NAC 2021 report from Marina del Rey

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.

2021 High Sierra Regatta

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

NAC 2021 – Marina del Rey

Welcome to 2021, the year we recover from COVID! This year’s North American Championship will be hosted by the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in its brand new facility.

Racing will take place in Santa Monica Bay, outside the breakwater.

Register here on Regatta Network  – register before July 15 and get 2 commemorative shirts included with your registration.

To look back at the NAC 2010 in Marina del Rey: click the image!

2019 NAC report

This year we were fortunate to be able to charter a boat, a good boat at that, from Brian Moco so we left parched LA on Wednesday morning to land in the rain at SEATAC – 64deg. The idea was to take part in the Wednesday night “beer can” races as a practice sail.

By the time we got to Beaux Arts, the rain had cleared and it was still breezy and gusty from the south. In the course of an hour we were greeted by a couple of showers that kept the breeze erratic. A couple of boats decided to capsize and taste the water. In the end the rain cleared and were able to enjoy dinner by the shoreline. Apparently this was the most wind experienced since the beginning of the season.

At last year’s NAC in Huntington Lake, Ole Eichorn crewed for long time C15 sailor Jim Holder on his boat “It’s the water”. However, Ole’s old boat was taking on so much water that each down wind run was accompanied by bailing water with a sponge. When Jim found a newer boat, it was a perfect fit for Ole who transferred his rig to the new hull. The new boat named “It’s the water too…” made its “sea trials” in Marina del Rey for a couple of races before sending it north to Seattle. Charlie Quest’s kindness allowed Ole to get his new boat up to Seattle for the event by trailering one boat upside down on top of “1st in Class”.

Thursday was a different story for the Syd Corp qualifying series. Lake Washington being in a convergence zone, air comes from the north gets mixed with air from the south which makes for challenging work for the race committee. Ben did a great job running the races given the conditions where we saw the breeze clock 180 degrees in the course of the afternoon. Paul on the mark set boat got really busy buzzing around the lake moving marks for each race. The breeze was light and erratic, resulting in wild swings in the scores. It was hard to tell where to go: the main thing was to avoid the holes where there was just nothing. By the time we retired for the day, the rain came back and got us all drenched. It turned into a wet dinner under the tents and around the fire.

Below are the Syd Corp results

Immediately after the Syd Corp qualifiers, 3 boats stayed out in the rain for the juniors nationals. Over 3 races, they all tied with each 1,2,3.

From left, Henry Birkholz (10), Eva Rumbaugh (9)


Finally, following many ritual sacrifices to the wind gods, Aaron Sharp was able to command a very good and steady breeze from the north which built up as the afternoon progressed and held on Saturday. Only small mark adjustments were needed – we had 9 windward-leward races on Friday ( almost 5 hours on the water) and 7 on Saturday.

We could not have asked for better conditions. It was picture perfect sunny Lake Washington Sailing in very mild temperatures with Mount Rainier in the backdrop.

Photo copyright Taylor Bayly (

There was what I considered a pretty long start line that could have accommodated perhaps twice the number of boats (we had 13 boats). Still, we had some quite aggressive starts, even a bit of bumping at times. That long line called for a decision on where to finish. My strategy which only worked part of the time was to ensure fresh air at the start. I got lucky in a couple of instances when a bad start forced me to tack on port where I found some nice lift – no complaint here. Throughout the NAC days, I felt there was a question of choosing the middle of the lake for the downwind run. There appeared to be more pressure in the center. The center did gain some at times but positioned us on the outside at the leeward mark. It was quite a challenge to figure out a strategy in each race.

Dave Rumbaugh and Steve Fishman repeated their performance of last year finishing 1st by winning 12 of 16 races.

Even after a difficult start, Dave is able to climb his way up the fleet in ways that are difficult to reproduce. Many other boats have demonstrated they are able to keep up with Dave – at least for a while – so it is not purely a question of having a fast boat. Instead, it is all the fine points of driving – and crew work – that make the difference at the end of each race. Congratulations Dave on your win again this year.

It was time close this very successful edition of the North American Championship, but before leaving, some boats needed to be packed up for the trip back to California

Thank you Beaux Arts Racing Fleet. See you next year in Marina del Rey!

Vincent Paternoster / Jim Ach #3627