Showing 7 items.
  Sonar Midwest Championship Report - Overall Recap
Posted: Tuesday, September 18th, 2018   9:16 pm   

September 7-9, 2018

Reported By Chandra Wobschall, Batmobile

Greetings from fly over country, the land of inland lake racing where the Sonar Midwest Championship Regatta took place this past weekend. The Wayzata Yacht Club (WYC) once again provided a beautiful venue filled with great food, awesome comradery (when we weren’t at war on the race course), entertainment, and booze, after all what regatta doesn’t have that?!?

Lake Minnetonka threw a lot of tough conditions at the 16 US and 2 Canadian Sonars over the weekend. Friday races started with a beautiful sunny sky and light winds but built to a breeze of 7-10 knots by the afternoon. The RC managed to get 3 races off in somewhat shifty conditions that day with a different winner in each race; John Sligh, Hans Dickel and Mike Hanson. The sailors enjoyed a nice evening of pizza, beverages served from the infamous wooden E-Scow bar and dancing to live music.

Saturday morning races were in sunny conditions with winds of 8-18 knots in oscillating conditions keeping the RC busy making minor course adjustments. Afternoon races saw wind speeds of 10-13 knots, a number of large shifts on top of the oscillating winds kept competitors and RC on their toes. Winners of Saturday races included Mike Hanson with two bullets; Thomas Brown, Hans Dickel and John Sligh all with one win. Saturday evening festivities included lots of talking about the five races of the day, beverages from the E-Scow bar, the delicious catered dinner by local chef Connie Blanchard and once again dancing to and enjoying live music. To top it all off, the James J. Hill Days festivities provided us some wonderful fireworks that evening.

We completed two additional races on Sunday morning in once again unusually shifty winds of 8-11 knots. The RC once again did a great job resetting courses for the challenging conditions. The regatta wrapped up with a nice awards ceremony and keeper trophies for the top 5 boats:

1.      233 Buckin’ Burro – Mike Hanson

2.      548 Tally Ho! – Thomas Brown

3.      464 Gusto – John Sligh

4.      810 Batmobile – Hans Dickel/Sarah Olmsted

5.      371 Zataway – J.R. Rainaldi

All in all, weekend was a success completing 10 of the possible 12 races having both sunshine and, more importantly wind, for the Sonar Midwest Championship. At WYC Sonars are fortunate to have 70+ regular scheduled races, a handful of pre-season race clinics and over a half dozen Friday Night Sonar Team Racing Sailing & Socials. Highlighting our year with an additional 10 races is icing on the cake. We are already looking forward to the 2019 Midwest Championship Regatta!

Results Here

Results Here

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: Regatta Results)
  Sonar Midwest Championship Regatta Report
Posted: Tuesday, September 18th, 2018   9:06 pm   

September 7-9, 2018


Mike Hanson – USA 233 “The Bucking Burro”

Reported by winner Mike Hanson

Eighteen Sonars gathered on Lake Minnetonka for the 2018 Sonar Midwest Championships hosted by Wayzata Yacht Club. The event was part of the annual Star of the North Regatta.

Day one saw a tricky mix of breeze ranging from north-east to south-east. PRO Blake Middleton did a fantastic job keeping the race courses fair in such challenging conditions. He completed two races in a north-easterly breeze ranging from 7-10 knots. Race number three was a beautiful southeasterly. We were happy to take the win on the final race of the day, sending us into the dock with high spirits. Our hats were off to Sonar 810, “Batmobile Rises,” skippered by Hans Dickel, who sailed a brilliant first day and were hot on our heels after three races.

On shore, sailors were greeted with appetizers and pizza by the regatta volunteers at Wayzata Yacht Club. Competitors gathered around the famous E Scow bar for complimentary Mount Gay cocktails while listening to the live entertainment. WYC is, at its core, one of the best social yacht clubs in the country. This isn’t to say that racing takes a backseat to the social aspect. With its hyper-competitive J/22, J/24, Sonar, Capri 25, and Laser fleets, the one-design racing culture of the club is second to none. However, anyone that has raced at WYC will tell you that their favorite part of sailing there is gathering around the complimentary kegs for a few beers and getting to know the competitors after racing. With the beautiful waters of Wayzata Bay serving as a natural backdrop, evenings are always filled with fun social activity.


