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From the Boathouse: In the home stretch before Labor Day

August 13, 2013|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

The summer sailboat races are starting to wind down as Labor Day approaches. Labor Day weekend typically signals the end of the summer boating season for our local harbors' sailing programs and for boating in general across the nation. Likewise, in our local mountains, Labor Day weekend is the finale for the sailing races on Lake Arrowhead, which sail out of the Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club. It is amazing that a vast number of the sailors are active in sailing and yacht clubs located in Orange County's three harbors, comprising Dana Point Harbor, Newport Harbor and Huntington Harbour.

I am pleased to report that team Yacht Rod, C-Scow No. 911, is currently in first place, and this is the boat that I crew aboard with my two teammates. Next weekend concludes Lake Arrowhead Yacht Club's Championship Series, so we are hoping to stay out in front.

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However, sailing on the lake can be a tough challenge because of the shifting winds blowing over the water and last weekend was no exception. On Saturday, the winds were gusting over 20 knots, and a 25-knot wind is about the maximum these boats can handle. The strong winds caused boats to demast, capsize and probably keep a few sailors dockside. Luckily on Sunday, the winds calmed a little and sailing was great, especially since the air temperatures warmed up in the afternoon.

However, about 400 nautical miles to our north-northwest in San Francisco Bay, the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals were won by the Italian team, Luna Rossa, by sweeping the first four of the potentially seven races against Artemis Racing. The Luna Rossa's skipper, Max Sirena, and helmsman, Chris Draper, will now advance to the finals against Emirates Team New Zealand. The winner of the finals will then compete for the coveted cup against Oracle Team USA.

Artemis Racing did well on the water in the semifinals but had to overcome the devastating and fatal capsize in San Francisco Bay where, very sadly, British sailor and teammate Andrew "Bart" Simpson died in May. The team was able to resume racing in July when a replacement AC72 was ready to sail, with the first race scheduled for July 24, and then race about two weeks later in the semifinals. It's a remarkable effort by the crew of Artemis Racing, and I am sure we will see them sailing again in the next America's Cup challenge.

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