Coconut Grove

Today was the final race of the 2016 Star World Championship.  The wind was slow to build but finally came in at 7-8 knots from 060.  It was blowing over Key Biscayne onto the course and this made for very shifty conditions and significant deltas of wind pressure.

After several attempted starts, we got racing albeit under the now standard “Black Flag”. 14 boats were caught on the course side of the line prior to the starting gun. That probably means many more were not caught as it is very hard to see the line when 14 boats are over or on it.

Today’s race was really all about a battle between Augie Diaz/Bruno Prada (USA) and Diego Negri/Sergio Lambertenghi (ITA).  Only one point separated the two going into the last race for the Gold Star.  Neither had won the Star World Championship.  They were obviously keeping very close track of each other and started down toward the left end of the line.

Brian and I were conservative and started up near the right hand side.  We tacked and headed right shortly after the start.  Our speed was exceptional and we worked our way into a good lead at the first mark.

The wind got very light on the run but we managed to hold a nice lead around the bottom gate marks the first time.  All of us in the lead pack headed back out to the right as that was the winning side up the first windward leg.  Many of the top teams who had gone left were in the 50’s.  I the think Diaz/Negri battle was pretty far back at this point.  Because of a better discard, if Negri did not finish in the top 6 positions, Diaz/Prada were assured of the win.

Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman were among those in the 50’s after the first lap.  However, on the second windward leg they went hard left and got a 30 degree wind shift with more pressure.  They catapulted from 50th to first! Brian and I went from 1st to  about 7th at the windward mark the second time.

Down the run not a lot changed.  We were going very fast up the final leg and heading left as everyone in the top group was.  This time the wind went 25 degrees right!  We had very good speed and managed to get a little left shift to come back on at the very end.  We finished 4th in the race and this moved us up to 6th overall for the Championship.  Luke Lawrence did a good job to maintain the lead and win the race.  This got him into the top 5th for the regatta.

Just behind us in 5th was Augie Diaz, assuring himself of the Star Class World Championship. Diego Negri finished 7th and sailed a fantastic regatta finishing second for the third time in his career.  His day will come…he deserves it.

For complete results go to

I am very happy for Augie.  He is a fine sailor and a finer gentleman!  My next Star racing with be this summer in Southern California crewing for my son Danny.  Then I will be back in Miami for the Winter series down here starting next November.


Photo: Marco Oquendo/

Coconut Grove

Race 5 was held yesterday in a light 7-8 knot breeze from the south east.  The sun was out, the sea was flat and warm.  It was classic Star sailing on Biscayne Bay.

After three general recalls of the start, the Black Flag came out and  3 teams were caught out by this.  Brian and I had a decent start and got over on to port tack shortly after the start.  There we had a drag race to the right with Augie Diaz, Toben Grael, George Szabo and many others.  There were some subtle oscillations of the wind that needed to be played.

At the first Mark it was Peter Vassella and Phil Trinter leading with Brian and I right on their heels.  Luke Lawrence, Diego Negri and Augie Diaz followed.  Luke and Ian sailed well downwind to lead at the gate.  Up the second windward leg, the left was the place to be.  Fortunately we were there and stayed in the mix.  Down the final run, Diego, Augie and us went all the way to the east corner while Vassella and Lawrence gybed and headed west.  East was best.

Up the final leg, Brian had very good speed and closed in on Diego and Sergio.  But the Italians protected the left side of the course which was still strong and won the race.  I was very pleased to with the fact that we were fighting for the win all day.  It has been a frustrating week at times for us. Augie and Bruno sailed a nice to finish third.

With the win for the Italians, the now hold a 1 point lead over Augie and Bruno going in to the last race today.  This will be an epic race.  Neither skipper has won the Star World Championship so there is a lot at stake.  The worst race so far by either of these teams is a 7th.  Thats impressive given the varying conditions and the depth of the fleet.

Brian and I are now in 10th place.  With a good race today we could move up another couple of positions but I don’t think we can get into the top 5.

It just came to my attention yesterday that I have been giving you all the wrong address to go for the results.  Try;

The forecast for today’s final race is 8 knots form the northeast.


Battling the kelp today. Marco Oquendo photo

Coconut Grove

Race 4 was held today for the 73 competitors in the Star World Championship on Biscayne Bay.  The winds were light again blowing in from the southeast at 7-8 knots.

