set and quick jibe onto port to line up with the wind coming down the middle of the lake off the causeway.


Race #2 was won by Tinker Toy, with Alexa in 2nd, and Kenny Baggett’s local team of Ken Madewell and Daniel weatherholt on Team Madewell placing 3rd.  This team would show impressive speed and smarts as the championship progressed. S20 class promoter Britt Williams and his team of Flint Johnson and Mitch Moses on Fayest took 4th in this race.


Race # 3 saw a similar velocity range with shifts.  The Race Committee was doing a terrific job of moving the marks for each shift - they were on it every time. The fleet was tight with big gains and losses throughout the race.  Tinker Toy won the race followed by Team Madewell and Alexa. In fourth was IV McNamara’s team of Olivia McNamara and Jeff Gentzen on # 925 and 5th was class veteran Ron Fish with his team of Leeanne Bale Fish and Andrea Schuch on Giddy Up – who took their boat’s name to heart as they really stepped up their performance from here on.


That annual class meeting was held that evening with an election of new officers – President – Gordon Mattatall, Vice President – Derek Martin, Secretary- Zoe Gilstrap, Treasurer- Fred Luvisi, Measurer- IV Mc Namara, Western regional Director – Pete Hunter, Eastern regional Director – John Ritter and district secretary for fleet # 28 – Geoffrey Zaun.  The evening also saw bottles of Oklahoma wine handed out to the race winners and also the yellow jersey for the regatta leaders presented to Tinker Toy.


Thursday started off cooler than the day before.  The wind was coming out of the south, which leant itself to a longer racecourse.  Three races were scheduled with a 10AM start.

One of the many excellent aspects of the race management was the Race Committee giving out curtousey broadcasts to the competitors and also calling over early’s over the radio.  This kept the whole fleet apprised and made for efficient and smooth race days.


Race # 4 saw the team on Alexa win a close contest with Tinker Toy, followed by Team Madewell, B3 and Giddy up.


Race # 5 saw a line of left velocity come down the racecourse.  Giddy Up led the fleet to the shift and went on to win the race. Indeed, the wind started to back left for the rest of the afternoon with the gusts and left shifts being closer to the left shoreline and in the middle of the lake. Giddy up did a great job of playing the shifts and was followed by Team Madewell, Tinker Toy, Alexa and Fayest.

The left shift and left velocity trend continued in to race # 6 and Tinker Toy crossed the line in first followed by Giddy Up, Team Madewell, Q, B3 and Harvey Baker’s team of Danny Ziegler and Roger Adams on # 355.


Later on Tinker Toy was disqualified by a protest from Alexa regarding to an event in the pre-start period, giving Giddy Up first place – their second win of the day. That night the fleet enjoyed dinner and music and the team on Alexa was handed the yellow jersey.


The last day of the championships started off with the velocity at about 6 knots out of the south and then increasing as the day went on. In race #7, Tinker Toy started to the right of the middle of the line and tacked on to port and led out to the right where they gained the early lead and went on to win the race.  Giddy Up finished 2nd, just ahead of Alexa, while Team Madewell, Harvey Baker’s team on # 355, had another good race and finished 5th.


Going in to the last race of the championships, Tinker Toy held a 4 point lead on Alexa, who in turn had a 2 point lead on Team Madewell.


In race # 8, the windward mark was at the top of the lake, just off the causeway.  A lot of local teams were headed to the left shoreline for a geographic shift and then heading out to the middle of the lake for more velocity. Team Fayest led at the weather mark, followed by Q and Giddy Up with Tinker Toy and Team Madewell right behind. At the leeward mark, Tinker Toy and Team Madewell made big gains, as did Alexa.  The next beat saw boats heading left and right up the lake and tacking on the shifts.  Places changed throughout the race with Tinker Toy staying in touch with Alexa and Team Madewell.


In the end, after a tightly sailed race, Team Madewell won the race followed closely by Alexa and Tinker Toy.  Harvey Baker’s # 355 took fourth and IV McNamara’s team finished 5th.


In the end, the regatta was won by Bruce Golison and his teammates Andrew Kerr and Blaire Wallace on Tinker Toy.  2nd place went to Eric Kownacki, Bob Martin and Tom Jenkins on Alexa and 3rd place to Kenny Baggett, Ken Madewell, and Daniel Weatherholt on Team Madewell.


Congratulations to all the competitors, organizers, and volunteers on great 30th Championships for the class.


The prize giving ceremony was MC’d by Steve Snider with many sponsor door prizes handed out. The class recognized the tremendous contributions of the person who made S20 sailing in Tulsa possible – Britt Williams – Brit has been the spark plug for the class and his energy to travel and rally the Oklahoma fleet to travel has been inspiring to all of us – a big thank you Britt.


Steve and Mary Snider never stopped working all week and they led a band of excellent volunteers who were gracious and friendly and made all the out of town boats feel at home.  The race committee and the volunteers on the water were excellent and combined this made for an excellent championship.


Next years championships are to be hosted by fleet 19 in Eugene – August 11th to the 16th, this will be a great event for the class - don’t miss it!