Buzzards Bay Regatta 2014

by laserd7

Thanks to Joe Berkeley for his account of BBR 2014 which was first posted on the D7 Facebook page.

The rain that fell first in showers, then bursts, and finally in great sheets upon Buzzards Bay must have made Alan Ruigrok of Dublin, Ireland feel right at home. He sailed his Laser to victory over a field of 30 full rig boats. His sail was always perfectly trimmed, the only flaw and it was a significant one considering the pride of his ancestors, being the lack of an “IRL” beneath his number.

One point behind Alan in second overall was Steve Kirkpatrick who sailed fast and consistently. His one mistake was an OCS, which became his throwout. Mark Bear finished third overall, and on the first day, he rounded the weather mark in first or second every time. Mark Bear is the only competitor who can say, “I’m not sailing well downwind,” and still finish on the podium.

Peter Shope finished fourth overall. One of more than a few Born Again Laser Sailors, Peter took a break from sailing for 21 years. Then he returned with a vengeance. At the Sunday party after racing, he ran into Chip Johns. They reflected upon the Finn campaigns of yesteryear. One such event, the Gold Cup in Brazil, found 20 Finn sailors on a small island with no ability to sail as their boats had not yet arrived. What to do?

Shope was minding his own busienss, peacefully watching TV when he was dragged from his room by his competitors. A rental-car Olympic sport was invented and his participation was mandatory. The rules were simple: each driver reaches a speed of 100 miles per hour then pulls the hand brake as hard as possible. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

One of the competitors rolled the car, Shope put his arm through the glass window and later received twenty-something stitches. He had warm memories of what he thought was someone in the front seat crying. Turns out it was Jumbo Peter Truslow laughing his ass off in the upside down car while gas dripped from the tank upon his head. And that was the least of the injuries.

There is nothing better than a Born Again Laser Sailor for the Masters fleet, and we are hoping to have talents like Peter Truslow, Sam Kerner, Scott Kyle, and Charlie Ulmer, Jr. return to the fold. Mark Jacobi grew up in Hawaii with Sam Kerner and coached Scott Kyle, so he is the go-to guy for their return. Steve Kirkpatrick is in charge of getting Charlie Ulmer back, who was a sight to behold in the big breeze.

Everyone in the fleet expected sunny skies, big breeze, and aching abdominal muscles as a result of three days of flat out hiking. The fleet was surprised to have good breeze on day one, then less on day two, and even less on day three. The weather wasn’t the only surprise.

Scott Pakenham, a former bicycle and motorcycle racer, who takes great pride in keeping his equipment in top shape, was thinking about bringing his center board to Andy Pimental’s boat shop, Jibetech to have two hairline cracks repaired.

That trip will not be necessary, as Scott ran aground on the way in on day one and hit a rock so hard his board shattered into numerous pieces. Not to worry. His hull was not damaged and a friend lent him a board and he was able to complete his regatta.

While Alan Ruigrok had the luck of the Irish, the same could not be said for poor Jonathan Beery. He stayed in a house with 15 of Alan’s countrymen and he said, “15 Irish guys in the same house, you know how that goes.”

As if a hangover wasn’t enough of a challenge, his borrowed boat had a test plug in the transom which had a small hole in it for pressure testing. Jonathan was unaware of the test plug so he finished his first day with a significant amount of water in the boat. The next day, he got a non-test plug and faired much better in a dry boat.

Tuckerman Jones prepared for the event by doing some practice and wrapping many different colors of duct tape around his dolly so it could be easy to find once he returned to shore. The BBR may be the only regatta on earth where your dolly is valet parked by kind volunteers who will actually jump into the ocean to help you launch and land your Laser. Pretty impressive.

Peter Hopple has been practicing in heavy air at his home club of Stone Horse and has also been trimming down to Laser weight. He had a consistent regatta and is looking forward to hosting the regatta at Stone Horse Yacht Club in Harwich Port, MA this coming weekend. He is hoping to get a good turnout and encourages you to attend, and while you’re at it, bring a friend.

This year, the Lasers had their own special launching area away from the main clubhouse so parking was a bit more relaxed than in year’s past, according to veterans of the regatta. The Race Committee did a great job conducting 11 races in finicky conditions over three days for the full rigs. Next year, Buzzards Bay will be one of the premiere regattas to attend. Let’s just hope that if Alan Ruigrok comes back to defend his title, he won’t bring the weather of Dublin with him.

I did have a chat with Alan, and informed him that I have acquired my Irish citizenship and have an Irish passport as well. If times get tough, Alan assured me I’m welcome over in Ireland where he can get me on the dole. 300 pounds a week. Tempting, isn’t it?

Joe Berkeley