2008 MC Midwinters - Lake Eustis

2008 MC Midwinters - Lake Eustis Related topics:

15 March 2008

Champion Decided on Final Day

A 9:30 AM start was scheduled on the final day in a forecasted SSW 10-15 mph breeze, building to 20-25 mph. When the fleet set sail, the wind was light making it difficult to decide whether or not to put a crew on board. Several teams chose to take crew, while some of the bigger skippers braved Lake Eustis in the windier conditions.

Once again the RC started race 1 right on time. After several general recalls, the PRO decided to go with the Z flag (20%), which got the fleet to hang back a little bit. Unfortunately several boats couldn’t resist to press the line and were OCS. One of these was regatta leader Eric Oppen.

Jeff Annis would win this start and have a nice punch off the leeward portion of the starting line. Jeff is fast in these windy conditions. He focuses on putting his bow down and really making the boat go through the water. A good start enables him to do this. Jeff led at the first windward mark with David Moring and Jamie Kimball following behind. At the leeward mark Kimball and Annis would round 1st and 2nd.

The second beat got tricky. The breeze dropped a bit and the boats with crew struggled. It was really important to stay in the pressure and sail the lifted tack. Surge Vanderhorst made the best out of a right hand shift and was able to pass the top 3. Surge sailed smart downwind keeping himself between the mark and the boats behind. By now the breeze was back up. Surge would lengthen his lead on the final beat and win this race moving him into second overall with 1 race to go.

The wind was now increasing for the final race of the regatta. The PRO chose to go with the Z flag initially to get race 2 off wit out any glitches. Once again a few boats were caught cheating. Steve Powers of Okoboji, IA hit the start with speed and led up the first beat. Steve and his daughter Kira were a tough combination in the windier conditions. It can be really fast to have a crew in windy and wavy conditions.

At the first windward mark, Jamie Kimball led with the Powers close behind. Downwind the MC can be tricky as its bow has a tendency to stick into the waves. Sailing by the lee is fast. If your bow looks like it’s going to submerge, you need to either head the boat up or down to prevent submersion. Heeling the boat to windward also helps.

The breeze was now on strong and steady. There were not as many shifts in this race, so it really paid to limit you tacks and jibes. The leaders were only tacking three-four times upwind, and jibing once-twice downwind. With these steady conditions, Kimball was able to keep the fleet in his window and win this race. Vanderhorst sailed a great final beat to finish second and to seal his 2nd overall position.

A quick panel discussion was held before the awards to discuss how the top five sailors of the day handled the windy conditions. Among this group were Jamie Kimball, Surge Vanderhorst, Dan Fink, John Lovin, and Steve Powers. Here are some of the key points discussed.

  1. Having a crew available is valuable.
  2. Upwind, bring your board up a bit to help depower and free helm.
  3. Drop traveler.
  4. Focus on footing, especially in waves.
  5. Limit tacks as much as possible.

The Lake Eustis Yacht Club put on yet another spectacular event. Over the years they have made regatta management into a science and it really shows. Regatta chair, June Howells put in all of her effort to make this regatta top notch. Thank you June!!


  1. Jamie Kimball
  2. Surge Vanderhorst
  3. David Moring
  4. Eric Oppen
  5. Dan Fink
  6. David Moorhouse
  7. Lenny Krawcheck
  8. Jeff Annis
  9. Jon Pomerleau
  10. Drew Mize

Top Master - George Scarborough, 13th overall
Top Grandmaster - Lenny Krawcheck, 7th overall
Top Megamaster - Jack Kern, 11th overall
Top Woman - Kelli Farrar, 14th overall

Day 2- Sailors Tied for Lead after Three

After several postponements and general recalls, Eric Oppen from Delafield, WI hit the line on port tack with speed and led up the first beat in a light to medium breeze. Oppen was able to lead the starboard tack boats out to the left side where most of the pressure was. As soon as he had a good angle, Eric flopped back to port in great pressure. At the windward mark Eric had a large lead, with Jamie Kimball, Lenny Krawcheck, Richard Kinnie, and Jeff Surles in hot pursuit.

Eric was sailing smart and on his game. He always seemed to have the best angle and best pressure. This combination made him too tough to pass. Eric would lead at every mark and eventually win this race, making it his second bullet of the regatta!! Lenny Krawcheck and Jeff Surles sailed great races finishing in second and third respectively.

As race 1 ended the fleet sailed in to the club in a light drizzle where a hot lunch was waiting for the cold and wet sailors. Lunch was brief, as the fleet was eager to get back out on the water in a building breeze.

