Gorge 2012 Skiff Regatta
Six I-14s spent last weekend at ‘The Gorge’ at Cascade Locks, OR. We were sailing with the 29ers and 49ers for their National Championships (ours are in Oct. and Kaneohe Bay, HI). Why is it that the rest of the sailing community doesn’t sail skiffs when we get to sail at the best two places in the country? This was a small but high level showing for the 14 class as the top 3 Seattle boats came including Joe Bersch sailing w/ Jamie Hansler on the 1st B6 now 1 ½ yrs. old, Steve Goodson and Allen Diercks sailing their tried and true B5 now 7 yrs. old, Kris Bundy and Fritz Lanzinger sailing their B5 which is 7-8 yrs. old. Kirk Twardowski and Andy Hamilton came up from San Francisco in Kirk’s new B6, and the double stack trailer from San Diego was driven up by Terry and Candice Gleason towing Terry’s new B6 which he sailed w/ builder Kris Henderson, and our 7 yr. old B5 sailed by Trick Murry and myself.
A Thur. afternoon practice sail with 3-4 boats was a good warm-up for the weekend. Lots of 29ers (30 or so) and a few 49ers (5 boats) were in various levels of sailing, rigging, or hanging on the beach. The Gorge was her beautiful self, as Trick says – being a good Librarian! More explanation later.
Fri AM saw the skippers meeting at 1000 with the Gorge wind gods in high gear already. The 1200 start saw most to the 29ers on the line and a couple 49ers, however the 14s decided to watch a bit as the winds were already blowing 25 with gusts over 30 at the Stevenson, WA wind station just across the river. The wind stayed, or slightly elevated throughout the day and the other skiffs were sent to shore after 3 races and lots of crashes, particularly the 49ers who went out. The depowered 29ers seemed to do alright in the 25-30. Two of the Seattle 14 guys teamed up on an unused Seattle Yacht Club 29er for some sailing w/ the younger 29er crowd and seemed to have some difficulties w/ rigging their kite properly (actually they trusted the kids who had earlier rigged it improperly). After some mid fleet sailing they came back to the beach saying those kids can sail the boats really well, giving up an additional 75 lbs. also seemed to have an effect going downhill w/ those small kites. As we watched on the beach most of the afternoon, Trick let it be known that the Librarian had dropped her hair, shaken out her ponytail and taken off her glasses, the whips and chains hadn’t fully come out yet, but she was headed into the closet to find them when things started backing down some in the evening, i.e.: ‘The Nasty Librarian’. Most of the 14s went out around 1800 for a short spin in around 20kts. just to shake off a little rust. It was great sailing and good practice for our Oct Kaneohe racing. Joe had the stiff B6 rig which he can reef and still sail w/ full rig kite which he demonstrated on the windy Fri PM and might be a good answer to the current question about allowing 2 mainsails to be measured for events.
Sat. AM started clear with a nice soft breeze. The infamous “Double Damned” race for keel boats from Cascade Locks to The Dalles, about 40mi. downwind and upriver, was scheduled to start at 1030, but the breeze was a bit uncharacteristic so there was a delay on land. This pushed our scheduled start back as well. The wind eventually filled in and quickly built to enjoyable Gorge standards. Our Nasty Librarian had pulled her hair back again, put her glasses back on and was being very prim proper, she was looking spectacular as the Gorge often does. The 6 I-14s were the first out on the water and the race committee popped off 6 great races for us. A long day on the water at 12-18 kts. with beautiful Gorge conditions. This is why you come to the Gorge to sail skiffs! Joe and Jamie sailed extremely well and ripped off a string of mostly 1st place finishes in the first built B6 which continues to show great pace throughout the wind range. Brad and Trick popped off mostly 2nd place finishes with a 4th and 1st in the 7 yr. old B5. Terry Gleason and Kris Henderson sailed a little more mixed up results w/ mostly 3s and a 2nd & 5th thrown in on the newest B6. Bundy and Lanzinger had a somewhat atypical day for them finishing with some 3s and 5s and a couple DNFs in their B5. Steve and Alan, sailing consistently per usual, finished with mostly 4s with one 5th in their B5. Kirk and Andy missed the first 2 races and then sailed mostly 5s and 6s in the third built B6. Everyone showed very good speed at times and there were usually some tight roundings and place changes. There were some sore sailors coming off the water Sat evening after about 5 hrs. of sailing.
