Duit with Capt. Mark Hemstreet, Alandra’s Lee with Capt. Lee Dewees and Arctica with Capt. Craig Forrest sail past the tip of the Homer Spit during the 2012 Homer Yacht Club Land’s End Regatta.-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky; Homer News

Two-day regatta marks 17th year

In Homer’s version of the America’s Cup, the Homer Yacht Club-Land’s End Regatta is this weekend, with boats of all lengths, captains of varied experience and crews eager for some adventure welcome to accept the challenge.

Carlin Rauch, the club’s commodore and captain of the Martha J, has no idea how many boats will compete in the race, but is hoping to see at least a dozen cross the start and finish line off the end of the Homer Spit.

“Racing is a great way to improve sailing skills,” said Rauch, suggesting a familiarity with the club’s racing rules as a good way to prepare for the event. “A summary of the basic rules should be studied and is available on our website.”

The action begins 6 p.m. Friday, with registration for Saturday’s race and a free, open-to-the-public sailing seminar at Land’s End Resort’s Harbor Room. 

“Local weather expert Francie Roberts will speak on Kachemak Bay weather at 7 p.m., followed by race tactics presented by North Sails of Seattle,” said Rauch.

Roberts, who serves on the Homer City Council, is a former meteorological technician with the National Weather Service, a position she held for 18 years. Anyone who has taken the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Homer Flotilla’s boating safety class knows how fascinating weather can be when taught by Roberts. In fact, anyone who has taken a class taught by Roberts, a Homer High School teacher and a 2006 BP Teacher of Excellence, can attest to her teaching expertise.

A skippers’ meeting will be held at the Homer Harbor P float at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. and a race debrief on P float at 6 p.m. Prior to Sunday’s race, another skippers’ meeting will be held on P float at 11 a.m., followed by the race start at 1:30 p.m.

The regatta wraps up with a race banquet, including a no-host bar and food available from the menu, and an auction benefiting the club at the Land’s End Quarterdeck beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday.

“Everyone is invited,” said Rauch.

Plans for the regatta began during the winter, with Race Chairman Bob Brant and a core group of a half dozen people and other volunteers organizing the event and gathering sponsors.

“The regatta is a fundraiser and we solicit donations of goods or services for our lively auction Sunday evening,” said Rauch. “Sponsors’ participation helps HYC promote safe family boating on the bay.” 

Registration for the race is $25 for club members for both days, $50 for non-members. A handicap rating system is used to equalize the difference in boat types. Each day’s race course is determined by the race committee, taking into consideration wind direction and strength.

Anyone interested in crewing on a boat is encouraged to attend the Friday seminar or the Saturday skippers’ meeting.

The Homer Yacht Club has a busy race schedule for the 2013 season. It began in May with the Cheechako Cup, and continues through September. A schedule, as well as information on the club can be found at homeryachtclub.org.

Rauch was the winner of the 2011 regatta and placed fourth in 2012. She learned to sail on the Great Lakes and in Florida, sailed while in college and has been sailing in the Homer area for the past seven years.

“The Land’s End Regatta is the Homer Yacht Club’s signature event, which showcases seamanship and sailboat racing skills to raise money for our marine safety education programs,” said Rauch. “With the funds raised, we conduct hands-on learning opportunities such as man-overboard workshops, survival suit swim sessions and abandon-ship preparedness.”

Her prediction for this weekend’s event?

“Depends on the wind,” said Rauch.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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