Sunday, October 5, 2008

A-Cat North America's

(By Lynn Fitzpatrick) Santa Cruz, CA, - The writing was on the official notice board at Santa Cruz Yacht Club Friday morning. After having sailed eight races, Lars Guck (pictured left) had seven points. It would be tough for anyone to prevent Guck from winning his fourth A-Class Catamaran North American championship title.

The committee was going to give it their best to get off three races on the final day of the A-Class Catamaran North American Championships in Santa Cruz, CA. Pete Melvin also had a phenomenal score of 15 points and Phil Kinder was in third with 25 points going into the day. Clustered, but more than 20 points behind Kinder were Paul Allen, Enrique Figueroa, Peter Cogan, James Spithill and Ben Hall.

Guck, a boat repair wizard and the new builder of the A3 A-Cat from Bristol, RI, claimed to be on vacation all week and has been enjoying himself in all conditions on and off the water. He's gotten a few chuckles out of watching a pro or two behind him trying to master the A-Cat, the wind, waves and weed in Santa Cruz.After winning all three of the final day's racing and finishing the 11-race, 2-discard regatta with 9 points, Guck said, "It's all about the local fleet. We sail every Tuesday night and complete about 100 races every summer. It keeps you sharp." Guck's winning equipment combination was an A3, a Glaser sail and a Fiberfoam spar.

New to the A-Cat, James Spithill (pictured left) certainly performed better as the week went on. Mortal that he is, he started the week by thinking that he crossed the finish line only to discover that he went to the wrong side of the pin. He got hung up on the weather mark during the second race. He went for a swim on Thursday. He yelled at the kelp, just like everyone else. He got the most satisfaction out of Friday's second race when he shared the lead with Pete Melvin until getting stuck in kelp near the second weather mark.

"I loved it," said Spithill of the racing. Not only did he have a lot of brains to pick and styles to emulate, but he found it, "good to be overpowered," in the breeze. He learned how to control the feisty A-Cat by "playing with the trim, trying stuff and just getting the feel of it in all kinds of conditions." -