Sun started out in atypical Gorge fashion, Portland was supposed to be very hot which shuts down the coast to desert temp. gradient necessary to produce standard Gorge conditions. A light easterly started, thus making for very long upwind legs against both wind and current. All 6 14s were out on the line for the 1st start in which you could barley lay the line on starboard due to wind and current. The boats got off and went toward the OR shore for current relief, but due to the easterly there were lots of holes in the pressure. There were big changes across the course depending on who was in more pressure. Several time boats would pass on both sides as you sat in a hole. I think the Nasty Librarian was making up for her stellar performance the day before. The second race was started for the 14s and the rest of the fleets were sent to shore. It was even more difficult to get across the line and even more unstable breeze as the westerly started fighting the easterly and we were stuck in the transition zone. “Jungle ball” sailing comes to mind, again you could and did gain and lose hundreds of yards up and down the course, one boat would have a kite up 100 yds. behind another boat going upwind. Kris and Fritz split the day with Joe and Jamie on 3 points apiece. The 3rd place spot for the day was split between Brad & Trick, Steve and Allen, and Kirk and Andy all with 8 points We all headed for the beach and started de-rigging while the 29ers and 49ers waited to see if they would get in more racing. They were sent back out and got another race or two in with light but more stable westerly breeze.
Overall a really nice weekend and most of the top US boats in attendance, save a few who couldn’t make the trip. The B6 seems to be doing exactly what the design brief intended. A great sailing boat which is cheaper to build and reportedly slightly easier to sail than the B5. I don’t think the B6 is blowing the B5s out of the water by any means, and the reason I include the age of some of the boats was to completely dispel the myth that older boats are not competitive, I think some of the B2s and B3s would have been competitive if well sailed, especially in the lighter more unstable breeze. I can guarantee you none of the top 49ers would still be sailing 6-7 yr. old boats and being competitive. With a new B6 costing about the same as a new 49er, I don’t see the reason anyone would sail the biger skiff unless they think they are going to the Olympics. I was sitting on the beach speaking with one 49er guys who is so frustrated with the lack of 49er sailing and the cost of competition. As an ex-sail maker, he was very bitter about having to buy a 49er main for $1800 which would only last a few big regattas and not more than a season of good sailing. While I pointed to our higher quality sails which are similarly priced and are still in great shape after 3-4 years of sailing. He put the boat up for sale while we were sitting there and was seriously inquiring out the availability of 14s.
Hope to see some of you at Long Beach Labor Day regatta in a few weeks. Certainly looking forward to Kaneohe, HI in Oct for 5-7 days of the best sailing you can do. There are some boats available for charter for some of you who might be having a difficult time sending your own boats. Also please forward your yearly dues to Yvonne.
I-14 (6 boats) (top)
Series Standing - 8 races scored
Information is final.
Regatta results last updated: Sunday, August 12, 2012 4:56:06 PM CDT
Click on race number to view detailed race information.
Sail Skipper 1
1184 f joseph bersch 1 1  1 1 1 2 1 8 1
1161 Brad Ruetenik 2 4 1 2 2 2  3 16 2
USA 1187 Terry Gleeson 3 2 3 3 5 3 6 [7/DNC] 25 3
1163 kris bundy/
fritz Lanzinger 5 3 [7/DNF] 5 3 7/DNF 1 2 26 4
1159 Steve Goodson/
Alan Diercks 4  4 4 4 4 3 5 28 5
1186 Kirk Twardowski/
Andy Hamilton [7/DNC] 7/DNC 5 6 6 5 4 4 37 6
- Scoring System is ISAF Low Point 2009-2012
- Finishes in [brackets] denote throwouts
- Click on race number to view detailed race information.
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