The International Thunderbird Class Association is the governing body of the Thunderbird Sailboat. The purpose of the organization is to promote and develop the Thunderbird class under uniform rules. The Read More ...
The 2017 edition of the Thunderbird Internationals was held on August 1st through the 5th in beautiful Port Townsend, Washington. It was an epic event! Seventeen races over five days!
For starters, what better venue for sailing than the historic seaport of Port Townsend? In recent years, the city has become a mecca in the Pacific Northwest for Thunderbirds. There are currently about 14 boats in the local fleet. With a back drop of Mount Baker and the Cascades to the east, the Olympic Mountains to the south, ferries and other boat traffic coming and going, a walkable downtown with lovely shops and restaurants, it was the logical choice to host the 26th Thunderbird International Regatta.
On Monday, the day before the start of the regatta, the race committee went out and held practice races. It was a chance for the Birds to get out and shake off the cobwebs and to check out the competition. Among this year’s favorites, the event had 3 returning International Champion skippers and boats: Duane Emnott’s Thunderbaby, Craig Burnell’s Predator, and Grant Chyz’s Raptor.
The first day of racing saw winds in the 8 to 12 knot range with very close racing, tight mark roundings, and lots and lots of protest flags. It looked like a May Day celebration on the water with all the red flags. Predator seemed to own the day but an OCS in the second race put a damper on that.
Winds increased on the second day reaching 23 knots at one point. The racing continued to be very tight and as the racers became more familiar with each other and the crowded mark roundings, the number of protest flag sitings dropped. It also become clearer who the contenders for the title would be. The favorites were there but so was local sailor Stig Osterberg on 1190 Raven. Port Townsend Bay is a tricky place to sail, with swirling and changing currents and Osterberg seemed to find every favorable wind shift and current.
By the third day of racing the wind decreased significantly and this was to be the conditions for the remainder of the regatta. Racing moved out of the bay, due to lack of wind, to the area near Fort Worden. The race committee was able to get off three races and once again, local knowledge paid off with Raven winning the day and Raptor close behind.
Day four saw the boats back on Port Townsend Bay competing in light winds. Raptor took charge of the day with two bullets and a 2nd. Thunderbaby had a good day followed by Raven. At the end of the day Raptor stood at the top of the standings with Raven 3 points behind and Thunderbaby back a few more places. The stage was set for the final day.
Day five and with up to three races scheduled in light conditions, the script was set. Raven needed to be on the attack and make up ground on Raptor. Raptor just needed to stay close and sit on Raven. And the most dangerous boat in any race or regatta, the third-place boat gets to sail their race, which is what Thunderbaby did. At the end of the day Thunderbaby won the day with two 1st and a 2nd moving them into second place. Raven ran out of tricks and ended the day with a 6th, 5th, and 3rd which moved them into third place. And Raptor did what they had done all week, sail consistently well, make no mistakes, and became the 2017 International Champion.
The regatta was noteworthy for Grant Chyz for a number of reasons. His crew was a family affair with his brother in-law Jack Christiansen of North Sails, his daughter Helen, and his son Paul. It was also the first time in history that any boat and skipper has won the International trophy 3 times.
The 2017 Thunderbird International Regatta was a phenomenal success. Much credit goes to the Port Townsend Sailing Association and Fleet 33 for great planning. The race committee was stellar. The best part for most of the participants, beyond the fantastic competition and racing, was the renewing of old friendships and the making of new friends. It’s why we say, “More than just a sailboat… a way of life!”
For more pictures of the event go to https://ptsail.smugmug.com/2017/2017-Thunderbird-Internationals
Two months from today the 2017 Thunderbird International Regatta begins! It’s time to register. To make that easier we are using the US Sailing Regatta Network for on-line registration, signing up for the banquet, and purchasing t-shirts. The NOR has been amended to reflect this change. To access the on-line site just click on the following link.
You will also be see who is already registered, official notices, and results as they become available.
