Thursday July 19th, 2012
The Corsair Trans Tahoe Trophy
The 2012 Harmonic Convergence and Trans Tahoe Regatta were extraordinary events. Once again, Tahoe locals Kevin Gammell and Ed Struab hosted the Harmonic Convergence gathering of trimaran sailors in the spectacular setting of Emerald Bay. This year, there were 11 Corsairs lined up on the beach near the Vikingsholm Castle. The weather was perfect, the shared food was excellent, the beverages were plentiful, old friendships were rekindled and new ones begun. The event was memorialized by T-shirts that were generously contributed by Gary Helms.
This year was the 49th running of the Trans Tahoe Regatta. Once again, the Regatta was professionally organized and managed by Jim and Lynn Mullen.
The trimaran fleet was divided into two starts - first the 24's and 750's and then the 28's and 31's. Prior to the first start, F28R Sea Trike collided with F24 Gajin causing severe damage to Gaijin's port float and engine which forced Gaijin to withdraw from race. Gaijin has participated in the Trans Tahoe for many years with excellent performance so this unfortunate accident eliminated a very potent competitor from participating in the Regatta. In addition, due to illness, Gary Helms withdraw his new Dash 750 (White Knuckles) from the Race which removed another potent competitor.
As usual, the starts were held up until the wind shifted around from East to West. The 24's got off around 1:15. I believe there were only two boats participating, neither of them finished the race, and there were no results posted for the class.
The second start included Centurions Ghost, Hanukia, Panacea, Sea Trike, Windependent and Emma.
The start was a close one with Emma crossing the line on the stern of Hanukia very near the Committee Boat while the others started closer to the pin. The first leg was windward to Eagle Rock with good wind. About half way to the mark, a tear appeared near the clew of Emma's jib and we feared that the race would be lost. Luckily, however, a quick repair with sail tape kept it together through all of the windward legs of the race.
Emma was first to the mark with Hanukia close behind while the other tri's were some distance back. The second mark was the R3 Research Buoy which is downwind, east of Eagle Rock, about one third of the way across the Lake. Emma managed to barely keep ahead of Hanukia around the mark and built a substantial lead on the reach South to Sugar Pine Point, only to lose most of the lead by overshooting the mark and having to backtrack to it.
Part of the Trans Tahoe challenge is to locate the marks - GPS locations are only provided for the permanent research buoys.
The next leg was downwind to Dead Man point all the way across the Lake and Hanukia, with spinnaker, rapidly overtook Emma and built a big lead in rounding the mark. When Emma rounded the Dead Man Mark, the wind stopped and she went into irons and drifted very near the rocks on the East shore. While Emma floundered trying to fill her sails 50 yards from the mark, Panacea was able to round the mark and pull ahead of Emma and Hanukia sped out of our sight.
After an eternity of waiting, a gust finally filled Emma's sails and we were off to chase down Panacea and Hanukia on the windward leg back to Sugar Pine Point.
The wind speed steadily grew and Emma soon overtook Panacea and Hanukia gradually came into sight . By the time we reached the Sugar Pine Mark, Hanukia's lead was reduced to about a quarter mile. From there, it was a straight screacher reach for Emma to the finish line at Tahoe City. Hanukia moved farther away from the shoreline than Emma in search of stronger wind and appeared to use every combination of sails in her inventory to preserve her lead over Emma.
The final leg was about as exciting as match racing can be with Emma trying to catch and overtake Hanukia. Emma's crew trimmed the sreacher to perfection and steadily cut into Hanukia's lead right up to the finish line for a photo finish. Emma crossed near the Committee Boat and Hanukia crossed near the pin.
The official result was that Emma crossed 2 seconds behind Hanukia but Emma's crew, we will forever like to be believe that the result had to be the other way around. Either way, it was an Incredible race to have traveled 33 miles and end up with the two boats only 2 seconds apart. On corrected time, Emma won the race - one of the most exciting that I have ever experienced.
Emma also won the Corsair Trans Tahoe Perpetual Trophy for the fastest Corsair on corrected time. The Corsair Trophy is unique,with a three dimensional image of a trimaran encased in crystal. Emma is the second winner of this Trophy (generously donated by Corsair Marine last year) which was won in 2011 by Paul Martson on the Corsair 31 DREI. This year, Paul and his 2011 crew were aboard Hanukia.
Hanukia is an F28 R that is owned by and was skippered by Lee Edwards of Ventura. Hanukia's crew which included Paul, Gary Kahler (owner of DREI) and Jerad Brockway are some of the most skilled and experienced trimaran sailors to be found. They are tough but gracious competitors and good friends. Jared kindly assisted me in derigging Emma for the trip to Tahoe, and both Jared and Paul helped rigging her for the race, and derigging her for the trip home. I am very grateful for their support.
Emma's win has to be credited to her premier crew which included Curtis Pitts and Brock Roberts. Curtis has an extensive history of winning significant sailboat races - the notorious Double Handed Farallones is an example. Curtis was Emma's strategist/tactician and tireless trimmer which resulted in Emma's peak performance throughout the race. Brock handled the screacher through tacks and jibes with the screacher furler he designed and built. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity of sailing with this crew. Emma also had an unusual crew member Milo - a Jack Russell Terrier who is Curtis' side kick. Milo has an obsession with waves and defended Emma by attacking virtually every wave that came under or over the nets. He wisely always moved to the windward nets and managed to stay aboard. Milo clearly added a new dimension to sailboat racing.
The final rankings for the Multihull Class were: Emma, Honukia, Panacea, Sea Trike and Centurions Ghost. The complete Regatta Results can be seen on the Tahoe Yacht Club Web site.
In summary, the 2012 Harmonic Convergence and Trans Tahoe Regatta were tremendously successful events.
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