2014 Regatta Report
A wonderful weekend of sailing. The winds were light at times, but enough for our excellent race committee to get up to six races in, over the two days. It is all a matter of being in the right place at the right time and we had boats at a starting line and marks set when the winds picked up. Great job! On the course it often was also a matter being in the right place. There were plenty of holes on the course and it is always bitter to be stopped dead and see your competition trapped out, sailing away.
Friday afternoon started off on the wrong foot, as the gate to our grounds decided to act as a guillotine (anyone seen the ’80-ies move “De Lift” (aka “Down”)?). It ended badly for the gate as well as for Jeff and Lynn Rickard’s RV trying to enter. Thankfully no bodily injuries and there is insurance to cover the rest. Our sincere apologies for this malfunction and the damage caused.
With a total of 26 boats entered, split over 4 fleets, we were able to make two one-design fleets, one with the three Hobie 14s and one with eleven Hobie 16s. The remaining entries were split in a High Portsmouth and a Low Portsmouth rating fleet, the split being Portsmouth rating 69, both fleets having 6 entries.
The Race Committee likes to get the Low Portsmouth fleet started first, so they do not run into the slower fleets which they would overtake if starting after those. It became immediately clear that there was big speed gap within the fleet. Upwind the four A-Cats could (kind of) keep up with Peter Schmaltzer’s Nacra 20 carbon, but once the he rounded the top mark and put his spinnaker up, it was a horizon job – every race. The A-Cats struggle downwind in light air, just not enough sail area. Gerald Valeske took it easy on his F-18; his crew Bruce Ped was on a sailboat for the first time ever, trying to experience why his son John (racing in the H16 fleet) is into sailing. An F-18 is not quite the ideal beginner boat, but on the other hand, Bruce now “gets it”, about his son’s love for sailing!
Peter was untouchable and took six firsts in six races. The real battle was among the four A-Cats, who had very close finishes at times. Stan Breed won that battle convincingly and took second place after Peter. Randy Nikolai took third place, but the other two A-Cats were only two and three points behind.
The three H14s were a family affair. The Groesz family maintains a family fleet of Hobies and use the “Live on the Edge” regatta as a family reunion, it seems. They certainly are all enthusiastic sailors, besides making up the H14 fleet, they also had an entry in the H16 fleet. They are great supporters and promoters of our regatta and attend every year. Valerie Pioszak took the win by finishing first in all three races sailed on Saturday. The H14s decided not to race on Sunday, perhaps Valerie who talked her dad and brother into staying ashore?
The H16 fleet was a fleet with a wide range of expectations. They sailed three races on Saturday and got two races in on Sunday. It is of course great to be able to sail one-design, no need to wait for finish times to be calculated to find out how you did. Tim Webb took first place with only 8 points, two first and three second places, closely followed by John Ped who took two wins, two seconds and third to finish only one point behind Tim. Great battle between these two! The gap with third placed Aaron Harris was substantial. Aaron secured third place with 22 points, closely followed by Don Kaster who took fourth place with 23 points. Special mention deserves Will Nelson, who only sailed on Saturday and was right in the top with a first, a fourth and a third place in the three races on Saturday. It is great to see the next generation sailors, John and Will, being so competitive.
The High Portsmouth fleet consisted of two Prindle 16s, two Hobie 18s, one Hobie 17 and one Nacra 5.2. The ratings are not that far apart and the Prindles can be quite competitive. Light wind expert Larry Cox proved this with a second place in race one and strong wind expert Dan Nicholson with win in race three. But the wind strength, varying considerably during and between races, made it difficult for either Larry or Dan to be consistent and they managed to take 4th and 3rd place respectively. There was more consistency between Kelly Havig and Laura Sullivan/Peter Nelson who traded 1st and 2nd places throughout the regatta. In the end Laura/Peter on their H18 took first place with 8 points, with Kelly on her H17 close behind with 10 points in second place. Jeff and Lynn Rickard may have been compensating a minimum weight issue, as they had a radio strapped to the wing to make up for it. It could be though, that it took the focus off their racing to some extent.
For good fun we split our sailors up in teams of four boats (and a minimum number of three boat teams as number of entries dictate), identified by team flags and spread over the fleets as much as possible. It was the Blue/White flagged team of Laura Sullivan, Larry Cox, Randy Nikolai and Tim Web who took the win. Congratulations!
