RTTC – Week 0

Road To The Cup – Week 0

2019 Preview5/20/19

It’s that time again. I know we didn’t get much of a spring, but that’s all behind us now. The clouds have parted, the sun is shining and the angels are singing. Next weekend kicks off our annual battle for the Nick Nichols Trophy, aka “The Cup.” So, time to wash off the boat, drag it to wherever you keep it, step the rig and get this season started.

Before I give you the usual scoring refresher, it’s worth noting that MRA transitioned its registration and scoring this year from Regattaman to Clubspot. These transitions don’t always go as smoothly as you’d like, and this one was no different. The bottom line is that in addition to buying a ‘season pass,’ you also have to take the additional steps of registering for each series individually (at no additional cost). I know – not the most seamless system, but I’m sure they’ll get the bugs worked out. Anyway, if you haven’t done that, suggest you double check that you’re registered for each of the series, which you can do by following the registration links at www.mheadrace.org.

So here’s the refresher. The Cup is among our most coveted prizes because, it’s not just about winning a day or a regatta, but about sustaining a competitive campaign over the entire season. To win the Cup, you have to sail just about every week and turn in consistently solid results. You don’t necessarily have to win, but you do have to show up and be competitive. As you know, we’ll keep you up to date by publishing the top ten here every week.

Cup scoring includes Spring Series, MRA Series 1-4, Race Week, and Thursday night Twilights, and you’ll find the dates for all of that on the MRA schedule. Don’t ignore Twilights either. You can win without them, but it’s harder. Think of Twilights, not just as casual beer can racing, but also as a way to pick up 4-8 points a week on the guys who don’t show up.

Alert readers might notice no mention of the Fall Series. Regrettably, the CYC, long-time hosts of that series, decided to kill it for lack of participation. We get it, as participation for that event has been dismal the last few years. But that doesn’t make it easier on those of us who like Fall sailing. Who knows – maybe we’ll get something informal going in September, but the bottom line is that Cup scoring no longer will include Fall Series.

So, I’m ready, as is your entire RTTC team, which this year includes Twilight reporters John Casler & Steve Uhl, our distribution department Jeff Shoreman, sideline reporters, contributing photographers and of course, my life editor-in-chief Christina Pandapas. They’re all here, they’re jacked and ready to go. Let the games begin.

So, in Cup competition, we’re all tied up. If you don’t see your name below, that either means that I pulled the names off the system before you registered, or you haven’t registered yet. If the latter, better get on it.

1st 722 Team Shoreman / Reynolds 0.00
1st 982 Team Pandapas 0.00
1st 1015 Tom Dailey 0.00
1st 1137 Chris Adam 0.00
1st 1210 Team Frisch / Hourihan 0.00
1st 1299 Felton, Conway & Alex 0.00
1st 1316 Team Fava/Nash 0.00
1st 1466 Team Martini 0.00
1st 1686 Jocelyn Cook 0.00
1st 1775 Casler, John 0.00
1st 1790 Team Cormier / Dalton 0.00
1st 1819 Eric Thornton 0.00
1st 1925 Tim McCaffrey 0.00
1st 1926 Team Taylor 0.00
1st 1939 Team McNamara 0.00
1st 2435 Larry Ehrhard 0.00
1st 2495 David Rubin 0.00
1st 2561 Walter Colsman 0.00
1st 2585 Steve Uhl 0.00
1st 2590 Team Berliner 0.00
1st 2623 Team Lane Heffernan 0.00
1st 2648 Team Cooke / Kaznoski 0.00
1st 2692 Bill Heffernan 0.00

Week 1 racing will include the two days of Spring Series on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th. Also, don’t forget that the Twilights start up on the following Thursday May 30th (series splits below).

Other News, Notices & Miscellaneous Scuttlebutt

First Fleet Party on June 8th – Circle the date. Fleet 5 will hold its first party of the season after sailing on June 8th, again generously hosted by Rebecca & Larry Ehrhardt at their home on 11 Ballast Lane, just up from the EYC. Fleet parties, by the way, are your chance to do a little recruiting, so don’t forget to invite your crew and anyone else you know who might be interested in getting involved.

Twilight Series Scoring – Attached for your convenience is a PDF of the Twilight SIs, to which I’ve appended the mark descriptions and chart. Cup scoring includes only the Thursday night Twilights between Memorial Day and Labor Day (with a break for Race Week), which we split into two series. Here is the 2019 split.

