SAILING: Intense racing and pristine weather highlight Go for the Gold Regatta |

SAILING: Intense racing and pristine weather highlight Go for the Gold Regatta

Sailors compete in the 35th annual Go for the Gold Regatta held at Scotts Flat Lake Saturday and Sunday.
Submitted photo by Jerry Lewis |

It was hard to beat the scene this past weekend at Scotts Flatt Lake, as the Gold Country Yacht Club hosted its 35th annual Go for the Gold Regatta.

In fact, the weather was a little too pristine on Saturday as a lack of wind delayed the onset of the races for nearly two hours. Undeterred, the club was able to fit two races into the first day before conducting the four remaining races on the more sailor-friendly second day.

Hugh Talman, a member of the Yacht Club for 25 years and an organizer of the event, took in the races from his own sailboat, giving him a front row seat to the action.

“Look at those Lasers over there. They’re getting ready to start,” said Talman, pointing to a sizable group of the smallest class of sailboats that would be racing in the day’s activities. The boats circled around behind the starting line, jockeying for position and impatient for the competition to begin. At the sound of the starting horn they were off; a few seconds later, a voice from the control boat, which carried the judges who made sure the races were conducted fairly, informed a few of the sailors that they had jumped the gun and would need to circle back to cross the starting line again.

“These races can get really competitive,” Talman said. “People sometimes crash into each other. There are certain rules for who can be where. It gets intense.”

And a competition it was, with seven total categories divided by the type of sailboat that was participating. The aforementioned Laser group saw Emilio Castelli take first place among 29 entrants, the largest category in terms of participation by far. Don Hare, along with his boat “NoCatHare,” placed first in the Catalina 22 group while Charles Witcher’s “Ghost” took top honors among Banshee sailboats. Other winners included Phil Kanesgsberg in the Keel class, Scott Rovanpera in the Windmill group, Mike Gillum in the Day Sailer category and Joe Denton in the Centerboard.

The event also featured a live band and barbecue on Saturday as well as a hot dog lunch and awards ceremony to wrap up the festivities on Sunday.

Stewart Perry, the Vice Commodore of the Yacht Club and the man tasked with orchestrating the regatta, was relieved that the event went well despite the early delays due to a lack of wind.

“It can be a bit hectic, since we start from scratch every year in terms of getting the word out and making sure people come out to sail,” he said. “But it’s great. People come from all over; in previous years they’ve come out from as far as Florida. We get repeat sailors year after year that seem to love it, and we love it as well.”

As the Go for the Gold Regatta drew to a close for the 35th time, Talman looked out at the few remaining boats that were finishing the last race of the day. Among the pine trees, with the sun glittering on the water, it was hard not to feel like the view from his boat was out of a post card, he noted.

“Some of these sailors race all around the country; in San Francisco, Texas and plenty of other places,” said Talman. “But you know, some of those lakes are just surrounded by dirt and the air quality isn’t always great. Up here, with the mountain air and the trees, you just can’t beat it.”

Spencer Kellar is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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