Sports -- May 03, 2007

Published on Thu, May 3, 2007
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by Jack Kintner

Whales welcome sailors to ninth White Rock cup

Canadian sailors dominated this year’s ninth running of the Semiahmoo Bay International Regatta, though American sailors swept one division and retained the West Marine Team Trophy for the second year in a row.

The annual event is sponsored by the International Yacht Club (IYC) that’s based in both White Rock and Blaine.

Bright sun with moderate winds greeted a fleet of about 60 boats. Racing was highly competitive, much more so than last year even though total numbers were down just a bit.

Royal Vancouver Yacht Club members David Sutcliffe in his Bruce Farr designed Mumm 30 he calls Kinetic III and Rob Bassett in his 30-foot LRT took top honors in the first two PHRF divisions, the ones with the larger and faster boats.

“It was a whole lot of fun in perfect weather,” Sutcliffe said, “with competitive starts that had us playing the [wind] oscillations in close boat on boat racing.”

Paul Every won the third PHRF division in his 31-foot Exeat and fellow IYC member Stephan Miller won the cruising division in his MacGregor 26 Late Starter. Veteran multi-hull skipper Bernd Giese won the nine-boat multi-hull division in his F24 Flying Geese.

The lone American winner was Lynden sailor Jerry Roloson in REV, a highly tuned 43-year-old wooden Thunderbird with which he swept the fourth PHRF division.

His three boat team that also included Bellingham-based boats Tumbleweed and Flying Circus won the Blaine West Marine store’s team trophy.

Saturday dawned clear and mild for the 26-mile Bill Van den Borne Memorial, the light wind forcing the race committee to shorten the courses for three of the divisions.

Spike Sheret of the IYC, whose bottom painting of his Sceptre 43 Airmanship got rained out so often that his boat was still in the yard for the weekend, rode along as helmsman on Bob Bezubiak’s pretty blue-hulled C&C 41 Northern Dancer that sails out of the Blaine Marina.
“After beating in light air to the [windward] mark, it was a close reach ghosting south to Alden Bank and then maybe a 60 degree reach back home on a leg where we got a little more (wind] and could fly the chute,” Sheret said.

The search for wind brought some reward as most of the fleet got a good look at a small group of migrating gray whales feeding in about five fathoms just off Kwomais Point near the windward mark.

On Sunday morning the fleet gathered out on the bay under an almost comically perfect sky filled with big white billowing clouds for windward-leeward racing, the six starts sharing two parallel courses, the wind building and then holding just shy of whitecaps as the first races ended and the second set began.

The windward mark saw some close competition as boats arrived in two’s and three’s for the rounding from a starboard tack beat to a bear-away spinnaker set, John Gerity in Impetuous just failing to nick veteran Jorgen Bysse in his new Arcona 370 Karina II at the mark and instead taking his stern.

Close behind, Bezubiak in Northern Dancer fought it out against Ernie Chatham, of Tsawwassen, and his J35 Jabiru before hoisting a fouled chute after rounding that finally opened halfway down the course.

It was an early season-type mistake and not the only one throughout the fleets as most boats went though the tight maneuvers, but the light to moderate wind was perfect for early season competition, giving skippers the chance to sort out gear and crew without putting people or parts at risk in heavy winds.

Bezubiak, who was also the regatta co-chairman, will be very competitive in this boat judging from the streaks of occasional light-air speed he showed all weekend.

“I’ll get my crew down to a basic list pretty soon,” Bezubiak laughed, “but right now everyone wants a ride.”

In the second race Bezubiak tangled with Karina II who then chose to dance around the mark in a penalty 720 rather than sit through a post-race protest.

Roloson, along with Bassett one of just two skippers to sweep the weekend’s racing in their divisions, bought Rev last winter from Seattle’s Mark Harang and had it skittering across the ripples like a leaf before a storm.

The hull is number 447 out of roughly 1,000 active boats in the class. It was built 47 years ago and like most T-birds is plywood.

Roloson said he left the rigging as-is but spray painted it with imron.
“We also clean the bottom frequently because we have a crane in Bellingham that can lift it up by the keel bolts,” Roloson said, “so the whole thing takes just a few minutes.”

For complete race results and more information go to

Race results in detail
White Rock Cup results – 2007 Semiahmoo Bay International Regatta

Division A
(Multi-Hulls, 9 boats)
Bernd Giese, Flying Geese; Linda Adams, Cuttlefish; Chris Sherman, Son of Raven

Division B
(PHRF < 90, 12 boats)
David Sutcliffe, Kinetic III; Gray Hawken, Teddy Bear; Micah Vanderheid, Mad Max

Division C
(PHRF 91-140, 6 boats)
Rob Bassett, LRT; Eric Yaremko, Flying Circus; Rudy Heessels, Wind Child

Division D
(PHRF 141-190, 4 boats)
Paul Every, Exeat; Richard Ross, Psyche; Ross Bernard, Zen No Zen

Division E
(PHRF > 190, 12 boats)
Jerry Roloson, REV, Jon Seestrom, Tumbleweed; Malcolm Fletcher, Mistral

Division H
(Cruising Class, 8 boats)
Stephen Miller, Late Starter; Dave Dauphinee, Lucy; Gary Saunders, Peddler

Blaine West Marine’s
International Team trophy
The American team of REV, Tumbleweed and Flying Circus, who earned the highest combined score of all three-boat teams