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Weekend Warmup For Upcoming Worlds

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  • Weekend Warmup For Upcoming Worlds

    Double-header Weekend for the Etchells in Miami

    With Gale Warnings up and down the Floridian coastline on Saturday, it was an easy decision for the Race Committee to call off the first day of racing for Florida States, the third regatta in the Biscayne Bay Regatta Series and another pre-worlds event warming up sailors for the AON Etchells World Championships in April.

    images: Pieter Vanderlaan And Nic Brunt

    Among the 47 boats in attendance, 5 countries and 15 states were represented. So with so much travel from these dedicated sailors, the Race Committee was under extra pressure to deliver quality racing. “After chatting with numerous sailors, coaches, and skippers after the morning Competitor’s briefing, I didn’t have one who thought abandoning was the wrong thing to do,” said Principal Race Officer Dave Brennan. “It’s always good having consensus with the decisions that you make.”

    A few boats did brave the weather Saturday to go train, but most sailors who had also participated in the previous day’s Piana Cup make-up regatta took the chance to preserve their gear while the winds consistently gusted over 30 knots.

    The Race Committee modified the Sailing Instructions for Sunday to send the sailors out an hour earlier for a 1000 start with a goal to get three races in before the 1400 start cutoff. Bundled up in foul weather gear, competitors started the day under rainy skies in a west-southwest breeze in the upper teens. Eventually, the rain subsided and three races were completed in varying velocities of breeze, but not before the rain returned to conclude the day.

    So far in the winter series, there have been 11 races with 10 different winners – demonstrating just how close this fleet is. As the only winner of two of those races and also Friday’s Piana Cup, Jose Fuentes stated: “What we have here is some of the best sailors in the world, so even a top 20 finish is hyper-competitive in a game of inches.” Fuentes finished 9th on Sunday.

    In this game of inches, it was a tiebreaker and one point that determined the Floridian State Championships podium. Peter Duncan’s Oatmeal tied with Thomas Carruthers’ Louise both with 11 points with Duncan taking the trophy due to a win in the second race. Just a point behind rounding out the podium was Jim Cunningham and the LIfted crew.

    When asked how he managed to stay so consistent in a fleet, Duncan attributed it to starting. “We got off the line well all three races and then stayed out of trouble and had also had good speed.”

    Andrew Palfrey, also part of the Oatmeal crew, added “It was quite a challenging day with the clouds and the wind shifts and the biblical rain but, it was also wonderful. We sort of managed to put it together as well as anyone today.”

    After racing, Thomas Carruthers’ gave credit to his tactician, three-time world champion, Bill Hardesty, and his trimmer, Jeff Reynolds – but also his competition and the Race Committee. “We said don’t go near any clouds. We were lucky in the fact that we had three good starts so we could get into the top mark and then you just work from there. Duncan deserved that win. He came back bigger. He came back huge.

    “The Race Committee has been dealt a very bad hand in these first three regattas and I’m hoping it comes back in spades for the Worlds.”

    The next event will be the Mid-Winters Championships February 24-26 right back at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club followed by the North American Championships hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club March 15-19, 2023. The 2023 AON World Championships will be held April 16 – 21, 2023 where 80 boats from around the world are planning to attend.

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