Monthly Archives: August 2014

Jet-14 Nationals Reflections

It’s hard to adequately describe the overwhelmingly positive experience that I had at Nationals.  Even more surprising since we had to deal with a rogue trailer roller that decided to punch through our hull on the very first day.  Bryan Parker has written up a fantastic recap of the racing and some of the other highlights of the week.  Now that things have calmed down and I’ve had some time to reflect, allow me to highlight some of the awesome things that I saw and experienced during the week at Mayfield.  I’m sure that many of you had similar experiences.

1. Dean and Kelly Whalen

Can’t justify with words the job that was done to make this a successful event.  Kelly was everywhere all week, taking pictures, helping with food, helping the weary skippers and crew get out of the water, and just solving any problem that came along.  As far as I could tell, Dean took the lead in just about everything for the event, including gathering race committee, arranging housing (thank you for our lovely boat!), food, finding crew, t-shirts, auction, and everything else required to pull off a Nationals.  Thank you!  And Chris Whalen, you are getting good – keep sailing!

2. Mayfield Yacht Club and their generous members

MYC is not a one-design club.  In fact, the Jet-14s as far as I can tell are the only non-cruising/power boat fleet in the whole club.  So I was gratified to see that their membership took it to another level to welcome us back, whether it be helping out on race committee, taking pictures, helping with food, donating their boats for housing (or rescue!), letting us park and mess up their grounds, and just making us feel welcome.  I know I speak for everyone when I say that we will look forward to coming back!

3. Dave Japikse the boat finder

I thought our Nationals was over at the end of Day 1 when #483 jumped off the trailer pulling up the ramp and crashed down through the trailer (completely my fault I should add).  Next I think I know, Dave is pulling out of the club with an empty trailer (the Parker’s – thank you!) on his way to pick up a mysterious Jet-14 out in the woods somewhere.  He brought us a rock solid boat that we were able to race for the final couple of days without one thing breaking.  I hope we were able to help out with the tuning a little bit so that the boat will be a bit quicker.  Thank you! 

4. New faces in the fleet

At the 2013 Nationals at Lake Norman last year we had a number of new skippers and crews, many from the North Carolina area.  This year the trend continued.  I was happy to meet Paul and PJ Blonski (Edgewater), Lee Sackett with crew Emily (Edgewater), and Dennis Foley (Mayfield).  The trick is to keep the new faces coming back.  Signs are that this time they will.  Dennis was indicating his interest at coming out to Ohio this fall for the Halloween Classic.  Speaking of Edgewater, they had the most boats in the entire fleet – keep up the great fleet building work!

5. Quality of the racing was ridiculously good

The first two days we were more concerned with not flipping over than racing.  Watching the top boats compete in winds of 15-20 kt. with gusts into the 20s was mind blowing.  They were consistently keeping the boats flat and fast.  Chutes came out like it was nothing.  It looks like magic to me, and I know its not, but it gives us bottom feeders something to work for in the coming months and years.  

6. The new Iron Man

Tom Grace has raced in every single Jet-14 Nationals since 1975.  1975!!!  But more than that, Tom is just the nicest guy you will ever meet, and he’s incredibly important to Jet sailing at Lake Norman and in North Carolina.  I’m looking forward to many more years of competing with him and Paula Pacheco – someday we will pass them on a run.

7. My wife and crew Paula

Sharing a boat with your spouse in 20 kt is a good way to explosively release all at once those things that you’ve buried deep inside of you.  Paula, thank you for introducing me to sailing, for teaching me all I know, for trying to stay positive after I make yet another bad start (“Say FAST, not F@#!”), for sticking in there when your body says no, for putting up with my whining and complaining, for not telling me where to go, and for being my partner in sailing and in life.  

Racing sailboats is a great classroom for life.  Thank you all for letting me share these experiences with you.  

Chris

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Jet-14 Nationals – Day 2

It was another wild day of sailing on Lake Sacandaga but this time we did manage to finish 3 exciting races.  The weather  forecast was calling for WSW winds in the 10 kt range, which was probably where we were at on the long run out to the race course.  By the beginning of Race 2, winds again approached class limits in the upper teens and stayed there the rest of the day, with occasional puffs blasting through in the mid-20s range.  The observations tell it all.

Jet-14 Nationals day 2 wind observations on Lake Sacandaga (from iWindSurf.com)

Jet-14 Nationals day 2 wind observations on Lake Sacandaga (from iWindSurf.com)

A few boats came in early as the winds built but 3 long races were completed.  Bryan and Tiffany Parker were consistently at the top of the pack and have built a 4 point lead over a trio of boats from Edgewater YC: Dave and Sue Michos, the Gemperlines, and Lee Sackett.  Weather forecast for tomorrow calls for sunny skies, warmer temperatures, and a perfect 6-10 kt southwesterly wind.  Tune in tomorrow to see if the Parkers can hang on for the first Jet-14 National Championship.

