2008 Penguin Internationals
Mike Hecky of West Trenton, NJ sailing with his 17 year old daughter Rachel gave a big breeze clinic on the second day of the Penguin International Championship to take a commanding lead in the 14 boat series sailed August 13 – 15th at Severn Sailing Association. They raced to three firsts and a second by hiking hard and driving fast through the 9 inch waves which were pretty big for an eleven foot boat. Mike and Rachel proved equally adept, however, in the light air of the last day by sailing to a 5th place in the first race and a win in the last race of the day and the regatta.
Uncharacteristic August winds of 14 to 16 knots on the first day and 15 to 20 on the second welcomed sailors from as far away as Texas and Chicago. Only Friday’s 6 knot northeasterly combined with the chop to make the racing more Annapolis like on the last day.
Sandy Rapp of Chicago, who won his first Penguin International Championship in 1968, sailed with wife Marilyn to second place over Rockville five time champ Bud Daily helped by Opti and 420 ace Andreas Adam from Annapolis. Two time International winner Steve Lavender of Columbus, Ohio raced with daughter Erin to fourth and local sailor Charlie Krafft sailed with sons Douglas and Martin (on different days) to round out the top five.
The Penguin is an ideal boat for an adult to introduce a new sailor to the sport and nine of the fourteen boat fleet sailed with young people as crew. In fact Mike and Rachel won the Family award for the top finisher sailing with an immediate family member. Fred Meno and his daughter Maddie from Fort Worth topped the Rapps to take the Long Distance award given for the sailor who made the biggest trip for the regatta.
Scott Williamson and Aubrey Barringer showed excellent speed in the big breeze and faired even better in the light air of the last day. Only an unfortunate breakdown on the second day which knocked him out of two races kept him in the middle of the fleet.
Hank Krafft was the lone singlehander for the entire regatta and did amazingly well in the big wind of the first two days. Ed Lutz and Roger Pickall singlehanded part time and were joined by Arianne Dalton and Matthew Chow for some of the races.
Monty Baker and Donna McKenzie were also not able to complete some of the races during the first two days but sailed consistently in six of the contests.
Thanks to John Majane who sailed with Bryan Bay for 1) getting this whole regatta under way at SSA (good work John) and 2) for demonstrating what an outstanding investment the pump has been.
Finally, thanks to Sandy McAllister and April Elliott for coming out on the first day (Sandy had other commitments Thursday and Friday) and supporting the class.
Amy Krafft couldn’t sail in this regatta but took some super photos which will be posted on the website.
PRO Don Moore and his team did an outstanding job setting square lines and courses and getting the races off with no waiting. Sailors have learned to expect no less from SSA race committees.
All the race winners are in the process of sending individual race wrap ups. We have received two and will post the others when they come in.
Mike Hecky’s report:
Race 4 – I thought the wind was in the 14 to 18 range, generally south, W/L, twice around. Really nice breeze. We started mid line with good speed and worked the middle to left taking advantage of my perceived better pressure. We hiked pretty hard, trying to find a comfortable position where we could see the waves and attempt to keep the boat reasonably flat. It was a testament to everyone’s ability to have all the boats consistently converged at the top mark. We rounded in a tight pack and stayed this way to the bottom mark. We tried to keep a loose cover on Sandy, Bud and Paul for the next 3 legs where we were able to win a close race.
Race 5 – Same wind, same course. We felt the boat end was slightly favored and tried to start about ¼ of the way down. We were over early and fortunately had room to windward to tack onto port and dive back down below the line where we were rounded back up and headed upwind on port. We worked the right side where we were able to lead around the top mark with all other boats immediately behind. We were extended slightly on the run, sailing at times pretty hard by the lee. We again were able to cover the fleet back up wind and held our lead to the finish. The racing was incredibly tight and at this point we felt pretty fortunate.
Race 6 – Same consistent wind, same course. After winning the last 2 races we had had confidence in our speed. We started mid line this time, getting a reasonably good start and worked the right side. We lead at the top mark where we rounded and bore off hard to stay inside the boats rounding behind.
