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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz’

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Many have called Bill Lee’s Merlin the boat that launched the West Coast’s love of high speed downwind sailing.  The ultra-narrow icon has been bastardized and frankenboated to near death (thanks Leif Beiley) in her recent years of Great Lakes racing, but with her long-awaited return to a Santa Cruz that once loved and worshipped her, all that is about to change.  For a beautifully written look at the full and fascinating history of one of the sport’s most important milestones, click over here.  Here’s the arrival report from SA’er “sleddog”, from the thread. Photos from the same dog.

At 9:30 this morning, with police escort lights flashing, Driver Mike with MERLIN in tow made the last turn, gently bottomed out on the boatyard hill, and MERLIN was home.
Mike had been delayed at Donner Pass Ag Station when an inspector, doing his job, had found a Zebra Mussel infestation in the keel box and canting mechanism and quarantined the boat.  It took Mike 4 hours to find someone who would hot pressure wash the boat….but he seemed in good humor and no worse for wear, given the size and length of his eye catching cargo.
post-17096-0-51626300-1446061441Three of MERLIN’s original TransPac crew were on hand for her arrival:  Designer/builder Bill Lee, “Bosun” Dave Wahle, and Phil “Cosmic Flush” Vandenberg.  As MERLIN was backed into the boatyard for unloading by TraveLift, there was a brief moment of serendipity when MERLIN passed close astern of Bill Lee’s first ocean racing boat, the shoal draft, centerboard, John Alden designed, 38′ FRIDOLF, on which Bill crewed in Southern California in the mid-60’s, and later on Monterey Bay.
There’s a lot to be done to make MERLIN ocean worthy again.  First up is to locate a used TP-52 keel to replace the canting monstrosity. Bill has feelers out from Canada to Mexico.  The “leaky” canard trunk has to be cut out, and glassed over.  Even though Bill agreed the forward sloping, carbon fiber, cabin top is ugly, I doubt it is going anywhere soon. There are bigger fish to fry.   Ditto the ” MERLIN’S REATA”  graphics, a leftover from when she was sold to a Texas restauranteer.
Everyone was smiling this morning to see MERLIN back home. I’m sure there will be more stories to come


October 30th, 2015 by admin

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5o5 NAC D4 14-17-54 P1150504

Craig gives us the day-by-day from last week’s International 5O5 North Americans.  Full results here, photo galleries here from John Navas, and get into the granular action on their Facebook Page here.

After a brief postponement to wait for the fog to clear, Day 2 of the North American Championship delivered two races in classic Santa Cruz conditions ranging from 18-28 knots. Downwind boat speeds approached 20 knots in the second race of the day as the top teams worked hard to keep their boat ripping and upright. There was some swimming and some carnage, including several broken rudder fittings and a broken boom. All boats should be back on the water tomorrow.

Mike Martin and Adam Lowry in USA 9106 won both of today’s races as they showed superior speed and boat handling. Mike Holt and Carl Smit in USA 9115 also showed great speed and consistency to finish the day with a 2nd and a 3rd. Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn still hold the overall series lead, which now includes a throwout after 5 races. Other notables from the day were 505 rookie Michael Menninger and crew Matthias Kennerknecht as well as 45 year class veteran Jeff Miller and his crew Pat Diola; both boats finished the day with two top-5 finishes.

For those of you who don’t know, Mike Martin is the only 505 sailor ever to win the World Championships as both a skipper and a crew. Adding to the drama, Mike Martin won his first Worlds crewing for the regatta leader Howie Hamlin. Mike Matin and Mike Holt have become the guys to beat when the breeze is on ever since finishing 1-2 and the 2009 Worlds in San Francisco. Keep an eye on Mike and Mike if the breeze continues to rip this weekend.

DAY 3 had three races totaling eight for the series leading into the last day of the event. We had an on-time start and the first race of the day was sailed in 10-18 knots as the seabreeze tried to establish itself. The second race of the day started in 18 knots but quickly pumped up to 25-30 knots for the rest of the day resulting in some fantastic racing conditions. The waves were larger than Day 2 which resulted in excellent surfing downwind and boat speeds in excess of 20 knots.

The top four teams set themselves apart from the rest of the fleet on Day 3. Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn continued their streak of consistency, but unfortunately had to retire from Race 7 with a broken main halyard; they maintain the overall lead going into the final day. No surprise to anyone, Mike Martin/Adam Lowry and Mike Holt/Carl Smit moved up to second and third respectively. It will be a tough battle on Sunday for the Championship title, with the top three boats all within ten points of one another and another classic Santa Cruz forecast on tap.

The real story of Day 3 was Michael Menninger and veteran crew Matthias Kennerknecht who won the day with a 1, 3, 1 to climb the standings all the way to 4th place. Michael and Matthias are borrowing Mike Martin’s second boat, USA 8714, which won the 2009 worlds in Santa Cruz. Michael may be new to the 505 class, but he is no stranger to high performance sailing coming off last year’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. Michael is exactly the type of sailor we are trying to attract to the class, and we hope this got him hooked and he continues to race with us. Now is a great time to get into the class with many great used boats available and the 2017 World Championship taking place in Annapolis Maryland. I personally cant think of a better boat and a better group of people to spend my time racing against.