Race 2 started in 8-12 mph of wind. Finally, hiking conditions!! The race committee was efficient, starting the fleet on time with the course set. Jeff Annis hit the line perfectly near the leeward end and initially led the fleet out to the left. Dan Fink was able to get a good punch off the middle of the line and also looked good. As the fleet sailed up the first beat the breeze was building, and most were hiking hard and using their controls to depower the boat.

Up the left side, Kimball and Annis were able to set up in a nice starboard tack lane and put the fleet in their windows. A welcomed view! These two led at the first windward mark. Kimball was able to separate himself from the pack, and sail to a nice lead. Behind, Annis was fighting hard with several boats. Surge Vanderhorst and Dan Fink were now in the mix. At the finish it was Kimball taking the gun followed by Vanderhorst, and Dan Fink.

With three races down, and one day to go there is a tie for first between Jamie Kimball and Eric Oppen. Each with 7 points.

Top Ten

  1. Eric Oppen
  2. Jamie Kimball
  3. Surge Vanderhorst
  4. Lenny Krawcheck
  5. David Moring
  6. Spencer Wiberley
  7. David Moorhouse
  8. Jeff Surles
  9. Dan Fink
  10. Bob Miller

Once again a panel discussion met for the fleet after today’s racing. Today’s panel included Dan Fink, Jeff Annis, Surge Vanderhorst, Jamie Kimball, and Eric Oppen. Here are several of the points discussed.

  1. Drop your traveler to depower (Jeff Annis even does this).
  2. Push yourself to work your hardest up the first beat.
  3. Build speed to point.
  4. Foot for speed to go through waves.
  5. Don’t get discouraged when you’re struggling.
  6. Think about the big picture to notice an opportunity to establish lanes.
  7. Don’t try to make too much happen. Homeruns rarely work.
  8. Most often it is better to under trim than over trim.
  9. Ease your mainsheet for power through bigger chop/waves.
  10. Most important- HAVE FUN!!!! 2008 MC Midwinters


The MC Midwinters is an annual staple on the MC regatta circuit. 71 sailors made the trek to Lake Eustis to battle it out and ultimately decide this years’ champion. The forecast for today’s racing was light. After a postponement early on, sailors came to shore for a quick lunch and watch the wind do a 180. The lake filled with a nice 2-8mph wind. Just enough to get the fleet back on the water.

The breeze was light, but consistent so Chief PRO Sandy Sundberg started race 1. The start was won by Scott Harestad from Spring Lake, Mi. Scott was able tack immediately after the gun, and was punched off the line. Several sailors followed Scott’s lead including Spencer Wibelre, Eric Oppen, Steve Powers, and Dave Moring. These sailors were sailing in nice lanes and steady pressure. Staying in the wind was key!!

At the windward mark, it was Spencer Wibelre taking the lead. Spencer decided to jibe around the offset, and the majority of the leaders followed. Eric Oppen and Jamie Kimball held on starboard jibe and sailed out to the right. The fleet was now split. It soon became apparent the breeze was fading for the boats that jibed around the offset. These leaders also had to sail through the fleets’ dirty air as they rounded the windward mark. The boats that extended benefited from clear air and a building breeze.

At the leeward mark Jamie Kimball, Spencer Wibelre, and Steve Powers rounded very close together. Eric Oppen and Dave Moring were also fighting hard to keep it close. As the fleet sailed up the second windward leg, the leaders were able to get some separation. Kimball, Oppen, and Moring were now fighting it out for the lead. The leaders struggled to stay in the pressure. Hard sailing!!

On the second run Kimball chose to jibe around the offset, while Oppen and Moring extended. The fleet converged at the leeward mark. Most of the fleet chose the right side. Oppen was forced to tack left. As it turned out, this was to his benefit. Oppen, and now Steve Sherman, hooked into a nice port tack lift and were now in the lead. Kimball struggled to get left finishing in second behind Race 1 winner Eric Oppen.

TOP 10

  1. Eric Oppen
  2. Jamie Kimball
  3. Steve Sherman
  4. David Moring
  5. Spencer Wibelre
  6. Tim Fredman
  7. Surge Vanderhorst
  8. Ed Durant
  9. Jeff Surles
  10. Steve Powers

A post racing panel discussion met to answer the fleets’ questions and discuss strategies. Here are just a few of the topics that were discussed, and some of the keys to success in no particular order.

  1. Maintaining constant angle of heel.
  2. Having a clear lane off the start.
  3. Staying in the pressure!!
  4. Sailing hot and fast downwind.
  5. Maximum heel to leeward downwind.
  6. Leading to the next shift.
  7. Establishing a lane downwind and upwind.
  8. Clear air is key.
  9. Having patience.
  10. Trusting your instincts.

These are just of the few points discussed on the panel discussion. Tonight’s’ party is hosted at the world renowned Oyster Troff. Plenty of food and refreshments for all!! Stay tuned for more highlights to come!