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2009 Thunderbird Pacific NW Regional Championships

posted Jul 15, 2009, 10:46 AM by John Edwards
The 2009 Thunderbird Pacific NW Regional Championships were held in Victoria at RVYC on July 4th and 5th.

On Friday July 3rd, Fleet 4 members welcomed our US visitors Invader and Thunderbaby with a crab feast and keg of beer held suitably upon "D" float at RVYC.  It was a beautiful summer evening, and we were surrounded by the boats, all ready for the next day's action. Mark Malleson organized the crab which was cleaned and cooked right there on the dock, and Bryan Cameron ensured that the keg was tapped and ready to go. A good time was had by all.

Saturday dawned sunny and warm, with very little wind.  After an initial postponement a light southerly came up at 4 to 5 knots, and we were able to start racing. Dennis Woodward, the PRO, set a relatively short line at the head of Cadboro Bay.  There were anchored boats scattered around the bay that provided interesting obstacles at times. There were also strands of kelp floating around to snag unwary boats. The first race start was competitive with everyone on the line.  The favorite tactic was to go right immediately, however Cool Breeze went left for clear air, found a favorable shift, and was first around the mark. We did a bear away set, however our joy at being first was short lived, as Scooter, Owl, and Invader jibe-set behind us, and were immediately ahead.  Invader used this advantage to build a lead that she held to the end of the race. This pattern was repeated through races 2 and 3.  Go left on the upwind leg, than jibe set and initially go left on the downwind.  There were variations or course, however this seemed to be the most favorable tactic.  Owl won the second race, and Hocus won the third.  By the end of the third race Hocus had 7 points, Scooter had 8, and Invader had 9. Owl managed to hit the windward mark on each leg of Race 3 and fell back with a 7th.

The wind died away after the third race, however it came up in the main bay, so we moved out to a larger venue. 

The fourth race of the afternoon was also sailed in a light southerly.  Like all the previous races it was a windward-leeward 2X around.  There was a good start, and close racing.  Cool Breeze was near the front going into the windward mark with Owl ahead and other boats in close pursuit. After a nail biting downwind leg with multiple jibes, Cool Breeze was in second place behind Invader. On the second upwind leg it paid to go left (remember the morning?). The biggest beneficiary of this was Scooter who went from fourth to second at the windward mark. The final downwind leg was a battle  between Invader, Scooter,Hocus, Owl, and Cool Breeze. Invader was first again with Scooter second, and Cool Breeze third.

After the first day of racing Scooter and Invader were tied with 10 points, Hocus had 11, and Cool Breeze had 15. We needed one more race before a throwout came in to play.  Invader was technically leading the regatta as she had the most firsts between her and Scooter.

Everyone returned to the Yacht Club for an evening of merriment.  The keg was still on the dock, and still had beer, so that was a good place to start. From there we moved up to the lawn where there were BBQ's set up.  It was BYOMeat, so everyone was clustered around the BBQ demonstrating their cooking skills.  Fleet 4 supplied baked potatoes, salad, and for dessert big pieces of shortcake heaped with strawberries.  By this time the red shirts started coming out as eager participants purchased the soon to be iconic Che Booth T-shirts.

After a fun day, everyone headed for a welcome bed, and anticipation of the next day to come.

Sunday dawned warm, sunny and...calm.  The fleet came out on the water and sat.  There was a slight breeze, however the committee did not want to start in fickle winds, at least no more fickle than what we had sailed in the previous day. A brief northerly appeared raising hopes, then died.  Thunderbaby, who was not in a position for a podium finish, decided to take advantage of the tide and head for home.  We wished them well, and thanked everyone for coming over.  The crew of Invader was also thinking of doing the same when a southerly appeared that looked quite stable.  The race committee got to work and soon we had a course.

At the start everyone was on the line, however a sudden wind shift made those at the pin end (Leprechaun and Cool Breeze) in the best position for a quick flip on to port.  Soon the whole fleet was on port tack heading towards the RVYC breakwater in 4 knots of breeze. Scooter seemed to have a breeze of its own and climbed up through the pack.  At the weather mark Scooter was in first with Cool Breeze in second, followed by Leprechaun, Owl, Hocus, and finally Invader. It was a fierce battle downwind, however Scooter held her lead at the leeward mark wirth Owl and Cool Breeze in hot pursuit.  The second time around the fleet was still bunched, however no postions changed  Scooter was first, Owl second, Cool Breeze third, and Leprechaun had her best finish of the regatta with a fourth. Invader was last with a sixth.

So the final result was Scooter winning the Pacific Northwest Regional Championships with 7 points; Invader second with 10; Hocus third with 11; Cool Breeze fourth with 13; Owl fifth with 14; Thunderbaby sixth with 20 points; Leprechaun seventh with 24 points; and Scirocco eighth with 32 points.

We would like to thank Vidas Stukas, the Regatta Chair, for all his work to organize the Championships, and Bryan Cameron, Ian Gabel, Geoff Morrison, Mark Malleson, and all the other members of Fleet 4 who pulled together to ensure a successful regatta.

We would also like to thank Duane and his crew for coming to Victoria and showing off Thunderbaby. There was a parade of RVYC members (many old TBird sailors) heading down to D dock for a look.

We would also like to thank Marty and the crew of Invader for coming up to Victoria.  As the current holder of the title of Pacific Northwest Regional Champion, Marty had brought the trophy to Victoria fully intending to take it back as well. Invader and crew sailed an excellent regatta, and came just short of returning to Seattle with the trophy still onboard.

John Edwards