Thirteen El Toro sailors descended on Clear Lake last weekend to race for the class’s North American Championship. The field included a pair of father/son teams from Santa Cruz YC — John and Michael Pacholski and Paul Tara and Patrick. Sixteen-year-old, three-time Junior North American Champion Patrick Tara wasted no time serving notice to the Senior fleet (Toro sailors are considered juniors until they reach their 15th birthday). Sailing a nearly flawless seven-race, one-throwout series, Tara posted finishes of 1-1-2-4-2-1-1 to wrest the title from defending champion and this year’s runner-up, Fremont Sailing Club’s Art Lange. Richmond YC’s Gordie Nash ended up in fourth, and the elder Tara in sixth. Current Junior North American Champ Mike Pacholski sailed unofficially and finished ninth.
The passage of an upper level trough brought windier conditions than usual for the first two days of the regatta, accompanied by challenging chop, but the final day saw a return to more typical breeze. None of this seemed to affect the erstwhile winner who effortlessly shifted gears to the conditions. Nor did it seem to affect his singleminded concentration. On Sunday, he tacked directly in front of his dad on the starboard-tack layline to the weather mark. When the elder Tara admonished his son with "Hey, it’s Father’s Day!" Patrick responded: "I have only one gift . . . bad air."