Quantum Key West Race Week-Day 5

Photo Sharon Green

Key West

It really wasn’t our week. Two races were held today in very nice conditions and we finished third in both. Bella Mente won both races to win the class.

The breeze was in from the south-southeast at about 18-20 knots. There was a fair amount of chop and the downwind legs were fast. We “shrimped” the spinnaker at the first bottom mark and were over early at the start of the second race. That was not the way we had wanted to leave the week.

Competition is very cut and dry. There are winners and losers. You have to take your lumps when it is not your week. It makes you appreciate the good ones!

So now we have to look forward. That is the good thing about competing. There is always the next race!

The Shockwave guys couldn’t be a nicer group and I really enjoyed my time with all of them.

I am off the Miami for the US Olympic Sailing Team Annual dinner tomorrow night. AmericaOne is a large supporter of the USOST and I will be representing A1 there.

Paul

Quantum Key West Race Week-Day 4

Tim Wilkes Photo

January 22, 2015, 18:00 EST

Key West

The short story is we did not have a good day.

We finished 3rd in both races today. In the first race, we lost by 15 seconds and in the second race by just one second!

Nothing remarkable happened in the races.  Just a steady progression.  The fact that Bella Mente and Shockwave are fairly close in rating is helping Numbers.  For example, in the second race today, we on Shockwave were just on the heels of Bella Mente up the second windward leg.  Being the higher rating and faster boat, Bella was worried about not getting their 40 seconds of time on us. So they began tacking on us at every opportunity.  This cost the both of us easily 15 seconds relative to Numbers who was just sailing along undisturbed, 3 minutes behind. Then we lost second place to Numbers by 1 second.

I am frustrated at our performance here this week and I take the responsibility personally. We don’t have a chance to win this regatta at this point.  So all we can do is go out and have the best day we can tomorrow and try to leave the event on an up note.

Numbers and Bella Mente are tied on 15 points. They will have a good battle, albeit they won’t see each other most of the day.  We have 19 points. The forecast is for 15-17 knots so it should be some fast sailing on these 72 footers.

The owner of Shockwave, George Sakellaris, is a great guy. Self made man, immigrant from Greece, university education in the USA, engineer, very perceptive, a man who obviously loves sailing.  I have enjoyed meeting him and hanging out with him this week.

For complete results go to: http://www.yachtscoring.com.

Paul

Quantum Key West Race Week-Day 3

Photo: Steve Lapkin

Key West

January 21, 2015,

With a forecast that was too light to race, the wind gave us a pleasant surpass, and we managed to get in two races today.  The wind came in at 6-8 knots from the north-northwest around 11:00 and the race committee was quick to jump on it.

In the first race, we had a relatively minor collision with Bella Mente at the start but it was our (my) fault and we had to do a 360 penalty turn.  That cost us about 45 seconds.  Shortly there after, Bella Mente ran into a wreck that is on the course and marked with a government buoy.  They just went too close to the buoy.  A bit surprising, really. With all of that going on, Numbers won the first race rather easily.

In the second race, which started in just 6 knots of wind.  We on Shockwave, had a very good start to windward of the group and were able to control the fleet out to the left and lead at the first mark.  From that point, it was about managing our lead and trying not to mix it up with Bella Mente and yet stretch out on the smaller Numbers.  We owed numbers 2:49 in that race and only beat them by 2 minutes.

So numbers had 2 wins today, we on Shockwave two seconds and Bella Mente a 4th for not finishing the first race and then a 3rd in the second race of the day.

So now, the three of us are all within one point as we head into the last four races.  As we are today, we would loose a tie breaker to either of the other two so we need to be a point clear ahead to win.

We have been working all week on our performance and we feel that we are getting better each day.  I must say that I haven’t done a very good job so far so I am determined to right that tomorrow and Friday.  We will need to be clicking on all cylinders to win this class!

