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:


Photo: Marco Oquendo/

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

The forecast for tomorrow is 5 knots from the northeast.

Feast or famine!


Photo: Marco Oquendo/

Bob Levin Memorial Trophy – Day 2

Coconut Grove

Two races were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star class. Classic conditions returned with 8-12 knot southeasterly and 80 temps.

Magnus and I had a fantastic day with a 2, 1 to win the Bob Levin Memorial Trophy.

Luke Lawrence sailed well to win the first race of the day just 2 boat lengths in front of us.

In the second race Magnus and I hit the start line going fast and led the whole way building a huge lead by the finish.

Lars Grael and Arthur Anosov we close to the front in both races.

The top 5 are:

1. Cayard/Liljedahl
2. Lawrence/Revkin
3. Grael/Concalves
4. Anosov/Caesar
5. MacCausland/Burgees

For complete results go to:

The Star Midwinter Championship starts January 8.


Bob Levin Memorial Trophy

Coconut Grove

Yesterday morning in Ross, California there was ice on the lawn. At midnight I walked onto the back deck of Bob Norton’s Hatteras 46 at the Coral Reef Yacht Club in 80 degrees and humidity. That’s why people go to Florida in the winter!

Today, the Star Class raced for the Bob Levin Memorial Trophy on Biscayne Bay. The breeze was up….from the south east. The chop was up as is normal on this very shallow bay when there is wind. Sailing a Star in 15 knots and chop is about as hard a work out as you get in the Star. It’s the top of the full power range.

Magnus Liljedahl and I had a very good day with scores of; 2, 2, 4 to grab the lead after day 1. That looks pretty consistent but there were plenty of ups and downs for us. The chop made downwind technique very important. You could get in a groove and pass quite a few boats.

Lars Grael (BRA) won 2 of the races and Luke Lawrence and Josh Revkin won the middle race.

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow and the breeze is forecast to be about the same as today; 15 knots from the southeast.

For complete results go to


Star Winter Series - Commodores Cup

Commodores Cup Final

Coconut Grove, Florida

There is nothing like coming out and winning the first race on the last day. It makes the rest of the day a lot easier.

There was barely 4 knots of wind for the start of race 1 today. Brian and I started in port tack, at the committee boat, hit the right corner, and never looked back. There were a few tricky moments on the first run, in 4 knots of wind, but we managed our position well. For the second lap, the breeze built to 6 knots and steadied out a bit which made out lives easier. Our competitors were back in the fleet a bit which was nice for us.

So for the last race, we just needed to stay in the same area as Whipple and Vasella so as to not give them a chance to put big points on us.

Brian and I were actually going pretty fast so with another good start, we managed to be ahead of them the whole last race and that was more than enough to get us the win for the regatta.

Larry Whipple with Brian Fatih finished second Peter Vessella with Guy Avellon third, Arthur Anosov with Dave “Julius” Caesar 4th and Augie Diaz with Arnis Baltin 5th.

I am appreciating how very lucky I am to be, down here in Miami, sailing Stars in 75 degree temps and sunshine. That said, I plan on doing it again the second week of January when the Star Winter Series continues with the Bob Levin Memorial and then the mid winter championship.

Happy holidays to all!


For complete scores go to

Star Winter Series Photo's

Commodores Cup Day 1

Coconut Grove, Florida

Today was the first day of the Commodores Cup which is the second regatta of the Star Winter Series down here in south Florida. There are 5 events in the series, about one a month.

Today, we had three races on Biscayne Bay for the Star fleet in knots from the north.

The races were tight with lots of lead changes as the wind was shifty coming offshore which makes the racing a lot of fun.

Larry Whipple with Brain Fatih crewing had a 5, 1, 4 while Brian and I had a 2, 3, 5. We are tied for first after day one.

Miami’s Augie Diaz won race 1 and Thomas Horno won race 3.

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow and the forecast is for 5-8 knots from the northeast.

For complete scores go to





Photo by Dan Phelps /

Star North American Championship-Final

Oxford, Maryland

One race was held today on the Choptank in 7-10 knots and rain. The wind was just as shifty as it has been all week.

Brian and I had a decent start and sailed pretty well not he first leg (and were lucky that our side worked out well) to round the first mark second to Doug Smith and Chris Rogers. We managed to pass Smith Rogers to lead at the end of lap one.

