Running of the High Sierra Regatta -
The West Coast U20 One Design Regatta of the Summer.
by John Andrews
Seven U20s made the trip to beautiful Huntington Lake CA for the 50th running of the Fresno Yacht Club High Sierra Regatta on the weekend of July 19th and 20th. The lake provided an unusual variety of conditions for the 400+ boats that showed up for the 2 weekends of racing but the racing was good and you can't beat the scenery at this high mountain lake.
11:00 am Saturday, Race 1: Conditions were classic Huntington Lake style with 10-12 knt breezes blowing straight down the lake and 70 degree air temp with sunshine but the idyllic conditions were threatened by dark thunder clouds hanging over the 8,500 foot peaks just to the East of the lake.
Race 1 featured close racing and a clean start by all the boats. The Andrew's Cinderella Story #153 and Stuart Wakeman's Lady in Red #176 traded the lead several times with the final nod going to Cinderella Story. Ethyl Merlin sailed very well and took 3rd in this race. Team Enigma experienced several breakdowns but were able to finish in spite of jamming the spin halyard between the headstay and mast, tearing their kite on the pole housing and ripping the pole extender cheek block off the pole housing, etc...(you guys really need to check the strength of your forward crew before allowing them on the boat.)
2:00 pm Saturday, Race 2: The thunder clouds had moved fully over the race course and the wind had dropped to 0-5 kts with intermittent lightning, rain and unusually cool 65 degree air temp.
Race 2 started in 5 kts of breeze but quickly dropped to 1-2 knots halfway up the weather leg. This race was a true test of the light air sailing ability and some boats showed great speed in these conditions. Bruce Masterson's Coco Mo #180 (his 3rd trip to the High Sierra) charged up the course to round in 3rd place right on the stern of Cinderella Story and the 1st place Lady In Red. The downwind leg (which due to a dramatic windshift turned into a rainy and cold reach and then a drifting beat) mixed up the fleet again (both literally and figuratively) featuring Bill and Pat Andrew's Salsa with Barry Barret of USI aboard passing the entire fleet and finishing in first place in an upwind drift fest. Hold on there Team Salsa,...wasn't there another mark in the course that you guys forgot to go around - OH Yeah! mark #6... Yes, Bill, Pat and Barry on Salsa sailed very well in the the extremely light air and had their brief moment of glory BUT, of the boats that sailed the entire course, the official finishing order was Cinderella Story (by a puff), Lady In Red in 2nd and Bruce Masterson's Coco Mo #180 (way to go Bruce!) Bruce had this comment on the 2nd race "As the squall passed we were lucky enough to be on the" free pass" side of the course. After our finish the parking lot grew to maybe 75 boats. But most boats had crew induced heel to give the illusion (still photo) of boats sailing."
The U20 Party: Saturday Night featured a great U20 gathering (25 people) at the Andrew's condo that went well into the evening. Food and drinks were consumed while lots of talk ensued about the new sail specs and upcoming Nationals in San Diego. Many thanks to Pat Andrew for supplying 2 great casseroles, garlic bread, salad and chocolate chip brownies and thanks to all who brought food and drink along to fortify the party.
11:00 am Sunday, Race 3: Conditions were very pleasant with 6-8 knt breezes blowing down the lake and 70 degree air temp with sunshine.
Race 3 started with Lady In Red gunning for a favored pin end start just to leeward of Cinderella Story. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the rest of us), Lady in Red was a little early on their approach and ran out of runway and had to re-round the pin and take sterns of all the boats. This didn't stop them from grinding their way back through the fleet to a top 4 position by the time they reached the weather mark. Meanwhile Chuck Allen on #27, UFO, split from the fleet to go hard left up the course (the usual Huntington Lake strategy when the wind is up to 10-13kts.) and when he rejoined the fleet, he settled nicely into 3rd place close behind Clifton on #6. The downwind portion of the race featured 4 mark roundings on opposite sides of the 4 mile long narrow lake which sent the fleet zig zagging down the lake to the bottom mark. Lady In Red did a great job of working their way down the course with the puffs and jibing away from the lifts until they were in 2nd place while UFO kept the heat on Clifton's Ethyl Merlin and secretly passed him to take 3rd place when he wasn't looking (actually, Clifton might have been doing a 360 for getting slightly too close to the reach mark... but never mind that.) Conspicuously absent from the last race was Team Salsa. Unfortunately, Bill Andrew was suffering from intense pain in his kidney area and had to sit this race out to leave early. A million thanks to Barry from USI for packing up Pat And Bill's boat for them and helping them get on the long road to home.
The final standings for the regatta are as follows:
#153 John/Jennifer Andrew "Cinderella Story" - 3pts
#176 Stuart Wakeman "Lady In Red" - 6 pts
#27 Chuck Allen "UFO" - 11 pts
# 6 Clifton Odom "Ethyl Merlin" - 12pts
# 180 Bruce Masterson " Coco Mo " - 15pts
# 97 John Buchanan/Dave Kitchen "Enigma" - 18 pts
#94 Bill/Pat Andrew "Salsa" - 21 pts
Notice: The 2004 High Sierra Regatta for the U20 class will be held on Saturday July 10th and Sunday July 11th 2004. Since we always recommend reserving your accommodations in the Fall the year before the regatta, we will attempt to confirm these dates by no later than October 2003.
Looks like we may see a couple of new U20s come to the fleet thanks to our great exposure all week at Huntington Lake so we'll see you next year for our best turn out ever!