screwed in stockton

We told you there was some major NoCal fuckery at the Ditch Run, and here it is. This just in from Jon Shampain, 1/3 owner of the Hobie 33, ‘Still Crazy’.

We want to preface this write up by saying that it is not your typical “I don’t like my rating” rant. It is more of a “This idiot decided our rating was wrong based on the wrong information and sail configuration and he won’t admit an error or fix it” rant.

We recently brought our Hobie 33, ‘Still Crazy’ from Southern California to San Francisco for the 2014 Delta Ditch Run from Richmond to Stockton. We sailed with our friends and family while incurring many expenses, which include but are not limited to trailering our 33 foot boat, hotel rooms for crew, and meals for the weekend. The Ditch has always been fun and the people warm and inviting. And so, the time and effort coming to the regatta has always been worth it in the past.

We have done this race a number of times before. We last raced in 2009, and rated 87 (3rd in class/51st overall). We were signed up last year but pulled out due to a family medical issue. We were listed at an 87 then as well.  This is a rating for a Hobie with the small ‘J’ length spinnaker pole, standard Hobie 33 spinnaker hoist and a 3 second penalty for modifying our boat. We have an open transom, modified toe rail, and interior. The boat still weighs over 4000 pounds like all Hobie 33s. For the record, many Moore 24s racing One Design with no rating penalty have done similar modifications. This year I applied again and used the Stockton Sailing Club Rating form and declared our boats configuration. We submitted 87 for the rating as it has been our rating configuration for years. We then received an email from Tom Lueck, SSC Ditch Run PHRF Committee, well before the regatta asking us to confirm our boats declared configuration. We did and we only used one small girthed symmetrical spinnaker for the entire race. We assured him of our boats configuration. All seemed well.

After sailing a wonderful race, believing we had won our class and receiving congratulations from many of our competitors, we packed up our boat, enjoyed the dinner at SSC and drove 7 hours through the night home to Southern California. Sunday, we found out on line that our rating had been changed to 78 and that we were listed in fourth. As we looked into it, we found that our rating had changed on the registration page as well and that it was not an accident. I printed the ratings the day before the race and we were listed us at an 87. The morning of the race, Richmond Yacht Club had a posted list, also showing our rating at an 87.


  • All boats in Division 1 except ours used PHRFNC Buoy based ratings

  • The Buoy rating for a Hobie with short pole and hoist is 93

  • The buoy rating for a Hobe with the standard pole and hoist is 87

  • Still Crazy in SF/Ditch configuration has the standard hoist but short pole. That would be a 90 rating. With an additional 3 second penalty for our deck modification, we come to the 87 that we have always been, and always declared.

  • Immediately after discovering the rating change, we started inquiring as to what happened. We left several emails and attempted to contact SSC numerous times. We eventually received a call from William Humphreys, claiming to be the Stockton Sailing Club PHRF representative, who told us that he had, in fact, changed our rating. He couldn’t tell us what prompted him  changed our rating after the event but did say that they had looked at our PHRF SoCal rating and saw it was a 78 so they used that rating. He later wrote to us, changed his story and said that actually he had seen a PHRFSC certificate that had us listed with a 9 second per mile penalty so he took the PHRFNC base rating and took 9 seconds away.

There are many reasons why the data William claimed to have used is wrong.

  1. First and foremost, it’s simply not true. We looked at both of our PHRFSC certificates. One certificate has us rated at an 87 with standard Hobie 33 poles, asymmetrical spinnakers, square top mainsail, and deck/interior modifications. The other certificate has us rated at 93 with standard poles, standard spinnaker hoist, and deck/interior modifications. Neither of these are representative of our Ditch configuration. This should have been clear if he had read our Ditch Run application. The 9 second penalty he later refers to includes the 3 for the deck/interior modification and another 6 for a square top mainsail, again, not our configuration for the Ditch Run. The 87 rating in NorCal already includes the adjustment for the deck/interior modification and we didn’t use a square top mainsail. If we used a SoCal rating with a short pole, we would have been a 96 for the Ditch!

  1. We declared our Ditch Run configuration perfectly and carefully on the application.

  1. 14 days elapsed between registering and Tom Lueck’s email asking us to confirm our configuration. After calling Tom personally to confirm, another 12 days passed before start of the regatta.

  1. We were at the regatta and no one approached us to inquire about a potential issue or a question about our boats rated configuration. We printed the ratings before driving north, we looked at the posted ratings Friday, and then again the morning of the race. All postings had us at an 87 rating. Our crew was at Richmond Yacht Club all day Friday drinking in the bar and later having dinner, and then again Saturday morning. How hard would have it been to come and talk with us? Instead they let us drive 16 hours, spend around 6K, and waste 3 days, then waited for us to get home and discover for ourselves the changes they had made without talking with any one of us.

  1. William told us that it was our fault for not attaching an expired 2007 PHRF NC rating certificate that showed we had been rated 87 in the past.

  1. The SIs/NOR/Registration ask for a Stockton Rating application OR a PHRF NC certificate. As our 2007 Certificate had expired, we simply filled out the appropriate SSC application with our configuration and rating that matched what we had been in every Ditch Run we am aware of. We filled it out accurately and carefully. It was accepted and posted on line along with our class designation and an 87 rating. Nothing had formally changed as of our starting time Saturday morning.

This is extremely unacceptable and leaves our stomachs churning. We feel that it was done with malicious intent and needs to be corrected.

Other interesting facts while we’re at it:

  • The SI’s say that the race will be scored PHRF ‘time on time’. For the record it was not.

  • Before the start of the race, the other Hobie 33 owed our Hobie 33 3 seconds per mile. He was using larger spinnaker poles and larger spinnakers.  After the race, we owed him 6 seconds per mile. This was enough swing for him to beat us on corrected time.

  • Our Hobie is stock mast, boom, keel, rudder and short aluminum spin pole and small spinnakers in SF/Ditch configuration.

  • Their Hobie is a double spreader mast with runners and longer poles and larger spinnakers.

  • We emailed our plight to the race directors and commodores of both yacht clubs and heard nothing.

Anyway, that is our story. We’re not sure why William Humphreys of Stockton Sailing Club used our square top mainsail and longer pole, wider spinnaker configuration to rate our short pole, narrow spinnaker, standard mainsail configuration. Perhaps we will never know. But we do know that he has refused to do the right thing, and by failing to do so, our race was effectively ruined.

Perhaps somebody higher up will step up and make things right.

Jump in the thread here and comment – ed.