The brief was simple....."Get yourself to Phoenix, I need crew!" My cousin Tony texted me.
So after a flight to LAX and 8 hour bus ride I found myself at the Arizona Yacht Club for their 62nd Birthday Regatta & Leukemia Cup.

My cousin Tony Chapman is a CPA based in Phoenix and he manages the client funds on behalf of Boatshed in the USA.
He figured my recent Atlantic circuit may stand me in good stead to help him with getting his Viper 640 sailboat around the race course on lake Pleasant.

Apparently Tony, who is also the treasurer of the club, has a very competitive reputation, so everyone was looking to us to set the pace for the event.

What soon became apparent was the conditions were set to be very calm. This is a bit of a farcry from some of the passages we did across the Atlantic with 30 to 40 knots for days at a time. Never mind I thought, better apply myself and not let the family down.
Calm was very much the order of the day but the Viper excelled in the light airs and on the first day we managed 2 first place and 2 second place races.
Maximum wind speed reached about 7 knots so my trimming skills were called for and according to Tony I was "not bad", praise indeed from a relative you understand !

Day 2 brought a bit more wind. (I think it reached about 12 knots at one stage) but at times we had no wind and it became a bit of a driftathon.
Anyway we still managed to crawl ahead of the other Vipers and in all about 80 boats were on the course.
We managed 2 more firsts and a couple more seconds, so I was both suprised and quite pleased with our progress.

Apparently I spent lots of time gazing at the clouds which I explained was about looking for wind but as the above picture shows, I think I was just day dreaming about blue sky as not much of this stuff available in the UK at present.

At the prize giving we managed to have excelled ourselves and managed a overall win for Tony (phew no family arguments about cruising sailors and racers then !)

Still struggling to find out how we won, but well done to Tony, Scott and myself for some great sailing.
Apparently they want me to come back next year ?

Personally I was very impressed that we managed to talk about everything except the sailing while racing, no raised voices or typical testosterone fueled tactics. The relaxed approach clearly paid off this time.

Maybe sailing in the desert is more like sailing in the atlantic after all ?

Thanks to members of the Arizona Yacht Club who made me feel so welcome and it was great to meet such an enthusiastic bunch of sailors, even if it's very hot and cacti do float past the boat on occasion.

Thanks Neil ;)