Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tall Cactus Regatta Announcement!

J/24s sailing Lake Pleasant, ArizonaPretty-in-Pink J/24s Challenge U 2 Join Us!
(Lake Pleasant, Arizona)- The final event of the Arizona YC sailing year is the Tall Cactus Regatta, which will be sailed on Saturday, May 20, at Lake Pleasant, Arizona. This is a long-distance race that delivers a final fancy belt buckle to the winner!  Yes, indeed!  The boat with the best-corrected time wins the final Tall Cactus Regatta Rodeo Buckle!  And, the dirt-cheap $25.00 USD entry also gets you an overwhelming amount of FREE wine and cheese and crackers at the season-ending party at Spinnaker Point after the Regatta!!

How can anyone resist!  Remember, Arizona weather is incredibly good for your health, wealth, and path to ultimate happiness!! It’s dry, none of that pollen stuff you get in the spring elsewhere, plus the rattlesnakes are asleep, the scorpions are all hiding under rocks, and most importantly, you get to watch the two most rockin’ women’s teams sailing hot pink J/24s for an all-out shoot-out at the OK Corral for season’s honors!

While the rest of the county is celebrating their season openings, Arizona is closing for the summer. The AYC season ends with one last hurrah – the traditional long(er) distance TALL CACTUS Regatta. Lake Pleasant, about 30 minutes north of Phoenix is a spectacular venue with stunning desert scenery, winds that defy logic, temperatures that range from dry freeze to instant shake-and-bake and, of course, is home to the shocking pink “Tiller & Kite” J/24 “Mermaid” boats.

For the 2017 regatta, Tiller and Kites has entered both J/24s with all women crew. Without a doubt, these are the finest and most competitive women sailors in Arizona, and although they insist on the psych-out mantra “no matter what, let’s go out and have fun”, I have seen them sail and know better! Also, the trophy is an amazing custom Rodeo Buckle instead of a pickle dish.

Women's J/24 teams“Tiller & Kites” is a US Sailing accredited sailing school in Phoenix that uses the two J/24s as the primary learning and training boats. We do have other pink boats in the fleet, but nothing beats the J’s when teaching safety, sailing competence and confidence.  Here are the two women’s teams:

  • Wendy Larsen- The club PRO and former J/24 owner. Besides knowing the rules and the boat, Wendy and her husband built an Open 6.50 from scratch and appropriately named “Dog Year”.
  • Lalaine Dowell- Usually on the bow of a Hobie 33, Lalaine is following her skipper who finished the spring season on Mermaid Rescue after the boom broke on the H33 in the N2E race.
  • Diana Andress- Skipper an owner of ‘Hot Flash’ a Santana 20, Diana and her all women team are a perennial competitors. Dianna’s husband Bruce is part of T and K and together they own more boats than one can count without taking ones shoes off!
  • Michelle Herridge Bailey- Michelle joins the team from the Tucson Sailing Club. Michelle was the only Laser sailor in the recent Leukemia Cup Regatta and was doing incredibly well … till the capsize. Usually not a big deal – till she got run over by a Viper and ended up with a broken wrist!
  • Stacey Loula- If it floats and has sails, Stacey has probably sailed it in San Francisco or Phoenix. Stacey is a sailing and SUP instructor and owner of Black Sails Soap Company (official supplier to T and K)!
  • Ellen Wesley- After racing mainly on J105s in Chicago and New York, Ellen now races on Mermaid Rescue in Phoenix. Other claims to fame include being a seatmate with Stu Johnstone on a flight from Chicago to New York.
  • Monique Palermo- Together with her husband Jim, the first sailors on Mermaid Rescue when she first came to AZ. Monique also owns a Catalina 20, a SolCat, two sunfish and very entertaining Chihuahuas.
  • Susan Pew- After building seven boats from plans, Susan was one of the first Tiller and Kites students. (The plans did not include sailing instructions!). Susan and Mermaid Revolution quickly became BFFs.
For more information about Arizona sailing, there is no better person to chat with than Victor Felice, Vice Commodore, Arizona Yacht Club- ph# +1-480-577-4007 or email-  For more Arizona YC and Tall Cactus Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.