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Cal 20 Canadian Championships

Ullman Sails Dominate

Mon, 26th Aug 2013
By Jon Thompson

Cal 20 Canadian Championships Ullman Sails Dominate

A sunny Saturday June 1st morning in Cadboro Bay and a group of keen sailors pulling their best Dacron out of the bag in anticipation of some good tactical fun on the water. Most of the sailors have been around long enough to remember when these boats were new which was just shortly after Noah stranded and turfed the animals off the ark. We still keep coming back as there is much fun in trying to perfect the art of getting the most out of the sails and perhaps outsmarting the competition. with a few tactical maneuvers and working the shifting winds.


We had anticipated a great weekend with visiting crews from Vancouver, San Juan Island and Tacoma to challenge the ancient mariners of Fleet 13. To top it off we had Sunshine and breeze in one of the most delightful settings a person can race in, Cadboro Bay.

A superb race committee run by Dennis Woodward with assistance from Nigel Martin, Vidas Stukas and Dallan Woodward ensured that the only way one got a break from racing was to finish near front of the fleet and idle for a short while till last boat crossed. Always appreciate that there is a last boat there to give a few of us that moment to regroup. Starts are a challenge especially when Dennis is setting the line, as there is not quite room enough for the fleet which means some tight squeeze at the beginning and of course this gets the conversation between boats livened up a little.

Amazing how long 5 seconds can be when one is only 2 seconds from the pin end with the rest of the fleet hot on ones heels. This involved a crash jibe and rocket (figuratively) across the sterns of the Starboard tack fleet to get a clear lane. Slightly back of the lead at this point but with an open bay to work on we were soon back in contention. There were also a couple of finishes where a quick and well executed gybe onto Starboard a few boat lengths out gave us the lead by a fraction of a boat length.

Thanks to the excellent foredeck work of my long faithful crew Allen we pulled that one off. The efforts made by those from out of town are greatly appreciated as Kerry Brann, Zenon Samiia and John Goffe sailed over from Vancouver. They had somewhat heavy conditions so brought a larger boat then borrowed Long Shot (a first class Cal 20 owned by Margaret Long ). Ed Hale and John Manning came across from Mitchel Bay on San Juan Island on Bellwether, a boat that we have seen here numerous times in the past which is now on next generation of ownership. These fellows were working on their “apprenticeship” of our fickle bay conditions and did so with a smile. Great to have them participating and we hope they will be back again often.

The star of the show was without a doubt the very well prepared and superbly sailed boat, Willie Tippit, from Tacoma. Jon Thompson and Debbie Yeend trailered the boat here via Anacortes. They are no strangers to our waters as competed here before in T. Birds. Seems the almost perfectly smooth bottom, Gresham rudder and crisp new Ullman sails did what they were meant to as they started out with a trio of wins. Then pandemonium as they hit a raft of kelp and in the panicked attempt to work free of it they somehow lost their motor well plug. Without this the boat is just not in the race so they dropped out and quickly went to the visitors dock, searched the idle boats in the fleet, borrowed a motor well plug from an idle boat, scraped off barnacles and jammed plug in place. Got back out in time for next race and only had to take one DNF. Fortunately that became a throw-out. In spite of that adversity they still managed to eak out a one point overall lead on our long time fleet champions Tom and Steve Lowdon on Kelsib. Alga-Y was not far off the pace either and we did manage a few moments of delight with a couple of bullets which gave us a feeling that if we could just get through that initial traffic jam we had a reasonable chance.

Very close, always, was Trevor Hayward on Final Merry with his quick thinking crew, Duncan Davies and Christina Schallenberg. Trevor is certainly still a formidable force on the race course and his enthusiasm is enduring. Gerry Porter and Peter Blencowe were out there with good old Rock N Roll and we saw plenty of them on the course as well with some brilliant moments the best of which was a lead on the fleet snatched away by a large raft of Kelp. I noticed Rock N Roll chewing at our heals several times and sometimes showing us theirs to confirm moments of great success. David Bleakney sailed Bluebird with able crew Graham Diamond. Graham is one of the clubs up and coming junior sailors and I am sure he learned many valuable lessons on racing tactics during a weekend with his capable veteran skipper. Peter Coy who is largely responsible for keeping our fleet organisation going, was out there with his ever reliable crew, Glenn Wright and Bob Fuchs. They got La Galatea going well at times and we enjoyed several sessions of tactical maneuvering.

Once we both sailed into a nasty windless hole and squirmed back and forth searching zephyrs until Alga-Y caught a puff and managed to pull away. It never ceases to amaze me just how reasonable all this fun is. The slick boat from Tacoma, Willie Tippit, was salvaged from a storage yard where it had been neglected and was full of mouldy cushions and covered in gunge and mildew. They picked up this gem for $500.00 cleaned up the boat, buffed the hull, put an excellent rudder and new sails on and presto, they had a winner! Sounds simple but fact is they also have tonnes of sailing expertise, and they did certainly put a lot of elbow grease into the boat but out of that they have a very fun sailing craft and a truck load of trophies with their name on.

Included in the trophies was the Harry Marshall Sportsmanship award. This was well deserved as not only had they travelled from afar but had dealt with adversity and come out victorious. Another point of interest was discussion around Spinnakers. Both Vancouver fleet 38 and Tacoma Fleet 8 noticed that we have our boats rigged for spinnakers and are going to encourage this venue in their fleets. Perhaps in the future we will see Cal 20 championships regattas that include flying the kite!

For those looking ahead, there was talk of a good contingent of Cal 20s heading up to the Cowichan Bay regatta in August. Also talk of a “Regional Championship” to be held in Anacortes. Stay tuned for more info to come on that one. Saturday night we all gathered round a long table in RVYC dining room and enjoyed a hearty meal together as we expounded on the successes and upsets of the day along with our usual optimism for bright things in the future.

First place honours went to Jon Tompson and Debbie Yeend on Willie Tippit who were awarded the Canadian Championship Hazelton Trophy and the Fleet 13 regatta Max Young trophy.

'First Fleet 13 boat was recognized by the venerable Stan Howell memorial trophy going to Tom and Steve Lowdon on Kelsib. In addition Jon Thompson was awarded the Harry Marshall Sportsmanship Trophy in recognition of all of his efforts in getting to Vitoria.

The finale was time to kick back on the patio with some thirst quencher as we savoured the warmth of the June afternoon sun covered off a few final sea stories and distributed the hard earned trophies.



This article was posted on Mon, 26th Aug 2013