Archive for » August 9th, 2013«

Smooth sailing

With a handful of competitors nipping at his wake, Spring Lake’s Brett Hatton and his crew held off the field to take home first place in the E scow fleet of the West Michigan Yachting Association Championships, held on White Lake last week.

“Going into the last race, we had a one-point lead over two other boats, and the former regatta champion from last year was in fourth place, two points behind,” said Hatton, who sailed with an outstanding crew that featured Olivia Windemuller, Chad Hough and Brian Torreson.

“The conditions were really great. We had a northwest wind about 15-20 mph, and the boats were hitting speeds upwards of 22-23 knots in the puffs going downwind with the spinnakers on.

“A couple boats tipped over in the wind. It was very exciting. We were fortunate enough to get a good start, battled our way to the front of the fleet, got passed on the second-to-last leg, then passed them again upwind on the last leg to win the race by probably 10 boat lengths.”

The regatta champion is determined by taking the average finish in a five-race series. Hatton and his crew finished eighth in the first race, but finished strong in the final four, taking third, second, third and finally first for a total of 17 points.

Rob Terry was second with 21 points, followed by Douglas McNeil with 22.

Fellow Spring Lake Yacht Club member Andrew Molesta and his crew placed sixth, while Paul Wickland was 13th, William Knape 16th and James Rose 17th.

Hatton explained that the E scow is a 28-foot-long boat that is basically like a surfboard.

“They’re long and flat and controlled by the people’s weight,” he said. “You can wipe out easily if you’re not careful. You have to work in concert with each other to keep them at top speeds and to keep them from wiping out.

“We try to hit the best venues the countryside has to offer, and this is one of the biggest regattas of the summer for people who sail around Michigan.”

There were a total of nine classes that competed at the WMYA’s. In edition to the E scows were the C scows, the MC’s, the Melges 17s, the Laser Standards, the Laser Radials, the Butterfly Open, the Butterfly Junior and the Opti class.

Spring Lake Yacht Club sailors excelled in several of the classes.

In the C scows, Scott Harestad took third place, followed by Todd and Mitchel Bosgraaf in fourth. Kevin Haviland was seventh, Karl Lanka eighth, Dan Bowen ninth, Mara Strobel-Lanka 10th and Brian DeBlanc 11th.

In the 40-boat MC class, James Kimball placed second, with Rib Kimball fourth.

Brien Fox placed sixth, Todd Bosgraaf seventh, Christopher Eggert 10th, Jeff Cornetet 19th, Harry Harestad 22nd, Gary Verplank 25th, Frank Reeg 26th, Lynn Walborn 28th and Lara Lanka 32nd.

SLYC’s Bruce Hansen took second in the Laser Standard class, while Mason Wolters was fifth. Sandi Fredricks placed 14th, Maggie Kloote 16th, Libby Reeg 18th and Patrick Reeg 19th.

Frank Reeg won the Butterfly Open competition, taking first place in four of the five races and second in the fifth.

Brant Bolling was fourth in the Butterfly Open.

In the Butterfly Juniors, Windemuller took second place, while Elijah Locascio was fourth. Noah Wolters took sixth, Charlie Parker 11th, Rachel Rantanen 13th, Zoe Czadzeck 18th, Elise Betten 19th, Coco McKeough 22nd and Noah Locascio 23rd.

Spring Lake Yacht Club’s Zoe Czadzeck placed eighth in the Opti class. Luke Rantanen was 10th and Olivia Vink 11th, while Liam Fox placed 19th and Aidan Parker was 23rd.

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SAILING: Weymouth couple set for Fastnet Race

SAILING: Weymouth couple Kay and Kevin Stibbs set for Fastnet Race

By Laura Kitching

ON BOARD: The crew who competed in The Myth of Malham

WEYMOUTH sailing couple Kay and Kevin Stibbs are taking on the gruelling Fastnet Race 2013 for a cause close to their hearts.

The duo and their team aboard Draig O’r Mor will be lining up among 380 contenders at the world’s largest offshore yacht race on Sunday.

