Desert Sailing: 'The Impossible Dream'
But The Arizona Yacht Club Makes It Possible
June 15, 2014
This letter from the Arizona Yacht Club (AYC) begins to explain one of the unique boating opportunities in Arizona's desert.
Welcome to the Arizona Yacht Club!
Peter Lehrach, commodore 2014-2015, writes, "The Arizona Yacht Club has enabled sailing in the desert since 1958. Most of our sailing is in the Phoenix area at Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake but we've been known to proudly fly our burgees around the world.
"If you're new, there are many great ways to learn more about our club. I encourage you to write to our membership directors, John and Dianna, join us for our entertaining and informative monthly meetings, and read Sr. Staff Commodore Mike Ferring's New Guy's Guide that has a boatload of really useful information (right down to menu recommendations).
"Recently, Sailing World magazine wrote a wonderful five-page article about our 54th annual Birthday Regatta. We're honored and proud, but not surprised, that a national magazine found our events to be well run, competitive and (most importantly) fun!
"Check out our racing program, US Sailing-certified education opportunities, monthly meetings, cruising, and social events that fill our active calendar; I think you will be impressed."
"To our more than 210 existing member families: I'm committed to maintaining and improving our quality AYC programs and equipment, as you've come to expect.
Best regards, Peter Lehrach, commodore."
We at Arizona Boating & Watersports/Western Outdoor Times congratulate AYC on its interesting, entertaining, and educational events that literally fill-up the pages of their calendar.
For example, in June through early August alone, these events are scheduled:
• Saturday, June 21, 4 p.m., Summer Sailstice
• Friday, June 27 through Monday, June 30, Laser Pacific Coast Championshp
• Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3 - Kinnikinick Campout
• For a list of monthly AYC meetings, times, and dates, visit: http://arizonayachtclub.org/
And, as fall and winter approach, events such as Capri 14.2 National Championship, High School Sailing, " International Talk like a Pirate Day," race days, Junior Performance Sailing days, sailing swim testing, sailing-skills development, classes, Governor's Cup, and the first highlight of 2013: Friday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 18, the annual Birthday Regatta and Leukemia Cup.
Wednesday Evening Racing
A note from George Sheller of AYC explains a popular activity that began in early May: "All racers (not just Lasers), [we have started] Wednesday Evening Racing again ... We start racing at 5:30 and go until sundown.
"This started as a Laser thing but others started coming out, which was great. We all start together. This is not an official AYC event so you are on your own in terms of a boat, liability and fun. We start promptly at 5:30 p.m. and if you miss one or two races no big deal as we do not keep scores. This is good practice, with bragging rights and then to the bar for dinner and drinks for those who want to.
"Have questions? e-mail me email@example.com."
Cool Sunday Summer Series
On June 15, the Cool Sunday Summer Series at Tempe Town Lake began at 9 a.m. The racing and RC training begins in the (relative) cool of the morning this year and it's the low-pressure kind - no scores, just $20 for members to enter six races. Non-members pay $35.
Unofficial Summer Sailstice At TTL
From AYC member Rob Gibbs, "Come down and cool off at Tempe Town Lake on the longest day of the year, Saturday, June 21 at 4 p.m. And since we can't not race, we'll do one-minute on-the-water starts. Everyone just go! Pride is the prize! Afterward, we'll meet up a Pho Cao for some additional cooling off. No entry fee, no NOR or SI, just come out and sail."
Another popular and annual event of AYC is the Kinnikinick Kampout, Aug. 1-3. Since there are already record-scorching temperatures in June, sailors and guests will be ready to welcome a weekend in the pines in early August.
And, At The Helm
Senior Staff Commodore Mike Ferring writes, " Peter Lehrach is the new AYC Commodore. Peter Lehrach and the rest of the slate of officers ... officially took their seats on the board May 17 during the Commodore's Celebration.
"[Lehrach] joined AYC just two years ago and has served as club secretary and Vice Commodore. He's raced at Lake Pleasant as crew on J/80s with both Mike Ferring and Chris Smith. He was the driving force behind AYC's adopt-a-highway cleanup program, organizing cleaning parties for a stretch of Carefree Highway near Lake Pleasant.
"Others on the board are Senior Staff Commodore Mike Ferring, Junior Staff Commodore Cindy Pillote, Vice Commodore Christina Campo, Rear Commodore Chris Smith, Fleet Captain Steve Brown, Membership Directors John Riddell (two-year term) and Dianna Andress (one-year term), and Cruising Captain Tom Errickson.
"[Later], the board [selected] a Treasurer (Tony Chapman) and Secretary (Lori Reger). We thank the departing board members for their service to AYC: Emory Heisler, Thom Dickerson, Andrea Love, Ralph Vatalaro, and Greg Woodcock.
"Voters also overwhelmingly approved an increase in club dues from $125 per year to $150 per year, effective with the next renewal period. It's been 10 years since AYC increased dues and 83% of voters approved doing it now."
Welcome To All
Monthly meetings of AYC are held at the Caddy Shack at Rolling Hills Golf Course, 1415 North Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ 85281-1205.
This is only a sketch of the Arizona Yacht Club, its many activities - charitable, social, and educational. Because of them, the "impossible dream" of desert sailing is definitely possible.
For more information, visit http://arizonayachtclub.org/.