|| StFYC Juniors Hit the Road
The trip out East, and how our sailors performed in two national C420 regattas
By Adam Corpuz-Lahne, Head Sailing Coach
On the last day of July, I hooked up the trailer at 0600 and rolled out of the Yacht Club parking lot, same as I do for so many regattas each year. But this trip was going to be different. I opened “Maps” on my phone, plugged in my destination, and pushed “go.” The route appeared on the screen: I-80 East, 46 hours to destination. I was headed to Massachusetts for two regattas: The Buzzards Bay C420 Championship (hosted by Bedford Community Boating) and the C420 National Championship (hosted by Wianno Yacht Club). Behind me was our newly built “A-Frame” trailer, with our VSR coach boat and two C420s, and on top of the truck was another C420. In front of me was over 3,000 miles of America the beautiful.
Arriving to Fort Tabor in New Bedford, I met up with our sailors (who had the luxury of flying in), and we began the pre-regatta dance. Put the dollies together, unload the boats, step the masts, rig the boats. Breathe. Flip the boats, wash the boats, polish the boats, flip the boats back over. Time for a sail. Test boat speed, check currents, learn about the racecourse. We’re ready.
The next day, 167 teams descended on Fort Tabor for the Buzzards Bay C420 Championship, each with their own goals for the regatta. I set a simple goal for our sailors, one that was easy to achieve, but vital to their success. We were treating the regatta as a tune-up, where the results were less important than improving our speed and big fleet sailing, in preparation for the National Championship. Just missing the cut for Gold fleet, Chloe and Juliana won the last race in Silver, only to have been called over under the “U” Flag, which dropped them back significantly. In the second to last race in Silver, Parker and Mackenzie had a crash gybe at a crowded leeward mark, resulting in Mackenzie suffering a concussion, ending their day early.
Buzzards Bay C420 Champs Results (167 boats):
Mats Keldsen/Cali Salinas – 54
Chloe Holder/Juliana Testa – 100
Parker Klebahn/Mackenzie Berwick – 146
Following racing, the circus packed up and left town, a stream of trailers headed to Osterville where Wianno YC was hosting the C420 National Championship. The next day, everyone did the pre-regatta dance again, rigging and cleaning and polishing. We opted to skip the practice sail, instead using the day for a little team bonding. Skull Island Sports World had exactly what we needed: go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, a driving range and an arcade. Mini golf was a bust, way too crowded. Go karts were slow, but we managed to get in a bunch of laughs as chaperone Jeff Holder tried to complete some passbacks. Next up were the batting cages and kickball cage, where we found out who the real athletes were. We ended at the driving range, which was the funniest part of our day, but also an opportunity for me show the kids how it’s done!
Racing for the National Championship commenced the next day. Again the fleet was large—154 boats. Unfortunately, our team was down to two boats, as Parker and Mackenzie had to sit out due to the injury from the last regatta. They joined me on the coach boat, watching from my perspective and learning a great deal about fleet dynamics and risk/reward scenarios.
Both Mats/Cali and Chloe/Juliana were looking good to make Gold fleet midway through the second day, as the seabreeze built and the crews got to put their trapeze harnesses to work. Mats and Cali got a great start off the boat end of the line, punched out, and found themselves in the top three at the first mark, staying there until the finish. Chloe and Juliana had a shocker, ultimately leading to a capsize in which Juliana injured her foot. They struggled to finish the race (way to tough it out!) but were unable to sail in the next race, which bumped them down into Silver Fleet following the qualifying days.
On the final day, Mats/Cali did exactly what they had been doing the whole regatta. They found strong lanes upwind and avoided the packs downwind. Even though they were sailing in Gold fleet, they had their best day of the entire trip, moving up the standings after each race.
C420 National Championship Results (154 boats)
Mats Keldsen/Cali Salinas – 18
Chloe Holder/Juliana Testa – 100
All of our sailors have made big improvements since the C420 Midwinters (the last major regatta they attended) and we intend to keep moving up the standings. The level of sailing in these regattas is high, and the exposure to this level of sailing will help to fuel the drive of our Juniors to keep improving.