Day two of the event saw some of the best sailing of the season on Lake Minnetonka. Competitors battled it out in an oscillating easterly breeze ranging from 8 to 18 knots. PRO Blake Middleton executed another strong day of race management, completing five races on the day. Sonar 548, “Tally Ho!” skippered by Thomas Brown and Harrison Burton, had a great day on the water with some of the other competition struggling to finish consistently. The keys to success were staying in phase with the wind shifts, finding pressure across the race course, and beating the boats around you when it counted. After five intense races, competitors were happy to find themselves back at Wayzata Yacht Club, where they were greeted by more live music and more great food, not to mention a few more visits to the E Scow bar for a bit of Mount Gay to soothe their bumps and bruises.


The third and final day of the event saw a southeasterly breeze ranging from 8 to 11 knots. PRO Blake Middleton wrapped up a fantastic event with two more well administered races.  The end of the event saw an explosive performance from Sonar 464, “Gusto,” sailed by John & Liz Sligh, who finished the event with four straight race-wins. However, our four straight second-place finishes proved more consistent as a whole, and we were happy to sail away with the regatta win. With eighteen boats in contention, including two from Canada, every race was a battle.

All in all, the 2018 Sonar Midwest Championships was a huge success. I would personally like to thank all the organizers, volunteers, competitors, Wayzata Yacht Club, my crew of Judson Kohen, Dave and Lucy Ferguson, and my dad Bill Hanson for their outstanding efforts. I’d also like to thank PRO Blake Middleton & team for pulling out all the stops to ensure three spectacular days of racing on Lake Minnetonka.

Results Here

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: Regatta Results)
  Rick Doerr and crew win Manhasset Bay Race Week
Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2018   2:52 pm   

August 24-26, 2018

Repored by Rick Doerr, Valiant

The Sonar Long Island Sound Championship was contested as part of the Manhasset Bay Race week this weekend. The prestigious Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and Fleet #11 were great hosts and thanks to PRO Bill Seiner who hosted a fantastic regatta. They had a great Clam Bake/ party on Saturday night with gracious hospitality. With a strong local showing led by stalwart John Browning sailing Ping, traveling sailors including Tappan Zee Champ Bahar Gidwadi, and yours truly, Rick Doerr (the 2006 LIS Champ) sailing with Adam Kreszowski, Rebecca Macies, Barbara Marcoz, and Sam Parsons, and a really strong contribution from the US Merchant Marine cadets we had 12 boats on the line. The PRO got 13 races off in mostly light and shifty breezes.

It turns out the competition came down to the advantage of the local knowledge vs. the athleticism of the college sailors vs. the outstanding boat speed of TZC Champ. There were many lead changes throughout each race, and short races kept everyone together at the end with exciting photo finishes.

After rigging and registration were completed on the first day, the RC got off four races in a nice afternoon sea breeze of seven knots. There were multiple race winners on the day including USMMA sailor Ryan Hunter and MYBC’s John Browning; but Bahar was the leader with 2 wins on the day, one by nearly a full leg.

Saturday started out very light with a nearly4 hour postponement waiting for the sea breeze. What a lovely venue to spend a hot summer morning waiting for breeze. We had plenty of opportunity to discuss boat setups, strategy, local fleet issues and have a relaxing lunch on the deck. When the breeze finally filled in again at gentle 5-7 knots, the RC again did a great job getting five fun races for the day (well maybe not so fun for those of us on the wrong side of a shift or on the long end of a fleet inversion, which happened to nearly everyone at one point during the day). Once again there were multiple race winners including the top four teams, and local sailor John Browning moved into a third-place tie after multiple race wins.

With good breeze predicted for the last day of racing, it would surely turn into quite a shootout. And, with an ~10 knts breeze, again the athletic USMMA team would be the winners on the day with two bullets out of the four races. Once again, Ping would have a solid day securing their 3rd place position, and Valiant would win a race on the day to secure a tie for the lead. As the two lead boats sailed back to the dock together discussing the regatta, we congratulated them on winning the regatta based on the first tie breaker of more regatta wins, but we had inconveniently forgot to consider throw outs for the regatta which included 2 races, and that got us a single point advantage over the midshipmen.

Once again, the host club outdid themselves with a very prestigious award ceremony, including the Lure Perennial Trophy which is awarded to the best overall performance went to the Sonar Division winner (Class Prez Rick Doerr), and a beautiful Long Island Sound Championship Cup.

After awards ceremony, we celebrated the success of the event and promoted the upcoming Sonar North American Championship which could see multiple USMMA teams and the local fleet stalwart to compete with nearly 40+ boats, promising to be a fantastic season-ending championship.


