2006 Western regional Championships
By Andrew Kerr
This years Western regional championships were held at Eugene Yacht clubs annual Memorial Day regatta and attracted a fleet of 26 S20’s. The Memorial Day regatta continues to consistently attract an excellent size fleet and the strength of Fleet 19 was in evidence on the Thursday night race prior to the event with 22 boats on the line. Teams wore foul weather gear on both day’s of the regatta but were also rewarded with excellent winds and racing. Hector Rosado graciously hosted an excellent party for the fleet on the Friday night that was attended by many and it was great to see so many familiar faces and also to meet some new ones.
Saturday’s racing saw wind direction ranging between 205 and 225 degrees with velocity ranging between 5 and 15 knots. Gusts ranged down from both valleys bordering the race course, which kept teams on their toes and watching for the last shift and band of velocity that would come down to the starting line.
In race # 1 Jerald Skeen’s team on Atomic Punk came on strong out of the left side and led at the weather mark but were passed just before the jibe mark by Team Disaster Area with Bruce Golison skippering with Andrew Kerr & Lance Purdy. Disaster Area went on to win the race, followed closely by Atomic Punk with Chris Murschel's team on Loose Nuts taking an excellent third. The pack was right behind and boats finished very close together.
Race # 2 a number of boats in the fleet jumped on a late left shift that made the pin end favored and getting on to port tack at a premium. The wind was gusty and oscillating 10 to 20 degrees so staying in phase and tacking in velocity was key. The fleet split left/right going up the first beat – ultimately the last shift was to the left and that favored Disaster Area, Sea Bear (Jason Crowson, Patricia Purdy, and Josh Grass from Richmond YC) and One Eye Jacq (with EYC commodore and S20 veteran Doug Smith and his long time crew John Lee Ward and two time S20 Class Champion- sailing with Mike Sherlock in ‘91 & ‘92 Shannon Clune.) These teams finished 1, 2 & 3 - followed closely by Loose Nuts and class veteran Ross Cooley and his team on Joriann.
The last race of the day saw the wind oscillating back and forth – the fleet got off the line in about 7 knots of wind in a right phase with those further up the line shearing off the boats to leeward. Doug Smith's team showed excellent patience as they waited until the wind phased back to median and tacked in a good wind line. They proceeded to lift up on port tack and this enabled them to cross the fleet from the right which was led by Gordon Mattatal and his team of Don Southworth and Mike Merrifield on H20 Boa. These two teams were 1st and 2nd with Disaster Area finishing in third. Road warriors Mark Erdrich, middle Austin Quilty, and bow John Poimiroo on team Fusion (out of Folsom Lake YC) had a very good race and finished 4th.