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Kudos to the Fastest Sunfish Sailors in the West...

12/26/2022 2:38 pm

AYC’s first-ever Dinghy Days was held at Lake Pleasant last weekend, where it also served as the venue for the US Sunfish Class Association (USSCA) West Regional. We had 11-Sunfish competing, skippered by some of the fastest Sunfish sailors in the west. San Diego sailors Les Piehl and Larry Schmitz have sailed with us at Lake Pleasant in the past - and took 1st and 2nd Place respectively. Les barely had time to unpack his bags from his recent trip to the Sunfish World Championship in Lake Garda, Italy! Jim Irwin returned to Lake Pleasant from Michigan, taking home Third Place.


Annie Lancaster and husband Charlie brought loads of competition and fun from Austin, TX, as did John Huebner, who travelled from San Diego where he is the Sunfish Fleet Captain for the Mission Bay Yacht Club. USSCA West Region Representative Jen Moffitt was joined by fellow University of Connecticut Sailing Team classmates - Austin Williams (CT) and Shannon Nardi (WA) - both were fast, and a hoot both on and off the racetrack! Rounding out the local competition were Tom Sinnickson, Olivia Jackman, and Bob Naylor, Sunfish Fleet 749 Captain and Event Co-Chair with Jen Moffit.


Nice winds on Saturday enabled each fleet to finish 3 to 6-races. Sunday morning, on the other hand, dawned with 20-knot winds churning up a 3-foot chop on the lake – rough conditions for dinghies resulting in many capsizes and related challenges. One crazy race was completed before securing for the day.


Overall, it was a really fun weekend of sailing, socializing, and camaraderie. Everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to sail our little boats on our big lake in gorgeous Arizona November weather. Several Laser sailors RV camped for the weekend, and another hearty bunch of sailors pitched tents at “Camp Sunfish” under the class flag.


Congratulations to our Top Finishers:

Les Piehl (Fleet 632, San Diego) won his SECOND West Regional in as many years, securing his berth in the World Championship in Ecuador next year. One-point behind Les was Fleet 632’s Larry Schmitz, and taking third was Jim Irwin, visiting from Michigan.


And thanks to our Race Committee who did a fantastic job, and in trying conditions on Sunday morning: PRO Mike Ferring and his “assistant” Maryellen Ferring, and volunteers Michael Zaglool (a new AYC member!), Ron and Michelle Couch (Vicki Palmer’s son and daughter-in-law!), and our Mark-set boat skippers John Pearson and Marshall Williamson, and Whaler crewman Adam Moffitt.


To our members and friends of AYC who sailed – and especially those who travelled long distances to join us – THANK YOU. And special thanks to everyone who pitched-in to support the event. The feedback from participants suggests Dinghy Days is worth dialing into our calendar again next year, so if you missed the fun, you’ll have another chance next fall.


As the post-race beverages and laughter flowed Saturday night, Sunfish sailor Shannon Nardi offered up a toast that nicely summed it up… it went something like this: “There are good ships and wood ships, and ships that sail the seas. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be!” — Bob Naylor