Chase boat, changes put new twist on regatta series
DILLON – The Dillon Regatta Race Series is reaching the middle of its season, and sailors are getting a clear idea of who is catching consistent wind.
This weekend, the series, which is organized by the Dillon Yacht Club, reaches races 13 through 16. At this stage in the series, it is vital for local sailors to refine strategies and crew tasks in preparation for the 2003 Dillon Open Aug. 1-3.
In the weekend series, the tightest crews are pulling through.
“The crews that are doing well, their best strategy now is that they have boat-handling down to an art,” said Dave Helmer of Blue Side Down, which is currently third in the J24 category behind Does this Boat make my Butt look Big? and leader Fly Mo J. “The boat that’s leading, they’re doing far and away the best of anyone.”
Sudden course changes in the weekend series have helped prepare sailors for the Open. The Dillon committee has incorporated a catch within its race markers this season to condition sailors to the possibility of taking new turns.
“The race committee has a new chase boat,” said Tom Hronek, Dillon Yacht Club commodore. “We can signal racers and do leg changes in the middle of the race. If we have a drastic wind shift, we can send them to different markers.”
Such changes force sailors to be quick on their sails, which benefits those who compete in larger races.
“We do it to mix things up, but it also helps any time there’s a major race,” Hronek said. “You see that happen in races like the America’s Cup. It makes us better racers, so we’re ready for these course changes. All this year, we’ve tried to do that with the regular committee boat. With a separate chase boat, the committee boat can be relocated on the finish line. We’ll be better sailors for it, and it helps us get ready for national and regional events.”
Racing for this weekend’s regattas begins at noon today and continues at noon Sunday. For more information on the weekend series, call the yacht club at (970) 262-5824.
The informal sunset regatta series is also in the middle of its season and takes place every Thursday at the Dillon Marina. Crews are not limited to four members, and anyone interested in joining a crew should show up or sign up on the crew board at http://www.dillonyachtclub.com.
The 2003 Dillon Open
Registration for the Dillon Open regatta is limited to 115 keelboats. This year’s Dillon Open is sponsored by Mount Gay rum, and all registered boats will be entered into a Tuschman Sport Entertainment contest to win a grand prize of a five-day trip to Barbados. Early check-in for the Dillon Open is at 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at the yacht club.
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at email@example.com.
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