Notes and Observations on the

2005 Santana 20 "The Gorge rocks!!" Championships

By Andrew Kerr

This year championships were held at Cascade Locks in Oregon from August 8th to the 12th and what a great event it turned out to be for the class!

Fleet 19’s Rick Gilstrap and fleet 16’s Derek Hardy – both of who put in a tremendous amount of hard work into making this event a success, masterminded the event. With the very unfortunate loss of water at Fernridge reservoir in Eugene for 2005, these two gentlemen, aided by numerous volunteers from Fleet 19, put together a top event at a completely new venue for the class – this was no mean feat!

Great news for 2006 – Eugene will be back with water and a great series of regattas for all of us to attend – Memorial Day, the Emerald Cup and Harvest day amongst others!  Fernridge reservoir is a great place to sail and to bring the family and friends - lets all support Fleet 19’s events next year as they finally get to sail again.

Coupled with this was the great race management of our hosts – the Columbia Gorge Racing Association, led by Kerry Poe and his very able team.

Twenty-three teams traveled to the Locks from Oklahoma, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Florida & California. Notable road warriors included the three teams from Oklahoma led by fleet # 37 (Tulsa) Fleet Captain Britt Williams and his team of Roger Adams & Flint Johnson, IV Mc Namara and his team of Justin Adams and Olivia McNamara (both from Windy Crest sailing club) and Jim Blakewell and his team of Willard Rogers& Marvin Mason (from Oklahoma city boat club the hosts of the ’85 Championships) as well as the three teams from Colorado led by fleet # 28 Fleet Captain Tim Dunton with his team of Frank Keesling, Mark Donahue, Angus Brackett & Annie, Mike Mckeever and his team of Lynne & James Mckeever and former class president Scott Newcomb and his team of Barb and Nicole Newcomb.

All these teams had competed in the Dillon Open Regatta the weekend prior to the Championships and then immediately hitched up their trailers and headed for the Locks!

Britt Williams and his Fayest team won the Dillon open, Team Chubasco (Tim Dunton, Guy Lindsey, and your scribe as guest crew) was 2nd, Raymond Mcleery with former S20 sailor Mick Sage crewing were 3rd out of ten Santana 20’s.

This type of commitment and participation makes a class feel alive!  The challenge has been laid down – show your support by traveling to Windy Crest Sailing Club in Tulsa for the 2007 Championships in the third week of June.

Monday, the first day of Championships at Cascade Locks, saw the tent and RV site grow, class measurer John Papadopoulos measuring sails, and teams venturing out on the river to get some much need practice and orientation.

The first thing that strikes you about Cascade Locks is the beauty of the scenery on both sides of the river that divides the states of Washington and Oregon. The other notable items is how the wind builds thru the morning, peaking at 2pm, and then slowly fading after 6pm.

Monday evening folks gathered around different RV’s and tents at the campground and swapped stories of their day on the water.

Tuesday was warm and windy, John Continued measuring sails, Fleet 19 and Fleet 16 registered boats & sold T shirts ( thank you Zoe Gilstrap) and teams made final preparations to their boats. Just after midday Kerry Poe and his race team (ably assisted by Eugene YC’s race officer Rich Arring) ran practice races in 10 to 22 knots. Some teams elected to fly spinnakers while others chose a more conservative route.

Fortunately Ron & Leeanne Fish, the WD Schock dealers from Eugene, Oregon, brought a blank mast extrusion to the regatta. The only question was who would need it the most.

Tim Duntion narrowly escaped needing the mast when after sailing the practice racehe found a crack in his mast just above the spreaders. With great advice from Ron Fish and other class members, he patched up the mast with metal straps and crossed his fingers for racing on Wednesday.

That evening the class enjoyed a cook out under the tent (with class secretary and event co chair Derek Hardy quarterbacking the cooking) and Andrew Kerr ran an interactive & informational seminar focused on heavy air sailing with valuable contributions from class veterans Phillip Infelise, Paul Stephens, Gordon Mattatal, Ron Fish & others. The group enjoyed the time and we all waited with great anticipation the first day of racing.

The first day of racing has been well documented in another report by John Papadopoulos, after two races Four time Champions Team Disaster Area – Chris Winnard, Andrew Kerr & Bill Ramacciotti (Southwestern YC) emerged with the yellow leader Jersey scoring a 3, 1, defending Champions - Team Mini Me – Bruce Golison, Steve Washburn, Stevie Washburn and Anika Olsen (Alamitos Bay YC) were second overall also with 4 points (2, 2) and 3rd was a team who had been on a long sabbatical but to the delight of the fleet had come back – Team Sea Bear – Lance Purdy, ( Folsom lake YC) middleperson Jay Magers (of Eugene YC, Jay won the 1999 Championships sailing with Paul Stephens) and Patricia Purdy on the bow, scored a 1, 5. This team would continue to sail a terrific regatta all week.