“Kaboom”, the wire vang bridle snapped. Later that evening Amy Krafft mentioned she thought it was curious as to why we would sail downwind with the boom almost vertical at times. I was a little panicked as I tried to envision us sailing this race with no vang. A little unstable and definitely scary. Amazingly Rachel was able to re rig the vang which allowed us to stay in the race. We rounded in fourth behind Sandy, Paul, and Bud. Paul and Bud split and headed left, we followed Sandy out to the right, Sandy tacked for the finish, we held on a few seconds longer and were able to maintain some height and speed and were able to finish first, with Sandy just behind, followed by Paul, Bud and Steve. We felt fortunate to pass these excellent sailors for the win.
Race 8 – Wind 3 to 6 range. After sailing from deep to a hard fought 5th in the 7th race, we were a little nervous going into the last one. Rachel noticed that there was a little better pressure on the left side of the course, so we set up about 2/3rds down the line and worked our way up this side taking advantage of the small shifts. We rounded the top mark in 3rd behind Bud and Charlie. Charlie tangled with Bud on the starboard layline and quickly did his turns. We followed Bud down the course. We stayed in this approximate order to the final leeward mark where we again rounded behind Bud. We pretty quickly tacked onto starboard to rework the left side. We played some small shifts and were able to cross Bud on the port layline to the finish.
Overall the racing was really tight, with many close mark roundings with many tactical situations which made for great fun. 3 days in Annapolis in August with breeze to sail 8 races with wonderful folks. I can not imagine it any better than that.
Charlie Krafft’s report:
August 13, 2008
Wind South 10-12
After race 1, which Bud Dailey won handily, the committee up anchored and moved due to a conflict with a couple of J-World J-80’s doing some corporate team building exercises in the middle of our race course. The new course was on the north side of the Severn River inside of Greenbury Point. The line was reasonably square. There was a modest amount of flooding current so our strategy was to go left. We started in the middle of the line, to leeward of Mike Hecky. Bud was closer to the pin and led the leeward group of boats out to the left. At the top mark he rounded first and we were close behind. We chose to stay high on the run, mostly to keep our air clear, while most of the fleet sailed mostly by the lee for a good portion of the run. We ended up getting ahead and rounded the leeward mark in first. On the second beat we stayed to the left and kept a loose cover on Bud, which is amazing for us, since he normally can escape that. However, the breeze was starting to build and my son Martin and I put our 302 lbs. to good use, while Bud had a portion of his crew weight as ballast in the center of the boat. Sandy Rapp showed blazing speed and I think found a favorable shift on the right to catch and pass us just before the weather mark. We quickly went high of him on the run and managed to pass and extend our lead for the win. He finished second and Steve Lavender, who had followed Sandy out to the right on the second beat finished third. We had been a bit concerned because prior to sailing, we noticed the port outwhale where the shroud attaches was separating from the boat and during the race it was elevated about ¾” above its normal position. Fortunately Wooden Bucket held together and we were able to make a temporary fix that evening.
Race 7 August 15, 2008
The wind was out of the east at about 5 knots. The race committee set a course that was shorter than the ones we sailed on Thursday, however time wise it worked out to be about the same at 40 to 50 minutes. The pin end was favored and the current was ebbing, which again favored the left side of the course. The J-world team builders were gone so we were back in Area C, which is on the south side of the Severn River towards Tolley Point. We won the pin end start and sailed about 2/3rds of the way toward the port tack layline. We tacked and headed out on port while Fred Meno and John Majane continued out further to the left. This paid off and Fred benefited by being on this side. Meanwhile Sandy came in from the right side and worked the shifts nicely to round first. We rounded with Fred and Steve, as we all got there essentially at the same time. We gybed immediately at the mark to clear our air. We stayed left until most of the way down the run and found some nice pressure on the gybe back to round the leeward mark first. We wanted to go left but had to wait until we got past the fleet sailing downwind to the mark. Bud and Steve got out to the left a little quicker than we did. Fred and Sandy followed us out to the right a short ways before tacking back to the favored left side. We managed to hold onto our lead, although the Sandy and Marilyn were right behind. At the top mark we again gybed onto port immediately, keeping our wind clear. In this fleet, which was closely bunched for much of the racing, it was difficult to defend the attacks from behind, which by the way is why we chose the windward leeward courses. We held onto our slim lead downwind while Sandy was left to fend off bud and Scott Williamson, who was showing some amazing downwind speed in his classic Horner Penguin, after missing most of Thursday’s races due to a dismasting caused by a shroud attachment failure. Scott had a personal best 3rd place finish in this race.