Road To The Cup – Week 9 – Race Week Edition
Top 10 as of 7/25/21
As you know, there was no twilight racing Thursday night due to Race Week. Instead we were treated to Jennifer & Steve Uhl’s gracious hospitality – again! That, by the way is a direct quote from the last several year’s Race Week editions of RTTC. Honestly, I’m not sure how many years in a row they’ve opened their home during Race Week, but as always, they pulled out all the stops and continue to outdo themselves. Many, many thanks to them, and also to Larry Ehrhardt for making sure we all got enough to drink.
Let’s start with Junior Race Week. Close to 215 kids descended on what has become a centerpiece of the junior racing schedule. The Opti Champ fleet was largest at 45 boats followed by the 420 Champs at 41 boats. Rounding out the fleets were Opti Greens (32), 420 Greens (19) and Lasers (13). As always, the fleets were split into four lines for 420s, Lasers, Opti Champs and Opti Greens.
The event ran from Monday through Wednesday, with generally good conditions all three days. Monday’s conditions started with fog that burned off by harbor start, leaving a perfectly workable light westerly. Tuesday also featured a light westerly that eventually gave way to a fickle sea breeze that reluctantly made its way in past Cat Island, and Wednesday featured – yes, another westerly with forecasted thunderstorms that thankfully never materialized.
Several Fleet 5 spawn competed in this event, including three 420 champs and three Opti greens. The 420 racers included Ashley Hoguet, Sophia Ianchulev and Molly Lane. The Opti racers included Ethan Cooke, Ben Fava and Ben Shoreman.
As in years past, several Fleet 5 members volunteered to support this regatta, starting with co-chair Christina Pandapas. Chairing a junior regatta is big job under normal circumstances, but as it was last year, the degree of difficulty was higher due to Covid-related issues. The regatta was a model of organizational excellence and team work, and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone impressed with the job she did. Really well done! Two of the four PROs were card-carrying members of Fleet 5, including Alex Felton on the Laser line and Kim Pandapas for Opti Champs. Other Fleet 5 members and alum serving on RC included Rob Ferro, Ken Adam, Judy Adam, Kim Adam, Barbara Hallawell, John Todd and honorary Fleet 5er Forbes Barber. Seamus Hourihan served on the EYC RC. Old friends Rick Myers and Beanie Eisner served as judges, Ramsay Houget as safety czar, along with a bunch of additional volunteers, including Lisa Houget, Jocelyn Cook and Joe Fava. I’m sure I missed somebody, so sorry, but it’s clear Fleet 5 members again stepped up. Thanks to all, and thanks to the EYC, CYC and Manchester YC for again so generously supporting this annual Pleon event.
So getting straight to the bottom line (awkward in this case though it may be), congratulations to Team Pandapas, who got the job done by winning the 2021 Race Week. Over nine races, they put up a line of 1-1-4-14-2-1-7-2-3 for 35 points. This was their first RW win in more than 15 years, and their 6th overall. The win earns them a year of bragging rights as well as our coveted Race Week perpetual trophy – the Spittoon.
Taking 2nd five points back was Team Fava / Nash, who sailing their borrowed green boat, put up a consistent and entirely single digit line of 6-3-8-4-1-4-1-8-5 for 40 points. These guys sailed a super regatta. They got off the line well, made smart decisions and were always in the mix.
Finishing 3rd with a line of 9-9-1-1-3-5-13-1-2 for 44 points was Adam Roberts & Parker Dwyer sailing Chris Small’s old boat 1680. These guys were exceptional, particularly given that this was their first time sailing the boat. But more impressive to me than their sailing skills was how they sailed. They were smart, tactical, cleverly resourceful and recovered quickly from mistakes (they picked Team Pandapas’ pocket at the finish twice in one day). They are a great new team and we look forward to seeing more of them.
Honorable mentions go to Team Cooke Kaznoski (aka Pete & the Kid), who finished 4th with a line of 5-8-2-2-4-7-4-6-11 for 49 points, and Team Taylor one point behind them in 5th with a 2-5-5-3-10-11-3-3-8 for 50 points. Congratulations to all. You’ll find the rest of the scores here.
Race Week Recap – Day 1
Day 1 started with a forecast of NNW 5 to 9 becoming SSE in the afternoon, and that’s about what we got. In fact, I’d call it a very traditional Marblehead sailing day, the likes of which we’ve seen less of in recent seasons. The RC set up not far from Children’s, which while closer to motor boat traffic lanes, was necessitated by the need to give the IODs a 1.5 mile leg. It all worked out as the breeze eventually made its way in, and we got off three very nice races. The 15-20 degree oscillations made it a ‘climbing the ladder’ type of day, though the breeze was up-and-down with pockets of pressure scattered across the course, so there also was money to be made chasing the pressure. The current was going hard out all day, which made for a tricky starting line and conservative lay line calls.
