stepping up

Richard Henry Dana considered Dana Point to be the most beautiful spot on the California Coast line.  I tend to agree. It is also home to the first retail surf shop in the world (Hobie) and the first Surfer Magazine headquarters.  Dana Point is now home to the first ever RS Tera North American Championships!
What is an RS Tera you ask?  Well it is an option for youth sailors to get into a true one design class and not drain their parents wallet at the same time.  For more information check out their website or the Wiki where they have a good page and description of the boat.
Since Dana Point is harbor is in my back yard, I made the ling ¾ mile trek down to see what it was all about.  The Dana Point Yacht Club and Dana Point Youth Foundation worked hard to pull this event off and it looked like everyone was enjoying themselves.  
31 boats signed up for the NA’s and Saturday consisted of 3 qualifiers to separate the sailors into a Gold and Silver Fleet.  PRO, Jeremy “Sarge” Quinton, mentioned that they wanted to get off more races but a huge right shift forced the RC to make some massive changes to the course.  Jeremy had this to say about the boats, “It is more consistent between the boats as far as One Design racing is concerned. It really puts the onus on the sailor to perform.  It is a great training boat and good step out of the Sabot.”
I arrived Sunday morning as the sailors were arriving and asked around the docks how the racing went and what the impression of the boats were.  There were a few early birds rigging their boats so I asked them some questions.
Miles Gordon (8 years old, Santa Monica Wind Jammers YC) said, “It’s like a Laser.  I am not allowed to sail a Laser yet so this is a good option. The wind was not too strong yesterday so it made the racing comfortable.”  His Dad chimed in to say, “The boats are great because they are easy to rig and virtually indestructible. Super friendly people and a great attitude amongst every one.”
So the next two young ladies I talked to were some of the first to their boats on Sunday… just remember that.
Mora Moro (11 years old, Cal YC) said, “I like the boats because they are faster than Opti’s which makes them more fun.  They are comfortable to sail due to the curves and design.” Mora did say she likes racing the Opti more because that is what she is used to.  About the sailing she said, “Pretty light day but there was more wind on the right side of the course.  In light air I trim the boat tight and try to heel a little. Downwind I heel to windward to try and expose the sail and have less water resistance. “  Even I learned something from Mora.
Emily Rychlik (11 years old, Westlake YC) said, “I like them because they are different and that makes them fun.  Oh and they are more comfortable.”
Sunday saw the respective fleets get 5 races off in relatively light air.   Both fleets had aggressive starts which inevitably led to some tight racing.  
Baron Banuelos (DPWYC) in the Silver Fleet showed that consistency can win the day by posting all top 4 finishes.  He only had one 1st but came away the Silver fleet winner!  Great job with some close racing. Jason Ashby had a chance going into the final race but Baron kept him at bay.
Remember the two young ladies who were at the dock early getting their boats ready?  Well they were fighting it out all day for the top spot. Remember kids (and adults) that the early bird catches the worm.  
Emily and Mora were battling it out with each other and each of them won all the races between themselves.  Mora was super aggressive at the starts and her boat handling was fantastic, Emily had consistent sailing, great mark rounding’s and solid tactics.
In the end Emily won three of the five races and was crowned fist ever RS Tera North American Championship!  Mora finished runner up with the two ladies taking the top spots! Great job.
Dana Point Yacht Club,  the Youth Foundation and all the volunteers made this a fantastic and memorable regatta.  If you have not had the chance to sail or race in Dana Point I highly recommend it. The next Jr Race is the RHD Charity Regatta on August 12!   – Keith Magnussen.