Unofficial Results (Top 10)

1135  B. Parker  2 1 1    4
217  D. Michos 1 3 4    8
665  M. Gemperline  3 4 2  9
1152  L. Sackett  4 2 3  9
1130  L. Wells  11 5 5  21
1076  S. Parker  9 7 6  22
717  T. Grace  7 8 7  22
602  D. Japikse  15 6 8  29
1126  P. Blonski  8 14 9  31
203  C. Berchem  13 11 10  34

Jet-14 Nationals – Day 1

Carnage.

That word pretty much describes the events this day.  The fleet enthusiastically sailed out on a long run toward the starting area in a stiff but manageable 12-15 kt. wind.  As the race committee set up the course and the last Jets were arriving in the starting area, the wind began to build and gusts approached 20 kt.  Team Whalen and Team Hennon retired before the start of the race, looking to get a head start on the 2 mile beat back to the club into an 18 kt. wind.  As they gazed back at the race, many boats were pinching up into the gusts but things overall seemed under control.  It appeared that the leaders (Parker, Zaugg, Gemperline, Michos) were flying their chutes on the long run even as gusts began to exceed 20 kt.  As they rounded the gate and began the second windward leg, gusts were regularly measured above 20 kt. with maxima in the upper 20s according to the race committee. Weather observations from the lake confirmed their measurements, with the peak wind occurring just after noon with a gust above 30 mph:

Lake Sacandaga wind observations for Thursday August 14, 2014

Lake Sacandaga wind observations for Thursday August 14, 2014 (graph from iWindsurf.com)

 Boats began to capsize all over the course.  Grace and Pacheco went over with the chute, snapping Tom’s tiller in the process.  Eitnthoven swamped and could not recover without aid – her crew sliced open her fingers on the centerboard and had to make a trip to the emergency room for stitches. The race was abandoned but many in the fleet were not aware as the race committee boat pulled up anchor to aid several capsized boats.  Those still upright continued all the way up the beat and then began their second run toward a finish line that did not exist.  Another puff in the upper twenties put Zaugg and Michos over within seconds of each other.  It would be over 2 hours before they could be rescued and safely returned to shore.  There were too many tales to retell here, but lots of belongings were recovered in the water when other boats returning home “sailed through the debris field” of the capsized Jets. 

Apparently the fun wasn’t over at the ramp.  Hennon did not sufficiently tie the boat to the trailer and when the car began to pull the boat out, the weight of several gallons of water rushing aft pulled the boat off the back of the trailer.  Unfortunately, the boat also crashed off the side of the trailer, allowing the trailer roller to do this to the hull:

483_hole

After spending a significant time in the water, Marion finally got towed in and pulled out of the lake only to have water in the tanks rush back and pull his boat off the trailer as well.  Lots of other boats had broken lines, blocks, and other rigging that were being worked on well into the afternoon.  An emergency run to West Marine got several boats back in working order.

Tom Grace said afterward that it was probably the worst day he can remember in terms of wreckage to a fleet.  In my relatively brief experience over the last 10 years I must say that I agree.  The forecasters are calling for a more pleasant day tomorrow with winds in the 7-10 kt range.  We lost a couple of boats today but most of the fleet will be back looking to jump into Nationals contention tomorrow.

-Chris

2014 Women Nationals in the Books

August 13 – Rain was the story of the day…lots, lots, lots of rain.  Just as it appeared to be breaking and a nice little 4 kt. wind developed on the water, PRO Bill decided to give it a shot and sent the ladies out for racing.  Unfortunately the rain returned during rigging, this time in a slightly heavier fashion.  After some delay and course adjustment, the first warning signal went out at around 4:55 pm.

Three boats were registered.  Connie Berchem and Teri Fosmire (#951) were coming off of their surprise victory at the July 4th regatta at Lake Norman.  They were going to be challenged by Nicky Einthoven and local crew who I unfortunately cannot remember her name at the moment.  Rounding out the fleet was Paula Squared (Paula Hennon and Paula Pacheco) in #483.  After a clean start in Race 1, Paula squared went low and fast, eventually popping out ahead halfway up the beat.  The wind was very light and of course shifty – at one point, there was about 90 degrees difference in points of sail of the 3 boats on the same tack.  PS rounded in first but apparently Paula H. forgot she was driving and took a 90 degree turn toward Vermont for about 10 minutes, allowing Einthoven and Berchem to pass.  Berchem and Einthoven built on their lead during the second leg but Connie just got inside position at the top mark and rounded ahead.  A little shift and increase in velocity from the right got their chute flying and Berchem/Fosmire took the bullet with Einthoven close behind.  A duck actually finished first but race committee determined that he didn’t do his penalty turns after fouling Berchem.

