PYC/SYSCO Opening Day Regatta

Every two years PYC (Portland Yacht Club) partners with Small Yacht Sailing Club of Oregon (SYSCO) for the Opening Day Regatta and two days of races. The Saturday forecast was for rain and mid-range winds, but the day had all kinds of weather patterns. The average wind was 8 knots, but during the day two squalls moved through, one with gusts of 33 knots.

The first race start was in sequence when the first weather system blew through and caught many skippers and crew off guard. Several boats were late to the start line. Many boats experienced breakage during the first race, including a broken boom, a spinnaker pole and torn sails. The second race started in calmer winds and with fewer boats (some had withdrawn), but another system blew through when the majority of the boats were near the eastern tip of Tomahawk Island.

Mike Stainsby, skipper of Kermit (Martin 24), is the first inductee into the PYC Swim Team this year, when he went overboard near Ryan Point. According to Mike “We had the spinnaker up in about 20 knots, just flying along. We did a round-down broach and I was spit off the side of the boat, breaking the tiller I was hanging onto to keep me on the boat. My inflatable lifejacket did not auto-inflate, so I had to blow it up with the mouth tube so I could float better. Meanwhile, my crew got the boat back to me and after a couple of passes they got a line to me and pulled me onto the scoop at the back of the boat. I’m glad I had attended a Safety At Sea course with time spent in the pool learning how to use my lifejacket in several conditions so I was able to overcome the fact that it did not auto-inflate with another solution.”

The Clark Co. Fire Boat arrived on the scene after Mike was safe onboard and escorted Kermit back to its berth at McCuddy’s Marina. Upriver, near the CB mark, one of the i550 boats lost its dagger board keel, now resting on the river bottom, and was able to get its motor started before drifting into a wing dam. Multnomah Co. Marine Patrol arrived and it was escorted to Gleason boat ramp.

Prior to the finish of the Saturday races the breeze lightened and the sun appeared. No races on Sunday, because, unlike the previous day, the winds failed to materialize.

Thank you to the SYSCO Race Captain, Nat Powning, and Commodore Tod Bassham for providing the committee and mark boats, and to Cherrie Eudaly for serving as the PRO (principal race officer) for the Regatta.

For complete race results, go to

Written by Nancy MacGregor, reprinted with permission:

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