Photo credits Sean Trew, Kandace Farley. Thank you!
The 2019 Moore 24 Nationals proved to be a hard-fought contest, with a range of sailing conditions contributing to a diverse score card for most of the competitors. Fourteen teams hailing from Seattle, Hood River, Victoria, Santa Cruz and the Bay area attended the event, which was sailed out of Seattle’s Corinthian Yacht Club on Shilshole Bay. An experienced race committee team led by PRO Charlie Rathkopf made the most of the conditions, with a couple strategic dock postponements (anticipating afternoon northerlies that typically fill in later in the day). The result was some classic Puget Sound racing with sunshine, relatively flat water, and wind speeds generally ranging between 5 and 12 knots.
A change in the weather Sunday brought a switch to a somewhat shiftier southerly, which unfortunately died in the afternoon. As the day’s final race was shortened in a receding breeze, Hood River’s Bruzer emerged at the top of the scoreboard. Per Moore 24 Fleet tradition, winning co-skipper’s Erik Hauge and Mark Harang offer the following insights:
Team Bruzer - Erik Hauge
Moore 24 Nationals in Seattle, Hell Yeah! Sign me up. I love sailing in Puget Sound. It is slightly different than the Gorge, but fun it its own right. It should be a small, mellow, fleet. I don’t think that many boats will make the trip north for sailing in Seattle in August (wind can be fickle that time of year). Wait! I need a ride, and Brian Petros #145 has a family wedding that weekend. Luckily, Morgan and Christa Larson are some of the most generous boat owners, huge supporters of the Moore 24 class and sailing in the Hood River community. They will lend me Bruzer, which I was lucky enough to have borrowed previously for a Road Master race in Cascade Locks. So, now we have a boat. My first call is to one of my close friends and college roommate, no not Andy Schwenk (he was the second call). 1st call was to Mark Harang, who I sailed dinghies and keelboats with in college, Hawaii races, Round the County, South Sound and Center Sound races. Mark and I have been riding bikes more than sailing together lately, so I am stoked he will join the team. 2nd call another college roommate, Andy, who has sailed with me on my Express 27 but he is sailing with Ben and Jen, so he is out. Brad Butler helps connect us with Terry Williamson, who trimmed for Brad and I have sailed with on the Morphine. Now I need to look at crew weight and Brad Speidel, my bow man from the Express 27, fits in nicely. Low and behold we are 121 pounds shy of max weight. We just happen to have a keen 14-year-old junior sailor, Leif Hauge, who weighs 120 lb and helps Brad on the bow of the Express. The crew is complete.
The crew comes together for the first time Thursday afternoon as we assemble the boat and start to get a handle on rig tune and sort out a boat that I have not sailed on since the 2017 Round the Country race. I did have a look at the entry list and the talent that was on hand, and it was obvious that this was not going to be a small mellow fleet! Fourteen boats from California, Canada and the Gorge. This was going to be a shit fight with almost any boat capable of winning races. Luckily CYC is going to run a few practice races where we have a chance to line up, tune and see how we go against the competition. The idea was to switch off helming between myself and Mark, so Mark and I each drove a practice race. The results were the same, we were pretty much dead last in both of them. That night at dinner there was a bit of concern hanging in the air, and I think we were all thinking the same thoughts...“ What the hell did we get ourselves into, this is going to be a long weekend”!
It is Bruzer tradition that we have a “Shot of the day” before we go out on the water. Respecting tradition was on the list of our goals, since the one time we forgot things went very, very badly (Santa Cruz Nationals 2013). For the first day: Goldschläger for the adults. During the briefing on the way out of the harbor we talked about doing our best, sailing as fast as we could and having fun. We did not have high expectations. We agreed that our best shot would be the long-distance race where local knowledge might be a factor.
Since day one started out patchy and light, I made the call to put the light guys on the ends of the boat and center our weight in the middle. We pushed Leif up to the bow and had Mark drive the first race. Let’s see how that goes......
Racing Summary – Mark
While we surprised ourselves on Bruzer with a race 1 win, it was the Hood River team onboard Space Toaster that set the tone for the day. The conditions for race 1 were tailor-made for my self-proclaimed “foot to the next shift” approach. As the northerly built, however, it was David Gee and team on Space Toaster who sailed most consistently, never finishing worse than 3rd. The steady breeze and relatively short lines led to aggressive starts. Race 3 saw five of the favorites picking up an OCS (not a good thing in a no throw-out series). At the end of the day, Space Toaster held a four-point lead over Bruzer, with More Uff Da, Mooreitican, More Cowbell, and Immortal tightly grouped a few points back. After all that racing, most sailors had worked-up a powerful thirst, fortunately the locals had a plan.
Moore Fleet Party Summary - Erik
Ballard Moore Ambassadors (Ben and Jen) organized a fleet BBQ at their beautifully remodeled home. They are always the masters of fun and good times. How cool is it that the whole fleet comes together and parties together? You people already know this, but I am going to remind you, so you don’t take it for granted. The Moore Fleet is very special and always has such a good time. Thanks for having us!
Bruzer shot of the day – Erik
Racing Summary continued – Mark
Day two featured similar conditions; however, lady luck did not smile equally on everyone. Space Toaster began the day with a dominating performance. For the second race, they recovered from a restart to motor through the fleet and cap off back-to-back wins. On Bruzer, we were on a steady improvement cycle, finishing the first two races mid-fleet, but then ending with a third and a first. Saturday’s final race turned out to be the “distance race” and featured a long run into Shilshole bay with a final beat along the marina breakwater. When the scores were tallied, Space Toaster led Bruzer by 3 with Immortal, More Uff Da, and Spoon Man closing the gap. The day’s close racing is highlighted by the following “Saturday only” point totals:
Spoon Man 15
Flying Circus 18
More Uff Da 19
With another day of racing to go, it looked like several boats had a solid shot to win the series.
Bruzer shot of the day – Erik
Racing Summary continued – Mark
As it turns out, day three was ruled by the Seattle weather. Things started off with a solid southerly, with rain showers threatening. The first race was won by Mooretician, with Immortal, More Uff Da, Flying Circus, and Space Toaster rounding out the top five. At this point, Space Toaster’s lead over Bruzer had swelled to five points with Immortal just six more back. The last race started in decent breeze, but it decreased rapidly as the fleet rounded the weather mark. Flying Circus led the way with Bruzer, Morphine, Firefly, and Mooretician all occupying the second spot at one time or another. The race committee shortened course at the ensuing weather mark where Mooretician once again took the win. On Bruzer, we were able to sneak by Flying Circus, then hold off a hard charging Ray to finish second. The shakeup in finish positions left Bruzer on the top step, and with no wind anticipated for several hours, the regatta was over. A tough finish but not unusual in these parts. Special thanks to the Seattle Moore Fleet and CYC for a great regatta, and thanks again to Morgan and Christa for loaning us such a well-prepared boat.