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SCYA Mid-winter report

Dan Merino - Team Weasel

This year's midwinter regatta saw 12 505s gathered at ABYC for the first West Coast scheduled event. Bill and I felt relaxed as we made the two hour trek north knowing that the pressure of doing well at the worlds was over and the fact that we wouldn't have to make this trip every Tuesday for the next four months. Traditionally the weather is unpredictable for this event as we've seen cancelled races due to no wind as well as for too much wind. Most of Team Tues. was rigging in the parking lot outside ABYC, inside were some of our good friends from Santa Cruz, the Pacific Northwest as well as some new faces to the 505 world. The good turnout was probably because everyone wanted to compare notes on the new big spinnakers.

Our goals for the weekend evolved as we looked over the competition in the parking lot. An immediate one was to beat USA 6992 currently owned by Brad Wheeler. This has nothing to do with Brad, but more with the boats former owner John Fracisco who initiated a grudge match when he threatened to sail the boat against us but never managed to do it. However above all, the main goal was to have fun.

Day 1
Race 1
Our boat speed seemed great in the light conditions and as a result we rounded the windward mark in first just ahead of Mike and Howie. I was thinking to myself what a great way to start a regatta and called out to them as we crossed in front "Just like the worlds huh". They immediately countered by passing us on the downwind along with Dan Thompson and Andy Zinn as well as Gummi De Milo (Andy Beeckman and Ben Benjamin). Howie and Dan seemed to pull away as we hung tough with Gummi swapping positions on several occasions. In the end Gummi got us leaving us with a fourth place.

Race 2
Race two was similar to race one. Howie and Mike got off to an early lead followed by Dan Thompson and Andy Zinn. Although they were in front they were not pulling the typical horizon job they normally do. We battled with Gummi all the way around the course only this time we came out on top. We were very stoked to beat them and were even more amazed at the company of people we were sailing with.

Race 3
Same conditions only this time Rob and Thad came on strong. Pretty amazing considering they were sailing with a small chute. As we approached the leeward mark they were slightly ahead and Bill mentioned it would take miracle to pass them on the very short upwind leg. Well, true to our name we "Weaseled" in front of them and finished fourth. The more amazing fact in this race though was the charge put on by Mike and Howie. They thought they were OCS and decided to go back to dip they line. As a result they started over a minute behind the fleet but managed to pull off a third place finish. When asked how they did it they replied "We sheeted in hard and went fast". It was truly amazing how fast these guys are.

Day 2
Race 4
This started our series of errors. Again we found ourselves hanging with the top guys and battling it out with Gummi. The wind had picked up a bit and everyone was hoping for a little wire running. On the second downwind a storm blew through the course and away we went. Gummi excels in these conditions and easily passed us. Unfortunately for us we blew the jibe and ended up rounding up and on our side allowing USA 6992 and USA 8084 to pass us. We managed to get the boat upright and stay ahead of Bailey to the finish.

Race 5
This one just started out bad when we got shot out the back at the start. We spent much of the race "catching up" and kept missing shifts as well making bad calls. We felt fortunate to finish 5th.

Race 6
Once again we made a few bad calls and topped it off by running over our spinnaker and sheet at the leeward mark allowing Dave Chatham to pass us finishing 6th.

Despite the problems on Sunday we had a great time and are plenty happy to end up fourth overall. The debrief on Saturday night quickly went from tactics and set up to the Big Chute.

Some definitions
Modified Kite… Old Ullman small kite with a panel added (currently what Team Weasel is flying).
New Kite… A scaled up version of the Ullman small kite

Most people had a modified kites. The exception was a new North, Ullman and Quantum kite. Mike and Howie flew a new Ullman on Saturday and a modified on Sunday. Mike seems to think that the modified shape is a little better and will make a great reaching kite.

No conclusions were made about the North and Quantum designs.

In general the set up was halyard at max height and topping lift right under the jib halyard. Most people had not changed the height on the pole launcher. Just about everyone is still using Proctor D's and no mast problems have been reported. There are people experimenting with different mast sections, spreader configurations and hound/trap locations however nothing conclusive has come of it yet. The most important thing that was brought up was to have some sort of positive stop on the mast ram. This is so that if you are reaching and have to blow the vang when the boom digs in the lower portion of the mast does not invert from the pressure of the pole. So far no one has reported inverting their mast so this is more of a preventative measure.

My personal observations… I thought the kite was a blast to sail in the breeze and didn't notice any sort of odd mast bend. On the reaches it seemed to lift the bow and the boat definitely goes fast.


 1    8714    HOWARD HAMLIN/MIKE MARTI ABYC/     1         1        (3)        1         1         2 
              MIKE MARTIN                   
 2    8762    DAN THOMPSON             NHYC/     2         2         1         2         2        (3) 
 3    7771    ANDY BEECKMAN/BEN BENJAM NHYC      3        (4)        2         3         3         1 
 4    6991    BILL JENKINS/DAN MERINO  SDYC      4         3         4        (6)        5         6 
 5    8084    THAD LIEB/ROB WATERMAN   ABYC      5        (7)        5         4         4         4 
 6    6992    BRAD WHEELER             BYC     	(13)-DNS   6         7         5         6         8 
 7      69    DAVE CHATHAM             NHYC    	(13)-DNS   5         8         8         7         5 
 8    7095    BAILEY WHITE             SCYC      6        (9)        6         7         8         7
 9    7156    AARON ROSS                         7         8        10        10        10       (11) 
              MARK ENGEBRETSEN              
10    8411    PAUL VON GREY                      9        10         9         9         9       (13)-DNF 
11    8559    GUY/JEANGIRARI           CBYC      8        11       (13)-OCS   11        13-DNS    10 
12    6203    ALLEN STALEY             ASTOR    10        12        11       (13)-DNS   11         9