After running up to the time limit in Race 1, PRO Bill set a much shorter course for the second race in an effort to “get one in before dark”.  Fortunately a little breeze built in from the south that allowed a pretty fair race to get off.  Einthoven found the stronger breeze on the right up the first leg and rounded just ahead of PS and Berchem.  The places stayed the same until the final leg to the “upwind” finish (which by this time was a close reach).  Einthoven and PS didn’t immediately fly their chutes but thought otherwise as Berchem/Fosmire broke out “red baron” on a nice gybe set.  PS got their kite up first and managed to get on top of Einthoven’s wind.  There was some confusion if the race was finishing, and PS appeared to share in it.  As Paula H. put it afterward, “All of a sudden we saw a mark and so I swerved to avoid it”.  Fortunately for them they swerved across the finish line to take the race, with Einthoven only a half of boat length behind.  The finishing order in Race 2 made the series a tie (4-4-4), which was broken by the PS bullet in Race 2.  Congratulations to Paula Hennon and Paula Pacheco on their Women Nationals victory!

Tomorrow the open event begins with a 10:30 am start.  Wind forecast is still 12-16 kt. so we expect to get in the full slate of 4 races.  Look for updates here.

Women Nationals Results

483   Paula Hennon/Paula Pacheco   3  1    4
951   Connie Berchem/Teri Fosmire   1  3    4
1116 Nicky Einthoven/Local Crew       2  2    4

 

 

Nationals Weather Forecast

You may not know this but I am a professional meteorologist.  Some claim this gives me an inherent advantage to racing sailboats, but my results speak to the truth.  What I do know is that there is some great news for our Nationals participants and some not so great news for the Women and Juniors on Wednesday.

Women/Junior Nationals on Wednesday looks like a good day to own an ark.  Heavy rain is forecast Tuesday night and through the day on Wednesday with 1-2″ accumulations.  Typically this type of rain comes with little wind unless we’re dealing with a tropical storm.  A reschedule of this event to later in the week is likely – stay tuned.

Once we get past Wednesday, the weather looks FANTASTIC.  Partly sunny Thursday, temperatures in the upper 60s, with a strong 12-18 kt westerly.  For those who remember the 2009 event at Mayfield, this is about the opposite of what we had on day 1.  Friday looks like another awesome day, with 6-10 kt. winds, dry conditions, and temperatures in the mid-upper 60s again.  And we’ll finish things off Saturday in 8-12 kt. conditions with warming temperatures into the mid-70s.

I know I will be enjoying the conditions regardless of my finishes (cough cough).  Before I sign off I’d like to thank Marion and the folks at Mohican Sailing Club for letting us get in some pre-Nationals racing on Sunday.  We had 5 Jets out there along with a few Interlakes in a pretty decent Mohican wind.

From a luxurious Red Roof Inn in Utica NY,
Chris

Jet-14 Nationals Preview Part Deux

We’re a couple of weeks away and have had some new registrations for Nationals.  The Vegas odds makers have been busy updating their betting lines.  Here’s a couple of more entries for those looking for a good score:

#1135 – Bryan and Tiffany Parker (5-2) – Pros: Talent, experience, almost topped Barbehenn at Mayfield 5 years ago, incomparable boat speed, just reproduced.  Cons: Distracted by poopy diapers, probably a little rusty, troubled by Ohio State band director dismissal, probably haven’t been on the water as much as they like.

#94 – Barb Zaugg and Tom Joudrey (7-1) – Pros: Boat weighs about 50 lbs., good family chemistry, Tom’s good grasp of English, fast downwind.  Cons: This isn’t English class, 235 lbs. of lead required to make minimum weight, boat was built during the Eisenhower administration.

Welcome to our New Members!

Received a couple of notes this week from some new NJ members – very encouraging to hear about new growth in that region:

Paul Fisher joins Fleet 51 at Hunterdon SC.  Paul recently purchased #1140 and is eager to try out this 2-person racing thing.  The fleet is already meeting with Paul to sort out stuff and get them on the water.

Fleet 35 (Packanack Lake) is welcoming Chris Seliga, who recently acquired #1013.  Chris is looking for a decent Sailor’s Tailor cover if anyone is looking to get a new one.

Nationals Silent Auction Taking Shape

The silent auction during Nationals is a great event that helps raise money for the class – and attendees always get great deals on awesome stuff.  Matt Japikse and his friends at Mayfield YC have been busy gathering merchandise and services for the event.  Dave recently posted a photo of one of the items on the Jet-14 Facebook page:

marion

Whoa!  My bad.  Here’s what Matt really posted:

radio

Two-way radio!  Nice.  By the way, please join the Jet-14 Facebook group!

That’s it for now – get your Nationals registration in if you haven’t already.

Chris