February 19, 2017

Rain and strong wind mark Arizona Yacht Club’s 2017 Leukemia Cup-Birthday Regatta sailed March 17-19: Friday: Gorgeous. Saturday: Not so much. Sunday: Better, but who needs cold and rainy?

Lake Pleasant seen from atop the canyon wall

Obviously the weather gods hadn’t read the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s tourism brochure that called for balmy, warm, and sunny days with light to moderate winds. As the California coast was getting blasted with weather, Arizona experienced the outcroppings of those western storms with winds as high as 20 knots at times and rain. Did someone mentioned that it rained…and was cold? Whatever! It was still a great weekend of Viper racing with good competition, fun shore side activities, and the traditional great Viper sailor camaraderie.

Stormy skies over the AYC Leukemia Cup and Birthday Regatta

When it was over, Jeff Grange, racing Venom with his wife Caroline and fellow Santa Barbara sailor Mike Cooney, had mowed down the Viper competition: his single “bad” race (a third) tossed out, leaving him with a total of 9 points in 9 scored races. The headline noted his “buckling down” because Grange won the overall prize of this western-themed regatta—a huge custom cowboy belt buckle. We can’t wait to see him wearing that over his hiking pants.

Caroline and Jeff Grange with Mike Cooney to right.

Tim Carter (Long Beach, CA) and the host club’s Tony Chapman fought an epic fight for second as their point differential was one or two points throughout the 10 race regatta. Tim took a one-point lead on Friday and clung to it through Sunday. Onboard Carter’s Cobra was Class Admin Buttons Padin and Phoenix/SoCal racer Luce Sahali. Chapman’s Little Wing was crewed by Peter Beardsley and local Jonathan Abel-Millman. Padin and Beardsley, both from Larchmont (NY) Yacht Club, had flown in for the regatta looking for some fun in the sun. What they encountered met only part of that description.

Tony Chapman, Jeff Grange, and Tim Carter

“For me, this was only my second time sailing anything in fresh water…and that was a joy,” noted Padin who continued “However the lake…situated 150 feet below the canyon rim…and huge Sonora cacti just 100 yards beyond the windward…mark was so different from my normal Long Island Sound sailing that I felt like a tourist the entire regatta.”

Beardsley noted, “It’s a wild venue. The racing was really close and the hospitality was excellent. It was a bit of bad luck to be there for two of the 10 days they’ll get precipitation this year; but I feel like a jerk complaining about rain in the desert, and it may have been three of the best wind days on the lake this year.”

Kelly Beaver’s Mini Bar

Tony Chapman and Kelly Beaver host the regatta for the Vipers and Kelly is always there the first night to open her renowned Mini Bar. Now, we’ve all read about this alcoholic “Mini Bar” phenomenon reading previous AYC Leukemia Cup reports…but it wasn’t until we saw that the “bar” was actually her red BMW Mini with the back lid open acting as the post race bar that it finally clicked.

Even with the chilly and “damp” weather, the racing was great, the partying was legendary (including Mike Hester dislocating his shoulder only to have Nick Kofski’s crew Betsy Carson reset it), and the fellowship was unmatched.

Rachel Beardsley surrounded by Yahoos Peter Beardsley (L) and Buttons Padin (R)

I know many SoCal sailors will be back for the 2018 AYC Leukemia Cup Regatta as well as two New Yorkers. BTW, their skippers gave to Padin and Beardsley their key prize keepers (cowboy hats) and the two looked like total Yahoos getting on the plane the next day!

Reported by Buttons Padin




Regatta report and sailing Photos HERE

Loooong walk to the marina on the lake.


Vipers on the line for 2017 AYC Leukemia Cup and Birthday Regatta