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Ninnescah Sailing Association
Wichita, Ks.
Catalina 25 2005 Nationals

By Frank Hopper

Regatta, skippers meeting, harbor gun, course and heading, party; these are words that evoke many different images and memories for everyone. A regatta is one of the finest experiences in sailing. Cruisers get some of the best sailing pictures of the year as well as an opportunity to help put on the event. Sailors get the opportunity to meet racers from other venues and share ideas. Families swell with pride whether from the deck or shore. Fleets and clubs get to demonstrate their ability to entertain and deliver the goods on the Notice of Race. Local communities take notice as the press and the Internet spread the word. One of the most wonderful aspects this phenomenon is that the size of the boat and the size of the regatta has very little to do with the excitement and quality of the experience. Catalina 25? Fleet 95 had the honor of hosting the 2005 Catalina 25-250 Nationals Regatta, July 8-10.

The National Association uses a regional rotation scheme to provide a reasonable distance for all sailors at least once every three years. 2005 was the central region cycle and the venue was Lake Cheney Kansas, just outside of Wichita, the hosting club was Ninnescah Yacht Club, (ninnescah.org). Lake Cheney is one of the windiest lakes in the US with no obstructions between the prevailing winds and the water. (?Kansas? is a Native American word for People of the South Wind.)

The hosting club is small by coastal standards but a very nice sailing facility by any standard. With approximately 200 boats in the slips the largest contingent by far is the fine yachts from Catalina Yachts. The largest fleet is Catalina 30 Fleet #31 followed closely by the 25? and 22? fleets. Fleet 31 played host to the 25-250 Nationals, allowing the members of 25? fleet to participate in the regatta. By hosting, fleet 31 provided the race committee and Saturday evening social event.

When Catalina 30 sailors are involved you will have a good time! The camaraderie between all sailors is remarkable but that between Catalina sailors is truly an amazing thing. In spite of the efforts of the national association to hold a regatta in various regions to promote attendance the reality of the Catalina 25? yachts is that they are a chore to trailer. Sometimes they even come loose. The Capri 25 and the Catalina 250 are easier than the Catalina 25 but all are a chore. This year?s gasoline sticker shock was also a factor in a skipper?s decision to tow or not to tow. We had over 30 sailors on the water, one boat from Indiana, (Bob Mienert), one from Texas, (Derek Crawford), and one boat from Oklahoma, (Steve Meyer), but sailors came from Florida, (Jerry Mulvihill), Connecticut, (Done Peet), Oklahoma, (JB Manley, Matt Meyer, Jack Moore, Hugh Baser, Ken West), Louisiana, (Mike Murphy, Buck Blum, Tim Voyt), Texas, (Judy Ayers and JD Dukes), and Oregon, (Gary Bruner, Terry Annis, Steve Elred). Several of the out of towners brought family; sailboat racing is a wonderful family experience. There were many sailors from Ninnescah Yacht Club as well.

Saturday was as good a racing day as anyone could hope for. The wind was steady at 18-20 mph and held its direction well. There were three races and by the end of the day everyone knew the pecking order. While our boats are not true one design boats we do hold to strict class rules. Within class rules skippers can do some interesting things, by the end of the first day of any regatta there are boats that people tend to want to look at to see what that skipper has done, this regatta was no different; everyone was looking at a boat named Kansas Twister.

Saturday evening was beer, burgers, brats, and bragging.

Sunday morning we woke to an atypical July day, the wind was only 10-12 mph. The two last races were run and the results were obvious for the standard rig fleet and the tall rig fleet, the overall ranking was posted within minutes and everyone became focused on hauling the traveling boats. After the boats were taken care of the awards lunch began. Catalina Yachts and CatalinaDirect.com were the two primary nationals sponsors, Vornado fans and Briteline Graphics were the two primary local sponsors. All of the sponsors made significant contributions and impacted the quality of the regatta experience. The traveling trophies were accepted with pride and thanks to Catalina Yachts for providing them.

The results for 2005 are below.

Crew Catalina 25 R to L Tom Olsen, Rodney Johnson, Gary Shepard, John Mosley

By Gary Shepard:
I had raced the Catalina in all of the local regattas for the last 15 years and always done well. With the Catalina 25 nationals at our local lake, it gave me the chance to compete the 25 in a one design competition that I had wanted to do for years.

Myself with 25 years of racing experience and with a pick up crew with a combined 85 years racing experience we did extremely well and had a great time making several new acquaintances. There went the Myth that the standard rig can't be competitive.

The competition was great, the winds 14 to 20 knots could not have been better. We are making plans to travel to Cleveland race week next June to defend the title.
Std rig12345
Kansas Twister Gary Shepard, Ninnescah11111
Turtle Herd Steve Meyer OCBC22222
Long Wind Bill Meinert SEBYC33333
Le Coquillage Neil Carlsen Ninnescah44444
F&MH Gary Bruner Battle Ground55556
Semper Fi Frank Hopper Ninnescah66665
Tall rig
This Side Up Derek Crawford HCYC11111
Merlin John Stansfield Ninnescah23222
Love and Luck Steve Perry Ninnescah323dnsdns
Over all
Kansas Twister Gary Shepard, Ninnescah11111
Turtle Herd Steve Meyer OCBC22223
This Side Up Derek Crawford HCYC33332
Long Wind Bill Meinert SEBYC44444
Le Coquillage Neil Carlsen Ninnescah55555
F&MH Gary Bruner Battle Ground66667
Semper Fi Frank Hopper Ninnescah87776
Merlin John Stansfield Ninnescah79888
Love and Luck Steve Perry Ninnescah989dnsdns