Road To The Cup – Week 13

I told you last week that there would be no RTTC this week, but I lied.  Actually I didn’t think I’d have the time and needed to leave my options open.  But here you go.


Let’s start with nationals.  Two boats from Fleet 5 made the trek to Chicago, 1217 and 982, but several additional fleet members attended representing several boats attended, effectively robbing Saturday’s MRA of six boats.  Elise Nash joined Team Pendleton/Raisides (two boats), Ken Cormier & Shannon Lane joined me, (three more boats), and Yati Harsono & Alex Felton sailed with Manchester’s Charlie Thomas (at least one more boat).  So Fleet 5 was well represented.


The folks of the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club were hugely welcoming and put on a very organized and well-run event.  The race course was 1-2 miles off the CCYC in the waters to the northeast of Navy Pier.  The sailing was tough though spectacular – fresh water, great views of the city and plenty of breeze.  Conditions varied depending on the wind direction, though prevailing is southwest off the city, which makes for huge pressure changes (5 to 18 knots) and some pretty healthy shifts, sometimes as large as 60 degrees.  If you like a Marblehead northwesterly, you’d love sailing sailing in Chicago.  The city of Chicago even managed to scheduled an air show for our final day, featuring the Thunderbirds and others.  It was interesting to race with F18 Hornets screaming by you in formation, sometimes so close you could see pilots in the cockpits.  All and all, a great regatta and well worth the time.


The only hiccup came on the final day when some weather was moving through.  The RC felt the system would pass harmlessly to the north (though a quick poll of the racers produced no one that agreed or thought going out was a good idea), but out we went anyway.  Here is what the sky looked like on the way out facing northwest.




A short time later, the sky grew more menacing and purple and looked like this.



Recognizing that there was no way this would miss us, most racers independently reached the conclusion that we shouldn’t be out there and turned around.  Thankfully, eventually the RC broadcast their agreement and ordered us in.  Unfortunately, that was too late as most boats (including 1217 and 982) were still a mile or more out when the storm came through.  We dropped the jib at about 25 knots and the main when it hit 30, which proved to be a good move as the breeze built into the low 40s which sustained for 15-20 minutes.  Fortunately, other than one boat that lost a spreader (sheered right off), there was no meaningful damage and the fleet made it in safely.  We later turn around and went back out to sail the final race in a fresh 15 knot southerly.


So congratulations to Team Pendleton/Raisides/Nash, who were simply untouchable, putting up a line of 1-2-1-1-4-1-1 for 7 points.  They sailed exquisitely, putting on as dominant a performance as I’ve ever seen.  Great starts most every time, differentiated boat speed, clean sail handling at the corners and generally smart race course positioning (though it’s hard to get 60 degree shifts right every time).  Taking 2nd on a tie breaker was Chicago sailor and regatta chair Bob Bernstein, who finished with a 2-1-6-4-7-3-3 for 19 points.  Bob’s a smart sailor who’d have no problem winning his share of Marblehead days if he sailed with us.  Team Pandapas/Cormier/Lane took 3rd with a line of 4-3-2-2-6-7-2, also for 19 points.  Honorable mentions got to Fairhope’ s Zane Yoder who took 4th on a tiebreaker with 26 points, and Hingham’s Mike Hebert in 5th, also with 26 points.  Congratulations to all.


Five boats made it out for Twilights on Thursday night.  Here’s a quick synopsis from our man on the scene, John Casler.  “The wind was coming up harbor and very light to non-existent.  The RC had no choice but to set a short course, out to “19”, the mid channel can, then over to the nun off the Fort and back in, twice around.  Four of the five boats were overlapped at the start and stayed that way almost to the can, with Team Martini, 1466, having the inside control position.  The Martinis pulled to a clear ahead position just before the rounding.  The leg to the next mark was a one legged beat, which left the gap between the rest of the boats spreading out in air which got sequentially worse for each successive boat.  The second time around the RC reversed the order of the marks and the wind came even closer to disappearing.  Team Martini did a great job of protecting their lead in the increasingly frustrating drifter, and there were no position changes.  1466, 1398, Ann Sousa and crew, then Walter and Mathew Colsman, 1775, and 3021.”  In case you don’t know everyone’s numbers, taking 1st was Team Martini, 2nd Ann Sousa and 3rd Walter Colsman.  Congratulations.