They will spend at least two days racing non-stop from Cowes, Isle of Wight to Plymouth via the Eddystone Rock.

For the pair, the biennial race is particularly poignant for it was while sailing the 2009 edition that Kay realised “things were not quite right” and on her return home she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

In 2011, cancer survivor Kay and team took part again to raise funds for Sail 4 Cancer, a charity that provides vital help for families affected by the disease, which they are supporting again this year. Kay has described how “shell-shocked and shabby” her family felt after watching her undergo cancer treatment.

She said the Sail 4 Cancer respite holiday offered to her family in 2010 was a holiday of a lifetime, and just what was needed to pull them all together.

Joining the Stibbs at this year’s Fastnet Race is Mickey Carter, who was part of the original 2009 team, plus Albert De Heer, Robert Horton, Nix Middleton-Stewart and Richard Veale.

The Weymouth sailors completed two qualifying races – The Myth of Malham and the De Guingand – in order to cover the 300 offshore racing miles required to qualify for the Fastnet.

The first qualifier from Cowes, around Eddystone Rock, off Plymouth, and back to Lymington covered 230 miles, much of the Fastnet course, and took the team almost two days.

Kay said: “Light winds prevailed, which is not exactly Draigy’s kind of thing, so we were pleased with a respectable 14th out of 34.”

The second qualifying race – the Guingand – saw a streamlined team of Kay, Kevin, Horton and guest John Poyner sail from Cowes to Guernsey in grim conditions with 30 to 40-knot gusts of wind.

Many boats retired through the night and the Stibbs team were delighted to finish fifth in their class, 32 minutes behind the winning boat, Mefisto.

Now they have great hopes for a good result in the Fastnet, which will see yachts arrive in Plymouth between August 13 and 17.

Kay added: “Fingers crossed for strong winds which are Draigy’s preferred conditions.”

The team will leave Weymouth in the early hours of tomorrow morning. The race starts at 12.30pm on Sunday from Cowes and the fleet will pass Portland Bill in the late afternoon or evening.

Follow the team’s progress on the Race Tracker at fastnet. Make a donation at

All are welcome to join Kay and Kevin Stibbs and their Fastnet team for Last Last Supper tonight. Give the team a good send off from Castle Cove Sailing Club, Weymouth. Bring your own barbecue or a takeaway can be ordered. A collection will be made for Sail 4 Cancer.

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Stanford's Henken motivated for a return to sailing

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By Kylie Rosenstock
Stanford Athletics

Hans Henken knew he wanted to be an engineer even before coming to Stanford, where the rising junior has become a vital member of the Cardinal sailing team. He’s even a co-captain.

“I didn’t know what kind of engineering I wanted to do at the time, but I knew I wanted to be able to build something or work with my hands; use mathematics and science to solve problems,” Henken said.

Now fully settled into his aerospace major, Henken shared “it’s great being in class, listening to the professors talk about different ways of solving problems and hearing them mention sailing as an example of an application of the formula we’re studying with a different use.”

He’s studied the science behind how boats sail in the water, and yet Henken does not think this give him an edge in competition.

“Sailing is a lot of feel. If it feels good, it usually is good,” he said. “By feeling how tight the lines feel when you’re pulling on them and how the rudder feels when you pull on that.”

Henken relies on these feelings to help with adjustments he needs to make with the boat to sail as quickly as possible.

“The real art of sailing is when you know when you’re slow you can change something quickly and get back to speed,” Henken said, “knowing when you’re fast is also important so you can replicate that process, replicate that feeling.”

Henken’s attachment to his feeling drives him to continue practicing, travel repeatedly across country to compete — so much so, in fact, he reaches gold-member flying status by the end of the season — and live the busy life of a student-athlete at Stanford.

“The feeling of being able to race the boat as fast as possible, the joy and the feel of how fast the boat goes down lane or up lane or around the race course, that kind of stuff really gets me motivated to keep sailing,” Henken said.

These days, however, he can only visualize how the ropes feel; how the rudder and sailboat glide across the water. Henken tore two ligaments in an ankle during a training session in early July and recently graduated from crutches to a walking boot.

