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Member News 


This page is dedicated to the sailing adventures and  misadventures of all the Gorgeworthy members of Hood River Yacht Club!


Whidbey Race Week 2007

August 2007/Lance Staughton


On July 22nd nine Hood River Yacht Club members descended upon Oak Harbor Marina for Whidbey Island Race Week on Lance Staughton's S2 9.1 SymbiosisSunday afternoon saw a nice practice.  With the boat successfully changed from delivery mode up the coast to stripped out race mode the crew managed to settle right into the groove - at the tent party that is!  Followed by the best (maybe second best) fleet party at Whidbey as the returning crew got to see old friends (and enemies) on five P-30 class boats that normally race level. Not enough boats entered this year to race level, but new friends on new boats were made.  Monday after the heads were cleared (sort of) from the nights festivities we headed out to Penn Cove in cloudy skies but with nice wind.  Once you do Whidbey you seem to always want to come back (despite the skipper's tantrums and yelling).  So returning crew were veterans Laney Gale and Josh Sceva providing the muscle in cockpit trimming jib and joined by Lore Sterr trimming the chute. In the pit, managing a multitude of lines was another great veteran Marie Ulhr with newcomer to Whidbey Todd Hilstad trimming main and working hard, constantly trying to improve our performance.  Bow was well handled by Jon Copper and assisted by Scott at mast and Tamara Rogers. Tamara moved into a superb upwind driver role towards the middle of the week bumping the skipper to a tactical role. An unfortunate trend that continued all week was poor starts - and the first race was no exception.  Symbiosis showed superior downwind speed all week and  managed to catch up and round the last of 5 marks(?) in second place only to have trouble tacking the jib (caught on the spreader) and slowing down and getting a light tap on the stearn from our sister boat Rubicon. With them having to do circles, the skipper concentrated on looking for other boats to cover (by handicap) as Symbi was to far behind the superbly sailed J-29 first place boat Here and Now who went on to sweep the first 8 of 9 races.  Well, number 2,  is when ahead cover, cover, cover - Symbi's crew didn't even look at Rubicon who went out to the corner in a dying breeze only to get a huge shift and increase in wind speed to reach across and finish in front of us.  Symbi took third in our fleet of 11 and followed with a dissapointing but soon to be typical 9th.  A nice team dinner was had by all after the usual tent party debauchery.  A trend that continued thru Friday evening with mussel night and barbeques at tent city a huge grassy vacant downtown city block that is overwhelmed by tents, RVs, cars, a few dogs and bikes,skateboards and beer kegs (imagine that) of about half the crew of the around 100 boats that race at W.I.R.W.  The partly cloudy days mostly went away by Weds. and so did Symbiosis' mistakes.  Crew work was crisp and mistakes few for the latter half of the week but Symbi couldn't quite correct out finishing one day 2 and 8 seconds behind the next closest boats.  Another tent party and a visit by Captain Morgan kept Team Symbiosis on track.  With the oddities of sailboat scoring (one throwout) we found ourselves in 10th place after 8 races never having finished worse than NINTH!   Symbi threw out the lowest score of anyone all week - meaning all but Here and Now had at least a 10 or 11.  Unusually long races and great race committee work saw races run late into the day and in a few unusual spots in Penn Cove.  Day 5 with one race schedule topped off the week.  So here is a more blow by blow of a typical Race week day.  Up around 7 - 8 a.m. off to the showers and head , get the daily race paper with yesterdays photos and results.  Breakfeast at the RV or downtown.  Gather up food and drinks and arrive at the boat around 10.  Strip the boat of sleeping bags and cushions and trash.  Do any repairs, such as tweak the rigging, replace a broken lifeline, tape a few holes in sails and head out to the race course. This Friday the traditional Mojitos were served to us from the P-30 boat Manta Ray.   Due to low tides getting out of the harbor the last race started late out in Saratoga Passage.  The wind died and races were abandoned but lo and behold the race committee moved over to Penn Cove and the wind piped up immediately and we started a long final course with an unusual reaching leg after 3 o'clock.  Despite skipper grumblings about no lanes to pass in on the reaching leg we managed a good start, called great shifts  and proceeded to leebow a few boats at most windward marks.  Following about half our fleet and the fleet in front blindly around the reaching mark and then gybing we managed our best strategical move of the week by gybing early , then heating up to fly closely past the mark and by 3 boats into 3rd.  A hard fought battle with great spin trim by Laney and Lore kept us around 3rd at the mark.  Despite a loose cover upwind we managed to again slam a few competitors includung our arch enemy (who shall not be named) and flew downwind to a 1st place in the last race , the only boat to manage this besides the J-29 (That was relaxing this last day).  Great spirits were had and imbibded by all and the skipper managed to sprain an ankle on the way into port around 5:30 p.m.  A happy crew enjoyed the tent party again and a few great crew members headed out as Symbiosis' 9th race week with crew all from Hood River came to a glorious end !!!!


