2009-2010 Jaguar Series – Etchells class

Published on March 21st, 2010

The Jaguar Series is the premiere winter event for the Etchells class in North America, attracting big fleets and the world championship caliber competition. Hosted by Etchells Fleet 20 in Miami, Florida, the racing takes place on Biscayne Bay, arguably among the finest racing venues during the winter months. The 2009-2010 Jaguar Series regatta dates are:

Piana Cup – December 5-6, 2009
Sid Doren Memorial – January 9-10, 2010
Florida State Championship – February 27-28, 2010
Jaguar Mid-Winters – March 19-21, 2010

Event website: http://etchellsfleet20.org/jag/index.html

Piana Cup – December 5-6, 2009

(December 3, 2009) Warm air, good breeze and great competition are beckoning Etchells sailors down to balmy Biscayne Bay once again for the 10th Annual Jaguar Series, with four event spanning from December to March in Miami, FL. With a forecast for a southerly 10-15 knots on Saturday and northerly 9-14 on Sunday, the racing looks to be both pleasant and challenging. Bill Hardesty and amateurs Ante Razmilovic (GBR) and Peter Duncan are among the elite group of 52 boats signed up to try to wrest the Jag Cup from Jud Smith and Dirk Kneulman’s sticky fingers.

David Brennan, PRO, said yesterday if a slightly smaller number show up for this weekend’s Piana Cup, it’s likely the controversial windward gates will be scrapped for the first time in several years. A last minute rounding decision will likely be a welcome relief for the bowmen’s union. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

Wrap -up:
(December 6, 2009) Day one results turned out to be the final results in the Piana Cup – the first of four winter regattas in the Etchells Jaguar Series. Peter Vessella and his San Francisco based team of Tracy Usher and John Calllahan took the day and weekend with a 3, 2, 3. Second place finisher Marvin Beckman, who won the first race, said they know they “missed something” on the second race and ended the day with a 1, 8, 2. San Diego’s Bill Hardesty tied for second with a 2, 3, 6.

Saturday’s forecasters couldn’t seem to decide on the weather and we saw top end forecasts anywhere from 13 – 25 knots. The day truly was WYSIWYG and turned out to be a typical Biscayne Bay day with a pleasant 12-15 knots out the SSW with a small chop. With 45 boats of the registered 52 racing, the competition felt civilized and the starts manageable compared to recent year’s bigger numbers. Climbing out of a bad or late start line was actually do-able.

Peter Vessella said they never really banged one side of the course or the other, and aimed to start in the middle of the line – the least congested. In the first race they worked up the mid-right to beat other guys on the right, but didn’t take any chances, which turned out to win the day. This team has been racing together now for 4 years and he said they have learned to trust each other. “It’s all about team work,” Vessella said.

The teams wishing for at least one more race today (Sunday) waited for two and a half hours while the race committee toiled away trying to find good breeze. The wind kept hinting it would pick up, but never filled in more than 4 knots, but even then not for long enough to set a course. Finally, PRO Dave Brennan blew the abandonment horn and arranged tows for the competitors. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

Final results:
1. Peter Vessella, John Callahan, Tracy Usher (3, 2, 3) 8 pts
2. Marvin Beckman, Kurt Oeking, Andrew Lee (1, 8, 2) 11 pts
3. Bill Hardesty, Quentin Strauss, Jack Jennings(2, 3, 6) 11 pts
4. Jeffrey Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Becky Nygren, Willem Van Waay, (6, 5, 1) 12
5. Tony Rey, Bill Bennett, Chris Busch (5, 6, 4) 15

Full results are posted here: http://etchellsfleet20.org/jag/index.html.

Sid Doren Memorial – January 9-10, 2010

(January 7, 2010) Northern Californian Peter Vessella and his crew, who hold the top spot after the first round of the four event Etchells Jaguar Series, should feel very comfortable in the San Francisco-like elements forecast this weekend for the Sid Doren Memorial in Miami January 9-10, 2010. As it stands, the weather temps are forecast in the 40s and the breeze both days looks to top out at 17-25 knots.

