Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 3:49 PM on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Martha J wins 15th annual Land's End Regatta

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photo by McKibben Jackinsky

At the beginning of the Land's End Regatta on Saturday, the Orca, with Capts. Aulikki and David Knight, are the first to pass the starting mark, followed closely by Bluewater, with Capt. Michael Sharp, and Martha J., left, with Capt. Capt. Carlin Rauch. Morning Star, with Capt. Ron Downing, is between the Martha J. and Bluewater. Safety patrol was provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, center.

The last half of the 15th annual Homer Yacht Club Land's End Regatta was cursed with unusually light wind Sunday. Making the most of it was Capt. Carlin Rauch, who sailed the Martha J, a San Juan 28, to an overall first place, leaving a string of other strategizing, hard-working captains and crews in her wake.

With the starting and ending line at Land's End, Saturday's course was an 8.8-mile distance. Sunday's course was 12.3 miles, but designed to be shortened if conditions dictated. The lack of wind was enough to make organizer Bob Brant eliminate the final 4.6 miles.

Ties for fifth and sixth place, third and fourth place, and first and second place were decided by a handicap and complicated scoring process, with the final results as follows:

• First: Martha J, Capt. Carlin Rauch;

• Second: Morning Star, Capt. Ron Downing;

• Third: Arctica, Capt. Craig Forrest;

• Fourth: Duit, Capt. Mark Hemstreet;

• Fifth: Alandra's Lee, Capt. Lee Dewees;

• Sixth: Winter Hawk, Capt. Shawn Hansen;

• Seventh: Bluewater, Capts. Michael and Susanna Sharp;

• Eighth: Thetis, Capt. Don Ball;

• Ninth: Orca, Capts. Alikki and David Knight.

Rauch was joined by her two children, Caleb and Reid, and husband Paul, when she was announced the winner Sunday evening. She learned to sail on the Great Lakes and Florida, sailed in college and has been sailing in the Homer area for five years. Rauch attributed her victory to the Martha J's light hull and a new main sail.

"I just got it on the boat Wednesday and hadn't sailed with it before," she said. "I think I'll keep it."

Rauch will be a new name among the yacht club's regatta winners, reflecting growth within the club Brant has been hoping would occur.

"We were waiting for new leadership to show up. They're here now," said Brant, whose 33-foot sloop, Nexus, is currently in Canada. "I think (Rauch) symbolizes what's occurred. A young family. A new face on the trophy. That's great."

Brant noted the close relationship between sailing skill and varying weather conditions in events such as the two-day regatta.

"The winds (on Sunday) were very light and tested the captains' skills," he said. "It was a disadvantage for some boats, but then a day it's blowing 20 is a disadvantage for other boats. Definitely light air requires a very soft hand and a lot of skill, but even if you've got that and the wrong boat, you're toast."

The regatta offers an opportunity for captains and crews to develop their sailing know-how, said Dewees, who, in addition to being captain of fifth-place Alandra's Lee, is the club's commodore.

"We have actually a broad variety of sailors with extensive experience and people who are just learning," he said. "A two-day race gives an opportunity to see a number of different conditions."

Strong community support marked this year's race.

"The list of sponsors was nearly everyone in town," said Brant. "We're very appreciative of that."

Dewees thanked the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Homer Flotilla for providing boat safety monitoring for the Saturday and Sunday race. He also acknowledged Brant's hard work.

"If it wasn't for his dedication, this probably wouldn't happen," said Dewees. "The Martha J. did spectacularly. Everyone had a good time. It was a good race."

The next Homer Yacht Club race is scheduled for Saturday. The course will be determined that day. A captain and crew meeting will be held at 11 a.m. on P float. The race starts at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.homeryachtclub.org.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.