Series 1 – May 30, June 6, June 13, June 20, June 27, July 11

Series 2 – July 18, Aug 1, Aug 8, Aug 15, Aug 22, Aug 29

Sunday Morning Booth Racing – Our friends in the Town Class once again have generously offered us a start at their Sunday morning racing, officially called the CYC Cooke Sunday Series. The dates include June 16, 23 & 30, July 14, 21 and August 4, 11 & 25. First gun is 10:21 am. We don’t score Sunday mornings, so they are a perfect opportunity to get in some low stress practice, bring your kids or change places with your crew. We ask only that you remember that the Town Class does score this event, so please stay out of their way. The NOR for this event is attached.

MRA Byes – While on scoring, a reminder that MRA allows you one bye during the season (where you skip racing and are scored series average points for the races that day). You only get one per season, you can only use it during Series 1 or Series 2, and you have to notify the MRA scorer by no later than noon the day before. Bye rules are in the MRA SIs paragraph 17.3.

Summer Clinic Ideas – As you may have heard, CYC has hired Kevin Dooley as adult sailing director. At the suggestion of Joe Fava and the CYC Sailing Committee, one of Kevin’s contributions will be devoting time to each MRA fleet in a variety of formats, so we’re batting around ideas. Suggestions for Fleet 5 include a Sunday afternoon clinic, similar to the David J. Smith clinic run last year by Tomas Hornos, or an MRA afternoon of coaching between races, drone footage of some mark roundings with a debrief after. So we’re looking for ideas. Please send your suggestions to Jim Taylor at ajtaylor8@verizon.net.

No East Coast Championships – For the second time in three years, none of our sister fleets have stepped up to host the East Coasts. Don’t get me started about that, but bottom line is that there will be no East Coasts this season.

Spring Clinic – Huge thanks to Elise Nash for organizing this year’s clinic, which focused on crew work, and included a panel of three of Fleet 5’s best crew. Thanks also to panelists Christina Pandapas, Pete Kaznoski and Jim Taylor, who gave up all of their secrets and tricks for you. If you missed it, Nat Taylor recorded it and saved it to both the Fleet 5 FB page and YouTube.

If You Spin, Send It In – To continue to promote fair sailing and keeping it on the race course, we’re bringing back ‘If you spin, send it in.’ It worked so well last year, we thought it deserved an encore. So, if you spin, please send me an email rafter racing with the subject line ‘Circles’ and let me know how many fouls you committed for which you exonerated yourself on the water. I’ll tally them up, give an appropriately laudatory sportsmanship shout-out, and also keep you apprised of the season totals. The winner also will be suitably acknowledged at the awards party and maybe even get a little swag.

NOOD at Marblehead Race Week – The centerpiece of our season will be held Thursday through Sunday, July 25-28, which will be here before you know it. BYC is hosting. A reminder that your MRA registration fee covers the entry fee, so you don’t have to pay more, but you do have to register. Unless I missed it, they don’t have the registration page up yet, but you can keep checking here.

Nationals 2019 – As long as you have your calendar out, circle August 21-24, which is when our friends in Hingham will host our 2019 National Championship Regatta. Keep an eye out for NOR and registration info here.

Parkers Offline – The town is undertaking improvements to Parkers this summer that is taking the facility offline for drysailors. Our hope is that this is just a one summer thing and Parkers will be back in 2020. But in the meantime, it left a lot of Rhodes, Viper and J-70 sailors scrambling. Jocelyn Cook spent the winter looking for options, which lead to her successfully negotiating a deal with Trading Company to launch one designs out of their Cliff Street yard. How awesome is that? If you want more information, suggest you reach out to Jocelyn at jocelyn.n.cook@gmail.com.

Fleet 5 All Over the Jackson Cup – A gaggle of Fleet 5 members sailed in this year’s Jackson Cup, the BYC’s highly regarded, invitation-only team racing regatta. Started in 1999 and named in honor of BYC Past Commodore Robert F. Jackson, the Jackson Cup is Marblehead’s annual sailing season kick-off and features eight teams from across the country. The event was sailed in conditions that included a chilly 25-30 knot southwesterly on Saturday (with some impressive gusts) and 10-15 on Sunday. For the record, team CYC prevailed (photo below), but Fleet 5 showed the flag on four different teams including: for CYC – Evan Cooke, Elise Nash, Walter Colsman, Christina & Kim Pandapas and honorary Fleet members Brent Larlee and Forbes Barber, for EYC – Matt Hooks, Rob Pascal, for BYC – 2017 national champs Tomas Hornos, Duncan Swain and Lilly Lichenstein, and for Wianno Beanie Eisner.

Dave Dellenbaugh Seminar – A bunch of Fleet 5ers attended this year’s Dave Dellenbaugh seminar, hosted again this year by EYC. While last year Dave focused on starts and upwind, this year he focused on downwind, leeward mark roundings and RRS 16 and 18. Fleet members in attendance included Tom Dailey, Jocelyn Cook, Eric Thornton, Mike Lane, Renee Heffernan, Yati Harsono, Grant Adam, Team McNamara and Team Pandapas.

