As promised, the great pictures from Jim Flach, showing the people, the venue and the action: https://picasaweb.google.com/jim.flach/2013RCLaserNationalChampionship
The First Annual RC Laser National Championship is now in the books and a familiar multi time North American Champion, Jon Elmaleh, is the new National Champion. Jon is the owner of Out There Technologies, the owner/builder of the RC Laser and has many years of competing in several RC classes and winning on many levels. Congratulations Jon.
Jon’s victory did not come easy as day one, Saturday, was a barn burner of strengthening winds and D sails for three quarters of the day causing a lot of up and down race results among the 29 competitors This was the most competitive RC Laser championship fleet on record as the best in the class came to play at the Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford, MD. Tred Avon YC is the home base of the Oxford RC Laser Fleet and has historically been a perfect venue for major events because of the available rc course options as well as top notch hospitality from the YC staff and flag officers’.
Regatta Chairman and AMYA Class Secretary, Nick Mortgu, secured the team of David Brawner, as the PRO, and Ken Shaw as his chief operations officer. This team organized a Saturday of Odds and Evens scoring and at the end of the day the fleet was separated into a Gold Fleet and a Silver Fleet of 15 and 14 boats respectively for fleet racing. Each fleet sailed Sunday in a format of two back to back races for the Gold Fleet and then two races back to back for the Silver Fleet until 7 races were competed in the Gold Fleet and six races in the Silver Fleet. There was on throw out each day for the Gold Fleet and only one throw out on Saturday for the Silver Fleet as they did not get 7 races in on Sunday.
With Saturday chilling winds approaching 25 knots in the afternoon, it became a D-Sail survival test for the seven races. Earlier in the day skippers raced from the B Sail to the C Sail, while many went right to the D sail anticipating boat handling challenges in the building puffs and Tred Avon River ebbing chop. At the end of Saturday, Don Barker, Oxford Fleet Champion, snagged a handsome seven point lead over West River’s Rob Seidelmann who was up 3 points on Jim Kaighin from the Bahamas. Rounding out the top five was Brooklyn’s Jon Elmaleh and West Jersey’s Terry Rapp. Jon was 11 points out of the lead and Terry was 7 points behind Elmaleh. Other top skippers in the lower half of the top ten were Ryan Lippincott, Bob Roe, Roger Vaughan and Jamey Betz. Saturday evening the fleet and guests were treated to a wonderful multi course Tred Avon YC sit down dinner with lots of RC Laser goodies to win in a fun raffle. Laser Sails, sail carriers, electronics as well as logo shirts and other goodies were offered for the guest with the winning tickets. Proceeds were given to the Tred Avon YC Junior Sailing Program.
If Saturday’s fourteen odd/even heats were a survival and boat handling test, Sunday was just the opposite. The blast from Saturday blew out and Sunday turned into a lovely B sail day with 10 knots of a oscillating NW breeze offering appropriate shifts, to keep us on our toes. The last heat was sailed with all A sails as the afternoon sun gave us the warmest part of the Indian Summer weekend. We actually forgot how knuckle biting the day before was. In the race for the Championship, Don Barker was only able to secure 3 top five finishes out of seven sailed and slipped to fourth place in the regatta. Scrambling from fourth, Jon Elmaleh moved up on Rob Seidelmann and the two dueled it out the rest of the day. Jon’s three firsts were the difference as he nosed out Rob in the last race to win the championship by one point. Jim Kaighin had to count a 10th, in an otherwise great Sunday of sailing, to hang onto the third place trophy over Don Barker with Jamey Betz climbing out of 10th place from Saturday to finish on the podium with a 5th place overall.
In the Silver Fleet Harry Henkel, Jim Karr and Dave Branning, all from the Oxford Fleet, were separated by one point going into Sunday. Steve Lang was 9 points back of Branning with Tom Lucke four points back, while Regatta Chairman, Nick Mortgu was 23 points out of first. Sunday was Nick Mortgu Day, as he put together a gallant effort to get to third place in the regatta with a 1,1,3,1,4,3 Sunday Series. Dave Branning, avoiding the Sunday calamity of poor finishes, stayed consistent, and just nosed out Steve Lang for first by five points. Jim Karr nipped Harry Henkel by one point for fourth by winning the last race. I have to mention congratulations to Roger Baldwin, fellow Oxford fleet mate, who won the 5th race of the day, wire to wire, his first major regatta bullet. This regatta had quite a few skippers who were sailing their first competitive regatta and that is always healthy for a growing class. New faces who love to compete and learn from the top guys. Everyone went home with a smile on their face because this event truly had it all, from wild and and calm racing to great socializing.
