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.
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.
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.
Photo copyright Taylor Bayly (https://heytaybay.smugmug.com/)
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