Photo by Kathleen Tocke

Coconut Grove

Races 7 & 8 of the Star Midwinter regatta were held today in perfect Star Sailing conditions of 12-14 knots from the southeast. Warm air, warmer water, nice waves for surfing downwind and plenty of sunshine.

Irishman Peter O’Leary and his brother Robert sailed steadily, never finishing better than third in any one race, and won the regatta with 46 point. Josh and I finished strong and moved up to second place with 60 points in this regatta. By virtue of moving up today, we won the Star Winter Series. The Star Winter Series is the cumulative score of 5 events starting in November and concluding in February. I had two crews sailing with me over four of the five events; Magnus Liljedahl and Josh Revkin. Both are great Sailors and even better friends.

Eric Doyle won both races today and moved up to third place with 62 points passing Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada. Josh and I were fast and had a 5, 2 today while Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada had a 3, 17 to finish 4th.

The racing was very tight and the lead changed hands several times in all races. Eric Doyle rounded the last mark of the final race in 5th and managed to grab the win.

For complete scores go to www.yachtscoring.com

The next even is Bacardi Cup, March 5-10.

Paul

Photo by Kathleen Tocke

Coconut Grove

More perfect sailing conditions were on deck for the Star Sailors here in Miami….. 12 knots from the southeast all day, with some shifts, some not so subtle.

In the first race, Josh and I had good start up near the Committee boat (right side). We took a short tack to the right, got headed, tacked back to starboard, crosses the entire fleet and never looked back. Jack Jennings, the series leader was over the start line early and disqualified so that helped the rest of us catch up in the series. Eric Doyle, world champ from 1998 sailed well to finish second.

In race two, Josh and I had a good but conservative start given the black flag was up. (If you start early with the black flag up, you are disqualified, no chance to restart)

We flipped onto Port about a minute after the start, and with good speed led the fleet to the right. All the leaders were trying to get right, but some had bad lanes and had to tack out to the left to clear their air. I really thought the wind was in and steady and since we had a nice clear lane, we kept it simple and sped to the right. As we approached the right corner, the wind turned 10 degrees left.  Too much leverage!  We ended up 20th at the first mark and the runs became parades as the course was not adjusted.  No chance to pass.  Up the second windward leg, I sailed stupidly and got us out to the left and stuck in traffic.  We battled Augie Diaz/Bruno Prada all the way around the track..they finished 12th and we finished 15th.  Arthur Anosov with Dave Julius Caesar crewing, sailed a great race to take the win!   Jennings and Kleen did a good race and finished second and my good firiend and fellow SF Bay Star sailor, Doug Smith with Brian O’Mahoney crewing, finish 3rd.

The Irish team of Peter O’leary and his brother Robert O’Leary have sailed steadily and are now comfortably in the lead with 30 points. Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada are second with 44 points and Josh and I have moved up to 3rd with 53points.

Two more races are in store for us tomorrow and the forecast is basically the same…beautiful sunshine, warm water and 22 knots of balmy southeasterly wind.

For complete scores go to www.yachtscoring.com.

Paul

Star Walker Series

Photos by Kathleen

Coconut Grove

Day two of the Walker Series and Mid winter Championship for 44 Star teams from 8 nations.  The breeze was up a bit, starting the first race of the day at 16 knots for race 1 and dropping through the day to finish race 2 at 11 knots.

Jack Jennings and Frithjof Kleen won the day with a 2, 1 and Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada did very well with a  1-3.  The Danish team who led after yesterday’s two races, had two 16th places and are tied with Josh and I at 6th over all.  Josh and I had better speed but I didn’t sail super sharp today and we got a 4, 2.

Jennings/Kleen won the Walker series and these 4 races will be added to the next 4 races to decide the Mid Winter  Series Championship.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of what we had today.  Moderate winds and sunshine.

For complete results go to www.yacht scoring.com

Thanks!

Paul

Walker Series

Coconut Grove

Today was the first day of both the Walker Series and the Star Midwinter Series.  44 Stars showed up for a one hour delayed start to race 1, on Biscayne Bay.  The delay was due to very light easterly winds which only ever got up to 7 knots today.  It was sunny and beautiful, just not very windy.

In race 1, Luca Modena and Sergio Lambertenghi of Italy led wire to wire, sailing smart and fast.  I am sailing with World Champion crew Josh Revkin this week.  Josh and I got off to a great start in race one but unfortunately went the wrong way on 3 out of the 4 legs.  We weren’t terribly fast either  and this coupled to put us into 20th at the finish line.  Augie Diaz, one of our main rivals was just behind us at the finish.

In race two, I got a horrible start and then fouled Andy Mac and had to do a circle.  This put us pretty much in last place, two minutes after the start.  And with the wind being so light, this was not going to be an easy race for us.  Nevertheless, Josh and I fought our way back to 11th at the finish line due to better speed after some rig changes and we went the correct way most of the time.  The team from Denmark, Jørgen Schönherr / Jan Eli Gravad, won race two with Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada close in second.  The Danes finished 4th in race 1 and are leading the regatta at this point.