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

19:00 UPDATE: I just went to yachtscoring.com myself and saw that Bella Mente asked for redress for both races today, based on their running into the wreck. Hard to imagine. Whats more, the jury award them redress for each race.   They gave them a 1.25 score for each race rather than the 4, 3 that they scored. What could be the basis for that decision? I could not find any “facts found” issued on the official jury notice board.

So get this; you are sailing along, no other boat within 200 meters of you, you run into something and tell the Jury it was someone else’s fault?  The wreck is marked by a government buoy!  It is marked on the navigational charts! Further, the race committee has warned the fleet about it each day before racing. Never heard of anything like that.  I don’t know what is more unbelievable; the asking or the getting.

21:00 FURTHER UPDATE

I am now told the Jury is reopening the hearing in the morning.

Paul

 

Quantum Key West Race Week Day 2

“Shockwave in Traffic”, credit Tim Wilkes.

Key West

Two races were held today in fairly steady conditions of 7-12 knots from the south.  A first race raw started and abandoned about 3/4’ers of the way through due to lack of wind.

In both races, Bella Mente had just slightly the better of us.  Nothing dramatic happened in the races and were managed our position to not get tacked on by the slightly faster boat.

We finished second by 10 seconds and 7 seconds respectively.

While this is frustrating, we did make a significant improvement in our performance of our boat from yesterday.  We have been working hard on our rig tune and mainsail set up.

After 4 races, Bella Mente leads with 5 points, we on Shockwave have 9 and Numbers has 10.  6 more races are scheduled.

Tomorrows forecast is not good.  Very light wind.

For complete results, go to: wwwyachtscoring.com and click on Key West Race Week.

Paul

 

Quantum Key West Race Week

Could not find any pictures of the racing on the site yet so I took this picture which I found pretty interesting.

Day one of Quantum Key West Race week was very typical, sunshine and 8-12 knots of wind from the northeast.

I am onboard George Sakellaris’ 68′ Shockwave this week and we are racing in the Mini Maxi division with two other competitors: Bella Mente and Numbers.

Bella Mente won this class last year and is off to a good start this year gettung a second and a first today. She seems very fast. Numbers won the first race.

We on Shockwave had a bad first race and a little better second race finishing second.

The wind was very shifty and even fickle as it came straight over the island into our race course.

Two races are scheduled each day through Friday.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for lighter winds at 7-10 knots from the Southeast.

Although I could not find them at the time of this writing, complete results should be at www.premiere-racing.com.

Paul

Photo: Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com

Star Midwinter Championship – Day 4

Coconut Grove

Magnus and I came out determined to get back what was ours, and we did. We finished with a 1, 2 which was enough to move us up from 11th to 6th in the mid winters and save the overall Star Winter Series Championship by just one point.

After yesterday’s broken mast, and it’s 32 point cost to our score, we were down. But we worked late last night to put our spare mast together, tuned it this morning and went out and won the first race in the 18 knot easterly. That set the tone and we followed that up with a second in the last race. Lars Grael won the last race and Augie Diaz from finished close in third.

The three of us battled it out most of yesterday and today…great competition.

I want to thank my crew Magnus Liljedahl, gold medal winner in 2000 in the Star class. He is an amazing crew and great friend. You can’t have more fun than sailing with a great friend and competing at the same time. We are so blessed to be able to do this and to do it in Miami in the winter!

Next event for me is Key West Race week January 19-23, where I will be sailing on Shockwave. It’s a new team for me and I am really looking forward to racing with them.

For complete scores go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Star Midwinter Championship – Day 3

Coconut Grove

Three races were sailed today on Biscayne Bay for the Star fleet. The wind was great: 15-18 from the northeast.

Augur Diaz had a great day winning two of the races and Lars Grael continued to do well edging us for the win in race 1. We were in the hunt in all three races with better speed than yesterday in the breeze.

We got 2nd in race 1 then 5th in the second race with Augie and Lars ahead of us.

However, things turned ugly for us on the final run of the final race. We rolled too far to windward, stuck the wisker pole in the water and broke the mast.  That in turn shreds the mainsail so what we have is big, expensive mess

I should have been more cautious. It was the end of a long hard day and we were in third place which would have moved us up to second overall. But I lapsed my concentration just for a second and that was that. And a quick 30 points added to our score so we are now in 11th place.