 Columbia Gorge One-Design

   August 2007


A number of HRYC members were out in the windy CGOD regatta expertly run by the Columbia Gorge Racing Association in Cascade Locks on August 4-5.


Eben Russell was out on his 5o5, Border Crossing, with crew Rob Woelful.  Despite a torn mainsail which sidelined Eb for most of the Saturday races, he still managed a respectable 9th out of 14 boats  -- in a really tough fleet.


Andy and Jaime Mack were out on their Tasar, with Tyler Bech and Tracie Bech out as well.  Tyler reported a massive yard-sale on Sunday's last windy race -- losing rudder, tiller, and centerboard!  The Macks came in second in the event -- this year's Tasar Nationals -- congrats Andy and Jaime!

 Racing Report

   June 2007/Jim Ealer


Eben Russell and Jim Ealer from HRYC started off the month by sailing the Santa Cruz 5o5 Regatta out of Santa Cruz Yacht Club on June 2 and 3. 


On Saturday, the initial weather forecast looked sketchy -- foggy and 5 to 10 knots of breeze.  The fog burned off, however, and winds quickly built into the 18-25 range with some 3 to 4 foot waves.   Eb and Jim suffered a few gear failures on the first day of racing, including a broken vang and broken earwigs. 


Sunday provided more of the same, with an epic some epic Santa Cruz conditions in 18 to 25 knots of breeze and 3 to 4  foot swell.


An aside here about earwigs... If you don't know what earwigs are, well... you're lucky... the 5o5 has way too many control lines, the function of which seem to be to get sucked into a spinnaker block at just the wrong time :-).  In all seriousness, earwigs control the height at which the trapeze lines exert force on the mast.  On a downwind legs -- like a windy spinnaker reach with the crew trimming chute from the wire -- having a high trap wire attachment allows the crew's weight to offset the force of the spin halyard and keep the top of the mast from inverting... and thus helping prevent catastrophic mast failure. 


On upwind legs, however, having the trap lines connected this high--a couple of feet above the spreaders--would put a lot of windward load on the mast tip, with little or no support from the shrouds.  This can cause the mast to tip to bend to windward -- this is either very slow, or, if the crew is heavy enough, bends the mast permanently.


So, the fix is to have the trap lines connected high on the mast for the downwind legs, with a separate line that pulls the trap lines tight against the mast at shroud level for upwind legs.  This line is called the "earwigs."



 Racing Report

   May 2007/Jim Ealer


May was a busy month for HRYC members' racing schedule, as members took to the water (and the road) to participate in regattas up and down the West Coast.


Lance Staughton sailed the Melges 24 Worlds in Santa Cruz -- 60 boats in windy, wavy classic Santa Cruz conditions!  Lance said that on the final day of racing, with big swell and gusts pushing 30 knots, five boats broke masts, and several more had badly bruised egos.


Andy and Jaime Mack sailed their Tasar,  Spring Has Sprung, to a second place finish in the Seattle SOCKS regatta out of Shilshole Bay.  The first day of racing was more Gorge-like than Puget-like, with 25-knot winds and gnarly puffs marching in from the South.  The breeze settled into milder 10-15 knot conditions on Sunday.


Eben Russell and Jim Ealer were also at SOCKS on on Eb's 5o5 Border Crossing.   The Gorge had prepared Eb and Jim well for the windy conditions on Saturday -- which doesn't mean that they didn't capsize a few times just to show off their boat-righting skills.  Fortunately the only major injury was a broken spin pole.  They finished sixth out of the ten boats in the 5o5 fleet -- not bad considering the strength of the fleet (Carl and Carol Buchan took the regatta).


Lance Staughton was a busy man in May, also doing race committee for the SOCKS centerboard fleet.  Kudos to Lance for making the trip to Seattle to support Pacific NW racing!


Lance also did the Swiftsure ( on the Express 37 Declaration of Independence... making it a busy sailing month for Lance!


The Mojito crew---Doug Archbald, Meg McPherrin and Ruben Cleaveland--went down to Eugene Yacht Club for the Memorial Day Regatta.  The wind on Saturday was apparently light, and got lighter and very shifty--and cold--on Sunday.  Not many Holder 20s showed up, so they ended up sailing the PHRF-B fleet -- and taking home the winner's trophy!  More details on the event can be found at Eugene Yacht Club's website.