Professional sailor and coach Bill Bennett said this morning that he and the crew are “buying more clothes!” And he suggests: “Whatever you own, bring it.” Organizer Ken Batzer says the 55 boats signed up for this weekend will see one of the windiest weekends on record for the Jag. With clear skies, chop, and big breeze, the photographers, boatwrights and sailmakers can’t wait. It’s looking like a gear buster. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

Wrap -up:
(January 10, 2010) – Ice boating conditions was what the 53-boat fleet was saying after day one of racing at the Sid Doren Memorial, the second event the typically balmy Etchells Jaguar Series. Boston area born, now local sailor Chris Lanza won Race 1 seemingly feeling at home in this cold weather; he rounded the top mark in first and kept his lead downwind in what he described as “a little bit hairy” conditions. The boats were certainly rocking back and forth downwind. Bill Hardesty, sailing 3-up, won the day with a 5-1-5 and would have been very happy not to sail in the record low temps (39F with gusts to 25) on Sunday morning. In fact, 20 racers decided just that and packed it up on Sunday morning.

However on Sunday, bone chilling weather notwithstanding, the signal boat left the dock at 9am and the racers knew they had to go out and do it again for two more races. Since the series of five races includes a drop, the racing got tight after race 4, when top three teams (Hardesty, Siegal, Razmilovic) were within 3 points of each other, with Hardesty lying in third. Hardesty sealed the weekend with a bullet in race 5, playing the left side of the course in shifty conditions. Following the racing, New Englander Moose McClintock summed up the weather, “It was a new definition of cold.”

The other news of the day was a collision near the windward mark in the first race of the day on Sunday, causing one of the largest holes for Long Island’s Jay Mills that even some of the old salts have ever seen in an Etchells. Fortunately no one was hurt and RC boats were immediately on scene to assist them safely back to shore. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

1. Bill Hardesty, Quinten Strauss, Jack Jennings, 12 pts
2. Jeff Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Willem Van Waay, J. Delashmutt, 17 pts
3. Marvin Beckman, Curt Oetking, Bruce Nelson, 17 pts
4. Ante Razmilovic, Chris Larson, Stuart Flinn, 18 pts
5. Tom Lihan, Dirk Kneulman, Moose McClintock, 23 pts

Full results are posted here: http://etchellsfleet20.org/jag/index.html.

Photos by John Payne here:Photos

Florida State Championship – February 27-28, 2010

(February 25, 2010) – The Florida State Championship, the third of four events that comprise the Etchells Jaguar Series, is on the calendar for the weekend. With record snow and record lows around the country, chilled sailors hopping on planes tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow will find upon landing in Miami that it has finally reverted back to traditional balmy winter weather.

The forecast for the weekend looks to be a great test of preparation and skill with a big gusty breeze expected for Saturday and Chamber of Commerce weather on Sunday on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Sixty boats are expected and much to the relief of many sailors, there are no plans for windward mark gates this time around.

Now halfway through the series, we start to see the cream rise to the top with many of the series regular winners in contention for the overall trophy. At the moment the order of potential overall series winners are: Bill Hardesty, Jeff Siegal, Marvin Beckman, Dirk Kneulman, and Tony Rey (Tony and Dirk are tied). As I write this, and look at the crew aboard, all would be considered to have at least one professional sailor aboard, but of those, at least two (Hardesty and Knueulman) are funding their own programs. This is a boat and a class that pros and amateurs alike gravitate to; because of the boat and the outstanding competition, professional sailors will forgo their regular fees and instead spend their hard earned dollars to get their own boats and crew to Miami and race against the best (not to mention the added benefit of warm water and 70 degree temps!).

And speaking of competition, a lot of these guys and gals will be packing up lickety-split after the final Jag race in March and hitting Highway 10 West en route to San Diego. This year the Etchells North Americans are being hosted at the San Diego Yacht Club and the entry list is rumored to be chock full of great racers. But we’ll save that news for another day.

Stay tuned for the Etchells race updates on Sunday night. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

What they said before the regatta
From Ken Batzer, the race organizer:
“Looks like about 60 or so boats for this weekend’s FSC. The weather doesn’t look too bad right now: ‘Breezy’ on Saturday, then laying down a bit for Sunday. We have an air card now, so preliminary results should be up shortly after the races are over.”

