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Memories to hold onto forever

Published on August 15th, 2018

The Moore 24 was an early entry in the craze of ultralight boats that came out in the 70s from Santa Cruz, CA. Designed by surfer/sailor George Olsen, it was Ron Moore who saw the promise in the prototype and went on to build about 160 of the boats until the late 80s.

The Moore 24, which has gone on to win the Pacific Cup to Hawaii, remains an active one design class in Northern California. Per tradition, along with winning the 2018 Moore 24 US National Championship in Oregan, Ben Braden was required to report on it too… and did he ever. Here’s the abridged version:

Straight outa Wikipedia – Hood River is considered a “sports mecca” and offers some of the best spots for windsurfing, kitesurfing, Moore 24 Racing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, skiing and mountain biking.

As one of the most consistently windy places to sail in our country, it is a sailing venue I always think of with a little trepidation in the weeks before. Why are going here? Man that’s a hassle to get down there, it’ll be too hot and too windy, things are going to break, we are going to wipe out. You know, all the normal stuff to be worried about.

We’re going somewhere to race that the Optimists don’t sail at, where sailboards and kiteboards shine and rip around in places with names like Swell City, but then you get there and take in the scenery as you are welcomed in and get to welcome in all the different players in the theatre that is a Moore 24 Regatta. The Sailing is always great, the wind is usually incredible and the sailors in the fleet are top notch, but it’s the players, the actors in this regatta that make it what it is.

So there we are pulling into Hood River with the van on the verge of overheating in the triple-digit temperatures and it’s time to climb up and get those hot in the sun metal poles up off the deck and standing erect with tight wires and strung ropes for the 3-day event ahead.

The locals stroll up welcoming all the out of towners and the standard weather conversations start right up. It’ll be breeze-on Friday then a little less Saturday and then light on Sunday.

You can easily tell who the cottage cheese and celery crew is as they rush the scale as it comes out of the van, and to a one, they cheered about making their target weight, cracked a beer, and headed to the Hood River food court – which true to form is a couple food trailers on a pier by the river – to eat something, anything more solid than chunky cheese products.

The winners… BBQ included.

The hugs, the handshakes, the welcoming smiles, the stories of the trials and tribulations on the deliveries, family changes or accomplishments – this is why we do this, this is why we are here with these crazy old boats developed out of a good party on a hill.

Friday arrived hot (upper 90s) and windy, just as forecast. But for Saturday they all got it wrong. So here is how things work in Hood River – there are web cams set up everywhere, there are the standard weather forecasts and the cult following weather guru blogs. They got the clouds right, saying it was going to be cloudy, but when the clouds line up just west of Hood River and it’s sunny to the east generally means wind and we had wind.

When the results came out and would you know it – we’re sitting in first place at the Moore 24 Nationals and its Saturday night! Time for dinner and off to the Shed for BeauRitas!

During dinner I get a text from Morgan Larson from wherever he is on the Great Lakes sailing a not-a-Moore texting “great work, don’t drink too many BeauRitas tonight at the Shed.” “Really,” I text. “Ok,” he responds, “Three is your limit.” Beau is the Moore 24’s bartender in Hood River and each time there is a regatta in Hood River the fleet will fill up this little bar and get entertained by our bartender for hours – good times with great people.

So Sunday arrives a little earlier than it should have for the final two races and was lighter than the other two days – the forecasters got that right – but it wasn’t that light. Regardless, the boat that sails with a BBQ on the pushput was the new Moore 24 National Champions in some challenging Hood River conditions against some great sailors and great friends from all along the west coast.

This was something we never expected, never really worked towards as a goal in itself. You always try to do better, to win a race, but in this fleet, with these quality sailors, our odds of winning an event like this are generally low.

It’s honestly surreal thinking about it a few days later. Thirteen years sailing our Moore 24 all over the west coast and Canada. We’ve had great wins and great losses but most importantly this little boat has built us some amazing friendships with some crazy fun people and created some of the most head shaking and sometimes even proud memories that we’ll hold onto forever.

Thank you to all of you Moore 24 owners and sailors that keep these fun times going and thank you to our fleet leadership that promotes the innovation and improvements that keep our little boat viable and desired by both the old school Moore 24 T.M.D.S. sailors and those new to the fleet that need just one more zoom before their T.M.D.S. sets in for good. Here’s to Just One Moore!

For the full report… click here.

Editor’s note: Bill didn’t specify but these photos were provided by either Sean Trew, Julio Paredes or Wet Spot Crew.

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