On the second upwind leg, we protected the left side as it seemed good that far in the race. This meant that we were within 10 degrees of the port lay line with 12 minutes of sailing to do. That wasn’t enough protection! 5 boats passed us to the left!

The final run was a fetch and so was the final windward leg to the finish. We managed to pass two boats to finish 4th in the race and in the regatta.

Torben Grael finished in 11th and that’s all he needed to do given that Arthur and Dave were 9th. Tomas Horno and Josh Revkin had a very good race finishing 3rd and that was enough to boost him past Aurthur and Dave for second in the regatta.

All in all, its been a fun 8 days in Maryland and we had 13 races in that time. As frustrating as it can be at times, sailing in very shifty conditions makes you sharp. You have to make so many decisions over the course of the race as compared to very steady conditions which are more about boat speed.

Next Star appointment for me and most of the boats here will be the Winter Series in Miami starting with the Schoonmaker Cup, November 22-23.

For complete results for the North American Championship, go to:


Photo by Dan Phelps /

Star North American Championship-Day 3

Oxford, Maryland

Two races were held today with a shifty northeasterly breeze that blew between 4 and 8 knots.

Torben Grael and his crew Guilhherme Alimeida of Brazil dominated the day with a 2,3 which moved them into a 10 point lead going into tomorrow’s final race.

Brian and I had a terrible first race. We just couldn’t pick the correct way to go to save our souls. We finished 25th. In the second race we managed a 5th which wasn’t bad considering we were 12th after the first lap.

Arthur Anosov and his crew Dave Caesar had a fairly tough first race finishing 18th but finished 4th in the second race. This pushed them down to second overall in the standings, 10 points behind Grael/Alimeida.

Larry Whipple who lead the first lap of the first race got passed by 17 boats up the second windward leg. It is a very difficult place to race. No real pattern to figure out.

So with one race left for tomorrow, the top 5 are:

Grael 29
Anosov 39
Thomas Horno-43
Jack Jennings-53

For complete results go to:


Photo by Dan Phelps /

Star North American Championship – Day 2

Oxford, Maryland

Two races were held today on the Choptank in 5-10 knots of wind. Here it isn’t that the wind starts at 5 knots and builds to 10 or the reverse. Here the wind is 5-10 every minute of the day. And it shifts 30 degrees too.

Brian and I finished 3rd in the first race when we should have finished 8th or so and 11th in the second race when we were much closer to the front on the first leg. But that’s the nature of the racing here.

The Schofield brothers won the day with a 4, 1.

Arthur Anosov and his crew, Dave “Julius” Ceasar continue to dominate the regatta. The have great speed upwind and are sailing smart as well. They finished second in the first race today but were caught by the black flag at the start of the second race today (if u r over the start line early when the black flag is up u r disqualified) but will discard that score to to remain on top of the leader board tonight.

I am not sure how the scores work out as they haven’t been posted yet but I think Brian and I are in the top 5 and Arthur and Dave have a significant lead.

Two races are scheduled for tomorrow and one for Saturday.

For complete results go to


Star North American Championship-Day 1

Star North American Championship-Day 1

Oxford, Maryland

It was a long day on the water. 3 races starting at 11:00 and finishing at 16:45.

So I am writing fast and there may be typos.

It was a perfect clear blue sky today following thunder, lightening and rain last night. The wind was 6-9 knots form the west but at times it dropped to 4 knots.

Brian and I had an up and down day. We sailed well and finished second in race 1 to John MacCausland with Arthur Anosov just behind us in third. Torbern Grael in 4th after a big comeback.

In the second race, we were about 10th after the first lap but we missed two big shifts on the second windward leg and finished 25th or so.

In the third race, we got to the first mark first and the wind dropped to 4 knots on the run, we got to the leeward mark 12th. We went with the leaders up the right side (the side that had paid on the run) and the left was much better. So the leader of the race, Mark Hollowesko went from first to 15th and we went to 25th. Down the final run we manage to pick off a few boats and finish 17th or so.

Upon arriving at the dock, we learned that Torben Grael, who finished about 30th in the 3rd race was protesting the race committee for running the 3rd race. It was 18:30 when we got the boat out of the water, so Brian and I did not need to stay around to find out what happened.

We are taking our very kind hosts, the Tom and Alexa Seip, out to dinner.

For complete results go to

Forecast for tomorrow is 2-5 knots of wind from the west.