Here's Nick Nash, Head Instructor in the Richmond Yacht Club, Pt. Richmond, California Intermediate El Toro class, explaining the mysteries of Cunningham tension and sail shape.

Nick, holding the head of the sail, has been volunteering his winter Sundays coaching this level in the Junior Program for 17 years!

Yesterday he was our race committee PRO for the final day of the Small Boat Midwinters. On the Inside Course we had fleets of Snipes, Sunfish, Senior and Junior El Toros. It was the final day of the "Great Snow Storm of 2024." It was 53 degrees with winds clocked by the RYC weather station as 18 to 23 knots.

Almost nobody was brave enough to show up. Only five of the 13 El Toro Seniors and three of nine Snipes ventured into the full-hike-upwind, bail-bail-bail-downwind, don't blow this jibe, dammit I'm freezing conditions. But six of Nick's fearless youngsters were suited up, with halyards and Cunninghams snugged tight, roaring out to Parents' Point on a screaming reach, slam-bamming through 18-inch square waves!

There's a limit to how much boat a 60-pound kid can hold down in 18 knots, and we soon knew we were into the Red Zone past that limit. So our Race Committee made the call. In his booming Voice, Nick ordered the kids to head back into the harbor. A terrifying close reach followed by a death-roll-defying downwind back to the dock, and they had stories to share, nobody died, and the day was done.

That left the five adults who cared enough to sail three races is these ffffun ccconditions. The Red Mikey boat won one race, the Yellow G-Man boat got one too, and the White Jotz boat grabbed the final, double hot dog, while Red and Yellow match-raced on the wrong side of the course. In the end, the results for the three-out-of-four-days Small Boat Mids were Red, Yellow, and Beige Sully nipping a hard charging White Jotz by one point.

Results on Regatta Network: