2012 Dam Jam Report

We just got done with two great days of racing at the 2012 Dam Jam on Lake Saylorville in Iowa.

Dam Jam 2012


Dam Jam 2012 enhanced photos


UPDATE: The Results are in!

A Fleet  |  Sport Fleet  |  Kona Fleet


I got to the event site Friday night as the crew was picking up pizza to bring back to camp site. There was plenty of pizza and it hit the spot after the drive from Wisconsin. I heard that several people had free sailed in 15-25 already that day. A good sign of things to come.

Also on Friday night Alex Monroe showed me how to use the Word Press App on my phone so now I can do better updates while on the go, including pictures, videos, and file attachments. Alex posted a nice update from his phone Saturday that including a picture and video. Anyone interested in contributing o his site can contact me or Alex for details.

Saturday morning the wind was around 10-20 when the RC set a triangle course. 2 laps for A Fleet and 1 lap for Sport in the first start, with Kona Fleet starting 5 minutes later and also doing 1 lap. The air was pretty warm and so was the water with most people opting for shorties or light wetsuits. We got in two good races before taking a break for lunch as the wins started filling in to the forecast 15-30. I won both races with Adam 2nd in both. I’ll post the full score sheets as soon as I receive them.

Lunch was provided on site with the Iowa State Cyclones party bus again serving as command central. That thing is great. Everyone was also keeping an eye on the water as the wind continued to build. The RC set a figure-8 slalom course while we ate and most sailors rigged down to slalom boards to prepare.

We ran 7 slalom races after lunch with some windier than others, with lulls down to around 10 and gusts to almost 30 mph. There was good competition as sailors jockeyed for good starts and jibes. I managed to win 5 of the slalom races with my 7.0 Reflex3 and iSonic121. Robin Shaw won he first slalom race and sailed strong throughout and Don Altmeyer won the fourth slalom race and also had several other strong finishes. Adam Anderson, Steve Johnson, and Peter Hartwich also were I’m the mix in many of the races.

One of the memorable moments for me was in the fourth slalom race (R6) when I was chasing Steve Johnson towards the finish line after he passed me with a smooth jibe at the outside buoy. The wind was gusting about as high as it had been all day and I had to really hunker down to keep my kit together. He was sailing a high line towards the upwind side of the finish line and I was pushing lower to finish nearer the boat on the downwind side since that felt faster to me on my setup. I caught up to Steve with maybe 50-100 yards remaining and was barely in control as I tried to hold everything together rough he gust to the finish. I was pretty certain I had passed him so took a quick peak over my shoulder to windward to see that I had gotten by. Unfortunately, that quick peak made me lose concentration on keeping mast base pressure right as I was going over a piece of chop. The board tail-walked and then I got catapulted around the front just as I got to the finish line. Jeff on the boat informed me that I had just made it across in 1st place. Whew. Interestingly, I later found out that Steve was taking the high line because he still needed to jibe the upwind pin end of the line because he had to head out again for his last lap – he had started late.

I, for one, was exhausted by the end of the day and I think most others felt the same. It was a great day of racing and it was also good to see many windsurfers out sailing recreationally. Steve Johnson’s kids were sailing great and appeared to enjoy the windy conditions.

Saturday night everyone had a great time at the marina bar and restaurant, Latitude 41. There was a good band there as well as food & drinks.

Sunday morning we reconvened back at Latitude 41 for breakfast and some race prep with Larry and Jeff (RC). Once we got to the launch and had a skippers meeting the winds were a steady 15-20 and an “M” course was set (upwind leg followed by 3 jibes to et down to the leeward mark). Again, 2 laps for A Fleet and 1 lap for Sport and Kona Fleets.

As the morning went on we noticed more large puffs coming through around 25 mph so me, Adam, and Robin all rigged slalom gear figuring the blasts down the reaches would outweigh whatever might be given up to the raceboards on the upwind leg.

