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