All of this somehow made sense to Team Pandapas, who had themselves a two-horizon job day, rolling a 1-1-4 for 6 points, to win the day and take an early regatta lead. Taking 2nd was Team Taylor, with a 2-5-5 for 12 points, and finishing 3rd was Team Cooke / Kaznoski, with a 5-8-2 for 15 points. Honorable mentions to Team Lane / Heffernan who took 4th on a tiebreaker with a 3-4-10 for 17 points, and Team Frisch / Hourihan in 5th with an 8-6-3, also for 17 points. Also honorable mention to rookie Adam Roberts (former BC Eagle & All American) sailing with Parker Dwyer, who got the race 3 bullet on their first day.
Race Week Recap – Day 2
Friday’s forecast was again NNW in the morning giving way to a southeasterly in the afternoon. But this time, the southeasterly was predicted to be in the mid-single digits, which felt unpromising, particularly as we drifted out to the starting line. Fortunately, the sea breeze filled in with a tad more pressure than expected, settling into high single digits for most of the day. Early on, the breeze was oscillating through about 30 degrees, giving PRO Rick Hamill fits as he tried to set up the course. But eventually it settled down, and aside from a couple of shifts to the right, it was pretty steady. As it did Monday, the tide ran out hard all day, which resulted in current pushing us over the line down by the boat, and a favorable starboard tack boost at the top of the course near Halfway Rock.
We got in three nice races, though the last one (Race 6) included some weather uncertainty as the skies darkened with the distant rumble of thunder. In fact, a confluence of evidence created some leeward mark confusion among the leaders, who wrongly concluded that the RC was shortening course and finishing us. The evidence included the RC sending in the Townies with a broadcast weather warning, one of the gates being removed and a patrol boat stationed next to the remaining gate. All of that suggested a shortened course. But importantly, missing was an S flag and sound signals. Despite that, several boats bit (including us) and crossed what proved not to be the finish line with chutes up and jibs down. We all quickly figured out our mistake and headed back up. Lots to unpack here on both the racer side and RC side, but the bottom line is we all reached the wrong conclusion based on circumstantial evidence.
So taking 1st on the day on a tiebreaker was Adam Roberts & Parker Dwyer, who sailed a beautifully consistent 1-3-5 for 9 points. Taking 2nd was Team Fava / Nash, who rolled an equally consistent 4-1-4, also for 9 points. And taking 3rd was Pete & the Kid, with a line of 2-4-7 for 13 points. Honorable mentions go to Team Pandapas who took 4th on a tiebreaker with a 14-2-1 for 17 points, and Team Frisch / Hourihan in 5th, with a 9-6-2 also for 17 points.
Race Week Recap – Day 3
Saturday featured another beautiful sailing day that was, in a lot of ways, a carbon copy of the day before. The forecast predicted a sunny day with variable winds less than 5 knots becoming ESE around 6 knots in the afternoon. Like the day before, the ride out was a drifter until the sea breeze settled in. And when it did, we were pleasantly surprised by high single digits from about 110 degrees, which is where things stood when we started the first race. As the day wore on, the breeze moderate and went right to about 120, leaving us with light air, lots of lump, a strong current and tons of weed – a smorgasbord of conditions that can lead R19 sailors to substance abuse. Weed, by the way, was a constant presence during this regatta, creating a lot of angst, particularly for those without a weed stick. It was not uncommon to see fast boats getting uncharacteristically passed, upwind and down, due in all likelihood to something resembling a racoon wrapped around the keel. You had to be ever vigilant and slalom between the weed patches, which was not always easy, especially on the starting line or when trying to hold a lane.
So taking 1st on the day amidst all of this was Team Uhl, featuring phenom Clark Uhl at the helm with dad Steve Uhl crewing, who put up a 2-5-1 for 8 points. Those who have watched Clark grow up aren’t in the least surprised by this, as Clark has been a gifted and dominant sailor since Optis. Taking 2nd was Team Pandapas, who rolled a 7-2-3 for 12 points, followed by Team Fava / Nash in 3rd with a line of 1-8-5 for 14 points. Honorable mentions go to Team Taylor in 4th with a 3-3-8 for 14 points, and Team Roberts / Dwyer in 5th with a 13-1-2 for 16 points.
Race Week Recap – Day 4
Sunday started looking dicey as early as Tuesday, and this was one time they nailed the forecast, which included a small craft warning for SSW 15-20 with gusts in the 30s, which is what we got. The Children’s Island wind reading for 12 noon showed gusts of close to 40. And while the wind was a handful, it probably would have been manageable in flat water, but the seas were in the 5-6 foot range and the combination of wind and seas presented challenges. We’ve broken booms slamming off waves before, and the thought of breaking an overly loaded up rudder was also top of mind. Not surprisingly, there were breakdowns even before a gun was fired, including a J70 rudder and broken Viper mast. Before it was over, the coastguard and both Marblehead and Salem harbormasters were out to render assistance. Ultimately, our RC called it and sent us in before a race was sailed, and eventually the RCs of the other lines did the same.