 The Commodore in Valencia

   May 2007/Brian Petros


Hello from Port Americas Cup!


I arrived in Valencia, Wednesday May 2nd, and after meeting our good friend Christa she took us straight to Port Americas Cup where we caught the action from inside the Team Victory Challenge base.


Racing got off to a slow start as the wind was light but soon picked up. It was an action packed day as there where 12 races scheduled to make up for lost time. Victory Challenge easily won their first race of the day as the Chinese where late to the start with only a genoa flying NO MAIN SAIL!?


In their second race of the day Victory Challenge lined up with BMW Oracle who is at the top of the series. Victory challenge was able to get in front and hold their position until the last weather mark where BMW Oracle significantly closed the gap with a masterful rounding. As the wind was diminishing on the final run it was BMW Oracle who stayed in the puffs and scored another 2 points. BMW Oracle and Luna Rossa ended the day tied for 1st for the series and they are scheduled to meet on the race course today. 


That's all for now.


Brian Petros



"Greetings from a Past Member"

    April 2007 / Howard Barbour




A brief look at your website reminds me that it has been 20 years since I sailed at Hood River.


After leaving the Mid Columbia I spent nine years in Arctic Alaska and have now retired to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, were I serve on the board of Sail Orcas, a group of sailors dedicated to teaching sailing and the sponsorship of a high school sailing team.... When I was in the HRYC the Santana's were the bane of my life, they would beat me in heavy air and then I would have to give them time!


Stan had a Santana 22 when I was there, used to win everything with it, Charlie had a Moore 24, he had to beat Stan by 10 minutes or more to win, as I recall. I still have my Albin Vega 27, we looked at bigger boats last year, but I couldn't find one that was as well built as the Vega, thus we had all kinds of extra cash to spend on the old boat!


Give my best to any of the veteran members who may still be around, Stan, Barry, the Capovillas, Lori Sterr.


All the best,


Howard Barbour

360 376 2894.



"Still Better than the Super Bowl"

    February 2007 / Randy Johnston


So, had little interest in the game, for a few years now, I've enjoyed the playoffs better than the Super Bowl.  And usually the commercials will at least get me to watch the game, but even that didn't hold me this year.  And on the nicest day so far this year, there wasn't a chance I was going to be inside.


'Bout 1100 I went down to the boat, de-winterized, fired up and left.  Wanted someplace close, but a little protected from the light easterlies, and with a sunset view.  Was going to try Koberg's, in the shallow sand lee, but figured the freeway noise would be loud, and would be in the shadow of the Gorge, so just anchored off SDS.


Nice day, smoked a stogie, got lots of sun.  Kinda tired, so when the sun went behind a cloud, thought I'd go below, grab a nap.  Just starting to doze, noticed the wind was increasing, but what the heck, the anchor alarm was on the GPS.  Boat was moving a lot, so added another twenty feet of line to the twenty feet on the sea anchor off the stern.


Which was fine until about kickoff, as it turned out. The wind had picked up more, 16knots, gust to twenty, and I was somewhat protected, and the short scope I had out on the achor in ten feet was insufficient.  Whipping side to side, the anchor was dragging, the alarm was going off, and the phone was ringing. 


No big deal, went up, let out about sixty feet of scope.  Hour or so later, it seemed like the boat was swinging more than she should be, and there's the sea anchor right behind the stern.  Huh?  Line's in a big loop, oh sh**, when we dragged, the boat drifted down on the sea anchor, and wrapped the rudder or prop.  Twenty minutes of my tugging and pulling from both sides of the line had it wedged between the hull and rudder shaft nicely.  Considering stripping and going in, but... brrrr.... 


Finally managed to get the sea anchor in the boat, untied, and work the line loose enough to pull out.  Next workout came about 1730 trying to get the anchor out myself.  Amazing how twenty knots will drive an anchor in mud.  Boat in gear until it came up over the anchor, then the wind would drive the boat sideways.  Run back, take it out of gear, run forward, get a few more feet, or inchs, run back put in gear, repeat as needed.  Finally, with the anchor line vertical had to drive the boat ahead to pull the anchor, then brought up an extra ten pounds of mud...  Nice little sail back.


'Course all the dock lines at set for stern in, and I'm by myself, and it's still blowing 12-18 in the marina.  So five tries to get the boat lined up and in.  Greg Leion and friend were there, so he grabbed the boat.  Late last night before my toes finally warmed up...


Have an adventure you'd like to share?  Contact the club webmaster and let us know!