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AYC Sailor Adds High Sierra Regatta To ‘Must-Do’ List

By Tony Chapman - Arizona Yacht Club

Note: The cover photo (Arizona Boating & Watersports/Western Outdoor Times August/September 2011 Issue) shows Tim Carter and crew from Alamitos Bay Yacht Club preparing to start the race.

For anyone who has never attended this Fresno Yacht Club event at Huntington Lake, in the Sierra Mountains of Central California, there are many reasons to add it to your “must-do regatta” list.

For those of us in Arizona, the excuse is very simple — it is a way to get out of the crazy heat. There are many more reasons to make the effort to attend if anyone wants to start a list. I decided to tow my new Viper 640 (see there as soon as it hit 100 degrees here in Arizona.

VIPER143.JPGPhoto Credit Kelly Beaver - A MUST-DO FOR AZ SAILORS -- Tony Chapman of the Arizona Yacht Club highly recommends that Southwestern sailors add the High Sierra Regatta to their must-do-in-the-future regatta list. Sailing at the high Huntington Lake in the Sierras provided excellent weather for sailing and for cooling off.

The lake itself, at an elevation of 7,200 feet, is spectacular, being surrounded by the tree-covered mountains of the Sierra National Forest. This year it was even more spectacular as there was still snow on some of the surrounding peaks.

And, as usual, the wind gods provided excellent sailing conditions by turning on great breeze each day prior to the start of racing and then promptly turning it off when we were done. Is there anything better than sailing in great winds (there were plenty of times it was white-capping) on fresh and clear water?

The temperature dropped to a very cool 34 degrees the first night and from our cabin sites over-looking the lake, it was so calm the following morning that I was convinced the lake had frozen over.

We enjoyed memorable dinner and drinking sessions each evening back at the cabins, where we got to know some of the newer members of our ever-growing Viper ranks. The social side of our fleet really does add to the positive experience for all involved.

Thanks to Tim Carter from Alamitos Bay YC, Long Beach, a few of us also managed to secure slips that were right by the starting line, which made it very convenient to go racing each day. This also helped when crew showed up late from partying too much the night before, and we were already in sequence as the last of the boats left the dock. Despite all the local distractions, we managed to do three days of great racing from July 15 through 17. The Vipers looked really impressive against the other sport boats that attended and we were often passing both the J80 and Melges 20 early in the first downwind leg despite giving them a five-minute earlier start.

On the last day, we sailed (more like “smoked”) through the Wylie Wabbit fleet on the final down-wind leg and received many positive comments from them afterwards.

Having seen Tim Carter truly trounce on the competition at Long Beach Race Week by just having better boat speed than everyone else, I decided to make boat speed our priority for the regatta. It really paid-off as the final day saw us leading the fleet with a 2-point advantage over Carter going into the last race. This resulted in our having one of the best tacking duels I have ever been involved in.

Thanks Tim — it was a lot of fun. Thank you also to my crew of Dennis Martinelli and Luce Sahali for securing the first P1 trophy for #146. Other Arizona Yacht Club members who made the trip included Laurent Dion and Trey Harlow.

Results and more info on the event are available at: Hope to see more of you there next time we visit. It really should be put on your “must-do-regatta” list.

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