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Gotcha! wins Santa Cruz 27 Nationals

Team repeats as National Champs

Tue, 11th Jun 2013
By Chris Winnard

Gotcha! wins Santa Cruz 27 Nationals Team repeats as National Champs
Image Credit:

The 2013 Santa Cruz 27 National Championship was held in conjunction with the inaugural ‘Made In Santa Cruz Race Week’ – week long sailing event over two weekends with activities and racing during the week. 17 SC 27’s showed up this year, once again proving the longevity of this class, which was one of the early lightweight speedsters. Racing was over three days and the SC 27’s and Moore 24’s shared the course both holding their respective National Championships.

The fleet was a lot tighter this year compared to last year’s Nationals in San Francisco and all eyes were on the fire engine red ‘Gotcha!’, last year’s winner.

The conditions were challenging with the sea breeze and Easterly offshore breeze fighting each other all three days. The race committee did a great job of rotating the race course accordingly, not an easy task!

Team Gotcha! Won the first two races on Friday but misjudged the current in the third race in a dying breeze at the first windward mark and hit it, resulting in a long and painful re-round and penalty turn. Gotcha! Finished 11th in the race and ended the day in second place behind the venerable SUMO (which means ‘Some Old Guys’ reportedly) with Rob Schuyler’s Hanalei always lurking.

The first race on Saturday was the long distance race for both classes. The fleet took off in a nice southwesterly and there were several OCS boats, one of them Gotcha! But they didn’t hear the hail and return until about 1 ½ minutes after the start so spotted the fleet about 3 minutes. Luckily it was a long race and with excellent speed the red boat worked through the fleet finally ending up third, right in front of SUMO.

Hanalei won the long distance race wire to wire with Stephanie and Andy Shwenk’s ‘Wild Rumpus’ from Anacortes, WA taking a well deserved second. The committee wisely shortened the race at the weather mark as the Easterly was developing. Congrats to Rob and crew for winning the Long Distance Race perpetual!

In the second race on Saturday, class veteran Ed Mabie dueled with Gotcha! on the first beat and took the lead with SUMO nipping Gotcha! at the weather mark. With the points getting tight SUMO and Gotcha! battled it out on the run with Ed’s ‘Yellow Belly’ pulling ahead taking the win with SUMO and Gotcha! rounding out the top three.

Going into the last day Gotcha! held a 2 point lead over SUMO with throwouts being counted. Certainly tenuous given the variable conditions. Gotcha! won the first race with SUMO in second setting up a last race showdown. However, Gotcha! spotted the breeze clocking right and jumped off the line near the boat end with SUMO down at the pin on the outside of the wheel.

Gotcha had a big lead at the weather mark and won the race with SUMO taking an eleventh. This meant they had to eat the ninth from the first race and Hanalei moved into second for the event.

Wild Rumpus, using an Ullman Redline spinnaker ended up fourth with Dave Garman and crew on ‘Giant Slayer’ with a 100% Ullman inventory taking second. Gotcha! used a new FiberPath Genoa along with their FiberPath Dynamic Main and Redline spinnaker.

Congratulations for John Ross and Joe Hagen, Gotcha!’s meticulous owners and the team of Al Lehman, Chris Winnard, Blake Davis and Ben Amen for a well deserved second Nationals win and we all look forward to next year’s event!


This article was posted on Tue, 11th Jun 2013