|Coronado 15 National American Championship August 12-14 2022 |
This years’ Coronado 15 North American Championship (NAC) was dedicated to the designer Frank Butler [photo], who sadly passed away on 15 November 2020. Frank designed the Coronado 15 back in 1968 with the intention of creating a fun, competitive and affordable racing dinghy. 54 years on, the fleet is still active and competitive and though dwindling in numbers is still sailed by enthusiastic and passionate racers who enjoy nothing more than coming together to challenge the trophy.
Seven boats gathered at the High Sierra Regatta in July to warm up for the National Championship to be hosted by Half Moon Bay, California just a month later. Being host club, Half Moon Bay was able to invigorate local sailors and enter nine boats. Sacramento fielded two boats, Tahoe one boat and three boats travelled up from SoCal making a total line up of fifteen – comparable to 2021.
Conditions could not have been better for the Championship. The weeks prior to the weekend of August 12-14th were damp, foggy and very low wind. However, the stars aligned, the weather gods co-operated, the sun came out and breezy conditions made for a very competitive, challenging and all-round fun event.
Friday was the traditional Syd Corp series – designed to determine the Corinthian and Cabrillo Fleets for the Championship itself. Racers were treated to some erratic conditions with winds in the high teens gusting to nearly 30 knots. A number of boats fell foul to the gusty conditions and kept the volunteer chase boat crew very busy. Many racers were unable to join in Fridays’ events due to work commitments and perhaps were relieved to miss these challenging conditions. However, for those who did, there were lots of stories to tell and some urgent repairs to be made before the serious racing began on Saturday. Ole Eichhorn was running on rocket fuel with a local crew for the day, Tom Hughes, while the rest of the fleet did their best to avoid taking a swim in the frigid waters of Pillar Point Harbor. The combined crew weight of Arman Rezaee and his 8-year-old daughter Simone was not enough to keep the boat upright the entire day but certainly not enough to dampen their spirits. While having to retire from one race on Friday, they participated in every race of the NAC series. Very impressive to say the least.
On Saturday the sailors were split into 8 boats in the Corinthian fleet and 7 in the Cabrillo fleet. The conditions continued through Saturday with breezy but more moderate winds than Friday, which allowed for some very tight racing around the marks with often 4-5 boats fighting for room at the marks. Mark rounding skills were certainly put to the test. That’s racing!
Sunday was a slightly different story. While still being beautifully sunny, the morning began with very light winds, out of the southwest. This is not the typical wind direction for Half Moon Bay. Two short courses were run and as sailors began the third and final race of the series there was a somewhat anti-climactic feeling in the air. However, a very abrupt 90-degree shift in the wind direction during the third race gave the race committee cause for action. The PRO Beth Richards abandoned the race, the course was re-set in record time and an amended course was started within 10 minutes. Comfortable with its more familiar direction the wind picked up and the regatta ended with another breezy, lively, thrice around long course to cap off 3 fun days of racing, leaving racers fatigued but “wanting more”.
The Corinthian Fleet was won by skipper Dave Rumbaugh (Sacramento) with crew Steve Fishman [photo], very close behind in second place was skipper Ole Eichhorn (SoCal) and third place went to Travis Wilson from Lake Tahoe.
The Cabrillo Fleet comprised predominantly of Half Moon Bay Yacht Club racers and was won by skipper Bence Gazdag with crew Ian Gallager [photo], followed closely by Marc Arsenault and third place went to Carl Hage.
There were several memorable and take away observations from the weekend. The Hull “First in Fleet” belonging to veteran C15 racer Charlie Quest was present and despite a fallen mast on Friday causing major deck damage, some overnight repair meant this historical hull was still in the mix on Saturday and in fact was leading the 3rd race on Sunday which sadly (for them) was abandoned due to the wind shift.
Another observation was the number of familial teams. HMBYC first Commodore John Powell raced on Saturday with his grand-daughter Clara, a regular summer camp attendee over the years. Stanly Martin raced with his daughter Zoe, finishing 6th in the Corinthian Fleet and Arman Razaee raced with his budding 8-year-old daughter Simone. “First in Class” was skippered by Charlie Quest with his son Andrew crewing. New to the NAC’s was Ken Coverdell and his son KC and of course the dynamic duo husband/wife team of Marc Arsenault with Claire Sheehan. It is the next generation of up-and-coming sailors that will keep the fleet alive and blossoming and it was so encouraging and heart-warming to see this happening at a competitive level.
The other take away was the camaraderie amongst the sailors. While on the water its “all business” and competitive. Off the water there were new friendships being forged and old friendships being rekindled. While many sailors may only see each other once a year, it’s the tradition of hosting out of town racers, dinners where stories can be shared over a glass of wine, and where boat maintenance tips and spare parts can be shared in a crisis that make being a part of the Coronado 15 family so enjoyable, inclusive and fun.