So heading into the final Twilight race of the season this Thursday, Team Martini leads Series 2 with 5 points, Ann Sousa is in 2nd with 6 points and John Casler is standing in 3rd with 8 points.  Stay tuned.


Out on the MRA line, just nine boats showed up for what appeared to be a spectacular, big-pressure sailing day.  The southeasterly filled in to what looked like a solid 15-16 knots with respectable seas as the day wore on.  Obviously, I wasn’t there so I am forced to read between the lines a bit, but it looks like a flat and fast prevailed.  Christina Pandapas was out with her camera and took this of rock star goddess Renee Heffernan readying the pole as Mike Lane shows his hiking form.




Congratulations to Team Frisch/Hourihan (with Bill Kaull subbing in for Peter Frisch) who took on all comers and annihilated them, winning the day handily with a 1-1-1- for 3 points.  Well done.  Taking 2nd with a 3-2-2 for 7 points was Team Lane/Heffernan, and 3rd went to Larry Ehrhardt who put up a 2-3-DNS for 10 points.  Honorable mentions go to Debbie Noble in 4th with 4-5-3 for 12 points and Team Rubin who finished 5th with an 8-4-4 for 16 points.


And with that, we wrap up MRA Series 3, as next weekend is open due to the One Regatta.  Taking 1st on the series with 23 points was Team Frisch/Hourihan.  Finishing 2nd on a tiebreaker with 39 points was Team Pandapas, and taking 3rd also with 39 points was Debbie Noble.  Honorable mentions go to Team Pendleton/Raisides in 4th with 40 points and Dave Nelson in 5th with 43 points.


So, with three series in the books and one to go, Team Frisch/Hourihan leads the MRA overall with 98.5 points.  In 2nd with 109 points is Team Pandapas.  Standing at 3rd with 129 points is Larry Ehrhardt.  In 4th with 132 points is Team Pendleton/Raisides and in 5th with 151 points is Dave Nelson.


In Cup competition, the only change is Team Frisch/Hourihan jumped a notch into 2nd, pushing Larry Ehrhardt into 3rd.  The top-10 are list below.




Pendleton / Raisides




Frisch / Hourihan




Larry Ehrhardt




Team Pandapas




Team Lane / Heffernan




Dave Nelson




Team Fava / Nash




Team Taylor




Steve Uhl




Team Cormier / Dalton



Week 14 racing will include the final Twilight of the season on Thursday night.  There will be no MRA racing this weekend due to The One Regatta.



Labor Day Party – Our next party will be held at the home of Vonda & Jim Raisides on September 3rd after sailing.  The party will include the fleet bar (as usual) and be pot luck.  Keep an eye out for the invite.


Nationals 2017 – The Nationals are coming back to Marblehead in 2017.  The EYC submitted a bid to host Nationals in 2017 and the bid was accepted.  They will be held August 17-20, so circle the date.


Mail Bag

Not a lot of mail this week.


Mike Lane wrote in to share this link to RW photos.


A few folks appreciated the tribute to Joe Duplin, with most along the lines of this from Nat Taylor.  “Those are wonderful words about Joe!”


Nat also was appreciative of our including his RW blog, writing, “Thanks for including my piece and taking the liberty of fixing a few of the most egregious typos.”  Our pleasure.


Tommy Tompkins was incredulous that I didn’t know where Kettlebottom was, sending in this.  “Kettlebottom….really???  Do you ever go to Salem harbor?  First spindle off Justin’s house.”


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