2006 Moore 24 Nationals

Tuesday evening 3 Moore 24’s from the Seattle area headed off to Santa Cruz California on their trailers for the Moore Nationals October 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th hosted by Santa Cruz Yacht Club. 17 hours later the Northwest boats had escaped the week of Rain in Seattle and had arrived in Santa Cruz to weigh in, both boats and crew, and rig the boats for the 4 days of racing. With the arrival of a boat from Victoria and the boat from Hood River the Northwest Moore 24 Fleet had a total of 5 representatives. #85 ‘Eclipse’ owned by Brad Butler, #124 ‘More Cowbell’ owned by Bill Blodgett & Kathryn Meyer, #26 ‘More Uff Da’ owned by Ben and Jennifer Braden, #145 ‘Electric Mayhem’ owned by Brian Petros & new to the fleet #70 ‘A Moor Eh!’ owned by Simon Walker. #26 More Uff Da ended up weighing in 6 lbs light and the crew was delighted to find a local carpenter that had 25 lbs. blocks of lead, 2 hours later (have you ever tried cutting a lead block with a hack saw?) they had their 6 lbs. The Hood River boat #145 Electric Mayhem then weighed in 25 lbs. light, I figure he was a cheater as the blocks already weighed 25 lbs. As we set in for the night we thought about Wednesday’s forecast for light winds without much enthusiasm, these are boats that love wind and waves damnit!

39 Moore 24’s showed up for racing on Wednesday morning, 2 boats short of the fleet record of 41 from way back in 1983. Boats showed up from all over the West Coast, Seattle, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Victoria, Hood River, etc…. "Even people who didn’t have boats managed to get them and make it to Santa Cruz. Two weeks before nationals, Kevin Durant wrecked his boat, #7, and was afraid that he was not going to be able to come down. When he told the class about his situation, there was an overwhelming response of support. In a very generous act of kindness, Susie Barber lent her boat #88 to Kevin and his crew, while Gilles Combrisson of Numa Boa #106 offered his services on an emergency repair, just so the boat would be ready to sail come Thursday. Simon Walker didn’t have a boat at all before he came to the states on his way to Nationals. While en route he bought #70 sight unseen, came to Santa Cruz and sailed to finish 23rd out of 39 boats. And Pepe Parsons, a top sailor in many fleets, drove the 13 hours to Hood River Oregon by himself to pick up Morgan Larson’s Bruzer #127, drove 13 hours back, by himself, so that he and his crew could participate. Apparently this was not an event to miss."

Wednesday rolled in, fortunately, with more than the forecasted winds of nothing and we got off 3 races in a building 8 to 10 knot breeze. These Californians have a different idea of bouy racing than I’m used to up in the northwest. They do what they call a "Sausage" course, windward/leeward racing but the windard mark is 5 miles out! Still great times for everyone though, now I know why they focus so much on boat speed and not as much on rounding. Then Day two brought us to the "Ocean" course. What this entails is a 7 mile beat up the bay, while trying to avoid the kelp beds, up to Natural Bridges and back, twice around. I gotta tell ya, there is more kelp in the Santa Cruz bay area than is in the whole of the Pacific Northwest. We’re sailing along struggling to make it to weather with the pony tail of kelp hanging off our rudder watching all the California guys using their little tricks to get the kelp off. I saw people with these crazy kelp sticks sleeved inside of ropes, I watched the boats with open transoms just reach down and clear everything, even saw and un-named NW guy on Eclipse under water up to his shoulders while the crew held his feet to clear this rudder. So we’re sitting there think "What in the heck are we gonna do?" I get this idea, the rudder on the Moore with spin a full 360, how bout we tack, leave the sails loose and spin the rudder fully around? Amazingly enough it works perfect, with the water still streaming by the rudder the kelp just fans out and disappears. So I feel pretty good about my discovery and tell some people when I hit the dock after racing, they just look at me and say "Oh yeah, Rudder spins, I do that all the time!" Oh well, now I know.