Lucy Gillies NAC 2022 Organizer
For this edition of the NAC, the wind gods were with us for the first week in August 6,7,8. Following the 2020 COVID hiatus, everyone was delighted to come back to our annual event down in sunny SoCal. With 15 boats registered, we had a quite a competitive group including representation from Half Moon Bay (3) and Sacramento (2) but also some C15 "old timers" Dave Marsh, Mike Shea and Wil Paul who entered the fray. It would have been a true reunion had Barrett Sprout and Kiersten Vance-Sprout joined in, but a newborn had to be a higher priority this year. Charlie Quest drove down with "First In Class", his trusty 52 years old hull #1!
This year, the date was to be later in the summer to move away from the common mid-july monsoon weather that can bring lots of moisture, lightning and no breeze as was the case in 2016. Several of us got a chance to attend the High Sierra Regatta at Huntington Lake 3 weeks earlier, which made for a nice warm up to the NAC.
On Thursday night, preceding day one, 8 C15s raced the weekly Sunstroke series in the main channel, with Dave Rumbaugh commanding the lead in a nice evening breeze. That was a great start.
On Friday, the SydCorp series started with Bruce Fleck as PRO in a 8-10kts breeze, Mike Blunt raced hard on his new boat 3744 and came ahead of Dave Rumbaugh by 2 points.
The Syd Corp series gave a split for A and B fleets that was to be validated by the day one overall results.
On Saturday, Bruce laid out some nice 30 min courses that gave everyone a chance to work the shifts to the weather mark. As some of the starts were getting aggressive, Bruce decided to fly the "I" flag forcing the OCS boats to go around the start line rather than simply dip the line. It proved very costly to me on day 2 when I found myself starting nearly a min behind the fleet.
Here is an album with pictures taken by SCCYC member Mariana Goebel.
But Sunday was not without excitement. Charlie started the day trying to repair the chain plate of #1 with a reinforcement under the shroud which was pulling the boat apart. That was not going to happen, so, at the last minute Talin Babikian let Charlie borrow her boat - she was not racing with us as she was preparing the J/70 worlds . Charlie made it just in time for the first race!
Marc and Claire were not to be so fortunate. Once checked in with race committee, Marc noticed that he had lost the plug and was taking on water. A cork was hastily put in to stop the boat from sinking. By the time the boat arrived at the dock it had barely a 2" freeboard. It was of course a great disappointment as racing was out of the question for the day.
The entire event saw light to medium breeze with little use of the trapeze but with perfect sunny conditions. Thank you Ullman sails for providing trophy bags but also neck gaiters which provided great protection from the punishing sun.
In the end, Dave Rumbaugh held firmly to his champion title, followed closely by Mike Blunt. Mike Shea and Vincent Paternoster battled for 3rd place with Vincent taking 3rd with only a 1 point lead.
In the Cabrillo fleet we also saw some close racing. Dave Marsh and Dale Gordon tying in for 1st place on points and Lucy and Wil for third.
The 2021 NAC actually was the first big event held at SCCYC's new location on Bali way. Every one enjoyed the pleasant evenings on the patio and the Italian food catered by Sapori restaurant.
We look forward to the next edition of the NAC in Half Moon Bay at a date yet to be determined.
This year’s edition of the famed High Sierra regatta did not disappoint as it celebrated its 68th year. Eleven C15 showed up as we returned in force following the 2018 NAC. Again, Jim Holder, now 89, skippered Ole Eichhorn’s (See image below crossing finish line), “It’s the water too” in a series of breezy races. It was his 55th High Sierra regatta! Try to top that. Other veterans of the C15 association sailed including Charlie Quest and John Eurich.
Saturday started off with a challenging long race punctuated by some delicate mark rounding and furious reaches. Several boats did capsize and some retired from that race but soldiered on for the rest of the day. It was a case of pointing well towards the Boy Scout camp and catching the lifts along the shore. David Rumbaugh with crew Steve Fishman led each race, consistently pulling away from the fleet with flawless driving and attention to shifts. Only a few times was he sweating when Vincent Paternoster and crew Steve Miller appeared to gain towards the weather mark.
The top of the fleet scored rather consistently with a peloton battling for 5,6,7 positions.
On Sunday, a light cloud cover presaged of a lighter day which was somewhat of a relief after a grueling 3 races the previous day, which was welcomed. However, following a pleasant and eventless race4 in 10kts breeze, race 5 proved to be quite different.
The fleet was becalmed half way up the weather mark, scattered around the race course and looking carefully for any ripple on the water, boats heeled over for maximum effect.
Before reaching the weather mark, the wind eventually filled up from the bottom of the lake in what locals refer to as the “Mono wind”, coming from Mono Springs. The downwind run ended up being a windward leg as the breeze built up consistently over the rest of the course to well over 20kts. Adam Quest came back to threaten Vincent’s 2nd position near the rounding or mark 8 but Jim Holder who was not far behind was able to pass him on the last downwind leg, confirming the final score:
Huntington Lake holds a special place in the heart of dinghy sailors and the fleet left energized with many looking forward to the NAC , just 3 weeks away, in Marina del Rey where the conditions will be much different with ocean current and swells.
More pictures on this flickr album