Monday, April 13, 2015

Magic and Mayhem at Seafarers

High school sailing is alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. From Portland, Oregon to several teams in Whatcom County both boys and girls this sport is growing fast. Anacortes played host to the Islands Cup here in Anacortes at Seafarers Park this past weekend. 33 teams and over 150 sailors, coaches and families were on hand, also several dogs. Anacortes Yacht Club's legendary hospitality started with coffee and pastries Saturday morning, a lunch buffet line both days and boat loads of hot chocolate. The Seafarers Park is just a gem for events like this. Big grassy lawns for setting up boats and room for throwing a frisbee or two while waiting for the wind or in the case of this weekend waiting for the wind to mellow out. I think organizing your average wedding is likely easier than putting together a production like a championship high school sailing regatta, at least the wedding only lasts one day. Fred Abelman, Steve Orsini and Gray Hawken covered the heavy lifting on the water and got off 16 races. Saturday blew in like a lion and Sunday went out like a lamb. On Saturday as 10 AYC boats were just making their way to the finish of the "Round Guemes Race the first rotation of 33 Flying Juniors hit the water. These 13' yachts designed in 1955 with 25' tall sticks, handled by a crew of two and carrying over 100sq ft of sail without a spinnaker offer a lively ride. Essentially the puffs that rolled through up to 26 kts made the conditions on Saturday too difficult except for the most talented sailors. There were several safety boats on the water and all the sailors were safe but it was just too much to offer proper competitive racing. Eventually the AYC volunteer crew retired to the club for a well earned recess and made short work of the vittles left over from Friday night's general meeting. Sunday was a day made for sailing and the first race got off on time at 0930 and went off about every 20 mins thereafter until it timed out at 1500hrs. These races can teach you how to get a decent start and a maybe I'm mistaken but I think after all that sailing there was only 1 protest. The rest of the sailors either allowed a bit of courtesy to the competition or took their licks and did their circles. For all the heat America's young people get today about drugs, obesity and test scores and the like I would have to say this group of young people was inspiring that our future is in capable hands. As the boats were derigged and trailers loaded there were plenty of helping hands. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the best years ever at AYC, come lend a hand and join the fun!
In other news:
 The annual 'round Guemes Race featured gusty winds and gutsy sailors. this was the 1 year anniversary for the Emoyeni. Last year they pulled the port side chainplates clean out of the decks and left the rig on the bottom less than two miles from the finish. This year they stole the trophy from the all female captain and crew aboard the Wild Rumpus by 28 seconds. The Wind Warrriors held of the always well sailed Syn di Cat and Ed Kennedy's recently rerriged SPICE stepped for the final place in the top 1/2.
Tulip Regatta is two weeks out. If you're sailing get signed up so they know how many trophies and how much potato salad to order. If you're not sailing get hold of the Chair Walt Meagher or the PRO Kevin Welch and they will put you in a position to help and have fun.