Annapolis Fleet Wins Road Warriors Award at US Nationals in San Diego

OK, so I just made up that award, but if they had given it, we would have won it! We had 9 teams trek across country from the Annapolis Fleet, the Plines, Eric Reinke, Bradley Adam/Nikki Bruno, Arthur Blodgett, Trevor Davis, Rob Ramirez, Evan Hoffman/Shira Golub, Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz and the O’Hares plus Amy Benner crewing for a California skipper Aimee Heim, who we’ll call an Annapolitan as she lived here for a number of years. Our fleet also faired well in the actual awards, with 6 boats in the top 15 (out of 50).

Just after July 4th, the Snipe migration started westward with most boats arriving in San Diego on Friday or Saturday. Thanks to double and triple trailers (Pline/Reinke, Adam/Blodgett, Hoffman/Ramirez) and lone warrior (Trevor Davis), we able to bring 6 boats with the rest opting to charter and fly. A number of teams rigged, tuned and sailed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday after measurement and check in to get acquainted (or reacquainted) with the local conditions. Fortunately, measurement was a pretty streamlined affair and that did not get in the way of any practicing.

Sail measurement on a waist high platform, genius.
Bradley Adam and Nikki Bruno tuning up.
The facilities at SDYC were superb. Plenty of room and nicely organized.

As many who have sailed in San Diego know, there are two common places to sail Snipes out of San Diego Yacht Club, in the ocean off Point Loma or in South San Diego Bay. Both race courses are a number of miles from the club through heavily trafficked shipping channels and often light breezes, so require a tow to (and often from) the course. Fortunately, the club has a lot of experience with towing boats and has a “wishbone” tow setup where the tow boat has a long/strong towline with 4 or 5 eyes that two boats tie onto (one on each side) by looping the towline through the eye and back to the mast giving each boat control of exiting the tow. We towed up to 6 knots comfortably although the longer tow of 1.5 hours to south bay was tiring. Their suggestion was to let the crew steer on the tow and have the skipper relax, which as some key advice. The schedule was to do two days in the ocean and two days in the bay, and we ended up sailing ocean, bay, bay, ocean so that the last day would be shorter because no one wants to miss the awards party!

The tow to the ocean usually featured some sort of Navy hardware.
The tow home from south bay under the Coronado Bridge.

Day one in the ocean was fairly light at 5-8 knots with some current. Staying in the breeze was really important especially off the wind. Day 2 in the bay was some awesome big lake sailing. The breeze was between 8 and 20 knots requiring big gear changes and it was shifting up to at times 60 degrees. So there were huge gains to be made by staying in the breeze and choosing the proper side of the course. Day 3 in the bay was very much like the day before except the wind strength was a bit less maybe 5-12 knots but just as shifty. And Day 4 again in the ocean was light 5-10 knots with even more current. One characteristic of sailing in the ocean was the fleet spread out significantly by the first weather mark, compared to the bay sailing. In the bay, if you came in on the port layline, you often lost 10-20 boats looking for a way to weave through the boats on the starboard layline; and not just on the first beat, but also the second because it was so tight. The starts were all very tight, often with at least one general recall followed by “I”, “Z” or even a “U” once to help keep competitors in check. The racing was insanely competitive and no team making it through the regatta without a deep finish.

The fleet really spread out in the ocean.
Bradley Adam/Nikki Bruno cross tacks with Carol Cronin/Kim Couranz.
Roundings in the bay were really tight even half way down the fleet.
A very tight finish on the last day in the ocean. How’d you like to have to call this finish?? Looks like Eric Reinke came out on top!
Arthur Blodgett and Grace Howie leading the eventual winners Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke around a weather mark in south bay.
It was not windy in the ocean, but the the swells were there.
The weather marks in south bay were right up on the beach which made the shifty conditions even trickier. Add in the Navy helicopter noise and and it felt very chaotic.
Amazing shots and cool scenery all captured by photographer Matías Capizzano.

Off the water, there were bands every night with drinks and food on the lawn at the club. The last night had an awesome smorgasbord buffet with something for everyone – or everything for someone for those of us that were really hungry 😉 – and featured John Fretwell’s Band Overboard who played an evening of “Yacht Rock” that got everyone up dancing to song that surprisingly three generations of Snipe sailors know by heart such as Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl); who knew? And of course Evan lead the charge to the apres party venue at Club Marina and fortunately no pictures appear to be available.

Band Overboard featuring John Fretwell.

SSA member Evan Hoffmann did a great job organizing the event at his childhood club (San Diego Yacht Club), and the combination of ocean and bay sailing as well as the apres sailing featuring kegs and bands were a huge hit.

In the end for Team Annapolis, Arthur Blodgett with crew Gracie Howie rocked a 3rd place (behind Ernesto Rodriguez/Kathleen Tocke and Augie Diaz/Christine de Silva) which is a great result in prep for their heading to Portugal for Worlds in a few weeks. Evan Hoffmann/Shira Golub also had a great regatta taking 5th place. The O’Hares sailed to an 8th place and the Top Married Couple trophy. Rob Ramirez/Kate Sheahan Herron were 11th, Trevor Davis/Ale Torres were 12th and 2nd place Junior Team, Bradley Adam/Nikki Bruno were 15th, Alex/Lexi/Lisa Pline in 25th, Eric Reinke/Stacy Szabo in 34th, and Aimee Heim/Amy Benner in 37th. Click here for full results on Clubspot.

Arthur Blodgett and Grace Howie, 3rd Place
Evan Hoffmand and Shira Golub, 5th Place

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