CanAm #2 Regatta Series, 2.4 US Nationals
Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club
December 8-10, 2017
Just a little late getting this out… We were pretty busy with only had 1 day off between the last regatta and this one, and even though it was being held at the same venue, we had a new and challenging weather pattern on our hands. We started the 1st day racing in a pre-frontal South Westerly winds of 8-14 knots. Compared to the drifting around in the last series it was quite a nice change to have enough wind for some very good racing.
The bar was definitely set higher with Paralympian Danny Evans from Miami and Norwegian Paralympian Bjornar Erikstad joining our fleet. Danny is a very experienced Para sailor, and has also added the sport of Para-cycling to his repertoire. I was lucky enough to go for a bike ride with him, and he successfully kicked my butt all over the road! Congratulations are in order as Danny is now part of the the USA Para Bike Team.
Bjornar has also had a very good career racing his 2.4mR. He was 2nd overall and 1st Para in the 2015 2.4mR Worlds out of 107 boats. Bjornar finished 5th in the 2016 Para Rio Games. What a great addition to our fleet, they brought our Class level up on and off the water for sure.
I feel that everyone in our fleet would agree with me that the 2.4mR Regattas have developed into some close and very challengingly competitive racing. The best news is that our Class is attracting some new players! I hope these numbers will continue to grow with new invitees joining our ranks over the coming 2018 racing year. Able bodied or Para, it’s great tactical racing out there. Single handed sailing at it’s very best. Please come join our fleet and try it out!
Back to the racing. 1st day: In some lump from the long run of the SW breeze had us all wet, but at a very pleasant 85 degrees no one could complain. This would change. PRO Roger Strube set 4 leg windward leeward courses, making the windward end slightly favored because the wind was supposed to go left. The current was left to right looking upwind and stronger as you approached the windward mark. All 3 races sailed that day were very similar. Start right go left up each beat, get a left shift and more current on the port lay line. This clearly worked well for me as I was lucky enough to win all 3 races that day. Bruce Millar was in 2nd place with 3,3,2. Allan Leibel, 3rd with 4,2,3. Bjornar unluckily had a shroud fall out and could not finish the 2nd race but finished with a 2,DNF,4. After a throw out he would end up being fine.
2nd Day. It had rained all night with thunder and lightning. Temperature was dropping , the water was still warm, and I did not mind getting wet at all. It was a much trickier day. The wind had shifted North coming out of the YC. It was not too strong as the real cold part of the front would not arrive till later that night. It was shifty with holes and puffs and more wind at the start and less at the windward mark. Bigger and quicker shifts could be seen nearer the shore. I started well at the leeward end and was able to tack clear with a large left shift allowing me to sail my own race. I decided to race the course and not the other boats. You could not see the shifts come off the land, so I just tacked when the wind shifted and tried to say in the middle of the course, and play the averages. This line of tactics worked for me with a big lead to finish 1st. Canadian Bruce Millar was also had a good race finishing 2nd. Then the fleet got mixed up with: 3rd Louise Anstey, 4th Canadian Peter Wood and 5th Janice Graham Foscarini. Canadian Allan Liebel and Bjornar ended 8th and 9th, which gave me a little more wriggle room.
On the next race I tried to start at the pin and badly screwed that up. I ran out of room too early and decided to bail and spin. I ended up having to take almost all the transoms and extended on port. Bjornar got a great start and had a huge lead after he tacked. As I was clearing my wind, I noticed I was on a very good lefty and hung in there. I rounded 3rd, very happy, sailed into 2nd and finished there, overlapped on the line with winner Bjornar. Peter Wood was having a very good day and finished 3rd and Bruce followed in 4th. Allan Leibel ended up not so good 13th.
The last race of the day, the wind came in and was shifting left more. After a very aggressive general recall, Roger put the black flag up, disqualifying anyone over during the last minute. Unfortunately Bruce Millar, Allan Leibel, Peter Wood, and Charlie Rosenfield were all disqualified. Ouch! It was hard to take, 21 more points. Ultimately it ended up being a solid 4 boat race to the finish, A very popular win went to USA Tony Pocklington, who had just sailed his best race of the Series. I finished 2nd, and even without a throw out till the next race was sailed, I had a very large lead. Bruce was 2nd overall, and Tony moved all the way up to 3rd.
Last day and it was a chilly 41 degrees. We had an interesting problem as the stronger North wind and high pressure has pushed all the water out of the Peace River. It was supposed to be a high tide but the water was as low as I have ever seen it. None of us were sure we could get out and back if the water kept going out, and we waited to hear from our PRO. Amazingly, the Committee did get the boats launched and out to the start line on time. We were all very careful to sail out in the middle of the already small getting smaller channel.
I knew I just had to race in the same zip code as Canadian Bruce Millar and the Series could be mine. Luckily, I managed to get ahead and stay ahead to win that race. Bruce finished 2nd and Bjornar third. Danny obviously liking more wind, finished 4th, followed by Allan with for 5th place.
The final 2 races were still shifty but in consistent pressure. Canadian, Allan Leibel sailed perfectly to win both races. With a 2nd place to Allan in my pocket, I knew I had won the Series, and decided to retire from the last race as the channel was still shrinking and I could get in and be one less boat in the way for the volunteer boats to help maneuver that channel. I must commend the Race Committee as they really did a wonderful job getting everyone back into the harbor in such difficult conditions and such a low tide.
This Series was a good one for me to win. It counts in double points towards the CanAm Championships and can not be thrown out. It is also was a personal honor for me to win the “Paralympic Gold Medalist’s Nick Scandone Memorial Trophy”. May Nick Rest in Peace
Next up for me is the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, start is on 12/26, but in the US and Europe it will be on 12/25. You can follow the race, stream the start… here is how: http://www.rolexsydneyhobart.com/spectators/following-the-race/
I will be sailing on a TP52 “Rockall V”. Funny thing is I used to race this boat as Flying Jenny on the east coast. The old owners Dave, Sandy and Peter Askew will be sailing their new Wizard, Volvo 70 for the first time in the race too. Watch us both. Weather now has a very fast race, maybe a record for Comanche!! We had a little tuning session on the harbor yesterday:
After throw outs the top 10 finishers were:
Dee Smith 11
Bruce Millar 23
Bjornar Erikstad 29
Allan Leibel 37
Tony Pocklington 43
Peter Eagar 53
Peter Wood 54
Ted Green 63
Louise Anstey 69
Charlie Rosenfield 73