Day 4 – the final day of the 505 North Americans was raced in a mix of conditions ranging from 10-20 knots. There was high drama in the first race of the day, as Mike Holt and Carl Smit jumped out in front with the lead pack while Howie Hamlin/Andy Zinn and Mike Martin/Adam Lowry were back in the pack forced to grind their way back. Both chasing teams made big moves on the first downwind leg; choosing to gybe-set and stay in more pressure. On the second beat, Martin/Lowry had clawed back to third, while Hamlin/Zinn were deep enough that they would have lost the regatta lead without picking up more boats.

The courses sailed for the series were primarily the “505 Worlds Course” which now consists of a windward-leeward-windward-reach-reach-windward-leeward- finish. Before the class changed to the larger spinnaker in 2002, the Worlds Course had two sets of reaches and one run. As a result, the class veterans not only love the reach legs, but they are much better at them then the younger guys. This was very apparent as we saw Hamlin/Zinn grinding down boat after boat in Race 9 all the way back to 5th place by the last leeward mark. Unfortunately for them, Mike Martin had passed Augie Diaz/Fritz Lanzinger which meant that they only had a one point series lead. Hamlin and Zinn had a great last beat to move into 4th place, but Matt Woodworth and I passed them on the downwind and keep the overall standings close.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.40.09 AMThe race committee planned for two races to close out the series, but unfortunately the seabreeze faded to zero during the second race and abandoned the race on the second to last leg as the time limit of 80 minutes was approaching. This meant that Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn had secured the 2014 North American title. This was Howard’s 7th North American’s victory and the first in over a decade (1990, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2014). Note that this year Howie turned 60 and has been racing in the 505 class for 38 years; to still be at the top of his game after all these years is an incredible testament to his hard work and dedication to the 505 class. A big congratulations as well to veteran crew Andy Zinn who wins his first North Americans after many hard fought years in the class. Pat Diola was awarded the Dave Cahn Sportsmanship award for 2014.

A huge thank you to the Santa Cruz Yacht Club for hosting an amazing event as well as all the sponsors, organizers, volunteers, race committee, and everyone who devoted their valuable time and energy to making this one of the best Championships that the class has hosted in recent memory.


May 28th, 2014 by admin

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More from Craig at the 5O5 North Americans in Santa Cruz, with thanks to John Navas for the photo.  Results here.

Today we had three races sailed in a southwesterly breeze that ranged from 6-10 knots. The conditions were atypical for this venue, but provided some great tactical racing that was fair and challenging. Holding lanes was critically important and the teams that kept their boats powered up and in the best pressure ended the day on top.

Two teams delivered standout performances; Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn in USA 9080 and Augie DIaz and Fritz Lanzinger in USA 8808 ended the day with all top three finishes and all three race wins between them. Particularly impressive was in Race 2 when Howie and Andy hit the gate launch at the start, did a 360 to exonerate their penalty, and recovered to finish second in the race!

After racing, a competitor’s de-brief was held on the SCYC deck where the top finishers from the day led a discussion about what they were doing to get their boat around the course the fastest. One the best things about sailing in the 505 class is the open sharing of information and the ability for teams in the middle to back of the fleet to be able to ask questions of the top teams. This allows new sailors in the class to be able to get up to speed quicker and have more fun on the race course.

The forecast is for Day 2 is again on the lighter side, but the weekend should deliver a classic Santa Cruz thermal. Stay tuned as the series continues through the weekend.


May 24th, 2014 by admin

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The International 5O5 has been full of anarchy for a lot longer than we have, and with over 40 teams ready to go in Santa Cruz, their NA Champs are seriously stacked.  Lots of past NA and world champions in the mix including Howie Hamlin, Mike Martin, Augie Diaz, Drew Buttner, Macy Nelson, and on and on. You can check out entries, schedule, and more at the event site here.

Measurement just finished, and racing begins today.  The forecast is for atypical light conditions on Thurs/Fri, but back to the normal Santa Cruz seabreeze by the weekend. We’ll have a daily report from 5Oh webmaster Craig Thompson, and we expect some epic photo/video if the breeze dials up as forecast.  A handful of teams were out on Monday in more than 30 knots…one of the things we dig so much about 5O5s is the fact they go out when everyone else stays in.  Another thing we love about the class is its awesome history; for instance, check out this origin story from “1001 Boats”…

More from Craig:

Hey Anarchists!  We had a training event last weekend which was sponsored and coached by Glaser Sails (Jay and Pease Glaser). The conditions on Sunday were an epic 22-28 kts and 5-7 foot swell. Jay and Pease Glaser were awarded our class service award (Dennis Surtees Service Award) for their continued support of our class clinics. Find a variety of update on our social mashup here, or you can go straight to our Facebook Page here for the quickest updates.


May 22nd, 2014 by admin