See you all there,

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: Regatta Results)
  Manhasset Bay Race Week 2018
Posted: Friday, July 20th, 2018   7:07 am   

Notice of Race for the iconic Manhasset Bay Race Week, including the Sonar Long Island Sound Championship is available HERE.


August 24-26

Manhasset Bay Yacht Club

Port Washington, NY

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: SCA news...)
  The Tappan Zee Challenge
Posted: Saturday, June 9th, 2018   7:07 am   

The 2018 Tappan Zee Challenge Regatta Report

June 9-10, 2018

Nyack Boat Club, Nyack, NY

Reported by Bahar Gidwani

The following article is by Bahar Gidwani who with his team of Eva Burpee, Chris Vargas (day one) & Allan Freedman (day two) sailed faster and smarter than the rest of us and swept the regatta with five bullets…………………...

The Tappan Zee Regatta has been hosted by the Nyack Boat Club for many years.  The event used to be in mid-May and was our class excuse for getting set up early.  While it has now crept into early June, this regatta still offers a great opportunity to check your gear and tuning and get your crew excited about the summer Sonar season.

The regatta venue is a wide stretch of the Hudson river, just above the new Mario Cuomo Bridge.  The high bluffs on the west side, the strong current, and the temperature differences between the water and the two shores generate a range of sailing challenges.  In past years I’ve seen no wind, 30 knots, and sudden 90 degree veers and backs—sometimes all on the same day!

Nine boats showed up including seven locals, our Noroton entry, and one boat from Falmouth.  We sailed with a fleet of Vipers and a fleet of Lightnings, so the RC had a lot going on.  The first race series started on the dot at 11:00 on Saturday in a 3 knot breeze from the north.  Since the tide was ebbing to the south at one or two knots, all three fleets had to struggle just to stay near the starting line.  We tried a dip start, got shut out by a host of Sonars who managed to stay on the line despite the tide, and had to do two quick tacks just to get out of jail!

My crew voted for the left side—mostly to get less current.  (The river channel on the right was streaming south like a fire hose!)  That strategy worked and put us ahead of the right side boats.  RC wisely chose to shorten the course and a thirty minute wait allowed the last few boats to struggle home.

We predicted the wind would die (or shift left).  Instead, it steadied and strengthened a bit.  RC sent us off and the Left side paid again (with more boats going that way the second time!).  There were small shifts—especially near the top of the course where the bluffs on the Western shore came closer to the water.  Each little shift shook up the order, but the boats that got most left and stayed there seemed to benefit.  We started to see a shirt chop and had to keep remembering to ease a bit and drive through it.  Downwinds were short due to the sweep of the current.

By the third race, the wind had built to eight knots.  We saw several boats retuning their rigs.  (We took a half inch off our forestay length and went down to an inch of block behind the mast instead of an inch and a half.)  The tide was close to slack, so the start got more intense as boats luffed to build holes and waited paitiently before using them.  The wind started to oscillate a bit and boats that went up the middle (and could stay in phase) seemed to benefit versus those who banged an edge.

In the fourth race, the wind surprised us again by building to ten knots.  We had to start dropping the traveler a bit to keep the boat flat.  The fleet packed in tight around the marks as boats were now able to come to the mark from any side of the course.  Despite four races, there was a tight pack of boats in the middle of the fleet with similar scores.

On day two of the regatta, we sailed out to conditions that looked exactly like day one!  Light breeze from 010, lots of current, and a cloudy sky.  RC tried to set up a course for our fifth race, but the wind at the top mark dropped to two knots and then zero.  Puffs help keep the fleets from flushing down into Manhattan harbor.  But, it wasn’t enough even for Sonars (who are can race in two knots of wind in flat water) to start.

Then my crew pointed out a small pleasure boat on the eastern shore.  It was zooming along in dark water.  Sure enough, an easterly filled in at about six knots from the far shore.  RC reset to 90 degrees and off we went.  This time, we had current going left to right across the course and a wind that would go right 10 or 20 degrees for a few puffs and then return to normal.  The fleet scattered in all directions, with each boat tacking furiously in its own local wind shifts.  Each time someone looked to be in the lead, someone else would get a puff or shift.

The result was a first windward mark rounding that was pretty noisy.  (Don’t forget—there was also a two knot current taking everyone away from the mark!)  On the down wind, some boats tried going right (up current), while others went left.  Our tactician predicted the wind might drop so we went left both because it was the longer leg and because would could then go high and back up current, near the end.  It is hard to say which strategy worked as the front boats had to struggle to keep their air clear from the pack that was trailing them.

