MC Midwinter Championship - North Sails 1,2!

MC Midwinter Championship - North Sails 1,2! Related topics:

18 February 2006

Day 3 MC Midwinter Championship

Lake Eustis, FL.

Just as the previous two days, the fleet headed out to the race course in a dying northerly breeze. By the scheduled 930am warning signal, the breeze had all but vanished and it looked as if only 2 races would be completed for the regatta. Just as the majoirty of the competitors began to head for shore, some new ripples could be seen on the water and the fleet began to gather around the starting area. After 2 hours of bobbing on Lake Eustis, the Warning signal for Race 3 was sounded.

Heading into the last race, the difference between first and fourth was three points. Sam Rogers and Zack Clayton were tied with 9 points, Andy Burdick with 10 and Ted Keller with 11. With the standings so close, there would be no time to fool around on the starting line. Each of the top four in the regatta had to sail their own race while trying to keep a watchful eye on the other three.

When the start gun sounded, the fleet got off to a clean start. It was important to look up the race course before the start to see which side the breeze was filtering down to. Although the right side may have been favored in terms of angle, it appeared the left side of the course had more breeze. Using this logic, Guy Mossman and Sam Rogers found some fresh breeze
on the left side of the course and got themselvs into the top three around the first mark.
Kelly Reese used excellent boat speed and tactics to round in first. As for the race for the regatta, Sam had a comfortable lead over Andy who rounded in seventh and it appeared that Keller and Clayton were deep on the first beat after getting stuck on the right side.

For anyone who thought the rest of the race was going to follow any sort of plan, they were seriously mistaken. The breeze left the race course as the leaders made it about a 1/4 way down the first beat and the race turned into a drifter. After about 10 minutes of wondering where the breeze would fill in next, boats began to start making noise just left of the whether mark. By this time, about 25-30 boats had gotten around the top mark, and once they touched the new breeze, it did not take them long to envelop the leaders further down the run. 

The race essentialy had started all over again with 30 boats trying to gain position at the bottom mark. Andy Burdick did a great job of keeping his boat moving which helped him gain inside position on the left gate. As Andy headed for the right side of the course, Robert Seidelman, Skip Moorhouse, Blake Middleton and Kelly Reese all rounded the right gate and headed for the left side of the course. Seeing Andy head for the left gate, Sam rounded the right gate to try and get some leverage. Fortuneatly for Sam, by the time he rounded the right gate in seventh place, a huge left shift had filtered down and was now lifting he and the
leaders in front of him towards the mark. The boats worked their way up the beat and it was now a tight race for the regatta with Sam in sixth and Andy right on his tail. The boats again rounded the top mark it was anyone’s guess as to where the breeze would fill from. Using fresh breeze to get around the mark, Robert, Blake, Skip and Kelly all remained on Starboard for the first portion of the downwind. Sam, Andy, Mark Marenokos and Guy Mossman all gybed out and caught a new puff that carried them nicely down the course. Sure enough, about halfway down, things got interesting as the boats who gybed early found themselves out of breeze and moving slowly. During this time, Andy managed to keep his boat moving and sail to leeward and ahead of Sam. Although Andy now had position for the regatta, all it took was a look over his left shoulder to see Ted Keller and Zack Clayton making a hard push in new breeze. The only thing Andy could do was hang on and hope the breeze would fill back on his side.

Just about the time when it looked like Zack and Ted would now be duking it out for the regatta lead, Andy got a fresh line and managed to get around the bottom mark in decent postion. Sam got around just behind Andy and Ted Keller was right on Sam’s tail. Zack Clayton rounded three boats back of Ted and with the breeze being so fickle, it was anybody’s race to decide the regatta.

A huge right hand shift greeted the leaders at the bottom mark which left no other option than to tack immediatly. Sam tacked out first which proved to be fatal as he did not get the most of the new right phased puff. Ted K sailed a little farther than Sam and managed to get more of the puff to lift inside of him. Andy tacked on top of Ted began to apply a tight cover. Seeing his chances waining, Sam split and headed off on Port tack. Andy and Ted battled it out on the left side of the course with the positions changing constantly. Sam worked the right side of the course, trying to make something happen while praying for new breeze to fill on the right side. As the boats approached the finish, it began to look soft on the left side and Andy and Ted began to drift. Sam however, found some new breeze on the right side and was powering towards the finish. Andy and Ted on port, Sam on starboard, all three boats were converging towards the finish and it was going to be tight.

Just when it looked like Sam might squeeze ahead for the regatta win, Andy found some speed in a small puff and managed to cross the finish line in fifth. Ted was a boat length behind Andy to finish sixth and a quarter of a boat length behind Ted, Sam came rolling in seventh. Andy won the regatta by 1 point over Sam and 2 points ahead of Ted. Robert Seidelman sailed a great race to win and Minnetonka Yacht Club PRO Blake Middleton used exceptional boat speed to finish within a boat length of Robert. Kelly Reese and Skip Moorhouse also maintained their composure to finish off a great race in 3rd and 4th.

Top eight overall:

  1. Andy Burdick - North Sails
  2. Sam Rogers - North Sails
  3. Ted Keller
  4. Robert Seidelman
  5. Kelly Reese - North Sails
  6. Zack Clayton
  7. Tim Fredman
  8. Guy Mossman - North Sails

What worked today - It seemed the number one key to today was to keep your boat moving at all times. Even if this meant easing the sheet more than usual and bearing off a touch more, it was key to keep moving and heading towards the new breeze. This is usually important in all light conditions as those who keep their boats moving will be the first to reach the new breeze. If you have a mark on your mainsheet, make sure to reference where the mark is in light breeze. It will be much different from when you are hiking and trimming hard. Make sure also in the lighter conditions to move smoothly through the boat. MC Scows are very weight senstive and any harsh, sharp movements will slow progress trhough the water. Lastly, patience also paid off today. When it looked as if some boats were down anad out, all it took was some new breeze to get vaulted right back into the race.

Many thanks to Lake Eustis sailing club. This truly is a special place to sail and the hospitality is second to none. Richard Kinnie, Martin Zonnenburg and all of the volunteers put in a tremendous amount of effort and it paid off big time. This regatta was a huge success and make sure to mark your calenders for the MC Midwinter’s 2007!

Sam Rogers
North Sails Zenda/Melges Performance Sailboats