Monday, October 08, 2018

2018 Harbor 20 Fleet Championships

2018 Harbor 20 Fleet One Championships      Photos courtesy of Tom Walker

October 6 & 7 2018 Newport Beach California. Harbor 20 Fleet One Championships. A cool 9 knots breeze out of the south greeted the 35 Harbor 20 competitors in this year’s Fleet 1 Championships. The air temperature was 70 degrees with a thin marine layer that burned off before 2:00 PM each day, along with a strong ebb tide that added to the blend of the day.
Harbor 20 Fleet 1 is very fortunate to be based in a harbor with enough room to allow for some close course one-design sailing. Time to the racecourse is twenty minutes maximum and because we race inside the harbor the odds of taking a wave in the face is very rare. Time on the water with a five-race day is normally less than four hours maybe that’s why the fleet attracted 20 married couples to this perfect fall day. You might be saying “yea that many couples cannot be very skilled or competitive.” Well with one glance of the results page you might have some second thoughts. Another huge feature that the Harbor 20 fleet provides is time on the water, I like to call it “Tiller Time”. Over this last season I raced in 150 Harbor 20 races, now that is “Tiller Time”!

Back to this year’s Fleet One Championships. If there was an award to be given to race management it would have to be given to Newport Harbor Yacht Club their course management is second to none and this year’s races proved that again this year. With five races on Saturday and the wind staying from the south the left side of the course was paying upwind and downwind. To place, you had to be at the pin and able to cross the fleet and not dragged too far left, that’s all! Nothing like racing in a tight one-design fleet at the first mark rounding and watching your life pass before your eyes as you duck the entire fleet. Yea the first six boats crossed the starboard parade but anyone after that the volume increased 18 times. Most everyone took a number and went to the back of the line, but there always two or three boats that would take the chance and make some new acquaintances. Things are always so much quieter when you are in the top four.

Out of the blokes first in A fleet (17 boats) was Argyle Campbell with 1,3,1 he tripped a little and placed 11th in race four, finishing the day with a 4th and placing their cards on the table. Looking up from under their long brimmed ball caps was Perry & Brian Bissell laying down a better hand with 8,1,3,5,1. With four races scheduled on Sunday at least four other teams were circling from above and waiting for some road kill.
In B fleet( 11 Boats) Anne & Ed Kimball grabbed the fleet by the neck and placed a strong stranglehold on it with a 1,3,1,1,1. Julie & Craig Chamberlain along with Heiko & Eric Jones and Heather Stratman & Matt Campbell all waiting and hoping that Team Kimball would have a shoelace untie and trip over the last hurdle.
C Fleet (7 Boats) Father-son team of Cole and Karl Pomeroy turned it into a day at Disneyland with 1,1,1,1, 4. Another father-son team of Patrick and Part Scruggs asked for an FBI investigation on why Team Pomeroy was not in A fleet, turned out to be inconclusive. Team Scruggs finished the day with a 4,4,4,3,3 and returned to the huddle after picking up their mouthpiece from the dirt.

After a quick cooling off period, most of the competitors returned to NHYC that night for dinner and review of the day. This is a high light of the season and always good to talk with your friends/ competitors over your favorite beverage rather than three boat lengths from the leeward mark.
Day 2 Started off the same way with the tide ebbing out a little stronger and the wind shifting more to the right as the day progressed. Everyone was playing the left upwind and sailed to the right side of the course downwind to avoid the ebb. By race two the wind had shifted, while the tide did the same and to the surprise of many the right paid big. Most had not noticed the change until the last race of the day.
In C fleet Team Pomeroy rinsed and repeated then took home 7 daily first place awards. B fleet had the same with team Kimball sporting a new pair of shoes with velcro ties. In A Fleet Philip Thompson woke up from a dream with a 1,2 then suffered from acid reflex in race 8 and burped up a 15. Fortunately for them, they had some Tum’s aboard and finished the day with a 2nd to take 3rd place for championships. Campbell also suffered in race 8 and threw down a 12th after placing a 2,4 in races six and seven. Then picked himself back up from the dust with a 4th in the last race. After dusting themselves off team Campbell noticed team Bissell raising their heads to look out from under their ball caps again with a one-point win for the fleet championships.
Need to give one HUGE shout out to H20 Fleet 1, Sailing Pro Shop, Novmar Insurance and Just Marine for sponsoring the drone footage of the race. Tom Walker and Dan Logan teamed up with five-time fleet champion Bill Menninger doing the commentary which will be reviewed for decades to come.
That's a wrap to the 2017-18 season another one for the books already looking forward to the 2018-19 season which starts in three weeks. That's “Tiller Time” baby!
Sea ya
Len Bose
# 108 "Only Child"

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