The second upwind reshuffled the lead and set up a second downwind that was one of those picture-perfect moments.  Most of the fleet was lined up side-by-side, under spinnaker, heading for the finish.  There was a slight favor to the boat end that helped Dave and Kitty Bessey take second place by a nose, followed in quick succession by nearly everyone else.

The wind shifted left 15 degrees.  RC tried for another race but had to abandon it.  With no wind in sight, RC abandoned racing for the day.  Of course, as we headed in a southerly came up!  We just missed another one of those famous Tappan Zee 90 degree shifts.

Nyack did a great dinner for everyone on Saturday night and had free beer and chips after racing both days.  As a cost cutting measure, the host Fleet decided not to provide shirts to the competitors.  This probably made sense but does mean that my collection of shirts (I was wearing one from 2000 on the second day) now has a hole in it.

Competitive racing, wonderful hosts, and a challenging venue.  No protest hearings (although there were a number of circles done on the water).  Free beer and good food.  All Sonar sailors should put this one on their calendars for next year.

Rounding out the podium; finishing in second place was Team 462, Jim Boughton of Nyack; in third place was team 674, Rick Doer also of Nyack.   As Bahar said and we hope that you do “…put this one on their (your) calendars for next year.”

Winner Bahar Gidwani and crew

Jim Boughton in second place.

Rick Doerr's team placed third.


Sailed: 5, Discards: 0, To count: 5, Entries: 9, Scoring system: Appendix A TZ
Rank SailNo HelmName R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total Nett
1st 781 Gidwani 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 5.0 5.0
2nd 461 Boughton 3.0 3.0 5.0 2.0 4.0 17.0 17.0
3rd 674 Doerr 5.0 2.0 2.0 7.0 3.0 19.0 19.0
4th 447 Bessey/Bentley 4.0 5.0 6.0 8.0 2.0 25.0 25.0
5th 457 Kolkebeck 7.0 6.0 4.0 4.0 6.0 27.0 27.0
6th 476 West 6.0 10.0 RAF 7.0 3.0 5.0 31.0 31.0
7th 410 Moltzen 9.0 7.0 3.0 6.0 7.0 32.0 32.0
8th 408 Leinweber 2.0 4.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 RAF 33.0 33.0
9th 618 Casper 8.0 8.0 9.0 5.0 10.0 DNS 40.0 40.0

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: Regatta Central)
  New Class Officers - Changing of the Guard
Posted: Monday, June 4th, 2018   1:25 pm   

Bruce McArthur has retired as Sonar Class President and as Sonar Class Administrator. This has given the Sonar Class Executive Committee the impetus to think about restructuring. To that end, the Class is thrilled to announce that Rick Doerr, probably our most well known and accomplished Sonarian, has agreed to step up and assume the Class President position. In addition we have hired Ed “Buttons” Padin as Class Administrator.  Buttons is an enthusiastic sailor, a member of Larchmont Yacht Club and, since leaving Madison Ave., an experienced class administrator. He is class administrator for the Viper 640 and for the Buccaneer 16 classes and now for the Sonar Class. He can be reached directly at

Your class officers are:

  • Rick Doerr - (Nyack) – President
  • Hans Dickel – (Minnetonka) - Secretary 
  • John Bainton - (Noroton) -Treasurer
  • Lee Morrison- (Noroton) – Chief Measurer/Technical Committee Chair
  • Dawn Shumway - (Rochester) – Secretary General – World Sailing Interface
  • Eric Voss -  (Rochester) – VP Fleets – Regatta schedule management
  • Michael Lucas - (Nyack) – VP Communications – newsletters and general fleet/event promotion
  • Jonathan Chiasson - (Lunenberg) – VP International
  • JR Rainaldi - (Minnetonka) – VP Midwest – promotion of the Class regionally
  • Ed “Buttons” Padin - Class Administrator
  • Dan Tucker - (Rondar Raceboats) – Builder’s Representative

Buttons Padin
Class Administrator

(Source: SCA news...)
  2018 North American Championship
Posted: Monday, December 11th, 2017   10:15 am   

The 2018 North American Championship, hosted by Noroton YC in Darien, CT will take place September 13 - 16.

The NOR and online registration is currently availble through YachtScoring and can be found here:

Preparations are already underway. The club is anticipating 40+ boats so mark your calendars!

(Source: Regatta Central)