From Chris Lanza, in Miami:
“The scenario goes something like this, I will head down Friday afternoon to scrape off the bird [droppings] and assorted dead bugs, and fix a few things before we throw the boat back out onto the racecourse. I heard back from Brian Kamilar (bow & tactics) who sailed with us last regatta and he has confirmed. North Sails Anson Mulder (speed man) will return for another shot at glory.

“My crew tells me that we will have big breeze again on Saturday. Good thing we have been practicing, Not! The good news is that the settings will be right since I never unloaded the rig from the last blustery regatta. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle….and I don’t fall off.”

Ethan Doyle, of NYC, sailing on ‘Cougar’:
“The Cougar is getting a fresh round of botox and a slight breast enhancement, then a little bit of red lipstick and she will be ready for weekend action. Seriously, we’ll be racing this weekend.”

Bill Hardesty from San Diego:
“After today, I am once again cold. It looks like another windy one on Saturday.” (Did he ever warm up?)

John Callahan, in San Francisco, who sails as crew on Peter Vessella’s 1168:
“I’m fending off pneumonia and hoping not to see a repeat of Feb Jag weather. How is that for preparation?”

Sounds like cabin fever has set in. A little time in the warm weather should help that. — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

Wrap -up:
(February 28, 2010) – The third in a series of four race weekends of the Etchells Jaguar Series is now a wrap, which saw Tony Rey (sailing for George Andreadis on Etchells 1368) dominate the event with near Olympic gold medal perfection. With a scoreline of 7,1,1,2 going into the last race, the only remaining threat for Rey and teammates Bill Bennett and Chris Busch was Bill Hardesty, who needed to bullet the race to take the title. But Hardesty was skating on thin ice as he was already holding a 36th from the first race, and when he dropped deep in the fleet on the first beat, Rey’s team headed for the barn for an early celebration.

The Florida State Championship is also a run for a trophy among the local fleet members. Saturday’s race 2 ended part-time resident Bryon Erhart’s run for his second Florida State trophy, when he fouled Scott Piper, of Coconut Grove, at the top mark, putting a game-ending hole in his own boat. Ultimately, it was George Andreadis, another part-time local, who won the sought-after trophy.

Overall the racing conditions made for superior competition. According to PRO Dave Brennan, Saturday’s race was “fantastic big consistent breeze.” It started at 15 knots from the south and built over the course of the day to 20 knots. The consistent direction made for tight, close finishes and crowded mark roundings.

From Chris Bush, sailing on the winning 1368, “For the first start, there was a pile up at the leeward end and a lot of boats, including us, were over early and several boats were late to go back. We heard our number and were able to get around the pin fast on the leeward end. After that they were right back in it; a 7th place made for our best race considering how we started.

“On the runs it was better to be kind of East (the wind was from the South) – on a starboard jibe – we did better by not jibing right away. That’s what got us into the lead on the 2nd race – Billy (Hardesty) was ahead and a bunch of guys jibed. We found more pressure and actually laid the mark by staying on starboard. We rounded the right gate looking downwind and Billy went the other way. We were right there together again at the top mark – and then were just a little bit faster downwind. We found Saturday that if we stayed outside a bit on starboard and a late jibe really worked for us.”

From Tony Rey, “For the practice race George skippered and got us warmed up nicely.” As to what he attributes to their speed: “We’ve refined the rig tune and we’re much more confident in making our changes now. “

Sunday’s racing was a bit trickier, opening with a 15-knot breeze from the northwest, then shifting and laying down during the second race. Hardesty won the first race of the day before the wind lightened up. The shifty breeze and more current made for a few false starts in Race 2, causing Brennan to hoist up the black flag for the final race. “Suddenly, everyone knew where the starting line was,” he said and the race got off all clear. Jud Smith, sailing with Dirk Kneulman, Jud’s daughter, Darby and her friend Tim, won the last race.

