By Phil Peterson
“Last month, we raced Sweeta, our Seaward 32RK in the Bash to the Colonies Regatta – a benefit for the South Dakota Special Olympics, the biggest event of the year at the Lewis & Clark Marina in Yankton, SD. This year there were 40 boats in the race. We have been lucky to win our class in the regatta the first three years we competed, and a total of six times since we’ve begun sailing in the regatta. The years we didn’t place first, we were second in our class. In the second Bash we finished second overall on corrected time, and in the most recent race, we finished first overall on corrected time.
We bought our first 26RK in 2009, traded it for Beauteous, a 32RK in 2010, followed by another 32RK, Sweeta in 2013. The boats all sailed very well – everyone says my PHRF needs to be changed! In heavy air, the Seaward really excels! And, everyone says that they are the best looking boats in the marina.”
Phil caught the sailing bug when he was in his 30’s when he was invited by a neighbor to sail a 12’ board boat. Two weeks later, he owned his first boat, a Barnett Butterfly. He went from it to a Chrysler Buccaneer, then to a Flying Scott, then to an O’Day 192, and finally to a Precision 21 before falling for a Seaward 26RK. “I just fell for her like you fall for a pretty girl,” Phil says.
“The first real race we were in was with the 26RK in an early Bash to the Colonies Regatta. http://bashtothecolonies.com/ There were nine boats in our division and we won it going away, passing much bigger boats on the way to the finish line. We really didn’t know anything. Our secret weapon was to keep our eyes closed at all times,” he revealed with a grin.
On the topic of secret weapons, Phil notes that he has one other edge, his son and crewmember Paul, who honed his sailing skills on the little boats the Petersons owned over the years. “We don’t know what we’re doing half the time,” Phil says, “but we have great time together.”
Eventually, Phil, at 6’4”, succumbed to the “bigger-is-better” urge and traded in the 26RK for a new 32RK, mostly to get more headroom. After about three years with the 32RK, Phil and Pat wanted to add some custom features to their boat, and again traded their old boat in, this time for a new 32RK with the custom features they wanted.
Of the latest Bash to the Colonies Regatta, Phil says, “We were passing the big boats, the ones that win most of the races we don’t compete in – Hunter 32 and 33’s and Catalinas. They’re rockets and really can go. We, however, were particularly dominating upwind, and in big air. We owe a lot to the latest skeg and rudder design on the new 32RK. We have a real advantage over other boats in our fleet.”
Phil and Pat don’t depend on any custom go-fast sails, relying on the 135 roller-furled genny and full battened mainsail that came with their boat. “We don’t even use a whisker pole,” Phil notes. They think of their boat as a weekend cottage more than as a racing boat, and spend most weekends aboard.