2005 Isotope National Championship Regatta

August 27-28, 2005

No other fleet mixes it up like the Isotopes. When these sailors get together for the National Championship, it’s rare to win by a large margin. Two or three points overall usually decide the regatta, and it’s not uncommon to have ties. The 2005 Isotope National Championship was no exception.

Frank Meldau

Sixteen boats arrived at the Waccamaw Sailing Club (located, oddly enough, on Lake Waccamaw, NC) to compete. In addition to the usual crowd, three skippers attended the Nationals for the first time: Alistair McEwan, Peter Hamilton, and Line Dempsey. The skippers all helped one another unload their trailers, rig their boats, and make last-minute repairs before heading out. Just as the competitor’s meeting ended,  a squall came across the lake, and Frank Meldau (the boat builder and principal race officer) postponed on shore. The storm blew over quickly and everybody sailed to the course after about a half hour wait. The wind came out of the east, at about 7-10 knots (declining for the rest of the day) and Frank started the racing without further delay. Eric Rasmussen won the first start and led for most of the 2-lap race, but the rest of the fleet caught up when the wind started shifting left on the second downwind leg. 

Strategy Session

Four boats came to the line in a finish so close that no one could tell who placed where.  It turned out that Kemp Harris, who went wide and came in on a screaming reach took the race.  Eric, Alan Stewart, and JP Ayers finished right behind. With the wind moving left, Steve Chobot took a chance in the second race, and pulled off a beautiful port-start.  He crossed the fleet for the early lead, and though the rest of the fleet nibbled away on it for two laps, he held on for the win.  Jackson Harris, who sailed extremely fast downwind all weekend, passed several boats to take second.  Eric and Frank Meldau III rounded out the lead pack. Steve started on port tack on the third race too, and sailed in the classic Buddy Melges style. Buddy Melges is famous for getting great starts and sailing very fast. The “Buddy Melges style” of racing is: (1) get a good start; (2) jump out to an early lead; and (3) spend the rest of the race extending it. Steve finished all alone after one lap, followed by JP, Alistair McEwan, and Peter Hamilton. The fleet then sailed to shore for drinks and a luau-dinner.  At the end of the first day, Steve and JP were tied for first, Eric was in third, and Kemp tied with Alistair for fourth. On Sunday morning, the winds had shifted to the north at 3-5 knots and Race Committee got off two more 2-lap races.  In the fourth race, winds were better on the west side of the course, near shore. 

Cool Isotope T-Shirts

Andrew Wooster took advantage of that side and demonstrated his light-air sailing skill with a solid win.  Alistair finished second to take the overall lead.  Alan Wolf, who had suffered equipment failure (main halyard hardware broke) on Saturday came in third, and Frank III in fourth. An interesting note is that the lead had changed in every race so far.  Kemp led after the first race by one point. After race two, Eric was ahead by three points.  Then Steve and JP took the lead by two (with Steve ahead on tiebreak). Going into the last race, only four points separated the top four boats.  With no throwouts, the regatta was up for grabs. In race five, the wind picked up a little and filled in on the east side of the course.  Jackson again showed tremendous downwind speed, scooting by Frank on the second trip to the leeward mark, and won. Frank handily took second, and Kemp easily claimed third.  Eric, who had gone to the unfavored side on the first leg, stuck to the east thereafter and slowly worked his way back up through the fleet.  He successfully covered Alan Wolf and Peter at the finish to take fourth. That was just enough to come out one point ahead of Kemp and Alistair for the regatta.  Congratulations to Eric Rasmussen - Isotope National Champion for 2005 and the third skipper ever to win the Nationals twice in a row.  Eric also got to keep the bottle of reserve port that he put in the perpetual trophy (but he did open and share it before everyone headed home).  Congratulations also to Kemp Harris - who helped build the first Isotope, Alistair McEwan - who scored a trophy on his first try, Steve Chobot - who beat everybody twice, and Jackson Harris - the youngest skipper ever to take a trophy in the Isotope Nationals. All in all, it was a tremendous weekend of very close, competitive, and fun racing for everyone.  The wind was great, the courses were true, and the hospitality of the Waccamaw Sailing Club couldn’t be beat.  WSC opened up their clubhouse and grounds, helped run the races, entertained everybody with libations and live music, and even fed the sailors – twice.  Watch out WSC – the Isotopes will be coming back!

2005 Isotope Nationals August 27-28

Skipper

Sail #

Total

Race 1

Race 2

Race 3

Race 4

Race 5

1

Eric Rasmussen

42

22

2

 

3

 

8

 

5

 

4

 

2

Kemp Harris

1001

23

1

 

7

 

6

 

6

 

3

 

3

Alistair McEwan

413

23

5

 

6

 

3

 

2

 

7

 

4

Steve Chobot

827

28

9

 

1

 

1

 

7

 

10

 

5

Jackson Harris

1953

29

11

 

2

 

7

 

8

 

1

 

6

Frank Meldau III

927

32

10

 

4

 

12

 

4

 

2

 

7

JP Ayers

100

33

4

 

5

 

2

 

14

 

8

 

8

Peter Hamilton

2041

38

7

 

10

 

4

 

12

 

5

 

9

Alan Stewart

8888

41

3

 

8

 

10

 

11

 

9

 

10

Walter Brier

427

46

8

 

9

 

5

 

13

 

11

 

11

Alan Wolf

007

49

6

 

17

dnf

17

dns

3

 

6

 

12

Andrew Wooster

1145

64

17

dns

17

dns

17

dns

1

 

12

 

13

Line Dempsey

776

65

13

 

13

 

11

 

15

 

13

 

14

Joleen Rasmussen

199

66

12

 

12

 

9

 

16

 

17

dnf

15

Howard Alexander

1100

71

17

dns

14

 

13

 

10

 

17

dnf

16

Kevin Swiger

2050

71

17

dns

11

 

17

dns

9

 

17

dns

2005 Isotope Nationals Trophy Winners
 

2005 Isotope National Champion - Eric Rasmussen of Durham, NC

Kemp Harris - 2nd Place
Allistair McEwen - 3rd place
Steve Chobot - 4th Place
   
Jackson Harris - 5th Place
JP Ayers - 6th Place
   

The Isotope Nationals participants, Race Officers, friends and families

Custom Fiberglass International    P.O. Box 1976    Wake Forest, NC 27588    919-521-5079 or 919-554-1763

e-mail address - isotope2001@juno.com