(Houston, TX)- Houston Yacht Club recently hosted its 27th annual Elissa Regatta for the benefit of the tall ship ELISSA. This event not only raises money for the ELISSA but also raises awareness of Texas' sailing heritage.
The ELISSA is an iron-hulled sailing ship built in Scotland in 1877, and is now a National Historical Landmark as well as the "Official Tall Ship of Texas". She is a three masted barque with nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in area. The Elissa is housed at the Texas Seaport Museum and is owned and operated by the Galveston Historical Foundation. Proceeds from the Elissa Regatta Weekend not only help maintain the ship but also fund exhibits, community activities and educational programs in connection with the Elissa for youth and adults.
Sailing in the regatta was local luminary Jay Lutz, racing aboard his J/80 USA 803 with son, Taylor Lutz. Here's Jay's report- "What a great time of year to sail on Galveston Bay in Texas! Throw in a good cause, the 27th annual 2013 “Elissa” Regatta, hosted by legendary Houston Yacht Club and you have a fun time for all.
The regatta consisted of twelve classes ranging from the hot new J/70 to a pursuit start in mixed PHRF rated boats. I had the pleasure of crewing with my son Taylor, in our J/80 along with our good friends Joe Taylor (JT) and Casey Rogers. JT and I are old, and when we added up, (with a calculator) just the years we’ve sailed together, it was more than the J/80 is long-- 30 years!! At least the “kids”, Taylor and Casey brought our “average” crew age down considerably. Advil anyone?
Our race course consisted of the PHRF, J/109, J/105 and J/80’s. Winds were SSE 12-18 knots for both Saturday and Sunday (and I might add 78 degrees). In our J/80 fleet the competition was very tough with many different competitors leading our class at some point during the six race event. Kevin Funsch and crew of “Geaux Fast” (AKA “Kicks”) did an outstanding job to win the event by one point over “USA 803”, Taylor Lutz and crew on a very tight last race finish. Third was Ramon Torres on “80 Proof” who did a great job winning race #1 on Saturday. Fourth place was our local fleet captain Forbes Durdin on “Mojito” who had the most unlucky first day rounding the first windward mark of race #1 with a comfortable lead after an excellent beat but missed the offset mark (yes, it was a ways away Forbes) and having a spin takedown/ jib out, back upwind to clear the offset and dropping back to 6th…And then again leading race #2 and missing the mark change (not sure we heard or saw any “C” flag either).. He needed a couple Mojito’s after that!" Thanks for that contribution, Jay!
The six J/105s battled it out for Galveston Bay supremacy. Winds in the 15-25 knot range made for some exciting extremely tight racing under beautiful Texas skies and very comfortable temperatures. First place changed hands several times during the six races, but Mark Young on KILLER RABBIT won his first ever J/105 regatta and was properly doused in the drink afterward by his admiring competitors. Has Fleet 17 found a new tradition? Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE stole second by one point from Bee Bednar on STINGER. A great time was had by all.
The six J/70s saw two matches form over the course of the regatta, one a race for first and the other for third overall. In the end, Tom Romberg from Austin YC won the first match with Chris Lewis from Lakewood YC taking second. In the second match, Jim Mitchell from Fort Worth Boat Club sailed BOOMTOWN into third by virtue of winning a tie-breaker over Bruce McDonald's team from Austin YC sailing ROGUE WARRIOR.
The largest class at the regatta were the fun-loving J/24s. The fourteen boats supplied great competition and the top five really was not settled until the smoke cleared in the final race. Squeaking by with the top honors was Stu Lindlow's TROPICAL AGGRESSION, winning by only one point over Jim Kondziela's ODALISQUE. Third was Natalie Penner's GIGGLES, an awesomely fun team from Dallas Corinthian YC just three points back. Fourth was Kelly Holmes-Moon on BAD MOON and fifth was Bryan & Vicki Dyer on RUM LINE.
The six J/22 teams saw a streak of bullets from Larry Blankenhagen's team on PARROT TALES LIGHT, winning comfortably with 6 pts. Taking second was Don Peloquin's STUDENT DRIVER and third was Chris Morlan's TILT.
Finally, the J/109s sailed as a trio with some spirited competition. At the end of the day, is was Dave Christensen's gang on AIRBORNE that was crowned champion. Next in line was Tom Hutton's LEADING EDGE and in third was Barry Hoeffner's POLE DANCER. For more ELISSA Regatta sailing information