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SPORT Series
12-27 ft
OCEAN Series
38-45 FT

By David Rumbaugh

Well this year's NAC's were living up to something different, at least on my boat, for sure. With the regatta being held out of South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA, races would be run out in the swells of the Pacific Ocean. This would be a change from the past few events that we have had as a fleet. Once I found out that my crew Anne Newton could not make the trip due to her recent graduation from Officer School in the Coast Guard, I was looking for a replacement crew—one thing I have not had to worry about over the past 5 years sailing with Anne. The last change for me was hull numbers, from 2218 (which I have sailed to the last 3 NAC titles) to 3700. A hull which is newer, stiffer, but untested on the water! So needless to say I was going with the notion of "having a good time" and not so invested on winning this time around.

First thing first, I found a crew! I locked up Claire Fishman, who I have sailed with over the years to many regatta victories, but never in one of this caliber before. We had no practice together before heading down to MDR, so I was hoping that things would work themselves out on the water for us. Claire is a solid crew, but nothing can replace years of racing together like Anne and I had. I think that Anne knew what I was doing better than I did at times, like when I would decide to tack without telling her I was doing it. She seemed to know what I was thinking most of the time, and was coming in off the wire and changing sides before I did. I did this a few times with Claire (tacking with her on the wire and not telling her) and I suddenly realized that I needed to let Claire know what was going on before I started tacking or gybing... something I was not used to doing.

Next change was the boat. Would I be able to get her ready to sail before heading down to MDR? I prolonged working on the boat because I could not decide which hull to use until the last minute. Luckily, I took the rig out of 2218 and placed it in 3700 to see what the settings would look like, hoping that I would not have to change much. After getting the rig in the boat, I checked the rig tension and rake and was shocked to see that numbers were in the "ball park" of where I wanted them. Next step was putting the board in the boat, which required lots of sanding and grinding of the well to get the board in. After fitting the board into the boat and replacing the gasket it was time to work on above the water stuff, like replacing the rigging. Lets just say that I worked on the boat until 5pm Thursday evening, an hour before heading out to the practice races that night at the club. Racing did not go as well as we planned, but the boat felt fast and did not take on any water! Both good things to come out "testing"!

The last change was the ocean swells and wind chop that we would have to deal with during these NAC's, which as you can imagine make driving the boat a little different than on a flat-water lake. With the return of the Sprouts to the NAC's, I knew that we were going to be behind the eight ball this time around. Yes, they had been out of the boat a little while but this was their home turf and they knew how to drive in the waves better than us lake sailors. Racing began on Friday for the Syd Corp trophy to divide the boats into A and B Fleets. All things seemed to start clicking for Claire and me right away. With the winds light to medium, Claire was able to get out on the wire before others could and that proved fast for us. Hull number 3700 was stiff and went through the waves very well, and it seemed that my driving in the waves was not as bad as I thought it might be. If you are keeping score at this point, that would be 3 changes this year and so far three positives for us. We finish the day 2, 1, 1 edging out the fleet for the Syd Corp title.

Championships racing started Saturday morning and Claire and I were happy with our boat speed and crew work from the day before. We quickly found out that our boat speed around the track and staying out of the way of the other boats out on the race course would be a key asset for us. At the start of race 1, we found ourselves head to wind and going backwards at the gun! Finally getting off the line looking at everyone's transom we worked on getting a clear lane going fast forward! At the end of the regatta we had six bullets in six races. The Sprout's sailed over and congratulated us on an outstanding regatta. It is at that moment that I realize Claire and I have done it. Something that no one has been able to do in the Sprout's 5-year Championship run from 2002-2006, beat them on the water for the CUP!

In order of finish:

A Fleet
D. Rumbaugh
K. Washbauer
B. Sprout
J. Roberts
V. Paternoster
A. Fishman

B Fleet
W. Paul
H. Weiler
C. Quest
J. Richardson
S. Tobin
N. Farrell

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