Gorgeous laser cut trophies with a regatta logo were awarded to the top five in the Gold Fleet and the top three in the Silver Fleet. A new RC National Championship Trophy was designed and built with the bow and stern of an RC Laser fastened to the wood trophy base. Note the picture below:
Thanks to the regatta team of Nick Mortgu, Dave Brawner, Ken Shaw, Beth Lippincott, Jim and Margy Robfogle, Dick and Bonnie Richards and the team at Sail RC, our Distributor for RC Lasers. Also to Jon Elmaleh for his support and to all the competitors who came from England, The Bahamas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and, last but not least, our first woman finisher, Theresa Rae Gay from Florida.
|Gold Fleet Results:|
|Silver Fleet Results:|
|8||Theresa Rae Gay||114|
Ft. Stoakes Cannonball River Race a Huge Success
Several months ago the clever team of Harry Henkel and Roger Baldwin, from the Oxford RC Laser Fleet, got together over a couple of lemonades and came up with the idea of a river race on a portion of the Tred Avon River in Easton, MD. Roger and his wife, Rosemary, live at the headwaters of the Tred Avon River, adjacent to the historic Ft. Stoakes. Ft. Stoakes defended the town of Easton from the threat of attack from the British in 1812 and so the Baldwin compound became a perfect place to host this event. Thus was born the Ft. Stoakes Cannonball River Race held October 12, 2013. It was much much more than a race. We all have been to various types of outdoor parties with stripped tents, themed decor and appropriate flowers to create the ambiance of festivity. The Henkel/Baldwin team just went over the top to make this the most memorable RC Laser event in history. It will be hard to top this in the future.
You will hear about the race later. but from the Pledge of Allegiance to the dance band, this raucous good time featured a custom song, “The Ballad of Ft. Stoakes”, written by Roger Vaughan, music by Bob Roe, as well as original art from John Tochko, who created a spectacular banner hung from the Baldwin upper deck, as well as a regatta logo laser printed on every crab mallet. Harry Henkel , with help from John Tochko, created beautiful trophies with cannon balls affixed to wood bases. The mayor of Easton, MD, Bob Willey, came early to kick off the event and he joined the committee boat to view the entire race and then went home to get his wife, Betsy, to join the party. There were appetizers, bushels of crabs, grilled chicken, pulled pork, bean salad, logo decorated cake and cookies, a before and after flag ceremony, canon fire to start/finish the race and call attention to colors. But wait, there’s more. We had an open bar, coolers of beer and sodas, hugely decorated tents, nautical and international banners, a country/oldies rock band that got us dancing as well as plenty of stories of how we got up and down the river in the race.
The race, as well as most of the day, was held in a slight drizzle but everyone will probably tell you that we don’t remember that it was a wet day. The essence of a long distance race is that each RC skipper has a much needed partner operating a launch craft of any type while deftly maneuvering the launch around and away from other competitors craft both large and small. Being polite to your launch partner was imperative if you wanted to have a successful race.
Don Barker, the race director, led the skippers meeting with instructions that included “hitting buoys was ok” (there was only one buoy to round) including hitting the start and finish bouy, as well as “if any sail changes were to be performed, the support launch was to be in neutral.”. A starting/finishing box was buoyed off in four corners and that area was reserved for RC Lasers only. Support launches were to be outside the box.
A cannon blast sent us down the river and the initial strategy at the headwaters was to deploy “A” sails. We experienced a puffy but mild NE breeze that sent us on a run down the river to a government mark two miles away. Right from the start, the 11 boats began to separate as the West shore became favored. Those of us in the middle of the river, self included, dealt with a series of puffs followed by lulls.(Note: From here on I will refer to the RC Laser skipper first followed by the launch boat team mate). The lead was quickly snatched by West Jersey’s Victor Oberg/Dave Brawner who began to feel that this was like taking candy from a baby. Hah! Hah! Mother nature started playing with them about a third of the way down the run and she either made the fleet do unwanted gybes, nose dives, round ups and then find us a lull in the wind in between some freshening puffs. Thus began a rush to do NASCAR-like sail changes to the “B” sail while a few hung onto the “A” all the way to the mark. Oberg/Brawner began to panic as the fleet began to compress at the mark. With A’s still aloft, Jim Karr/John Trax and Don Barker/Clare Barker, actually got around the tuning mark in a virtual first place tie, rounding inside of a struggling Oberg/Brawner. West Jersey’s Jamey Betz/Luke Betz,, now in a B sail, rounded third and began a couple of crossing tacks with Barker/Barker but Barker/Barker began struggling to make A sail progress and switched to the B as did Karr/Trax. Along came Bob Roe/Dave Brooks and Dave Branning/Elaine Helpkin in B sails who swiftly rounded the mark and, to their surprise, grabbed a tight first and second place from the four boats who arrived or rounded ahead of them and were still struggling in the now freshening wind at this point in the course. This was now a tight race with 2 miles to go upwind and against the slight current.
