This year’s 2013 Pacific Coast Championships took place in one of the most remote and scenic venues on the west coast – Huntington Lake in the High Sierras. This year marked the 60th Anniversary for the High Sierra Regatta, hosted and run by Fresno Yacht Club volunteers.

Footage from one of the Friday starts captured by Glenn Vanheel:

Friday, the Vipers opted to sail an additional 3 races for the PCCs, which turned out to be the only windward/leeward races of the regatta. Special thanks to our own Glenn Vanheel and Mark Heinrichs, who volunteered to be race committee from the shore. They only had to use the I flag once after a general recall to keep the Vipers on their best behavior. The races themselves saw anything but your typical Huntington Lake breeze or courses. The boats that played it conservatively in the middle or the north shore paid out over the boats hitting the typically favored south shore. Most of the boats that played the south shore would get hooked into massive lifts and end up way overshooting the mark, letting all the boats below them sneak in to the windward mark. Steve Orsini (Kaa) had an early lead by taking a bullet in the first race, with Jim Sears (FNG) and Jay Golison (It’s All Good) taking 2nd and 3rd. Golison went on to win the last two races of the day, launching him into 1st place with Sears in 2nd and Orsini in 3rd.

Saturday was the first official day of the High Sierra Regatta with 100+ keel boats on the water. Try to imagine 100+ boats of all different speeds and sizes sharing a lake that is only 2.25 square miles — let’s just say don’t forget to take your blood pressure medication. Like clockwork, the breeze was on just in time for the races to start at 10:55am, same time every day. Competitors saw gusts up to 19 kts towards the top of the lake and lows of 6-8 kts towards the bottom. The wind was very puffy and shifty with the typical favored south shore breeze. Boats that were able to stay in phase on the south shore and catch all of the lifts made out over the boats playing the middle and north shore. Tim Carter made a huge comeback in the first race and rounded the windward mark in first after catching a nice winder off the dam straight to the mark. Golison was deep, but made a huge comeback and ended up in 1st with Carter finishing in 2nd close behind. After a 45-minute break and about 5 more knots of wind, the 2nd race was off, featuring three gybe marks on opposite sides of the lake. Boats went from almost wiping out before the gybe mark to rounding the 2nd gybe mark with no wind and confused seas. After making a 90 degree turn and drifting across the lake and rounding the 3rd gybe mark, the breeze began to turn back on and of course was cranking after the race was over. Go figure! Golison got launched, finishing the race before the rest of us could even round the leeward mark and finishing the day off with 2 bullets, securing his position in first place. Sears finished the day in 2nd, with a 3 point buffer on Carter with Orsini just 1 point away from Carter. Sunday was the last race of the regatta with the top 5 boats (minus Golison!) only separated by a few points. The pressure was on. The wind was pretty similar to Saturday, very puffy and shifty, showing the south shore favored again. With 17 Vipers all short tacking up the south shore and the breeze dissipating, there was a lot of disturbed air. This was where heroes turned to zeroes and were spit out the back. The boats able to stay out of the disturbed air and not find the holes on shore were able to keep from losing too much on the boats that played it conservatively and found winders going out across the lake in breeze. Brad Milligan rounded the weather mark in first with Sears, Golison and Mark Folkman close behind. Sears ended up taking 1st in that race securing his 2nd place position with Golison, Milligan and Folkman finishing in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively. Folkman was able to move up a couple positions into 3rd overall, with Carter finishing in 4th and Orsini in 5th.

Prelim Results:

– “It’s All Good” – Jay Golison/Steve Flam/Emily Golison – 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2 = 9

– “FNG” – Jim Sears/Evan Hoffman/Gina Liotta/Cameron Bloemeke 2, 7 , 2, 4, 3, 1 = 19

– “Fang” Mark Folkman/Jeff Johnson/ Mike Galloway – 6, 2, 6, 6, 4, 4 = 28

– “Viral” Tim Carter/Steve Bloemeke/Rachel Ellis – 5, 4, 5, 2, 5, 8 = 29

– “KAA” Steve Orsini/Garrett Johns/Scott Ellis – 1, 5, 3, 6, 7, 9 = 31

Pictures are posted on the Viper 640 Facebook Page.

Complete Results will be posted here.