So it wasn’t a great first day for Josh and I but there are three more days, and 6 more races, to go.  The forecast for rest of the weekend is in the 12 knot range which, I for one, will be looking forward to.

For complete scores go to www,yachtscoring,com

Paul

Zag Masters

Coconut Grove

The Star Masters fleet, 32 strong, was treated to beautiful Miami conditions today with southeasterly winds in the 7-9 knot range and sunshine.

In the first race, Magnus and I had a good battle with our old friends Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel. We traded the lead twice but Mag and I prevailed. Augie Diaz had a tough start and was back in the fleet on the first leg. He and his crew Bruno Prada made a good comeback to finish 5th and stay in the hunt for the overall.

In race two, Augie and Bruno got off to a good start and never looked back.  Mag and I battled Reynolds again and Loftstedt of Sweden. In the end we finished 4th while Diaz won.

In the finally tally, Magnus and I managed to win over Diaz/Prada and Reynolds/Haenel rounded out the top three for the Zag Masters.

We have three days off before the Walker Cup starts on Thursday. I am going to Nassau tomorrow to visit Star legend Durward Knowles.

Paul

Coconut Grove

32 Stars came to Mimai to compete in the annual Zag Masters; a fun tradition that includes father son, father daughter, Master(50+),Grand Masters(60+), and Exhaulted Grand Masters (70+).

Golf on Friday is the precursor to the racing on the weekend; normally two races on Saturday and one on Sunday. Today the breeze was toping 20 knots so with tomorrows forecast down around the 12 knot range, just one race was held on a, mast friendly, double triangle course.

Magnus Liljedahl and I got a rather conservative start and had to clear out soon after crossing the line.  Early leaders were Diaz/Prada and Reynolds/Haenel. Mag and I had to fight our way through a bit of traffic but with good speed and a couple lucky shifts, we managed to grab the lead at the first mark. We stretched on pretty much every leg and took the win. Diaz/Prada were second and McCausland/Cheer brought home third.

Tonight we have the Masters dinner which is a well attended soire.

For xomplete sxores go to www.yachtscoring.com/zagmasters

Paul

Star Midwinter Championship-Levin

Coconut Grove

Two races were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star Class racing for the Bob Levin memorial trophy.

The breeze was on at 16 knots from the East which got the temperature up into the 60’s. It was a shifty again with the wind coming over the key onto the track.

Magnus and I went into the day one point behind Jack Jennings and Frithjof Kleen. But today was to be our day.  In race one, we started at the pin and never looked back.  Jennings and Kleen were in 5th at the first mark but their speed brought them up to second but the final run.  Diaz/Prada were also sailing well and finished third.

So going into the final race it was “who beats who”  to take the Levin Trophy for 2018.  Magnus and I had a conservative start under Diaz/Prada. Jennings and Kleen were slightly ahead as we all taked onto port.  Our speed was superior and we slipped out front and to leeward of the pack. We then got a header. The whole fleet flipped over onto starboard and Magnus and I were on top of the fleet.  And that’s where we stayed.

Jennings/Kleen finished second with Diaz/Prada in third. And that was the order for the regatta.

My hat is off to my crew! Magnus is 64 years young. 5 races in 16 knots in two days is hard on anyone, but Magnus is ageless. A gold medalist in 2000 the man is a true athlete, mentally and physically. Here’s to you Magnus!!

The next event will be the Masters regatta February 3, 4. followed by the Walker and Midwinters the following weekend.

For complete results go to www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

Photo: Marco Oquendo/imagesbymarco.com

Star Midwinter Championship-Levin

Coconut Grove

A brisk and chilly northerly greeted the Star fleet for the first regatta of 2018.  Winds on the race track ranged between 8 and 18 knots with a few rain showers.  Three races were held for the 19 boat fleet. The wind was very shifty, not oscillating predicatably but rather randomly shifting. This made for a game of “shoots and ladders” especially rake in the races when the fleet was tightly bunched.

Magnus and I were sailing a new boat, so we had a bit of famiarization to get through and race one was toughest for that.  In that first race Larry Whipple and Austin Sperry led around the first lap and then Jack Jennings with Frithjof Kleen crewing took over for the win. Magnus and I battled with Augie Diaz and Jim Buckingham and finally settled in 5th.

After getting a few things sorted out, we hit the start line of race 2 at pace and led wire to wire for the win.  Andy MacDonnald with Brad Nichol crewing gave us a good run for our money with Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada crewing in 3rd. Jennings/Kleen finished 5th so Magnus and I were tied for the lead at that point.

In the third and final race of the day, Andy MacDonnald was the early leader but Magnus and I were able to capture the lead just before the first mark. We rounded the right gate at the end of the first run in the lead with Augie Diaz hot on our heels at the right hand gate while Jennings and MaxDonnald rounded the left hand gate. The first shift of the next leg went to the right so we were disadvantaged but with good speed we caught up and were leading 300 meters before the last mark of the race. Just after we crossed ahead, a large wind-shift favored Jennings/Kleen and the we able to slip though to the mark, beneath us.

With the large windshift, the final leg was a fetch so no positions were changed down to tha finish.