Next up is the Etchells Midwinters at the end of March, with some interesting competition for the Series trophy – several teams are very close in Jaguar Series points: Hardesty 4; Siegal, 5; Beckman, 5; Rey/Andreadis, 6; Vessella, 6; and Smith/Kuneulman 7. — Paige Brooks, Etchells Class North America Correspondent

Final results (top 5 of 54)
1. George Anreadis, Tony Rey, Bill Bennett, Chris Bush – 11 points
2. Jud Smith, Dirk Kneulman, Darby Smith, Tim King – 14
3. Jeffrey Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Becky Nygren, Willem Van Waay – 18
4. Peter Vessella, John Callahan, Tracey Usher – 22
5. Michael Gavin, Bill Abbott, Ed Fury, Peter Nye – 30

Complete results: http://etchellsfleet20.org/2010_jag/2010FLS_results.html

Photos by John Payne here: Photos of 27 – 28 feb, 2010

Top three finishers
Tony Rey, Bill Bennett, and Chris Bush

Jud Smith and Dirk Kneulman

Jeffrey Siegal, Willem Van Waay, and Becky Nygren

Jaguar Mid-Winters – March 19-21, 2010

Wrap -up:
Miami, FL (March 21, 2010) – Another Etchells Jaguar Series wrapped up for the winter season today with Jeff Siegal (Greenwich, CT) taking home all the silver. And it was a nail-biter. Going into the final day of the regatta and the series, three boats were nearly tied for the regatta, and also for the series: Jeff Siegal, Tony Rey, and Marvin Beckman. Jeff Madrigali, sailing with Siegal said, “How cool is it when it all comes down to the last day?”

The Jaguar Series score combines the rankings from four events with one dropped result. For many years, Siegal sailing with his regular crew of Madrigali, Willem Van Waay and Becky Nygren, has been in the top 5, but never won it all. This was their year, and Siegal was on cloud nine.

The racing this weekend was truly up and down. Mother Nature barely blew any wind over the south part of Biscayne Bay on Friday, causing the race committee to shorten the only race of the day to two legs. With the odd shifts, the results were scrambled. Siegal finished in 13th while Marvin Beckman took 1st in a race that was finished at the leeward gates. Beckman said that win really helped them keep their standings up for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday was another light day, but the race committee managed to get in three hotly contested races, with more mix-ups happening. Usually it is consistent finishes that win the regatta, but this time it was persistence and teamwork, even when the chips were down. The top contenders this weekend have all worked together as a team on a regular basis.

According to Bill Barton, a psychiatrist from San Francisco who sails regularly on Etchells 1327 with skipper Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell, “I fully believe that if you stick with racing as a unit that has fun and complements each other, that you can sharpen many small things in the way you race and communicate on the boat and thus the team can continue to grow and improve.”

Sunday was the day to test the teams’ mettle in the two race shoot out. At the dock the wind was piping up to 20 knots, causing many to change to their heavy jibs and tighten their shrouds, but by the time competitors got to the windward mark, the wind had lightened to a pleasant 10 knots. Siegal and team must have seen the change coming, because they went decidedly right for both races and really shut down their closest competitors who worked up the middle and left.

Chris Busch, who doesn’t usually spend too much time out of the lead pack, was frustrated. He said they just couldn’t find their fast gear to keep Siegal in check. “The silver lining in all of this is that Jeff has been close a number of times, but never won it all. This year they did it. They sailed clean, really well, and certainly deserve it.” — Paige Brooks, Etchells NA Correspondent

Final Results – Mid-Winters
1. Jeff Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Willem Van Waay, Becky Nygren
2. Marvin Beckman, Kurt Oetking, Watt Duffy
3. Phil Wehrheim, Karl Anderson, Max Skelley
4. George Andreadis / Tony Rey, Bill Bennet, Chris Busch
5. Tom Lihan, Moose McClintock, Barr Batzer
Full results: http://etchellsfleet20.org/2010_jag/2010JMW_results.html

Final Results – Jaguar Series
1. Jeff Siegal
2. Marvin Beckman
3. George Andreadis / Tony Rey
4. Peter Vessella (4th overall and also the top all amateur team)
5. Phil Wehrheim
Full results: http://etchellsfleet20.org/2010_jag/2010Standings.pdf

Photos by John Payne here: Photos of 19 – 21 march, 2010

(Left to right, beginning with third person from left) Jeffrey Siegal, Willem Van Waay, Becky Nygren, and Jeff Madrigali

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