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Reports & Results


RS Aero World Championship - Columbia Gorge RA, Cascade Locks, Oregon, USA
26/06/2022 - 01/07/2022


RS Aero World Championship - Columbia Gorge RA, Cascade Locks, Oregon, USA, 26 June - 1 July 2022


A breezy easterly greeted competitors for DAY 1 of the RS Aero World Championship 2022 hosted by the Columbia Gorge Racing Association in Oregon, USA.

After a short delay whilst the 30kn gusts subsided the fleet launched for three races. With the late spring snow melt creating a strong current, picking and holding a good lane out of the current and was critical, as were identifying reliable lay-lines.

First off were the largest fleet, the RS Aero 7s, and leading to the first mark was Gary Ratcliffe(AUS). Carl Buchan (USA) soon hit the front to win the race - a fitting tribute to the RS Aero Worlds in the USA as Carl won Gold in the FD in LA in 1984 were RS Aero designer Jo Richards took the Bronze! Race 2 saw Jack Miller (GBR) fast out of the blocks to lead the 1st lap. Peter Barton (GBR) took the lead on the 2nd beat and narrowly held off Dalton Bergan (USA) for the win. In Race three Carl Buchan (USA) led after a port tack start from the pin were the race office had finely balanced line bias vs the need to get right. Noah Rees (GBR) selected the favoured leeward gate which was further to sail but enabled him to get right quicker to take the lead and the race.

That leaves a tightly packed top few with Noah leading by a point from Dalton, a point behind is Peter and another point back is Carl.

The RS Aero 5s has some close tussles and was ultimately an all USA affair with two Seattle RS Aeros sharing the top 2s with Ryan Zehnder (USA) leading the day narrowly with a 1,2,1 from Dieter Creitz (USA) with 2,1,1. From the east coast Dylan Williams (USA) is 3rd with 4,3,3 whilst Roy Van Maanen (IRL) challenged the USA stronghold in Race 1 with a 3rd to finish the day in 4th.

The flat water produced by the wind being with the current made for some excellent RS Aero 9 racing. Seattle’s Dan Falk (USA) sailed fast and smart to take all three wins. Michael Johnson (USA), Derek Bottles (USA) and the east coast’s Madhavan Thirumalai (USA) are all in the hunt.

Whilst today’ strong easterly produced some interesting variation the more normal summer westerly is set to be back with a vengeance tomorrow afternoon providing a welcome helping hand upwind and some exciting waves to catch and scoot around. Noah and Jack have had double burgers in anticipation!

The day concluded with after sailing drinks and snacks and a fleet debrief led by Carl Buchan where competitors shared their insights into what they felt worked well on the race course.

All change for day two of the RS Aero World Championship with the more usual westerly breezy kicking in after lunch for three more exciting races. This time with the wind against the strong current there were more waves and a high proportion of time spent downwind after a free ride on the current upwind.

The dilemma of the day was whether to take the port bias line and the left shift of the Oregon shore or the strong current in the deep channel on the right on the Washington side.

Places changed on day two in the RS Aero 5 fleet. After some close tussles Dieter Creitz (USA) took the lead with three wins. Seattle club mate Ryan Zehnder (USA) hung on to 2nd with a 3,5,2 whilst the biggest mover and shaker of the day was Yannick Gloster (USA) with a 2,2,3 jumping up to third. Enjoying a better day today was Caroline Young (USA) from Davis Island, Florida who overtook Robyn Ratcliffe (AUS) of George’s River SC, Sydney to be top female.

The RS Aero 7s today belonged to Dalton Bergan (USA) with three race wins showing excellent positioning and downwind skills through the wavy and gusty Gorge. Noah Rees (GBR), Peter Barton (GBR) and Jay Renahan (USA) fill out the next three places each scoring some good counters. Carl Buchan (USA) likely won the 1st mark contest over three races showing excellent judgement with his starts and layline decision making. The biggest mover a shaker was Andrew Holdsworth (USA) from Seattle and Yorkshire Dales who leap frogged loads of boats to land in the top ten with three results in the top 6.

The RS Aero 9s looked sensational today blast reaching on the reaches across the bottom of the course. Seattle’s Dan Falk (USA) held onto 1st overall but today saw two new race winners in Michael Johnson (USA) and the east coast’s Madhavan Thirumalai (USA) taking a win a piece. Madhavan, Michael and Keith Hammer (USA) all share 2nd equal as the competition intensifies for the podium. 

Again the day concluded with after sailing drinks and snacks and a fleet debrief with Jay Renehan providing an insight in watching for the gusts downwind and side stepping as necessary to engage them and then stay in them.

Tomorrow the fleet will race one long distance race with a standard beat and run followed by a downwind 5 reach slalom back and forth across the width of the Gorge. The fleet will then continue on a mega run to Home Valley before a goliath upwind home assisted by the region’s great peak’s snowmelt producing the fast flowing Columbia Gorge River current. The finish will be off the CGRA clubhouse HQ in front of the grandstand and applauding crowds with free beer ashore. Wow!

