Race 1 had the fleet headed toward the Boy Scout camp as usual and worked up the shore. As things progressed, Bradley, Burch, and Ravizza led the group, to be joined by Whelan playing more up the middle of the lake. A few tacks later had Whelan rounding 1st, followed closely by Bradley and Burch.
The fleet compressed, but Whelan still rounded #1 with Bradley and Burch right behind. The wind shut down briefly, and we all were scrambling to figure out where it was coming from. Bradley found the new wind first and led at #3 and led to #8 with the same two closely behind. Somehow Whelan slipped by Bradley to go on and win with Bradley, Burch, West, and Ravizza in pursuit.
Race 2 started much the same, and the fleet was headed toward the Boy Scout camp. This time Ravizza and West slipped out in front and rounding #5 in that order, followed by Bradley, Burch, and Priest. Ravizza went on to win race 2, followed by West, Burch, and Priest. Priest sailed a solid race holding on to 5th place with a couple of boats pressing from behind.
After two races, the points were tight: Bradley 5, Ravizza and West 6, Burch and Whelan 7.
Race 3 was an interesting final race, with the points so close. The start, as usual, went toward the Boy Scout camp. As the fleet separated, Burch and Ravizza approached the windward mark together, but Ravizza was forced to do his turns and Burch led out of the mark. Whelan slipped into 2nd, followed by Hecht. Bradley was set back in the fleet and moved toward the south shore running down to #8, and sailed into first place, followed by Burch. The next leg to #3 got mixed up. While Bradley and Burch stretched out, Hecht moved up into 3rd, followed by Whelan and Ravizza, closing the gap. On the run to #8, this time, West did the end around and sailed into 3rd at the mark, followed closely by Whelan and Ravizza. West had a gear problem allowing Whelan to pass, but he recovered and was still in a battle to the finish. Hecht kept a cover on Whelan, and Whelan barely finished in front of Ravizza and West.
Though the first six boats separated from the fleet, the mid-fleet group had their close battles. Drake Baldwin and Peter Baldwin sailed a solid series for 7th, followed by team Priest and Ben Bradley.
1st place Jim and Kathy Bradley
2nd Place Mike and Kyle Burch
3rd Place Don Whelan and Jack Henry.
1st place Tom Priest, Katy Priest, and Jack Kish
2nd place Ben Bradley and John Lisenby
Don Whelan's Report
Sixteen Mercurys arrived at Huntington Lake for two great days of sailing. The lake's conditions are still affected by the fire and extreme snowfall earlier this year. Bear Cove is still closed, and Lakeshore Resort is still going through renovation, so there was no dinner Saturday night. Some campgrounds were still closed, and some campground reservations were canceled at the last minute. Unfortunately, the Lanzafame family was forced to stay home, having their cam[sites canceled. Park Densmore had his Condo canceled last minute due to a tree falling into the chimney, but he was able to find other accommodations.
With all that, spirits were high, and everyone had a good time after racing on Saturday. After racing on Saturday, we all gathered on the beach at Lakeshore. Tom Priest provided his famous Main Tai’s, and the Fresno Fleet brought the beer, with chips and homemade salsa supplied by Melissa Usquiano.
Worth noting nine of the 16 boats were sailed by family members. Jim and Kathy Bradley introduced us to their new granddaughter Ella. Steve and Lynn Kraft were present with their granddaughter. Jack Henry made his crewing debut with Grandpa Don Whelan. Ken Maring and Steve Jeppesen with surprise guest Jim Taylor. Randy Hecht fit this regatta into his schedule only a few days before leaving for Europe to sail in the Knarr World Championship. Quentin McGuinness brought his 1957 Chris Craft to the lake for some after-race entertainment, and Steve Sherry was back sailing 459 with his grandson.
A big thanks to Pat Bradley, Peter Baldwin of the Fresno fleet, and Matt Jones, with Laura Priest running the races for the shore
Hope to see more boats back in 2024.