Thursday, May 15, 2008

Summary for the Mallory Championships at Elephant Butte

Mallory Cup Men’s Championship
Quarterfinal Eliminations for the
Sailing Association of
Intermountain Lakes,
May 2–4, 2008

Elephant Butte Lake State Park, New Mexico

Regatta results

The Mallory eliminations for SAIL were conducted on borrowed J/24 sailboats, with teams rotating among the boats between races. Winds were mostly medium in strength, typically 8–14 knots. Courses were windward-leeward with four or five legs per race, with each leg 0.4 to 1.1 nm long. Several support boats and a large cast of volunteers helped run the races. Barbara Hawn was event chair, Pat Byrnes was principal race officer, and Gary Sander chaired the protest committee.

Place Captain Points, R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, total points

1 Jessee 3 1 1 1 1 7

2 Perry 1 2 2 3 3 11

3 Meins 2 3 3 2 2 12

Regatta Summary

With four bullets out of five races, Larry Jessee, Dave Ampleford, Marty Stevenson, and Chuck Arasim won the first place and the right to advance to further levels of competition. The final race on Sunday had a spectacular finish, with the NM Tech team and helmsman Brent Meins edging out Team Perry by about a foot after four legs of racing in brisk winds.

On Friday, May 2, 2008, boats were made available for practice beginning at noon. A practice race was held at 4:00 p.m., followed at 7:00 by a competitors’ meeting, registration, weather briefing, and reception.

Races 1–4 were completed on Saturday. Race 1 was WLWLW in a modest, dying wind from the ENE. The first four legs went well enough in 2–6 knots of breeze, but partway up the final leg the wind just about vanished, leaving boats to inch their way up the last several hundred yards of course. A bare hint of breeze filled in just enough to keep the boats ghosting along, and all boats were able to finish the course within two hours. Races were postponed for boats and crews to be sent back to the marina for lunch and to await afternoon breezes.

Race 2 was WLWLW in medium winds from the SSE. Races 3 and 4 were WLWL in medium-heavy winds from the SSE to SSW. Boat swaps were held at the marina due to the heavier winds between races 2, 3, and 4, and because of an equipment breakdown that had to be repaired between races 3 and 4.

On Sunday morning, competitors were greeted by a light, variable wind of two to five knots from the north and northeast. Based on forecasts and local knowledge, the wind was expected to fail later on in the morning, then fill in from the SSE and S during the early afternoon. The drainage-type winds from the east were not forecast to hold steady, and did eventually drop away to a dead calm that lasted for about two hours. Accordingly, the race officer kept the boats in the marina, then began to sortie support boats out in the early afternoon as the first bits of breeze began to fill in from the ESE and SE. In hindsight, we probably could have squeezed in a light-air morning race, but any error in timing could have turned it into a miserable drifter without assuring fair sailing for the competitors.

The initial sailing of race 5 was abandoned at the end of the second leg because of radical wind shifts that exceeded 40 degrees. The race was re-sailed and completed with winds that ranged from 10 to 16 knots, with some stronger gusts. Gusts in excess of 30 knots were recorded at the marina, but were not so strong on the race course, where they were only about 24 knots maximum. In these heavier conditions, the lead boat was able to keep flatter and get a lot of separation. The two trailing boats, however, made a very exciting race for second place, crossing the line in a photo finish with one boat about sixteen inches ahead of the other.





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