Tuesday was the RS Aero Worlds 2022’s long anticipated Long Distance Race, an idea hatched and planned from three years out. The race included a standard lap with a beat and run followed by a downwind slalom of five screaming broad reaches back and forth across the whole width of the Gorge. The fleet then continued on a mega run towards Home Valley before a goliath upwind home assisted by the region’s great peak’s snowmelt producing the fast flowing Columbia Gorge River current to make the long beat home manageable and fast. The finish was finally off the CGRA clubhouse HQ, in front of the grandstand and applauding crowds before FREE BEER ashore. Again the westerly breeze had kicked in stronger than ever, perfect for a scenic tour eastwards - Bring it on!

Pre-start it appeared at one point that both ends of the line were favoured, with a starboard lift on the Washington side and a port lift on the southerly Oregon side. The dilemma again was whether to take the left shift of the Oregon shore or the strong current in the deep channel on the right on the Washington side. Ultimately the Oregon end prevailed with the port lift dominant, countering the current gain on the far right.

The RS Aero 7s were first off again and one of the lightest sailors, Andy Mack (USA), led to the top mark by picking the best line up the left side. There were several lead runners amongst the early casualties as gusts smashed the fleet downwind. Peter Barton (GBR) rolled in whilst gybing on the first run and had a prolonged recovery. As the fleet progressed downwind the conditions became wilder with ferocious gusts and larger steeper more treacherous waves. Noah Rees (GBR) scored a perfect 10/10 transom over bow dismount on the bottom run as waves built up at the leeward end of the long Gorge fetch against the current.

Andy Mack kept his lead to the leeward mark at Home Valley with Dalton Bergan (USA), Jay Renehan (USA) and Noel Butler (IRL) close behind. Dalton edged through to take the win with Jay in 2nd. Upwind grafters Jack Miller (GBR) and Peter Barton (GBR) came through to 3rd and 4th, mostly backing the current and high starboard angle on the right. Stasi Burzycki (USA) came through to 5th with Andy Mack hanging onto 6th.

Jay Renehan (USA) loved the long distance race concept at the Gorge and remarked; “Epically fun and tactical the whole way, including each reach. A key gain available was to take the puffs low on the reaches to plane deep against the current when possible. It was fun calling starboard on Dalton with 3 miles of upwind still to go!”

Gary Ratcliffe (AUS) commented; “Crazy hard racing, fantastic fun and just what we came for. Broad reaching fast against the tide gave exciting mark roundings, especially with the much larger waves at the leeward end.”

The RS Aero 5s sailed a slightly shorter course without the bottom loop. Dieter Creitz (USA) continued his run of bullets, Ryan Zehnder (USA) took 2nd and Yannick Gloster (USA) finished 3rd.

Roy Van Maanen (IRL) had a great race in the RS Aero 5s; “That was an incredibly exciting racing and it was great to make it back to the finish line in good shape! Fantastic to have the opportunity to experience the extended course and this venue is perfect for it. We have enjoyed nice variety in our racing in each of the first free days now, which is really nice.”

This was a big day out for the with full power reaches and exhilarating runs. Seattle’s Dan Falk (USA) took another 1st with Keith Hammer (USA) 2nd and Michael Johnson (USA) 3rd.
Overall this leaves Dalton with a good lead in the RS Aero 7s going into the lay-day. A three way ties follows with it all to play for between Peter, Noah and Jay. No change in the standings in the RS Aero 5s with Dieter, Ryan then Yannick. In the RS Aero 9s the top three is Dan, Keith then Michael.

The day concluded with the mid week social – a sociable pub crawl by the fleet to check out the hospitality and brews of Cascade Lock’s two local micro breweries.

Tomorrow is the mid week lay day giving sailors a chance to rest up ready for two more big days RS Aero racing in the Gorge. For those with energy numerous options in the region exist from summer skiing, water board sports, trekking, sightseeing, and wine tasting! Of course, some visitors to the Gorge are likely to choose to go RS Aero sailing for fun and training!

Day 4 of the RS Aero Worlds followed the lay day with the fleet returning refreshed ready for more Gorge action. Lay day pursuits included summer skiing/snowboarding, water board sports, trekking, sightseeing, wine tasting and even RS Aero sailing for fun and mid regatta training. Some even took the opportunity to relax tired bodies!

The westerly breeze came in again but this as a time slightly lighter with 12-16kn. Narrow gust lines and some treacherous light patches kept sailors on their toes all day for three more races.

Again the dilemma of the day was whether to take the start line bias, the left shift off the Oregon shore or the strong current in the deep channel on the right on the Washington side. Often the various options all came in very close at the top mark with the differentiator being the finer detail of tagging a good localised shift or layline precision - good speed always helps too!

In the RS Aero 5s Dieter Creitz (USA) sealed the title on the penultimate day with a 2,1,1 from his Seattle club mate, Ryan Zehnder (USA), who sealed 2nd with a 1,2,4. A tight battle is unfolding for the Bronze however between Yannick Gloster (USA) on 28 points and Catherine Young mounting a big comeback now just four points back on 32.

