WOODIES & ONE DESIGNS slats off the benches down below and taped them to the spinnaker pole, which made a brace so it could be used. There were many dismastings on that race." Nonetheless, El Raton scored first in the Express 27 Fleet and fifth overall. Ray thanks Peggy Lidster, Express Fleet Captain, who has built up the fleet with tireless work, and adds that his shore crew Janet Lotto and Annie Carroll are the welcoming committee who greet them on the dock with Dark & Stormy cocktails whether they’re crying or celebrating,
Chris has been campaigning his boat most recently since 2010, and plans to do it all over again next year with his same crew of "devils." Given that he also reports that most of his experience is racing from behind — an assertion we strongly doubt — Giovacchini says it’s always a highlight — and exciting — to catch up from behind. "This did happen to us a few times! Once we rounded fourth at the leeward mark in a pack, decided not to follow, and caught them all at the finish by 50 yards for the gun. We were all pleasantly surprised . . . and happy!" Express 27 — El Raton Ray Lotto Regular Crew: Steve Carroll, Patrick Lewis, Jordan Paxhia & Noe Goodman This was Ray Lotto's third year winning the Express 27 Fleet San Francisco Championship Series and San Francisco Long Distance Series on El Raton. He says "excellence and consistency" were the secret behind his success. Ray started racing El Raton in 1988, and for the last five years he's raced the
boat seriously with Steve Carroll, Patrick Lewis, Jordan Paxhia and Noe Goodman. "I’ve been racing El Raton with Steve for nearly 20 years," Lotto explained. "He’s like family, and he’s one of the best sailors on the Bay. Patrick is excellent on foredeck and Noe keeps everything together. It is always good to have a woman on the boat. Ray Lotto And Jordan is not only a top sailor in every respect but adds a great attitude." A defining moment for El Raton was The Delta Ditch Run this year with winds gusting 30 to 35 knots from the west. As Lotto described it, "When we have a spinnaker run we pride outselves on not having roundups. But on this race we had four roundups and one rounddown when the spinnaker pole went into the water and was bent. Patrick took the
Nothin' to it. Longtime Express 37 racer Kame Richards drives confidently from the rail during September's Rolex Big Boat Series.
Laser — Christine Robin Tracy Usher Tracy Usher bought his first Laser, #17586, in 1974, took a bit of a break from Laser sailing in the 1980s to deal with an education and career start, then got back into it in the early '90s. After living in age denial for a few years (foolishly missing the legendary Cancun Masters' Worlds, he says), Usher finally attended his first Masters' Worlds in '01 and he's been to every one since. During this time he’s been through seven boats, including his current one, #199187. Recalling a memorable moment, Usher says that in the late spring his weight went below 190 pounds for the first time in about 15 years. "I discovered that Peter Vessella (among others) wasn't flying by me downwind anymore — and I wasn't giving much away going upwind. I said, 'Aha! This diet thing might actually be worthwhile!'" Locally, he says the Laser has a great fleet with a mix of seasoned veterans (i.e. old people), and many up-and-coming youth sailors, including sailors in both groups with plenty of experience at the international level. "Its interesting that the young sailors don't always win!" said Usher. Besides the local district schedule, Usher’s 2013 racing plans include the Masters' U.S. National Championship at Cabrillo Beach, the Pacific Coast Championship in the Columbia River Gorge, and the Masters' World Championship at the end of the year in Oman. "Next season" starts this month at the RYC Small Boat Midwinters! Laser Radial Desperate Laserwives Christy Usher Christy Usher calls her Laser Radial Desperate Laserwives because, she says, December, 2012 •
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The December 2012 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.