So with that, our 2021 Race Week came to an abrupt and unceremonious conclusion, particularly for those in the hunt who needed another race or two to get it done, as well as for those who live for the adrenalin of big air.
So, a few random thoughts in no particular order. * The food at the Uhl’s Party was spectacular. Fleet members outdid themselves. * This fleet is tough, and would have been even tougher if people like Team Hooks / Pascal, Larry Ehrhardt and Chris & Debbie Schreiber had sailed. * I love to see Clark & Steve Uhl sailing together. * I’m glad no one hooked the upside-down wicker chair in the middle of our Day 1 race course. * I hate weed. I don’t recall in 25 years of racing Rhodes in Marblehead ever seeing as much weed as we got this week. * I really enjoyed sailing against Adam Roberts & Parker Dwyer. They were great competitors who were always laughing and joking around. * Joe & Elise were quick. I think they should buy that green boat. * Thanks to PRO Rick Hamill, Mark Toso and the rest of the CYC RC, who volunteered four days of their time so we could play. * How many years has Barbara Hallawell been doing RC at Race Week? In fact, I can’t remember the last time she didn’t do it. So great to see her out there – again. * Anybody else see that big seal poking his head up around our Day 3 starting line? *
So in Cup competition, the big news is that Team Cooke / Kaznoski bumps Team Lane / Heffernan from their perch atop the leaderboard. Race Week has always had a way of shaking up the standings, and this year is no different. It will be fun to watch them duke it out through the second half. The top-10 are listed below.
Week 10 racing will include Twilight 2-2 on Thursday night, and the 2-3 races of MRA Series 3-1 Don’t forget that Twilight start time shifts back one hour to 6pm.
Other News, Notices & Miscellaneous Scuttlebutt
The Boys Are Back – Congratulations to Fleet 5 honored alum and former national champions Team Pendleton / Raisides for taking 2nd overall in the J70 class at Race Week. Their finish also earned them 1st place in the Corinthian division. Here is a shot of them with the team – Wade Wadell and Abi Borrgaard.
Race Week Pictures – As he always does, Phil Smith was out getting actions shots this week, and you’ll find them here.
Missing RTTCs? – There have been a couple of incidences of folks not receiving their RTTC email over the past month or so. If you know of someone who also has not received it or has stopped receiving other fleet correspondence, please let us know so we can try to fix the problem. Email Madam President at (email@example.com) and me at (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the meantime, all RTTCs are posted to the fleet website at https://r19fleet5.org/, so you can always get them there.
Fleet 5 Shout-Out in Scuttlebutt – Fleet 5 got a nice mention in a July 19th NOOD posting in Scuttlebutt. The article included a bunch of quotes from yours truly, though interestingly, I was not interviewed for it, at least not this year – in fact, not for a few years. Clearly a case of file footage, but we’ll take it.
Measurement – Certificates are not optional. If you don’t have one or you’ve had work done since your last measurement, please reach out to Fleet Measurer Stefan Thibodeaux at email@example.com. You can check your certificate status here.
If You Spin, Send It In – We learned of a couple of spins from last week, both from David Rubin, who let us know he had two separate port-starboards. Thanks Dave for your sportsmanship. As to Race Week, we have firsthand knowledge of two Team Pandapas spins. The first was on one Day 1 after tagging Timmy D. at the starting line (sorry about that Tim – totally our fault), and the second was for hitting the weather mark on Day 3. Also on Day 3, Team Lane / Heffernan, Team Shoreman / Reynolds and Team Frisch / Hourihan all spun on port-starboards (based on porch scuttlebutt). There are probably more, but this is what we know now. Below is our season count.
Photo Ops – Here are a couple of awards shots, courtesy of Bruce Durkee. First is the extended Team Fava / Nash, and second Teams Pandapas, Fava / Nash and Pendleton / Raisides.
In addition to several very generous congratulatory emails, the mail include these thoughts about Sunday from Nat Taylor. “The Fleet ought to sail in breeze until it is determined to be unfair or unsafe, and not resort to on-the-water polls to decide, especially when only a few points separate the leaders. This would be more fair, especially to the boats with large crew. The Boston Buoy (44013) saw max sustained wind of 19.4kts, which makes for fun sailing, as evidenced by the sail in. That said, I am grateful to the Race Committee for a well-managed, fair event (with the exception of the Race 6!) Congrats to Team Pandapas for superb sailing!”
I agree that the on-the-water poll was not optimal, and it put Madam President in a conflicted, no-win situation. Though to be clear, the fleet didn’t organize a poll, the RC did, and you’re right that the process could have been more thoughtful. That said, the right decision was made. Take a look at the wind recorded on Children’s Island on Sunday.
Gusts close to 40 at game time with 5-6 foot seas! You can count me among the people who felt it was not a great idea to be out there at that moment.