Written by Nik Vale (Open Sailing) Monday, 26 July 2010 06:00
The High Sierra Regatta stands out as one of the more unique events on the Open 5.70 racing calendar. There is no Yacht Club just a tent in a parking lot, there are no bars with appetizers just fire pits and smores, there are only 3 races and no one knows the word protest. As a result you get a more laid back regatta in one of the most beautiful sailing venues in California.
The price of admission besides the entry fee is a steep drive up a windy road to the lake which sits at 7,000 feet and a primitive ramp with dock space for less than half of the boats racing. Launching and pulling your boat every day may seem like hard work but that is half the fun - with crystal clear refreshing water what other boat ramp offers you the opportunity to jump in, dock line between your teeth, and swim your boat on to it's trailer!
Forget everything you've learned all season sailing on the Pacific - this is a lake where the normal rules of physics don't apply! Not only will your boat feel "weird" in the fresh water but the wind will surprise you in ways you didn't imagine possible. Only on the lake will you see two boats sailing in almost the same direction on different tacks. If you don't believe me then watch the Kattack replays and bare in mind that the course is considered windward / leeward! These challenges makes for some exciting racing as boats compress, the lead changes and boats expand in the fleet making what you thought was a unbeatable lead into an unbelievable deficit.
With boats from Northern California Fleet and the Southern California Fleet this was an event where the fleets could meet on neutral territory and compete. Tracey Kenny on "Hat Trick" continued her winning streak sailing with great consistency to win the regatta. Nick Mockridge who was sailing on the Open 5.70 for the first time got things dialed in quickly with his crew to take second place overall. Nik Vale on "Demonic" probably should have focused more on sailing than his GoPRO camera (although the footage was totally worth it - see below) won the tie-breaker for third out of the five boat fleet.