Three Days Of Racing, 77 Boats Help Raise Funds For Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
By Mike Ferring
Each year when we put on the Arizona Yacht Club’s Birthday Regatta, Leukemia Cup and Eventagram Centerboard Challenge, we stretch just a little bit further — trying to do just a little more and ratcheting up the regatta’s amenities.
This year for birthday number 48 at Lake Pleasant, the tent was 50 percent bigger than before; the races were conducted by a national race officer instead of a local one; the usual event shirts were eclipsed by high-tech SLAM shirts and the paper registration packets by sail-material folios; we partnered with the Lake Pleasant Sailing Club for an elaborate Saturday breakfast; we offered Saturday box lunches to take on the water; and the Saturday dinner was fully catered.
Over three days of racing, 77 boats and hundreds of crew raced, partied and helped raise money for a good cause: the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Last year’s regatta was run in record cold — a 27-degree morning low — and that frozen memory put a bit of a chill on this year’s attendance. The number of entries was off by 12 from 2007, entirely the result of lower attendance by Catalina 22s and Buccaneer 18s. Most damaging, several of last year’s Bucc sailors decided to head to a new regatta in
Florida, closer to their East Coast homes.
And, although the final numbers aren’t yet available, we expect that fundraising was affected by frosty economic times. This year’s total will certainly be smaller than last year’s $78,000. Still, four teams raised more than $8,500 each, qualifying them for trips to the Gary Jobson “Fantasy Sail” weekend.
This year the event will be held at the New York Yacht Club and the four teams from AYC will be Tony Chapman, Emory Heisler, David and Lisa Olson, and Chris Robertson.
For Friday’s Eventagram Centerboard Challenge, sponsored by www.eventagram.com, Tony Chapman topped the double-handed with spinnaker class; George Tingom won the single-handed class; and Larry Wheaton topped the double-handed class.
For the Saturday and Sunday Birthday Regatta, the top finishers in nine fleets were: Dennis Martinelli and Nick Mockridge, Buccaneer; Martin Lorch, Catalina 22; Brad Smith, Catamaran; Susan Strasia, J/24; Rick Gilchrist, Merit 25; Jim Douglas, PHRF Non-Spinnaker; Al Lehman, Jr. and Steve Quant, PHRF Spinnaker; Skip Kempff, Portsmouth; and Mike Hester, Viper.
The top finishers in nine fleets were Dennis Martinelli and Nick Mockridge, Buccaneer; Martin Lorch, Catalina 22; Brad Smith, Catamaran; Susan Strasia, J/24; Rick Gilchrist, Merit 25; Jim Douglas, PHRF Non-Spinnaker; Al Lehman, Jr. and Steve Quant, PHRF Spinnaker; Skip Kempff, Portsmouth; and Mike Hester, Viper.
US Sailing race officer Brad Smith and wife Susan traveled from Austin, Texas, to run the race committee, setting up windward-leeward race courses with the start below the leeward mark and the finish above the windward mark — a distinct change for AYC events where the start-finish is normally placed in the middle of the race course.
Not only would the system be closer to that used in other national races, but also it permitted less congestion at the start and finish lines. Smith commanded a race committee of about 20 in five committee boats, the largest committee and officials’ fleet ever attempted by the club. The system stirred considerable discussion, even to the point that the club is considering adopting a variation of the course design for its regular spring and fall races at Lake Pleasant.
The Arizona Yacht Club spring series have already begun at Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake. Further information is available at the club Web site: www.arizonayachtclub.org.