The ITCA will be holding it’s annual meeting Saturday February 20th, 2016 in the Sequim Bay Yacht Club meeting room at the John Wayne Marina Building. The room is located on the main floor of the building. All Thunderbird owners and people interested in Thunderbirds are invited to attend. The meeting agenda is as follows:
Call to Order
Minutes of last meeting
Reports of officers, committees and fleets
Old Business 2017 Internationals in Port Townsend
New Business – Vote on proposed black book amendment regarding mast
Election of officers – VP and / Treasurer slots are open
Appointment of Measurement Committee
Please be sure to email your ballots in if you cannot attend the meeting.
The ITCA is currently working on a proposal for an amendment to the specifications to remove the weight requirement. A current proposal would be to eliminate section 7.2 .
A little background on the issue; The Thunderbird was originally designed with a wooden mast. With the advent of modern materials, specifications for aluminum masts were developed and the new lighter material took off. In an effort to keep boats with wooden masts competitive, minimum weight and center of gravity points for the aluminum masts were created.
The result was that most aluminum masts require corrector lead weights to be legal. There are currently very few Thunderbirds with wooden masts that are actively racing. The added weight, particularly aloft does nothing positive for the performance of the boat and does add to the potential pitching motion.
One downside to the change is that Mobile a number of boats have sleeved masts. While the center of gravity of these masts is identical to others, they We’re are actually carrying less weight aloft. The change would put these boats potentially at a slight disadvantage. Also, some of the Australian masts which are stiffer and by nature a little heavier without the corrector weights would weigh a bit more. Anyone who has raced with or against 1255 Predator probably isn’t worried about that!
The argument in favor of the proposal is that adding the weight to the mast does nothing positive for the performance of the Thunderbird and in fact is detrimental.
What do you think? We are interested in all opinions both pro and con.
Membership will be allowed to vote on the issue at the AGM meeting on February 20th.
by Edward Josberger
While Saturday, July 25, brought a welcome respite to the 90 F heat wave that enveloped Western Washington, the racing at the T-Bird Rendezvous and Regatta sizzled. Twelve “Birds” convened at their primordial home, the Gig Harbor BoatShop for some low key racing and high level partying. The event was co-hosted by Thunder bird Fleet 1 and the Gig Harbor Boat Shop and both groups are looking forward to more cooperation and collaboration.
The racing on Saturday was like speed dating. Short courses located at the North end of the harbor and strong gusty winds kept the fleet together and in each others way all around the course. Also, the fleet elected to sail under white. There was no time to stretch out the fleet. In fact, the first race was over in 15 minutes. In a couple of hours, six races later, the race committee and sailors had had enough and returned to the BoatShop for a well-deserved libation.
The ensuing party at the Boat Shop brought together not only T-birders but also the Gig Harbor sailing community and its friends. It was a perfect evening in a magical setting, the lasagna dinner and deserts from fellow House T-Birders, Mike and Suzanne Tunney, were outstanding, stories were told and probably enhanced a little. Trophies were awarded and 4 of Ed’s model T-birds were distributed by lottery. The evening wrapped up with a presentation by Mark Hoppen, son of Ed Hoppen, on life in the boat shop and the impact of the Thunderbird design and success on subsequent sail boats.
To wrap things up, on Sunday a smaller fleet raced from the mouth of Gig Harbor to Pt Richmond, 10% 3.5 miles to the north. With 4-6 knots of breeze from the south east, it was ideal for a spinnaker broad reach to the mark. The trick was to find favorable current and to play the wind shifts. Of course having an auto pilotmakes flying the chute a lot easier for the short handed crews.
Results of races at the Rendezvous Regatta July 25, 2015
Boat Number Total Place
Fandango 9 10 1
Warrior 1198 17 2
Swan 1008 20 3
Magic Bus 1069 23 4
Valkerie 974 37 5
Snowbird 1020 37 6
Orca 1264 46 7
Hussy II 953 50 8
Kyie 11 51 9
Whitebird 1031 56 10
Yare 100 60 11
TuTush 39 71 12
It’s been awhile cheap jerseys but the ITCA is back up and running so is our new website! The website needs some tweaking but it should be a better conduit for getting information out to our members and to the general public. If you have suggestions, pictures, stories, events, or corrections on the history of the Thunderbird, please send those to us.