Skip to main content

HomeDam Distance Race 2017 Recap
..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....

Recap-The Dam Distance Race 2017

     The fourth edition of the ‘new and improved’ Dam distance Race was held Saturday, 15 April. We say “new and improved” because the ‘old and not improved’ version lacked assigned race committee, NoR, SIs, lake map, course and buoy list, pursuit start, Beginner’s Guide, coffee and Danish at the skipper’s meeting, event logo on the three-deep, two-division awards, and a theme playlist during the after-race Bar-B-Que dinner. (Did I forget anything?)

     By design, the event again drew entries from the Club racers and entries from that group of members that doesn’t regularly, or at all, participate in WCSC racing. Of the boats that registered, the majority of skippers described themselves as non-racers (16). Good! It has always been the organizers’ intent to offer the non-racing member a gentle introduction to competitive sailing.

     As always, racing or day sailing, the weather is of great concern. In the past few years this event has experienced too much wind. In 2014, of the 13 registered boats, only 7 left the harbor; only 4 finished the race (sails on 2 boats damaged). More often this event has experienced too little wind. As the event organizers, we watched the NWS website intently the week leading up to the event. It was promising.

     So, it was not unexpected to arrive at the Club early Saturday morning and see a very calm lake surface. After all, the forecast didn’t predict wind till late morning. By skipper’s meeting, the lake was still very calm. By the time the boats arrived at the starting area, the breeze had increased to maybe 5-6. Not good, but better. By the time the first boats were beginning to start, the wind has increased a little more, perhaps 8-9. Good. The forecast might actually be accurate. Affirmative, starboard (yea, right). By the time the last boat had started, about 35 minutes after the first boat, there was breeze across the race course, and all the boats were making way towards the turning mark, buoy 17) in the Big Water area of the lake. It was rather cool to see so many sails headed down lake. And if you want to see just how cool it looked, check out the drone footage that Marc Bailey provided.

     But as so often happens in lake sailing, the wind began to diminish at midday. We had hopes that the noon slump would last only 30 minutes or so; after all, the forecast was for 10 all day into the early evening. Didn’t happen. All the boats slowed down. The lead boats were approaching the most distant mark of the course, buoy 17, but they were barely making way. Race Committee had a difficult decision to make. They could shorten the race course at buoy 17 and finish boats as they arrived there. Or they could allow the race to continue, and hope that the forecast wind would re-appear. With sails stretching all the way back to Andersonville Island, RC felt that many boats might not have time to make it to buoy 17, let alone farther. RC signaled “Shortened Course” and recorded the boats’ finish times as they reached the ‘new’ finish line. By this time, several of the competitors had seen the proverbial handwriting on the bulkhead and contacted RC to declare their retirement from the race. It’s hot, there’s no wind, and after all, there’s an after-race party to attend! A few dauntless souls persisted in their attempts to complete the race before the time limit expired-some made it, some did not.

At the end of the day, the stats looked like this.


               Total Boats Registered: 25

               Boats started race: 23

               Boats finished race: 14

               Skippers, Crew, Guests socializing: 50ish


     Congratulations to the prize winners.

In the Non-Racer division    1st        Ben Gibson on the San Juan 21 “Full Tilt”

                                             2n           Alan Hippensteal on the Tartan P 270 “TARTANIC”

                                             3d        Cyril Guerin on the Capri 30 “Jus’ Chillin’”

In the Racer division

                                           1st        Rick Fontenot on the Corsair 24 “Cowardly Lion”

                                           2nd       Brent Benson on the Impulse 21 “Hurricane”

                                           3d        Mike Harrison on the Cape Dory 25 “Miranda”


     As advertised, the Dam Distance Race and After Party is an attempt to motivate non racers and novice racers to participate in a ‘race’ event. Many racing conventions are ignored, and a great effort has been made to include a social element. By design, this event does not award a finish place or a trophy to a boat unless the crew also participated in the after-race social. It was humorously suggested that boats that raced, but did not remain for the party, would be scored “DNP”. Yep, Did Not Party. And that is what happened. The boat that was the fastest on the race course did not attend the after-race party. George Masson and crew on Ealu were not awarded a trophy. We want to thank them for their good sportsmanship and graciousness in accepting the terms of this event.
     But even more congratulations to the participants that ventured out of their comfort zone to try something a little different with their boats. I hope they gained a little confidence. I hope they were able to bond a little with fellow club members-especially the members that are relatively new at WCSC. If you weren’t there, or even if you were, click here to view the photo album.