I felt like it was going to be good on the left today so we started down the line a bit and “owned” the left.  We were in very good shape half way up the first leg and could have crossed over to the right but all that we were seeing was good on the left so we kept at it. That turned out to be a bad call.

About 5 minutes later the wind shifted 15 degrees to the right and stayed there.  Brian and I were 35th at the first mark.  Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin were fast and on the right and had a nice lead at the first mark.  The were followed closely by the usual suspects of Diego Negri, Augie Diaz and Lars Grael.

As the race went on, Brian and I had our ups and downs but managed to pass about half of those in front of us to finish 18th.  Negri got past Ledbetter in the final quarter of the last leg to take the win.  Augie Diaz continued his consistent performance with a third.

Things are getting tight at the top.  Diaz, Negri and Ledbetter are all within just a few points of each other.  Two races are left to finish the series.  None of those three has ever won the World Championship.  The winds are forecast to stay light for the rest of the Championship.  Should get interesting!

For complete results go to


Skin cancer awareness has hit the Star Class and we are all wearing these neck and face covers. Photo was from Race 2. Photo by Marco Oquendo.

Coconut Grove

Day 3 of the Star World Championship started off without wind.  The fleet waited for over an hour before we could attempt to get a race started.  Finally around 1:00pm the wind came in from 100 at about 7 knots.

The course for today was the same as yesterday, course 3, which is 3 windward legs and two downwind legs….finish to windward.

The left side of the line was a bit favored but the right side had more pressure (wind).  It is a tough call when the starting line is half a mile long!

Brian and I adjusted our rig a bit for todays conditions, loosening the shrouds to power up the rig.  Most teams probably did this as today’s conditions were in stark contrast to yesterday’s.  We were happy with our speed today.

The wind was once again shifty as it comes over Key Biscayne on its way to the race course when it is in the easterly direction.  The wind is “tumbling” and there are strange “micro bursts” than can “auto tack the boat as the wind shift can be 40 degrees but only last for 5 seconds.

Augie Diaz is building up the regatta of his life.  He is fast and sailing smart.  Bruno Prada is a two time Star World Champion crew and not only are they good, but they have confidence.  This is what it takes to win in this class.  You have to put it all together at the right time and that’s what Augie and Bruno are doing.  Augie changed boats just over a month ago to a new Folli and this seems to be a key move in his bid to win a Star World Championship.

Brian Ledbetter and Josh Revkin had the early lead on the left side of the course but Augie was leading on the right. The Italian’s, Negri and Lambertenghi, were close behind. Down the first run, Augie and Bruno put 100 meters on the with two but that wasn’t by no means the end of it.  The winds are so fickle that one could easily loose a lead out there.

Brian and I had a decent start albeit a bit conservative as the black flag was up once again.  We were about 10th at the first mark and finished 7th.  There were a few ups and downs in there…we may have gotten as far back as 15th.  It was just so hard to tell if the right or the left would be favored at any given moment.

So at the half way mark, Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada are leading with 8 points, the Italians are in 2nd with 14 points and Andy MacDonnald with Brad Nichol crewing in 3rd its 24. The current World Champions, Lars Grael and Samuel Conclaves are in 4th.  Brian and I are in 30th place with 94 points, but when the discard kicks in after race 5, assuming we don’t have another horrendous race like the first one, we will be discarding 73 points.  This will move us up substantially.

Brian and I were pretty happy with todays race given how tricky the conditions were.  But getting 7th isn’t going to do it for us. We have to try to improve on that on Thursday.

Tomorrow is a lay day in the schedule.  So racing resumes at 11:30 Thursday.  All the teams will be checking over their gear tomorrow and relaxing a bit.

For complete results go to

At this time, the forecast for Thursday is 8-9 knots from the south east.




Coconut Grove

Race 2 of the 2016 Star World Championship was held today on Biscayne Bay.  At start time, 11:30, the wind was in at 16 knots from 085 and stayed pretty much the same all race.  Having said that, there were 15 degree oscillations and 4 knot changes in windspeed.  It was still a very shifty race course with the wind coming over Key Biscayne once again.  The sea was very choppy, especially on starboard tack and this made it difficult to keep the boat going fast upwind.

