Boats hit the water racing at Folsom Lake

By: Margaret Snider Telegraph Correspondent
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The Camellia Cup has often been called the unofficial start to the boating season and this weekend, more than 30 boats took to the waters of Folsom Lake. The Camellia Cup’s first win was claimed by Charles Witcher of Sacramento and his 13-foot Banshee, The Ghost. He’s a member of the Folsom Lake Yacht Club, and he took home the Banshee class trophy, and the Centerboard perpetual and Camellia Cup perpetual trophies. Folsom Lake Yacht Club sponsors the event each year. This 45th Camellia Cup included four one-design classes and an Open Centerboard class. Bruce Ryhal of Granite Bay presented a simplified version of the scoring process as he explained it to a non-sailor. He raced an International 14, Scythia, with Jim Hurley, also of Granite Bay. “You either sail in a class or you sail in a group where there’s a handicap,” he said while the two were in to repair their tiller. “You want to finish ahead of other people, and the person who does that the most, wins. That’s sailing simplified. It always helps to stay upright, too, which we didn’t do,” Ryhal wasn’t the only one in for repairs during the race. Another was Tim Loomis of Fairfield, who brought his Banshee in when the part broke that holds the sail to the boat. The shop didn’t have the part needed and suggested a paper clip. “That’s one thing about Banshees,” said Loomis. “You can put them together with duct tape and paper clips.” He used the paper clip for the repair, and sailed back to the race. This year the number of entrants was smaller than usual, according to Karen Preston of Folsom Lake Yacht Club. “In recent years we’ve usually had in the 60s,” said Preston. “So we’re really surprised that today there is only 31.” The Coast Guard helps out each year for safety and to keep order, and this year Warren Golubski was in charge as part of the auxiliary. He said that it was not uncommon for people to end up in the water, but if they accept help from the Coast Guard, they would be disqualified, as they must complete the race under their own power and with their own resources. “If they fall in, we may throw a flotation device at them, and then it’s up to that person in the water whether they take it or not,” said Golubski. “If they don’t take it, then we’re just standing by until the sailboat can come back and pick them up.” The smaller boats, such as the Banshees, fall over all the timem according to Golubski. “They usually right themselves and get underway again without any problems at all,” said Golubski. “You see a lot of them are wearing wet suits — just for that reason.” A lot of people sail because they grew up in a sailing family. Mark Werder is one of those, and has been sailing all his life. He sailed a Santana 20, Reaction, for this race. “I pretty much grew up on it,” said Werder. “I bought my first boat when I was 15 and I’m 32 now. I’ve always had a sailboat to go out on.” He went through a period in which he was away from sailing, but after marrying, he and his wife got involved in the Folsom Lake Yacht Club and became interested in racing. “It’s almost like racing gave sailing a purpose,” said Werder. “It gave it a destination instead of just floating around the lake.” Loomis also felt that racing added a dimension to sailing. “Racing is like a chess game on water,” he said. The full results of the Camellia Cup can be found at