In the RS Aero 7s Noah Rees (GBR) won the day with a 1,2,2 to move into a solid 2nd overall. Dalton Bergan (USA) scored 3,1,3 which was enough to seal the Gold in the large RS Aero 7 fleet. The win in the last race today went to Peter Barton (GBR) who enters the final day in a close match for the Bronze just a point behind Jay Renehan (USA).

The RS Aero 9s enjoyed great close racing again and three more race wins gave the big rig World title to Seattle’s Dan Falk (USA). There is a close battle for the Silver and Bronze unfolding with Michael Johnson (USA) just 1 point up on Keith Hammer (USA) going into the final day’s two races tomorrow.

Again the day concluded with after sailing drinks and snacks and a fleet debrief this time led by Peter Barton who attempted to unravel the dark art of RS Aero sail settings and upwind mode changes when necessary for gusts, lulls and a desired pointing angle across the course. The Jury provided an insightful debrief on their observations and a summary of the yellow flags so far to help sailors understand the limitations of where the fine line of RRS42 is drawn, promoting fun and fair racing.

On Friday the fleet will race the last two races and the forecast predicts a strong breeze coming in early. Everyone is set for a big final day to conclude what will be a fantastically memorable championship series.

Day 5 & Overall
It’s a wrap! The RS Aero Worlds finished today and what a way to end it! The westerly was already in when curtains were drawn and by start time it was piping hard at 20+kn, gusting 30kn, down the race course. That’s what we came for!

Two final races were scheduled to conclude the series and there were plenty of top spots up for grabs. After a short delay getting the committee boat anchor chain to hold in severe gusts we were away. The port bias of the start line-line could not be ignored and then the tide on the right appeared the dominant gain feature. Those willing and able to attempt daring port tack flyers were rewarded!

In the RS Aero 5s Dieter Creitz (USA) sealed the win and also top Youth (U22) accolade with another two 1sts for a clear victory from Seattle club mate Ryan Zehnder (USA) who took 2nd overall. Yannick Gloster (USA) of Santa Barbara and Dublin took 3rdand the final spot on the podium. Caroline Young had been mounting an assertive assualt on the podium in the later stages of regatta settled for 4th and top Female. Roy Van Maanen (IRL) finished 5th and top Master (O55). Jacques Kerrest took top Grand Master (O65) in 6th.

In the RS Aero 7s Dalton Bergan (USA) had already sealed the title and took another race win, but it was all to play for on the rest of the podium. Noah Rees (GBR) had a tough day in the big breeze and dropped to 4th. Jay Renehan (USA) and Peter Barton (GBR) traded places by a point in each race but victory ultimately went to Jay for both the Silver and top Master (O55) after three boats were flattened at the final gybe mark, spoiling Peter’s point differential hopes in the final race. In 5th overall and winning both the first and final races was Carl Buchan who was also 1st Grand Master (O65). Jack Miller gained on the final day with a 5,6 to take 6th overall and 1st Youth (U22).

Again in the RS Aero 9s it was all change on the podium as the big breeze whistled through. Dan Falk (USA) had already sealed the title but Keith Hammer (USA) stepped up to the bronze with a 2,1 from Michael Johnson (USA) in the Bronze who was also top Master (O65). 

Never before in an RS Aero Championship have the endeavour prizes been so hard earned with often 30+kn winds and a long distance race too. They are awarded to the competitor who completes all the races and is highest placed after the results sheet is turned upside down. Applauded for finishing every race in some extreme wind and challenging waves were Jeff Dunmall (CAN) in the RS Aero 7s and Catherine Gloster (USA) in the RS Aero 5s.

At the awards ceremony the encased RS Aero Worlds trophies supplied by RS Sailing were awarded together with a fantastic spread of prizes provided by Rooster and Kingfisher Yacht Ropes. The Declan Gloster Memorial Trophy for the annual Columbia Gorge Regatta, this year the RS Aero Worlds, was awarded to the three fleet winners too.

Many thanks went the Race Committee team who had a challenging job this week to balance the start lines and course biases. The International Jury did a fantastic job keeping a watchful eye to help keep our racing fair and fun insightful debriefs on their observations and penalty summaries. Columbia Gorge Racing Association but on a fantastic regatta alongside their regatta committee from the Seattle RS Aero fleet.

Thanks to all the RS Aero Worlds supporters - West Coast Sailing, RS Sailing, Seattle YC Foundation, Prism Kites, Rooster and Kingfisher Ropes.

The awards ceremony concluded an introduction to the Sardinian RS Aero World Championships in 2023 set in the island town of Calasetta near Cagliari. from 24-28th July. The fast growing Italian fleet look forward to welcoming the International RS Aero Class to one of their favourite dream venues with beautiful beaches, affordable accommodation and of course excellent cuisine. Check out the early info, links and pics via the link above.

Thanks to Bob Stawicki and Bill Symes for their excellent photos capturing the action! 
Check out Bill Stawicki’s photos here; 
(Go to Events->Sailboat Racing->RS Aero Worlds scrolling down the pages to find).
Download password: rsaero22!  for the ‘social media’ galleries, 

and check out Bill Symes of Columbia Gorge Racing Association’s photos here; 
Download password; aero2022


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