Coconut Grove

Very light winds awaited the Star fleet today. The race committee started on time with about 4 knots of wind from the southeast.  We had one general recall then the Black Flag.

It was very spotty out there so at times you looked pretty good then the wind would die where you were and you wished you were on the other side of the course.  Brian and I rounded the first mark about 15th and sailed decently downwind.  Maybe even passed a few boats so that’s a win of sorts.  However, up the second windward leg, we went hard right and the left was the place to be.  It was so light that tacking frequently wasn’t an option and there were just enough teasers in the right to keep us going.  But in the end, the left came good and we dropped about 10 boats.  Down the final run we did manage to pass about 5 boats, again, a lot better that the last few days.

Our 23rd place will not get us any pickle dishes, thats for sure.  We have now dropped to 11th over all.  Arthur Anosov won the race by a huge margin of 5 minutes.  He got left on the second windward leg and hit it hard.  Alessandro Pascolato (BRA) finished second.  Alessandro is sailing a boat I sold him and doing very well in the regatta in 6th place.

The regatta leaders finished 33rd in this struggle.  That is their discard so they are still leading.  Lars Grael also sailed his worst race today but remains in second place overall.  The two are separated by just three points so it will be all on tomorrow for the Bacardi Cup winner.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for a nice 12 knot north easterly.  Should be pretty shifty.

For complete results go to:


Coconut Grove

Another perfect day for sailing.  12 knots from the Southeast and sunny skies.  Pretty deluxe situation for us down here.  The committee had a little trouble getting the line square and then we had a general recall or two so up went the black flag again.  The courses are 10 miles with 2.5 mile legs.  That is fairly long for Stars.

No one was caught by the black flag and Brian and I once again had a great start.  We tacked and crossed the fleet within a minute of the start and worked the shifts to lead at the first windward mark followed closely by Alberto Zanetti (ARG) and Torben Grael(BRA), then Lars Grael(BRA).

Unfortunately we did not have good speed downwind and rounded the leeward gate 4th.  Upwind we went fast again getting back into second place.  Down the final run we lost Lars and Augie Diaz to finish 4th.  Torben and his crew Guillermo sailed well to take the win.

Normally you feel good about getting 4th but we backed into 4th so that doesn’t feel as good.  Still it was a good result and got ourselves back into the top 10 with that.  The regatta leader Jorge Zariff finished 8th and still leads. Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl had another steady performance with a 6th and first race winner Larry Whipple and Austin Sperry finished 5th.

More of the same is the forecast for tomorrow.

For complete results go to


Coconut Grove, Florida

Another perfect day for sailing today.  A bit windier than yesterday with winds 12 to 14 knots from the East which built of some short chop on Biscayne Bay.

We had one general recall on the first start and then the committee went straight to the Black Flag.  Brian and I had a very good start and were in the front pack half way up the first leg. Unfortunately we “over stood” the windward mark.  Not by a little bit but by at least .25 of a mile.  The marks are very hard to see being red instead of the usual yellow or orange and at 2.4 miles of distance.  A few others were caught out with us like yesterdays winner, Larry Whipple and local Augie Diaz.

That pretty much took us out of contention as we rounded the first mark in the 40’s. We manage to get back to 23rd but that isn’t going to cut it for winning the regatta.

Jorge Zariff, a newcomer to the Star class, but a veteran Finn sailor is doing very well.  He was second yesterday and 1st today.  He has Bruno Prada crewing for him who won two World Championships and a bronze and a Silver in the Star class Olympics, with Robert Scheidt.  Jorge is young, big and strong which is   great combo for a Star helmsman and he is sailing pretty smart too!

Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl has a another solid day and currently sit in second place followed by Lars Grael and Samuel Goncalves in third.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for East winds, 12 knots.  In fact, all week the winds are forecast to be between 10 and 15 knots so it should be a great week for racing.

For complete results go to:



Coconut Grove, Florida

March 1, 2015

I am back in south Florida for more Star sailing.  This time the legendary Bacardi Cup.  This year is the 88th running of this event which started in 1927 in Havana.

57 boats are racing from more than 10 countries.  The competition will be tough with the Grael brothers tom Brazil, local favorite Augie Diaz, double gold medalist Mark Reynolds, and a host of other great teams that all have a chance to win.

Today’s first race finally got underway after two general recalls and the committee resorting to the black flag to keep the anxious competitors behind the line.  The wind was 12 knots from the east and very shifty and puffy as it was coming right over Key Biscayne.

Brian and I had a good start but managed to work our way backwards in the fleet to round the first mark about 25th.  The leader at that point, had had a horrible start, tacked behind everyone and went hard right. The second place boat at the first mark had gone hard left.  Go figure.

It was a day of ups and downs as the wind was very fickle.  One moment you thought you were real fast but it was just that you had a puff that others didn’t.  Same with the shifts.

As the race went on, Larry Whipple and Austin Sperry worked their way from third to first. Brian and I work our way from the 25th to 7th.

Ahead of us were some very good teams.  Behind us there were some too.  So we were pretty fortunate to get back to 7th.

This is a long regatta, 6 races, and each race is longer than what we have been racing down here this winter.  So the tactics can be a bit different.  You can really get a lot of separation, (we call it leverage)  from the fleet which can pay off if you hit it right.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for 15 knots from the east again.  80 degree temperatures are the norm here so don’t feel sorry for us if you are somewhere in the upper east coast or midwest.

For complete results go to:



February 5, 2015,

San Francisco

Yesterday, US Sailing and AmericaOne announced a very exciting initiative, called Project Pipeline.  I want to give you a little personal perspective on the initiative and pass along the link to the press release.

AmericaOne is a long time supporter of the US Olympic Sailing Team. Bob “Buddah” Billingham was a passionate Olympian, a Silver medalist, and A1’s representative who initiated this support and oversaw it. He served on the US Olympic Sailing Committee Board for many years.

Bob was excellent at identifying a need and then recruiting the support to make it happen. We all know that not only did Bob have great ideas, he would get them done!

Bob’s last target for improving US Olympic sailing was identifying our deficiency in the development of young sailors. As Bob’s cancer worsened, he asked me to take his place in working with the US Olympic Sailing Team on this important project.   Sadly, Bob passed away last March.

In the last year, we have developed a plan to increase training, support and opportunity for the youth of America.  Project Pipeline is about getting America back on the Olympic podium but also about raising the level of sailing talent in the US across the board.

US Sailing and AmericaOne are proud to launch this Project. The AmericaOne grant of $5M means Project Pipeline will be initiated immediately. It is our expectation that over the next 10 years, Project Pipeline will grow in breadth and depth, and that others will join in and support this worthy cause.

Please read the official press release, click on this link:


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.


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:


January 22, 2015  0900

Bella Mente’s request for redress hearing was reopened this morning. Shockwave and Numbers were present this time. Reason prevailed and redress was denied.

So Bella Mente scored a 4, 3 yesterday and all three competitors are within one point going into todays racing.

More later.


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

19:00 UPDATE: I just went to 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.


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



“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: and click on Key West Race Week.