Mike Hester Wins Arizona Yacht Club Birthday Regatta...but maybe NOT the Party! - Viper 640 International Class Association

January 15-17, 2016

Lake Pleasant, AZ

By Thursday afternoon, the RV was set up awaiting the arrival of Team Cobra from SoCal (Tim Carter, Steve Bloemeke and Patricia) to join with Team Nectar Sled (Mike Hester, Sarah Hester and Scott Hoffman). With a few nectars under my belt, Team Cobra arrived and the party started. The Birthday Regatta has a bit of a reputation, and it isn’t usually the predictable breeze; but rather the predictable parties and unusual events. This year was no exception. As there is no lodging on site, many of the teams rent RVs for the event as there are services that will drop off and pick up for a pretty reasonable fee. These RVs are the center of the pre and post-race gatherings. Libations were flowing as many of the other teams arrived from their distant locations. Luckily the first race on Friday wasn’t until 1PM giving the crowd that stayed up till the wee hours a bit of much needed recuperation time.

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Friday Morning saw the remainder of the teams arrive and boats being set up. With wind predictions in the 10 to 12 range and high temperatures in the mid-60s, it promised to be a nice day for sailing on Lake Pleasant.  With 11 teams set for the start of the regatta, the boats were launched and we all set out for the course. In our first outing as team Nectar Sled with crew Scott and Sarah, we were anxious to compare our boat speed with the rest of the fleet. Our first two races went pretty well with a 1, 2 finish just ahead or our RV mates and Todd Downey of Clown School. Prior to the third race, there was a significant shift causing the course to become quite skewed. It was all about the start. We hit the line pretty well and Vipers filed in to finish in much the same order as they started. As the wind began to lighten, the Viper group decided it would be prudent to call it a day and get the boats put away to hit the Tony Chapman Mini Bar. The thirsty Viper sailors, along with some of the other classes, descended on the Mini Bar (out of the back of Kelly’s Mini Cooper) like locusts. With a donation to the Leukemia Society one could have his choice of Dark and Stormy or some other beverages. After cocktail hour(s) the crews migrated down to Dillon’s for dinner. Some hung out there for a while and some made it back to the RV area to call it early after the long night before. A few hearty souls pulled another long night RV and Boathouse hopping. Rumors of Jell-O shots and Alabama shine were difficult to substantiate.

AYC-Birthday-Regatta-1618--550pxl AYC-Birthday-Regatta-1627--550pxlSaturday morning was an early start with the first gun at 9. The first two races saw some relatively steady but light breeze. The third race became interesting when the fleet split on the last leg causing some boats to lose spots and some to gain them. The final race of the day was a typical chase the breeze that you can see. At the top of the course, Nectar Sled got tangled up with a Montgomery 17 and ended up having to do turns. Turns in no breeze is no fun. After spinning, Scott spied a bit of wind on the shore and we headed to it. Sailed to is a relative term that would better be described as point the boat in that direction and drift. We were actually going away from the next mark, but felt it our only chance. Luckily, we made it to the light breeze coming from the East and slowly passed many of our competitors that were camped in the middle of the lake. We were pretty happy about our 2nd place in that race since we were DFL after the first mark. That’s lake sailing for ya. After that grueling ordeal, everyone was ready to call it a day, and not a moment too soon as our cooler was almost empty.

Saturday night was the night for the official dinner, some awards, and the auction to raise more money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After the dinner a band played and some were seen dancing like no one was watching. There was a rumor that someone may have “borrowed” a golf cart for a little stroll around the grounds, but I cannot confirm this accusation (TC). Some of the crowd had another big night and some even lost their way back to the RV area when they were delayed at the bass fishing tournament party.

Sunday morning was another early start and only one race was run. Congratulations to Court Roberts on Hyper Viper for the win on Sunday.

All in all another solid Birthday Regatta. Thanks to all of the teams that traveled in to play. With 4 teams from California, a team from Idaho and the balance from Arizona we had a good showing. One of the crews that should be recognized would be Team Boiling Point as the overall winner of the party.

As the winner of the regatta I was asked to do this write up and would be glad to share how we managed to go fast.

Boat Set Up: Followed the North Tuning Guide as we were sporting a new set of Norths. The only real exception is we went with about 2-1/2 inches of chocks and the uppers were are about 28 to 29 (never changed for the regatta)

Tactics: Scott Hoffman was awesome in putting us in the right spots on the course. He was also very good about getting us all more forward in the boat in the lighter stuff.

Boat Handling: Scott and Sarah did an excellent job getting the chute up and down with primarily Mexican douses. In light air going downwind, I followed several people’s advice (Tim Carter, Zeke Horowitz, Scott Hoffman) about sailing the boat with more heel therefore cancelling the leeward helm. We had good luck with roll tacks and in the light air that really paid dividends.

Mike Hester – Nectar Sled #107