No More Bowditch In case you hadn’t heard, the tower and day beacon marking Bowditch Ledge in Salem Sound over near Misery Island was knocked down in one of the Fall storms. We’re not sure how this hazard is currently being marked, but probably best to give it a wide berth. Here are the before and after shots.



Bloxham Update – I know, I know, but like Godot, I am sure he’ll be here soon. And this isn’t just more wishful thinking – here’s some hard evidence.


For Sale – #2475 – with Triad Trailer – $4,995 (New Hampshire). This boat was donated to a non-profit sailing school (www.lwsa.org) and is being sold below market price for the benefit of the organization. More info here.

Need Crew for Spring Series? Stefan Thibodeaux is available for Spring Series. He usually sails with Team Rubin, who won’t be making it out for Spring Series. Email Stefan at sjthibodeaux@gmail.com.

Mail Bag

Cleaning out the mailbag here, so bear with me.

First, as to last fall’s awards party hosted by the Wendy & Peter Frisch, our guess is that that they may have set an unreasonably high bar for all future parties. Here’s an entertainingly effusive summary from Peter Sorlien. “Weren’t Peter and Wendy fabulous hosts? Peter directing traffic and circulating hors d-oeuvres with his huge smile, and Wendy keeping absolutely everything in order. I have never been to a potluck where everyone could sit at a banquet table with fresh white linen tablecloths and candles, under the benevolent gaze of a handsome mid-nineteenth century couple. Who else owns that many candelabra? Who else has ancestors who aren’t dour enough to spoil your appetite? and are so beautifully painted? Who else would have grocery bags and bubble wrap for trophies at the ready? Peter & Wendy thought of everything! They deserve a big shout-out in RTTC.” Consider it done.

Ken Cormier wrote in last fall with an update on old friend and 1790 crew Bri Grenier. “I stopped in to North Sails to say hi to Bri Grenier, who was on her way to Annapolis YC where she will direct the Junior Sailing Program. She is sky high about her new job and town. Just thought Fleet 5 members may want to wish her well.” Yes, we do want to wish her well! Awesome news, Bri. Good luck at the new gig and please stay in touch. Here’s a shot of Bri from the AYC website.


We got a few emails lauding the clinic, all along the lines of this from Peter Sorlien. “What a valuable seminar! I’ve been crewing in this fleet for more than 20 years, and I learned a lot. Not only did the panelists bring a wealth of experience, but they also had given thought to presenting their ideas clearly, and emphasizing points that often are overlooked. The less-experienced crew who attended must feel catapulted years ahead on the learning curve – at least, mine does. My heartfelt thanks to Elise for organizing such a fine program.”

And speaking of Elise Nash, she sent in this update on Fleet 5’s participation in the Baldwin Cup. “A few fleet 5ers made it out to race the Baldwin Cup Team Race in Newport Beach California the first weekend in April. Joe Fava, Evan Cooke and I were racing. This is one of the most coveted invites on the team race circuit, and after racing out there I know why. The venue is amazing, the weather is perfect and the Harbor 20s are pretty similar to Rhodes, so Joe and I actually had pretty good boat speed. We finished 8th out of 12 after a rough first day, but Dave Perry’s team finished 5th, so that took the sting off a little bit.”

Elise also sent this shot of Joe Fava surfing. “Apparently he picked it up quickly on a winter trip to Hawaii.” Nice form, right?


Walter Colsman sent in this photo with the comment: “I don’t think any storage area is complete without a piece of Rhodes equipment…” Yup! Couldn’t agree more. That’s probably a little big to add to the Hacker Award, but it could make an interesting table.


Finally, we offer the last word to the prolific John Casler, who always has something on his mind. First, in response to El Jefe’s ‘shelf of shame’ of uncollected trophies, John seems particularly disappointed with the delinquency of Pete Kaznoski, commenting, “Too bad about Pete. In olden times, competitors picked up their trophies,” and including the shot below.

Just what the hell is that? It looks like either a golf club or an upside-down skillet. As far as I’m concerned, that has a higher probability of being left on the shelf than a pickle dish. And what’s with the spelling?

John also lobbed in a comment on conditions at the Jackson Cup. “Sorry, but that gear looks more appropriate to building a snow fort. Congratulations anyway.” I assume he was talking about the shot below or one of the other sailing shots, courtesy of Bruce Durkee.

Or course, John didn’t see this one, which I think is more in keeping with his genetic predisposition.

–kp (kpandapas@comcast.net)

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