Henken channels his focus to physical therapy sessions. The goal is to return in time for the U.S. National Championships in late August, and the World Championships in France at the end of September.

Henken turned in a magnificent performance during a competition in Germany earlier in the summer. He and his partner, Olympian Trevor Moore, finished as the top American team and placed 15th overall, in a field 50 boats.

Henken remains hopeful, even with this forced break from sailing, he will retain the all-important feel of sailing when he returns. “I’d say remembering what to do and being able to perform won’t be that difficult,” he said.

The feeling of the boat, of sailing, is ingrained in the Coronado native, who took up sailing at age four and began competing six years later. It took years to develop the sense; years to refine the feeling that led to Henken becoming a world class sailor. And he utilized an interesting way to help him achieve speed.

“When I’d sail my boat as a kid, I’d lay down and listen to the water hit the edge of the boat,” Henken said. “You knew you were going faster when the sound was louder and slower when there was no sound at all.”

A decade later, Henken has added ‘teacher’ to his resume. The Olympic hopeful enjoys passing his knowledge on to others — including his brother and sister — by word and example in the tight-knit sailing community.

Sailors who have sought Henken’s help have improved dramatically, which he regards as highly as any of his proudest sailing accomplishments. A third-place finish with the United States at the ISAF Youth Worlds (the equivalent of the Olympics for sailors under the age of 18) is at the top of his list.

Henken continues his own sailing knowledge by trading advice with Stanford teammates. Whether reviewing photo and video footage of their sails at practice, discussing strategies, or working through each other’s sailing-related questions, the Cardinal help each other any way they can.

“We’re all very competitive sailors, we’re all very competitive people, and we all want to do really well,” Henken said. “I think that drive and that push makes us really successful as a team.”

Henken has set goals of winning a collegiate national championship and competing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Even as he rehabs, Henken remains motivated to climb into his sailboat once again and find out “if I can make the boat go faster than any other person that I’ve ever raced against.”

Henken intends to continue sailing for life, ignoring the engineering concepts he devotedly studies in school to focus on a much less technical approach to drive his already successful sailing career.

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Sailing: Aleh and Powrie back at the top

The tables have turned after day four at the 2013 470 World Championships on now in La Rochelle, France with NZL Sailing Team’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie regaining the lead in the Women’s fleet, while Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox didn’t fair so well and have dropped to 11th in the Men’s Championship.

All fleets sailed three races in 10-15 knot winds in La Rochelle today.

After starting the day lying 6th the reigning Olympic Champs came out fighting on day four managing to deliver the best performance of any female crew for the day with a win and two 2nd places which sees them pop to the top of the leader-board.

With mixed results coming from the other top placed crews Aleh and Powrie have not only regained the lead, they now have an eight point buffer on rivals Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) who have held the top spot since Tuesday. The kiwi crew are pleased;

“We started out well with a decent start in the first race, rounding the top mark in the first pack, then chipped away at the leaders to take the lead just before the last mark to the finish and win the race,” says Jo Aleh.”The next one was a little trickier, we didn’t have the greatest start, but we got a bit of space and got the boat going nice and quick.”

“The last race of the day was definitely the most difficult; we had a great start, but got a bit out of phase on the first leg of the race, to round the top mark in the middle of the fleet… We then worked our asses off to move up into the top five by the last top mark and one more good downwind leg and a great final reach put us into 2nd place at the finish once again.”

“So overall a 1,2,2 and no extra silly points for doing something stupid, so a bit of an improvement on yesterday!”

Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol, of Slovenia round out the top three of the Women’s fleet, six points adrift of the French pair.

Tomorrow is the penultimate day of the regatta and the last day of the finals rounds ahead of Saturday’s medal race. By the end of the tomorrow only the top eight placed boats are still in the hunt getting the opportunity to sail the double-points grand finale.

The fortunes of Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox fell the other way and after today’s three races they find themselves in 11th overall with a battle on their hands to climb back into the top eight for a medal race start.

After a 17th, a 26th and an OCS on the course today the young kiwi combination have slipped from 2nd overall with two races left to close up the points gap.

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