So we got towed back to the dock, cleaned up the mess, had a cheeseburger, and rigged one of my other masts.

We are pretty much out of contention for this regatta and since it is a double counter, we will probably be out of the running for the Winter Series overall.

But that’s racing!

Two races on the card for tomorrow and it should be a bit windier than today at 20-25 knots still from the northeast.

For complete results go to: www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Star Midwinter Championship – Day 2

Coconut Grove

The forecast today was for a dying southerly breeze and that is what we got. Rich Raymond, Chairman of the Race Committee, amended the schedule last night and got us out there for a 10:00 start to get some racing in before the wind died. It was a good move as we got two races in, although we finished the second one in about 2 knots of wind.

Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves (BRA) sailed smart and fast to win both races today. They really should be leading the regatta easily but they broke their mast yesterday 500 meters form the finish line. Peter Vasella sailed very well also to get two second place finishes today and is in second place overall. Brian Cramer (CAN) had a 5, 9 to go with his win yesterday and is currently leading.

There rest of us were much less consistent. Magnus and I got 14, 6 and are currently in 5th place, 12 points off the lead. We weren’t going fast and not particularly smart either. I am still getting used to this new mast which seems much stiffer than the one I had been using. That is not necessarily good in the light wind.

These first two days also constitute the Walker Cup, which last year was a stand alone event but this year is amalgamated into the Mid Winters.

Five more races are scheduled, and the forecast for the next two days is for 15 -18 knots of wind so it should be no problem getting them in. 3 tomorrow so that will be a big day.

For complete scores go to: www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Photo: Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com

Star Midwinter Championship

Coconut Grove

Today was the first day of a four day event called the Star Midwinter Championship. This event plus the previous three events for the Winter Series. There will be an over all winner for the Winter Series as well as each of these individual events. The midwinter Championship is weighted double for the Winter Series.

The forecast for today was for 20-25 knots of wind from the north with gusts to 30 knots. The wind was light enough at 1030 that the race committee sent us out to the race course. the wind was mild preceding the start at 1230 but just prior to the start the wind came in around 18 knots. The fleet set out on a double windward leeward course with a leg length of 1.5 miles bearing 025.

Magnus and I had our brand new mast in today so I wanted to be a bit conservative given the conditions. These things cost $5K each. Anyway, we had a good first leg getting to the windward mark 3rd just in front of Lars Grael and just behind Augie Diaz. The run proved eventful for many boats; now in 20 knots with very short chop. We got into second place but about 4 minutes from the leeward mark I stuck the bow into a wave and completely filled the boat up with water. The boat was full to the cockpit coaming! We were then in a very precarious situation for the remaining 4 minutes as the boat was going very slowly and now more loaded than normal. We got passed by quite a few boats there at the end of the leg. Up the second windward leg, we were coming into the windward mark on the starboard tack lay line, in 6th place, when a port tack boat came in with now place to go and tacked just to leeward of us. In this tack, he got his mast into our rigging and the two boats were now tied together with my new mast being the connection point. The mast was bendinging like a Fenwick fishing pole. Somehow, miraculously, his mast pooped out from my upper shrouds and my mast was still up. Bent, but still vertical.

We went down the final run rather gingerly and finished 7th.

The race leader at that time was Lars Grael and he stuck his wisker pole in the water and broke his mast 500 meters from the finish line. A few other boats broke booms, spreaders and other gear.

The race committee thought that enough damage had been done for the first day and sent us in.

Magnus and I took our mast down and worked on it for two hours to get it almost back to perfect. The rigging looked ok so the mast is back in the boat and I believe it will all look good tomorrow out on the water.

Brian Cramer of Canada won the race with Alberto Zannetti of Argentina finishing second and Jack Jennings and Brian Sharo getting third.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

The forecast for tomorrow is 5 knots from the northeast.

Feast or famine!

Paul