NAC 2022 report

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