Flying Circus takes the Ditch / by Karl Robrock

22 Moores showed up on the line for the 4th event of the Roadmasters series. Those numbers from come from newcomers on the scene such as Chris Berge’s #119 A Little More, from Santa Cruz, some Jack &Jill couples like John & Erica on #77 Moorigami, and folks like the Lahr family taking growing your own crew literally: Dad + two kids. This year also seems to have marked the transition to the majority doublehanding this race.

The headline of this Ditch Run however, was Bill Erkelens on his new ride Flying Circus with his overall win. In between managing Volvo campaigns and other ocean-related professional pursuits, Bill has a double life resurrecting barn find Moore 24’s and putting them back in the racing scene. Thank you for your service to the fleet Bill!

His latest project #11 is an early production coveted ‘stringer’ boat. It was also unusually heavy (see original weights!), recorded as 300lbs above class weight when originally built. There’s a long story about how the hull was damaged by the weight of water that had filled the cabin, put back in the mould (!) by Ron Moore some 15 years ago, deck re-done, and then left as a partially finished project.

The economics of the barn find take a swift turn when the barely used racing sails are unrolled. Rats!

The economics of the barn find take a swift turn when the barely used racing sails are unrolled. Rats!

100lbs of the extra weight are in the keel, which is what had Bill single the boat out as a winner. With the project complete, the boat weighs in at 2050 - 6 lbs above class weight. Fast boats don’t win races though, sailors do. Some words from Bill on the day:

Was an awesome day for the Moores! Enough breeze to rip in the puffs but not so much that it got out of hand in the jibes double handed. We went double handed, one light jib (JT) and had ability to rake rig WAY forward with aft lowers backed off as far as they would go. OK start which allowed us to jibe just after the gun and set. Small pack of us went North of the Brothers and closer to the deep water which was a slow gain all the way down to Vallejo channel. We reached up about halfway to the Vallejo channel to consolidate on the Northern boats. Played the puffs for the next section past Benicia then sailed low into the channel under the Benicia bridge which helped us relative to the boats that stayed high on that leg. The balance of the race was managing the traffic jams of slower boats. We passed all but one E27 and as we climbed that fleet they got harder and harder to pass! My neck is sore from turning to watch Pegasus pressing up on us all day with filling breeze. Sections with wind going forward helped us stretch back out but the long runs had the other Moores pressing up to us.  Finished with all our fingers and toes so a successful day!

Flying Circus in good form - photo courtesy of  Slackwater_SF

Flying Circus in good form - photo courtesy of Slackwater_SF

The rest of the event was a familiar affair - a dog fight with constant lead changes and big boats in the mix.

photo courtesy of  Slackwater_SF

photo courtesy of Slackwater_SF

Banditos & Immoral finish 5 seconds apart for 3rd & 4th place

Banditos & Immoral finish 5 seconds apart for 3rd & 4th place

A major super frustrating reshuffling then took place in the middle group of finishers’ last 50 feet, causing the RC to re-issue the scoring after closer review of video.

Pile of Moores finishing with Cal 40 and hot angle J boat in the mix

Pile of Moores finishing with Cal 40 and hot angle J boat in the mix

All the threats and profanity from the race course turn into laughs and fist pumps at the Stockton sailing club. It’s just a big family gathering, really. Next up Huntington!

The always-smiling Syd

The always-smiling Syd

Kurt Lahr with son Owen and daughter Hayden as crew. What more could you ask for?

Kurt Lahr with son Owen and daughter Hayden as crew. What more could you ask for?

The familiar sight at RYC the morning of the Ditch

The familiar sight at RYC the morning of the Ditch

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