At the end of day 1, Jennings/Kleen are leading, 1 point ahead  of Cayard/Liljedahl. There is a 6 point gap to Whipple/Sperry in 3rd, Buckingham/Strube are 4th and Diaz/Prada round out the top 5.

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow with an 11:00 start.

For complete results go to: www.yachtscoring.com

Paul

 

SSL Finals-Final

Nassau

Today was the final day of racing here in Nassau. The quarter finals, followed by the semi finals and the final race, was the card.  The wind was 14-18 knots from the south and the race course was tucked in Montague Bay so that made for some big wind shifts and the breeze passed over the eastern end of New Providence.

Phil and I made the quarter finals by finishing 4th in the qualification series during the past four days.  In the quarterfinal race, we found ourselves to be fast upwind and led the fleet around the first mark.  Unfortunately, we found ourselves to be slow downwind, a theme that plagued us all week.  We managed to hang on to 5th and qualify for the semi final.  The two Italians and Ben Saxon (GBR) with Steve Mitchell were eliminated from this round.

Six teams raced in the semi final. The wind shifted to the right soon after the start, and Phil and I    were to the left of the fleet, so we were behind immediately.  Our speed was good but we never managed to find an opportunity to get back into the race.  British Laser Gold Medalist, Paul Goodison with crew Frithjof Kleen, sailed very fast down the final run and just managed to beat the German Team at the finish line to qualify for the final. Cayard/Trinter (USA) , the Polish team and the German team were eliminated from this round.

The final featured four teams: Mark Mendelblat(USA) who won the qualification series, Robert Scheidt(BRA), Xavier Rohart (FRA) and Paul Goodison (GBR).  The conditions hadn’t changed.  Mendelblat started to right of the fleet and controlled the first intersection. That small lead evaporated pretty quickly due to the wind shifts.  At the first mark Goodison, Scheidt and Mendelblatt were all bow to stern.  Rohart was not far behind. The group stayed in these positions the whole way around the track and once again, Goodsion won by just two meters.  He who caught and surfed the last wave would have made the difference.

This was the toughest of the five SSL finals.  The competitors were deeper than ever and the reasonably strong wind conditions required a lot of physical output.  I, for one, am pretty tired after racing 13 races in 5 days.  There are 11 Star World Champion skipper here.  Only four qualified for the racing today.  That tells me that the younger sailors coming from the smaller boats are very talented and sharp.  They are picking up the particularities of the Star rather easily and their talent is pulling them ahead.  I am very happy that the Star has been chosen to be the boat for this Allstar event.  I think it is the perfect boat for the task.

I had thought of not coming this year as I was concerned about where I would finish. In finishing 7th,  I exceeded my expectations.  I feel extremely lucky and honored to be able to race against all the sailors in this fleet.

As competitors we all owe a great deal of gratitude to Michel Niklaus for his passion and vision in creating the Star Sailors League.  His vision for the next 5 years is to have 4 “Grand Slam” events followed by the Finals each year.  He is purchasing 100 Stars and setting up bases in various venues around the world to make this vision come true.  He is continually upgrading the coverage of the event and the online following is growing exponentially.  This is one of the brightest events to come along in our sport in a long time.

Phil and I  want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

Paul

 

SSL Finals Day 4

Celebrating 100 with Sir Durward Knowles

Nassau

Three races were held today on Montague Bay of the east end of New Providence.  All 25 teams were ready for the all important final day of qualifying.

The winds were challenging today ranging from 4 knots to 20 knots with 30 degree wind shifts. The US team of Mark Mendelblat and Brian Fatih continued to be the class of the regatta with scores of 4, 2, 4 seriously dominating the competition.  They are fast and always on the correct side of the race track. Behind them, the British team of Paul Goodison and Frithjof Kleen sailed well to move into 5th place at the end of the day. The top four didn’t change through the day.

Phil and I  sailed a bad first race…. never seemed to be able to get on the correct side of the course.  In the second race, we sailed very well and even had a large lead at the first. The wind was very light on the first downwind leg and filing from behind. This caused the fleet to close in on us by the end of the leg.  We got passed by 2 boats and finished 3rd.  That finish was good enough to guarantee our place in tomorrows quarterfinal.  In the third and final race of the day, we finished 13th.  Again, there is no one who is easy to beat out there!

There are 11 Star World Champion skippers in this 25 boat fleet.  Only 4 of them qualified for the quarter finals tomorrow.  This says a lot about the skill and talent of the skippers coming from other classes who are invited to compete in the Star Sailors League.  This is exactly the idea of the league, to have a champion of champions competition.  The Star is proving to be the perfect boat for the job.

After sailing, Star Legend Sir Durward Knowles came down to the club to meet the sailors. As Sir Durward just turned 100, the Star Sailors League payed homage to him through a few short speeches and then we all sang happy birthday to him.  Amongst many records and accolades, Durward is now the oldest living Olympic Champion.

Racing starts tomorrow at 11:00 EST and the forecast is for fairly breezy conditions out of the south,

Remember to follow the racing live on StarSailors.com.  You can find full results, articles and photos there.

Paul