As the week went on "the stoke factor seemed to resonate through every competitor. Morgan Larson sent a message to the crew that was sailing his boat to remember the Moore motto "Get Drunk and Have Fun". Many in the fleet faithfully adhered to this motto, with many kegs consumed, More Uff Da temporary tattoos administered on various body parts and smiles had all around. It was the best event that anyone can remember in recent Moore 24 history, and that is saying a lot because we have seen some great ones. Thank goodness weather reporters are so unreliable, because the forecast for rain and no wind turned out to be dead wrong. Day 1 turned out to be sunny and warm with big rolling clouds looming off over the mountains. The wind was light but there was enough (about 8-10 knots) to get everyone warmed up and the all-volunteer race committee headed by Mike Gross to run three races.  The races were windward leeward buoy courses. Three different boats got the bullets, but the boat that won the day was Adios (Scott Waleka, Dave Hodges) due to consistency with the scores of 6,5,6. Day 2 was cloudy but still windy enough, up to about 18 knots at some points and once again the race committee got off three solid races including one ocean course up to natural bridges. Two different boats than the day before got the bullets for Day 2 (Adios – 1, Paramour – 2), but with the throw-out given after race 5, Gruntled ended Day 2 on top with Paramour moving on up from 6th place to 2nd. Day 3 started off with a doozy when the race committee decided to send the fleet on the two-hour ocean course. The wind filled in and at points reached 22-25 knots. Two more double windward-leeward courses finished off the day. But with the higher winds came some great stories for the bar. In one instance Tom Condy on Sparrowhawk had to scale the mast to retrieve a skied halyard. The boat tipped over and Tom hit the water, breaking two ribs and lacerating his left arm. After a trip to the hospital, Tom was back at the bar in good spirits. While Tom was in the hospital, members of the fleet took care of his boat; they hauled it out of the water, washed it and put it away on the trailer. While he didn’t sail the rest of the races he did stay for the rest of the regatta and even received a "First-Aid" award, to which he replied, "I love Moore Racing!". On another boat, More Amour, the crew decided to take a dip during their first regatta with the fleet. As they were going down wind the skipper got swept off the boat in a wave. With no one at the helm the boat got squirrelly and as one of the crew was trying to pry free the spin halyard she was thrown off the boat. Another crewmember attempted to continue where the last had left off but she too was thrown off the boat. The last crewmember was able to cut the chute free and recover his wet crewmates. While the crew was cold and a little shaken, they were back the next day and even had a special guest sailing with them, Godfather of the fleet, Ron Moore."

I gotta say that this was an amazing regatta, great winds, great boats, and great people. The Northwest fleet didn’t do as good as they had wished, but given the fleet, the Pros and amateurs alike, I think we all did a great job. In the end, after 11 races in 4 days, it was #26 ‘More Uff Da’ in 12 with 123 points, #85 ‘Eclipse’ in 13th with 127 points, #124 ‘More Cowbell’ in 14th with 138 points, #70 ‘A Moor Eh!" in 23rd with 206 points and #145 in 26th with 230 points. Everyone deserves a hand of applause for making the trip and putting together such a great showing for the Northwest! The Moore 24 class President Scott Sorenson, the Race committee, all the Volunteers that helped out, and the Santa Cruz Yacht Club deserve and receive the gratitude from the Northwest Moore 24 Fleet. The Northwest fleet is continuing to grow and evolve. With the addition of #70 up in Victoria and #95 coming soon to Bellingham things are shaping up for a great year of racing in 2007. We hope to see more of you step up and join this fleet of cult boats that’s sweeping the west coast!

*excerpts taken from the Nationals wrap-up written by Vikki Fennel #75

(They won the darn regatta with 35 points! Good work guys!)

Ben Braden

Moore 24 NW Fleet Captain



Full results can be found at;

The Moore 24 national website (http://www.moore24.org),

Or the SCYC website (http://www.sycy.org)