The wind was very puffy and, at times, the B sail seemed overpowering, but if you struggled through each puff the wind would quickly subside enough that the B stayed very effective. Branning/Hepkin held a very short lead for a short while but Roe/Brooks began to pull out to a 5-10 yard lead as the two Oxford Fleet skippers fought to keep their boats under control and avoid going into irons half way up the river. Behind these two, Jamey Betz/Luke Betz got into iron trouble and went to the C sail as did Oberg/Brawner. Don Barker/Clare Barker had to repair their flailing filament line and that put them way behind most of the fleet. With three quarters of a mile to go, Betz/Betz started making huge gains in the middle of the leg home with that C sail. Now it became a three boat race, but the calmer headwaters ahead were soon going to make that C sail ineffective. Betz and Betz went to the B sail ultimately to keep them from slipping further away from the leaders, but it was too late to close the whole gap.
Dave Branning/Elaine Hepkin focused on getting Roe/Brooks into a tacking duel and it started to work especially when Roe/Brooks covered loosely on a couple of tacks and Branning/Hepkin slipped under them and, with a good header and pressure off the west shore, were able to cross Roe/Brooks about 200 yards from the finish to grab the win and the cannon.
Bob Roe/Dave Brooks hit a couple of lulls in the last 200 yards while Jamey Betz/Luke Betz, staying in the pressure, came back to grab second with Jim Karr/John Trax in third, nosing out Bob Roe/Dave Brooks. Roger Vaughan/Tom Baker hung in there for fifth and a fast closing Don Barker/Clare Barker came from hundreds of yard back, after the filament line fix, to grab sixth place.
A round of standing applause certainly goes to Roger and Rosemary Baldwin and Harry and Jeannie Henkel for their outstanding planning and execution of a fantastic RC Laser long distance race and party. Party is an understatement. Someone should have gotten married at this celebration. As Bob Roe likes to say. “It’s all good.” Thanks as well to our launch boat operators who made the race and the event so much more fun to share.
https://picasaweb.google.com/jim.flach/2013RCLaserFortStoakesCannonballRiverRace a link to tons of Jim Flach pictures of the event. Thanks, Jim
- Dave Branning/Elaine Hepkin
- Jamey Betz/Luke Betz
- Jim Karr/John/Trax
- Bob Roe/Dave Brooks
- Roger Vaughan/Tom Baker
- Don Barker/Clare Barker
- John Tochko/Chris Tochko
- Harry Henkel/Jeannie Henkel
- Victor Oberg/Dave Brawner
DNF Dick Richards/Bonnie Richards
DNF Roger Baldwin/Dave Littleton
DNS Gib Snow
DNS Claude Maechling/Joe Hartmeyer
DNS Nick Mortgu/Beth Mortgu
Wow, it’s getting close to Turkey Day and, if you are in the Philly/NJ/NY/MD/DE area for the holiday the Leftover Bowl should be on your agenda. I bet Hank Buchanan will be down from Manhattan Island. This annual break from grandma’s house gives the fall season it’s final regatta and it’s always a good one. The West Jersey RC Laser Fleet hosts this one and the Cooper River Yacht Club makes for a great respite if you have to warm the thumbs between races. Come on out, enjoy the great company, experienced race committee and tight racing. Hey, for $15 bucks it’s the best holiday deal going.
If you plan to show up….give Jim Flach a little shout out to let him know you are coming. He can be reached at: (email@example.com) or 610-299-8138
See you in a couple of weeks in Collingswood, NJ.
Notice of Race
Annual Leftover Bowl
Saturday November 30th
Hosted by West Jersey RC Laser Fleet and Cooper River Yacht Club
1) LOCATION AND DATE: Racing will be at Cooper River Yacht Club, Collingswood NJ, 08108
2) RULES: The racing will be governed by the 2013-2016 Racing Rules of Sailing, as amended by the United States Sailing prescriptions and incorporating Appendix E-Radio Controlled Boat Racing Rules, the current RC Laser Class Rules and further sailing instructions mandated by the PRO during the course of the sailing day by announcing the changes.
3) ENTRIES: Entry forms will be available day of Regatta.
4)FOOD AND DRINK: Sandwiches and beverages will be provided.
5) SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
9:30am Practice starts and race.
9:50am Skippers meeting.
10:00am Racing begins.
12:00pm Lunch Break
1:00pm Racing Continues.
3:00 pm No race to begin after 3pm. Prizes to follow as soon as possible.
6) FORMAT:Will be noted at the event depending on the number of boats.
7) ENTRY FEE:$15. No pre-registration required
8) INFORMATION: Jim Flach (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 610-299-8138
For directions to Cooper River YC please go to the yacht clubs website cooperriveryc.org