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