Adam and I each rigged 7.8’s on 75 cm wide slalom boards and Robin rigged a 7.5 with two board options – a formula board and an old-school slalom board. Steve Johnson also rigged sail on his early model 90ish cm formula board. Don and “Thunder Bay” Ray each muscled up with their 9.5 sails on Equipe2’s and Peter Hartwich was on his IMCO as always. Add the Kona Fleet to the mix and diversity in gear choices for the course would really make this interesting.

The first race had strong wind all the way around the course so I was able to blast off a great port start and lead all the way around the first lap. The reaching legs were nice and long and tons of fun to sail. Adam and Steve got to the upwind mark in the mix with the raceboards and got through the jibes running 2nd and 3rd.

I managed to find myself on the wrong side of the puffs and shifts while Steve and Adam seemed to be on an elevator to the upwind mark on he other side of he course. Steve got around clean while I just got around in front of Adam with the raceboards quickly catching up.

My smaller board seemed to have more speed than Steve’s formula through the reaches and I managed to pass him on the bottom reach just before the leeward mark. We rounded and raced towards the finish boat after flopping over to starboard for better wind on the left side of the course, or so we thought. Adam rounded a bit after us and continued to the right on port and when we all made our tacks back to approach the finish line Adam and I were at virtually the same place, so I had to duck under him since he had starboard right-of-way. I had to be careful ducking him though since Steve was just leeward of me and only a bit behind. Adam continued through to a bang-bang-bang finish with him winning, me in 2nd, and Steve in 3rd. the raceboards came in not long after.

Robin had opted for his old-school slalom board so was noticeably absent from the top scores as there wasn’t enough consistent wind to get that board around he course. He came back for he second race armed with his IMCO Raceboard.

The second race had a bit less wind on the first upwind so the raceboards led initially but Adam and I were able to reel them in in the reaches. On the second lap we again lost ground to the raceboards but were able to get through the second set of reaches with a comfortable lead. It was a good thig we built a good lead because the wind went way down on us halfway up the last upwind. We crawled towards the finish and I got through in 1st. Adam was poised to come through soon after, but not soon enough for 2nd. That went to Robin Shaw who worked the last upwind masterfully to capture 2nd place, with Adam finally slogging through in 3rd.

We did one more race after that and it was even less wind at times, and shifty. As in the second race, the raceboards were in front upwind with Adam and reeling them in on the reaches. I rounded the leeward mark for the second lap right behind T-Bay Ray, but the raceboards were on their prime on the second beat upwind. They extended their lead enough that Adam and I couldn’t catch them on the second lap of reaches. Don Altmeyer got the bullet followed by Robin and then T-Bay Ray. Adam and I still had a battle to the finish with planing winds and he was able to outdo me for 4th and I finished 5th.

The Kona Fleet was also in their prime on these races. Alex Monroe (on beach with the flu) took some good pictures that I got to preview and their are some great Kona shots. Hopefully one of the Konadians can write a regatta report too. I’ll also get pictures from Saturday and Sunday posted soon.

Overall A Fleet results were me in 1st, Robin Shaw in 2nd, and Adam Anderson in 3rd, one point ahead of Don Altmeyer in 4th.

I believe the Kona results were Brad “Woody” Woodworth in first, followed by Randy Howell, then Paul.

The Dam Jam is one of the most hospitable and best run events I’ve been to. I want to send B-I-G thank you out to our friend Uffe Jentler over in Sweden for helping to get this event started 6 years ago when he was living in Iowa. His big personality is missed at the MOWIND events but we are all happy with how his efforts have brought so many sailors together through the years.

Thank you also to “Low Boom” Larry Reed, Barry, Chad, their families, and everyone else who helped organize and run this event, as well as Latitude 41 for welcoming us for food and entertainment. Last but not least, Thank You to Jeff Hegwer and his friends from Mason City for the terrific job as Race Committee. Keep it up guys! It was a great weekend and we’re looking forward to next year already.

Reporting: Arden, EL-11