Overall Regatta winner was, beyond any doubt, Peter Schmaltzer with his convincing 6 wins in the Low Portsmouth Fleet. Last year’s winner Dan Nicholson handed over the “Live on the Edge” Pennant to him. Peter can enjoy flying the Pennant for a year and is invited to be back next year to defend it, no regatta fee required. Great win, congratulations!
Saturday night entertainment started off with Bill Groesz who had a great story, with props, on the early days of Hobie Cat. It was fun to hear how the Hobie empire came to be, sprouting from a surfer dude who had an idea and started in his dad’s garage.
Gerald Valeske brought fantastic footage of Laura and Peter at the H16 worlds in Australia last year. Big winds and dramatic capsizes, taken with an onboard camera, made for exhilarating video. They must have been exhausted after such rides, but they both exclaimed it was all worth it. And we loved to see it! Thanks so much Gerald!
Thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen again:
Race Committee: Richard Johnson (PRO),Rich Aaring, John Franklin, Andy Nousen
Finish boat: Nan Weed, Kenn & Chris Meneely, Joanne Jones
Rescue boats: Dave Brown, Karen Nousen, Gale Morgan, Salty Green, Gordon Mattatal, Glen Hughes
Shore crew: Joanne Jones, Leta Sellers, Charlie Magee, Larry Cox, Dan Nicholson, Ken Lefton, Roeland Kapsenberg
Friday supper: Joanne Jones
Saturday breakfast: Nick Tabet, Shelley Johnson
Saturday dinner: Richard and Marie Johnson
Sunday breakfast: Matt Fleischmann, Dave & Carla Lux,
Video of the 2013 Regatta!
Thanks to Karen Nousen for putting together this great video. The action is fast, the shots are great, and the editing is on the beat. Check it out!
Raffle winners make it to the Oracle base!
Grand prize of our  raffle was a tour for 10 people of Oracle Team USA Americas Cup’s base in San Francisco. The 10 lucky winners, Nat and Tara Powning, Ken and Debbie Marshack, Shelley Johnson, Nick Tabet, Jerry Valeske, Laura Sullivan, Tim Webb and Elijah Walker, wasted no time to coordinate schedules. Nat Powning reports:
I think the tour of Team Oracle’s base exceeded everyone’s expectations as well as the trip to San Francisco in general. The entire crew arrived on-time Tuesday morning (June 18, ed) with the first spectacle being the giant trimaran with which the last campaign was won being re-painted in the yard where we were let into the campus. They’re refinishing it to look pretty and moving down to sit as a spectacle with the stick mast at Oracle’s headquarters.
Inside we put on our guest badges, were told to keep our cameras put away, and began the tour/ushering through the huge building where everyone eats, trains/exercises, and builds boats. We really lucked out as the breeze was too strong all day and so both 72′s were inside and being worked on. We might not have been allowed to take pictures but they sure didn’t hold us back from really inspecting and even touching everything. At one point Ken nearly had to be torn away from one of the rudders of the 2nd AC72 as he took his time getting quite fresh with the boat. People were busy working away making tweaks to both boats the entire time with us nearly getting in their way.
We got to see it all. Looked inside the wings which were laying horizontally on dollies with dozens of computer lights flashing inside. Checked out the sail loft where they’re customizing the massive surprisingly heavy soft sails for the 72′s. Of course they have all sorts of fabrication shop setups for metal working, fiberglass, etc. all in the same huge room.
In the back part of their building they have other miscellaneous things such as dinghy boats owned by staff including some A-Cats along with the AC45′s #4 and #5. Out here we were allowed to snap some photo’s including one of the group leaning against #5.
From here we wandered around outside checking out their chase boats and some more dinghies (including another A-Cat which is the same make as Ken’s current boat, a DNA). As we headed out there Ken recognized Olympic silver medal sailor and multiple times Tornado world champion Darren Bundock and managed to strike up a less than short conversation with him, much to the chagrin of our guide who had trouble keeping Ken under her control.
The rest of the trip wandering around San Francisco was great too, while checking out the waterfront later that day including where the Americas Cup main area is we encountered others from the tour again so I think everyone enjoyed the town. Tara and I stayed another night and got to watch the new AC72 sailing around the next day tacking and gybing right in front of the Aquatic Park with their herd of chase boats following along. It was interesting to see that Team Emirates also had a chase boat out there keeping a distance but following along, seemingly keeping an eye on their competition.
Thank you so much for putting that together. I really think it worked out very well with everyone being able to use what they won and genuinely enjoying the entire tour and trip.