The fleet got away cleanly on the first start today. The left side of the line was favored by 5 degrees and over the length of 2400′, that makes a difference. Also, the first shift came from the left.  2014 World Champions Robert Stanjeck and Frithjof Kleen got off the line well, hit the first shift and amassed a dominant lead within the first 10 minutes of the race.  Not far behind was Torben Grael and his crew Guilherme de Almeida. These two never changed positions for the rest of the race. This result keeps them in the game for the over all after being disqualified like Brian and I yesterday. Being out in front is always good but especially so when the wind is shifty as you can always tack on the shifts as there is no traffic to deal with.

Brian and I were a bit conservative off the line and too far to the right.  three quarters of the way up the first leg, we were in tough with the group around 7th place.  But I got off to the right too far and the wind went left at the very end of the leg.  So we rounded that first mark about 20th.  I did not sail very smart today.  We were out of phase most of the time.  On the last leg we did sail well and made up a huge out of distance but only passed about 4 boats to finish 14th.  I am not overly pleased with this result.  Basically with these first two races it will be very difficult for us to be in the hunt for the championship. There will be one discard after five races are completed so that will help all of us who were “black flagged” yesterday.

Augie Diaz, with Bruno Prada crewing, sailed fast to move from 7th to 4th as the race went on.  They now lead the Championship with 7 points.  Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman also posted another great score with a 6th and they are now in second place. George Szabo and Steve Mitchell, yesterdays winners were 9th today and are in 3rd overall.  Diego Negri is tied with Szabo.

The weather is forecast to change pretty dramatically with 10 knots of wind on tap for tomorrow.  This will be interesting to see the fleet in a different conditions.

For complete results go to


Coconut Grove

Coral Reef Yacht Club is hosting the 2016 Star World Championship this week.  75 boats from 13 countries are competing with 8 former World Champions in the lineup.

The format is one race a day with a lay day mid way through the week. Today was the first race.

The wind was blowing 16 knots from 085 at 11:30 which is start time.  We had two general recalls and then the black flag came out for the third start.

The starting line is divided into two section for this event.  There is a race committee boat right in the middle of a very long line.  The two halves are actually two separate lines.  Brian and I started just to windward of the “midline” boat about 3 seconds late.  There was a bit of action around us at the start…namely Torben Grael who sailed over the top of the mid line race committee boat 6 seconds before the start.  Torben was not a problem for us because we were late, but we had a tough time squeezing up around the mid-line boat and almost got rolled by the boat to windward of us.   Once we got clear, we were able to bear off a bit and get up to speed.

We were then pinned to the left by the boats to windward but the left side turned out to be ok. We battled George Szabo all the way up the first leg, both of us tacking on the shifts as this breeze came off Key Biscayne.  At the first mark we were leading with Brian Cramer in second and George Szabo third.

As we rounded the mark, Rick Burgess, crewing for Brian Cramer, was yelling at us that we were over early at the start.  At a boat near the windward mark, there were 7 numbers posted as premature starters.  Brain and I were shocked to see our bow number listed.

We retired immediately as that is what is required by the rules, but we knew we were not over the line early so it was tough to leave the race course while leading.  George Szabo went on to sail well and win the race. Two great young sailors who said with me on Rosehearty a couple of weeks ago in St. Barths, Luke Lawrence and Ian Coleman finished second and the King of Miami, Augie Diaz, moved up well throughout the race to finish 3rd.

When I got back to the dock, I asked for a hearing with the jury to query the race committee on what they saw.  I also had two witnesses of my own; skippers of two boats who started just to windward of us.  Both of my witnesses stated that they could see the race committee boat and line flag in front of our bow at the instant of the starting gun.  Neither of these boats were called over early.

The final witness was the race committee official calling the line from the mid-line boat.  There were several inconsistencies in his testimony, the most alarming of which was that he could not see the other end of the line that he uses to identify the line, from 15 second prior to the start because his sight was blocked by other boats.

After hearing the entirety of the line callers testimony, coupled with the witness that I called, I was certain we would be exonerated.  The decision by the jury was short: everything was done properly by the race committee and my request for redress was denied.  None of the testimony by any of the witnesses was included in the jury’s findings.

This obviously leaves Brian and I in a very difficult position for the championship.   The good news is that Brian and I seem to have good speed.  The forecast is for more of the same, maybe a touch lighter in the 15 knots range still out of the east.

For complete results go to