Regatta Report

High Sierra Regatta – 2022

High Sierra Regatta – 2022 – Huntington Lake
Write-up by Paul Galvez

Spectacular Sierra Skiff Weekend at High Sierra Regatta

Perched at 7000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada, Huntington Lake offers incredible scenery and fantastic sailing.

Along with the sailing there is camping, hiking, fishing , and good plain fun to be had with family and friends in a spectacular setting.

The High Sierra Regatta is widely known among one design classes up and down the state of California. Every year, sailors from all over make the trek up the mountain to sail at Huntington Lake which offers crystal clear fresh water, plenty of sunshine, epic sailing, and a top-notch race committee to handle the many classes that come to race here. The US Fourteen Fleet has been coming to this event for over 40 years! In the last 12 or so years, droughts threatened the water levels, then the forest fires, then the pandemic, the event fell off the radar. It was still going on and off sporadically but the 14’s moved on and elsewhere to other venues.

About 3 years ago, my wife Yvonne suggested we revisit this event and bring back the tradition, so we sent in a fleet request to the organizers and they were more than excited to host the 14’s again. Not an easy task considering how many boats want to sail there. We went and had a blast sailing, camping, and hiking. All in the fresh mountain air and crystal waters. It’s been back on our calendar ever since. Week 1 is for small boats while Week 2 is reserved for keelboats. This year marked the 69th Anniversary of this event with about a dozen one design fleets along with the Moths and 14’s which tore the lake up all weekend.

The lake is just over 4 miles long and about a half mile at its widest point (see link below).


It can be a challenging place to sail, with the shore contour manipulating the puffs as they come down. You can be Hero to Zero in about a minute if you are out of sync with the many puffs.

With so many boats on the water, the RC does a impressive job of managing the chaos with a restricted starting area, multiple courses and laps for different fleets as they go up and down the lake. The courses can get interesting when you round the weather mark up at the top then set the kite for a run down most of the length of the lake down as you try to hook into a nice VMG puff, then to a tight starboard rounding near a close lee shore with a crowd watching, back up to either a mini beat or tight reach, back down to a two sail jibe mark, then hoist the kite again if you dare (rock island in the lee) another jibe down to the last leeward mark back up to finish. Phew! You get your exercise and the thinner air reminds you of this.

A small but very competitive fleet of five 14’s made the trek up the hill this year and Huntington did not disappoint.

Saturday offered perfect breeze in the 12-15 knot range and beautiful flat water. Starts are conducted near shore with the RC on land. The courses varied which made it interesting and the racing was extremely close. Galvez/Roberts steal the first race, with Clark/Barnes taking the next two. Most boats were overlapped at the marks and trading places up and down the lake. Every once in a while, a boat would miss out on a shift and get flushed back yet still close enough to recover if they could. This is the beauty of a small venue like this, keeping the fleet tight!

Sunday brings on a bit more breeze up to about 18 with some bumps on the water thrown in for good measure. Galvez/Roberts take the first race again with Clark/Barnes close behind. Both teams now tied for first. In the next race Leitch/Campbell bite back at the start and force Clark/Barnes over early but they recover. Clarkson/Leihe showed great speed upwind. Galvez/Roberts lead to the top mark then promptly tip over as they fast tack to avoid a hole (perhaps too fast). Clark/Barnes pass and eek out in the last race and win the regatta. Nice job guys.

Everyone has upped their game here at the lake with the tight racing and boat handling. You don’t have a choice as you run out of water quickly. What a great weekend!

Win or lose, big grins all around. Can’t wait until next year!

Note: The event photos have not been released yet. I’ll post more pics as they become available.

Paul Galvez

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