Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fiesta Cup ECLIPSED!

J/70 eclipse winning Fiesta Cup regatta (Santa Barbara, CA)- The 8th annual Fiesta Cup at Santa Barbara Yacht Club had an excellent turnout of J/70s and the fleet of eight boats enjoyed two good days of racing.  As has been the tradition since the event started, the sailors were treated on Saturday evening to an awesome luau-styled barbecue sponsored by Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard and Cerveza Pacifico and supplanted by the famous Santa Barbara YC “margaritas”.

The J/70 fleet is growing nicely in Santa Barbara and this year’s event attracted a competitive cross-section of fun-loving 70 sailors from across California.  On the first day, BOTTLE ROCKET (Jeff Thorpe & David Schuman) took off like a rocket and posted an unbeatable scoreline of 2-1-2 to lead the fleet on the first day.  In their wake was Scott Deardorff’s CAKE with 4-3-3 for second and in third was Ken Kieding’s SMOKE & MIRROS with a 1-4-4.

J/70s at Santa Barbara Fiesta Cup- sailing off startThe next day of racing saw dramatic “chutes & ladders” scorelines for the entire fleet with a surprising outcome for the regatta.  After starting slowly, very slowly in fact, the ECLIPSE team led by past J/24 North American Champion Pat Toole (of THREE BIG DOGS fame) took the bit in his teeth and was determined to beat the others around the track.  When the dust settled on Sunday afternoon ECLIPSE’s three straight bullets for the day gave them a record of 7-6-1-1-1-1 for 17 pts.  In short, they simply “ECLIPSED” the fleet.  Sailing with Pat were Shawn Hughes, Andrew Nunn, and Mike Drammer.

The balance of the top five was extremely close, with just three points separating them after six races; the outcome determined by the last leg of the last race!  After posting a strong finish at Long Beach Race Week, Scott Deardorff’s team on CAKE (wife Leslie Dierdorff and Matt & Laura Wilson) sailed a very consistent series and, in fact, were the only team to post all top four finishes in the regatta.  Their record of 4-3-3-4-4-2 for 20 pts was good enough for second place.  CAKE just beat Mike Wolfe’s IN SHEEP’s CLOTHING crew by one point.  The “Sheep” posted a 3-5-5-2-3-3 tally for 21 pts to secure third.  Fourth was Chris Gabriel’s DIVERSION with 22 pts and fifth was the top visiting team, Jeff Thorpe & David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET from San Francisco YC.  The sailors commented the event was as fun as ever and “kudos” should go to Fiesta Cup Regatta Chairman Jane Watkins and to Santa Barbara YC’s PRO Brad Schaupeter. Sailing photo credits- Taggart Lee.  For more Fiesta Cup sailing information