The long runs down the river were exciting and teams were challenged to find the right time to jibe – sometimes there was no choice and the jibe had to be executed! Class veterans had to think a long way back to remember the last time they had planed for such prolonged periods of time! A notable performance was by Ron Fish’s team on Giddy Up – sailing with Leeanne Fish, ( Leanne is Fleet 19’s captain), Bill Nichols(the owner of the S20 Puffin in San Diego’s Fleet # 7 and a resident of Salt Lake City, UT) and Brody Knight, they scored a 3rd place in Race #2 and were sailing the shifts very well. 

Unfortunately in race # 2 Team Altitude Sickness – Dan Borrer, (Dan is from the S20 fleet in Tampa, Florida and a former Eastern regional Champion) Phillip Infelise and Nate Campbell lost their mast due to a parted aft lower line - the mast broke in two.  This unfortunately ended there regatta but in a typical show of class Phillip (former S20 class president and co event chair of last year’s successful Championships in Long Beach) stayed the whole week and supported the event as well as providing welcome humor at the Class Association Annual Meeting on the Thursday evening.

Doug Smith and his team of John Ward and Trent Herring sailing on One eyed Jacq suffered a dismasting when their stem head fitting broke. Doug and his team worked hard to get a replacement and to the everyone’s delight they were restepping the mast for the start of racing on Thursday. The same was true of Rick Gilstrap and his team of veteran Ross Cooley and Zoe Gilstrap on Chicken of the Sea. They had an aft lower car blow out but were able to replace it in time for racing.

Great to see was the participation of the young sailors on # 670 @Ease from Eugene YC – Nick Genovese, Brian Genovese & Chris Atkins.  This team completed every race and is improving at every regatta.

That evening the movie Wind was shown to the few sailors who could stay up that long, the rest of us retreated to bed after an exciting day of great sailing on the water.

Class Webmaster John Papadopoulos updated the web site every day with reports and pictures for which the class is very grateful.  John took pictures , measured sails and compiled results – a great job all week by John.

Thursday saw 3 races run in definite jib conditions – 10 to 28 knots with a half to three quarters of a knot of current pushing the fleet over the line. A couple of general recalls ensued and the RC used the I flag (one minute rule) to restore order in the fleet. The wind gradually built and by the end of race # 5 to a healthy 23 knots with one-foot chop.

Team Disaster Area scored a 3, 1, 3. In the first race we flew the Genoa, managing to make it work but it wasn’t as good as the jib for playing the shifts. Team Mini Me scored a 2, 6, 1 for the day. In the second race Stevie Washburn went over the side but gamely clung on to the side of the boat and was hauled back in. Team Sea Bear scored a 1, 3, 2 and assumed the lead (factoring in the throw out after 5 races completed) by winning a tie with Team Mini Me. Team Disaster Area was one point behind.

IV Mc Namara and his team from Tulsa, Oklahoma scored a 2nd place in race # 4 and Gordon Mattatal and his H20 Boa team of Don Southworth and Mike Merrifield and Tim Dunton’s team Chubasco and Britt Williams team Fayest all sailed a solid day and series.

Thursday evening saw the Annual Meeting led by outgoing Class President Mark Forrest. The outgoing Governing Board was thanked for their hard work this past year and a new slate of board members were elected.

Afterward the fleet enjoyed a catered banquet dinner and the socializing continued. The unique experience of the Championships is to get to meet in person the people who otherwise are names in the yearbook or on the web site. This meeting of fleets and people is one of the special ingredients of the Championships experience. This is not to be missed!

Friday’s racing concluded with two races in Genoa weather.  Mini Me scored a 4, 1, Disaster Area a 2, 2, and Sea Bear a 1, 5. There was great racing through out the fleet as teams battled for overall positioning in the regatta.

In the end the championship was settled on the final beat of the final race: Mini Me tied with Disaster Area with 12 points and won the tiebreaker (one more 2nd place) while Sea Bear placed 3rd overall only one point back.

All 3 teams sailed a great series – congratulations to Bruce and his team on Mini Me on defending their Championship, Team Disaster Area posted there 5th 2nd place in the Championships, and Lance and his team on Sea Bear sailed the regatta of their life.

Event judge and Eastern Regional Director Edith Collins (Atlanta S20 fleet) had the pleasure of not having to judge one protest the entire series.

But in the end the real winner was the class – some naysayers said this event would not work and to the absolute contrary it was an outstanding success.

Rick Gilstrap, Derek Hardy, Kerry Poe and the CGRA and all the volunteers from fleet 16 and fleet 19 we tip our hats and say thank you.

Next year the Championships are to be held in Southern California, likely the second week of August, at which class is looking forward to another top class event!