      So…What about next year? As the event organizers, we’ll leave you with this: If you had a good experience, talk it up with your dock buddies. More boats, more people, more fun. If you have issues with the event, contact us. We’d like to have a dialog about the possibility of improving this event, The Dam Distance Race (and After Party).


Rick and Allison Fontenot

                                                  Drone Footage     Photo Album

 Overall Fleet
 Skipper  Boat Name  Design  Corrected
 George Masson  Ealu Ultimate 24   1:45:10  DNP
 Rick Fontenot Cowardly Lion  Corsair 24   1:59:11  1
 Brent Benson  Hurricane  Impulse 21  2:00:50  2
 Ben Gibson  Full Tilt  San Juan 21  2:20:18  3
 Mike Harrison  Miranda  Cape Dory 25  2:30:26  4
 Alan Hippensteal  TARTANIC  Tartan P27  2:35:33  5
 Cyril Guerin  Jus' Chillin'  Capri 30  2:46:08  6
 Keith Schrecengost  Interim  Catalina 30  2:48:14  7
 Kirk Brutosky  Windlass  Hunter 27  3:04:11  8
 Curt Rubenstein  Hang On Sloopy  Catalina 30  3:04:57  9
 Hugh Vantleven  Pir-A-Sea  Hunter 25.5  3:38:17  10
 Wayne Cheser  Starling  Bristol 34  3:48:02  11
 Spencer Mathews  Happy Camper  Precision 23  3:54:11  12
 Ron Sanga  Wind Horse  Cape Dory30  3:56:13  13
 Eric Seymour  Serenity  Seaward 26  DNF  
 Mike Miros    Flicka  DNF  
 Timothy Bunch Mimi   Helms 25  DNF  
 Chris Smutzer Lucinda  O'Day 26  DNF  
 Dave Oldstrom In Balance  S2 8.0  DNF  
 Richard Curry  Great Escape  O'Day 27  DNF  
 Carolyn Edwards  Jus' Chillin'  Islander 32  DNF  
 Dick Johnson  Big Easy  Catalina 30  DNF  
 Dan Marett  Dream Weaver  S2 27  DNF  
 Mark Miller  Exodus  Santana 20  DNC  
 Paul Harder  Lucky Lindy  Lindenburg 22  DNC  

 Non-Racer Division
Skipper  Boat name  Design  Corrected
 Ben Gibson  Full Tilt  San Juan 21  2:20:18  1
 Alan Hippensteal  TARTANIC   Tartan P27  2:35:33  2
Cyril Guerin  Jus' Chillin'  Jus' Chillin'   2:46:08  3
 Keith Schrecengost  Interim  Catalina 30   2:48:14  4
 Kirk Brutosky  Windlass  Hunter 27  3:04:11  5
 Curt Rubenstein  Hang On Sloopy  Catalina 30   3:04:57  6
 Hugh Vantleven  Pir-A-Sea  Hunter 25.5  3:38:17  7
 Ron Sanga  Wind Horse   Cape Dory 30  3:56:13  8
 Mike Miros     Flicka  DNF  
 Timothy Bunch  Mimi  Helms 25  DNF  
 Chris Smutzer  Lucinda  O'Day 26  DNF  
 Dave Oldstrom  In Balance   S2 8.0  DNF  
 Richard Curry  Great Escape  O'Day 27  DNF  
 Carolyn Edwards  Jus' Chillin'  Islander 32  DNF  
 Dick Johnson  Big Easy  Catalina 30  DNF  
 Dan Marett  Dream Weaver   S2 27  DNF  
 Mark Miller  Exodus  Santana 20 DNC  

Racer Division
Skipper Boat name Design Corrected
George Masson Ealu Ultimate 24  1:45:10 DNP
Rick Fontenot Cowardly Lion  Corsair 24  1:59:11 1
Brent Benson Hurricane Impulse 21 2:00:50 2
Mike Harrison Miranda Cape Dory 25 2:30:26 3
Wayne Cheser Starling Bristol 34 3:48:02 4
Spencer Mathews Happy Camper Precision 23 3:54:11 5
 Eric Seymour Serenity  Seaward 26  DNF   
 Paul Harder Lucky Lindy  Lindenburg 22  DNC