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2023 Rollo Wheeler Regatta Recap

By S/C Mark Bird; Photos by Glen Garfein

The wind was steady. The current was weird. The starting line was Olympic Circle Mark FOC right in the middle of the confluence of currents from the North and South bays. The noon start on Saturday brought steady winds at 12-18 knots out of the WSW and plenty of sunshine. Great weather for sailboat racing.

Thirty boats showed up in seven divisions including a very lonely single boat in the non-spinnaker division. In past years, two separate courses where set up, the City of Berkeley Course and the Wheeler Course, to accommodate the large turnouts and to allow the deep keel boats some room to run in the central bay while the smaller boats ran the buoys in the circle. This year, both courses were started and finished from the same spot but with different routes available to the committee as needed. As it turned out, on Saturday the big boats were given the longer, seven-mile course while the smaller boats ran a shorter course, both of which being in the central bay with a quick loop around a leeward mark just a tad inside Olympic Circle and then an upwind finish.

Both of Saturday’s races followed this formula as it made for long runs and a nice, square course. The competition was good with only one over early as a barging boat was forced over the line. This made for a tense moment on the committee boat as the offending boat came VERY close. After the scores and finishes and penalties for both days’ races were tallied up it went something like this: In the Big and Bad Wheeler Course it was the very large and orange ZAMAZAN skippered by Greg Mullins taking first place. Next in the Still Pretty Darn Fast PHRF2 Division COMMITTED driven by Don McIlraith took first place honors. Next up in the Not Too Shabby PHRF3 Division it was CHOMP! skippered by David Janinis in first.

On the City of Berkeley Course we had four divisions. In the Olson 25 One Design Division it was BYC’s David Scott steering OMAR to victory. In the PHRF4 Division (159<PHRF< 189) Michael Quin and Kersey Clausen co-skippered RESILIENCE to a co-victory. In the PHRF5 Division (PHRF > 189) Jan Grygier drove ALBACORE to a first place finish. Finally, in the non-spinnaker division it was Aidin Collins and Kieran Collins skippering BELLA to both first and last place.

The racing Saturday was good but we did have a couple of reminders that we need to be careful out there. We had one collision between two boats that resulted in double protests and one of the boats retiring. That same day a sailor went overboard on a Santana 22 and it took a solid 30 minutes with assistance from the mark set boat to get the sailor back on board. This is a good reminder to all that going overboard is a big deal. Swimming and/or climbing back into the boat in full foulies is nearly impossible.

Sunday’s weather was a carbon copy of Saturday. Same wind. Same current. The difference, however, was that Sunday’s race was a pursuit race. Twelve boats showed up and all starts were good. The finishes were appropriately a mixed bag. Unexpected, if you will. It was a testament to PHRF. John Arens on REVERIE took first place with David Janinis who had led right up to the final mark rounding, taking second by only ten seconds. Finally, in third place was SWIFTNESS steered by Reuben Rocci in third.

The Rollo Wheeler Memorial Regatta was great fun this year. Many thanks to all the folks who worked hard on the water and at the clubhouse to put on what turned out to be a great dinner and a great party!

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