Team Menninger wins Harbor 20 Champs
Published on March 4th, 2019
The Harbor 20 Class Championships were held in Newport Beach, CA from March 1-3, 2019. Thirty competitors entered the regatta and decided to confront the forecast weather conditions and showed at the start for the qualifications. The weather forecast painted a picture of calm before and after the arrival of a weather train called the Atmospheric River (Pineapple Express) due in mid-regatta.
On the first day of the Class Championships, the participants were seated and split into four divisions. They then sailed six races to determine who would sail in Gold and Silver Fleets. The brightness and warmth of sun kept the participant’s foul weather jackets below deck and sunglasses on throughout the day. The wind stayed consistently out of the west at about 7-9 knots with a good ebb tide flowing most of the day.
The seated favorites all won their divisions: Team Menninger, Team Wiese, Team Bissell, and Team Buckingham. Please note that the top three teams consisted of couples, something that the Harbor 20 fleet encourages and promotes. A number of teams took a quantum leap forward by sailing better than normal.
Everyone would agree that Team Bose sailing “Only Child”, Father-son team Cole & Karl Pomeroy aboard “A Salt & Battery”, McDonald seated in “ 12” and Scruggs sailing “Summer Wind” were all sailing consistently better than usual.
The race course was managed expectedly well with emphasis given to sail 20+ minute races with no blending of the divisions on the course. This added to more lag time between races yet it was more pleasurable on the course with the chances of fewer entanglements with other competitors.
Confrontations between competitors where solved by getting clear of all other boats and completing one full 360 circle, which is one tack and one gybe. Unfortunately, there is always that one competitor that wants that pickle dish more than sailing to the Corinthian spirit and yet “What are you going to do?”
The fleet as a whole has made leaps and bounds to understanding the rules better and clearing any infractions, which has lead to a more enjoyable experience in one-design short course sailing.
As expected the Pineapple Express showed up on time and delivered a constant downpour and wind gusts touching 25 knots. Add in the ebbing tide and the location of the starting line, next to Harbor Island, lead to all the sailors getting bounced around quite a bit.
By the end of race one, three teams had enough and called it a day, many more teams questioned why should we do this to ourselves with many other teams rotating out crew members to meet the conditions before the day even started.
Team Bose did come very close to throwing in the towel before leaving the dock.
Bose thought he had achieved the first goal of qualifying for A fleet, do we really need to punish our selves in these conditions? They pushed on and at the end of the day both were glad they did. In hindsight, the class should note that the boats and competitors were at their limits.
The event had participants from as far away as Annapolis, Santa Barbara, and South Carolina attending. Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s new clubhouse is absolutely perfect with a blend of tradition and modernization.
On the final day of racing, the clouds lifted and saw a southwesterly breeze of 8-11 knots. In Silver fleet, Jay Swigart sailing “Holy Sheet” held on to his lead with Brad Dwan aboard “Joint Venture” placing 3rd and Kathryn Reed sailing “Wood in it be Nice” finishing in 2nd place.
In the Gold fleet, to no one’s surprise, it came down to the last two races between Perry & Brain Bissel aboard “Bluebird” and Bill Menninger/Peter Stemler sailing “Dart”. Team Menninger placed their names on the trophy with everyone feeling the effects of sailing in a three-day regatta with as many as 16 races.
Source: Len Bose