Star North Americans endure precarious winds… again
Published on October 10th, 2014
Oxford, MD (October 10, 2014) – For the third day in a row now, competitors at the 2014 International Star Class North American Championship endured none other than Oxford’s most precarious winds as they fought one another through Races 6 and 7 for the top spot in the overall standings yesterday.
After completing 7 races, Brazilian team Torben Grael and Guilherme Almeida (BRA 8210) top the leader board with a cumulative 29 points and have a 10 point lead going into the final race day of the series. Although 10 points is usually considered a comfortable margin, this particular race venue has proved itself untrustworthy many times to deliver conditions that even slightly resemble normal wind behavior so the Silver Star Championship title is still just about anyone’s for the taking.
Race 6 and 7 were sailed in an erratic North/ Northwesterly breeze that blew from 025°, 100°, and everywhere in between, at speeds anywhere from 4 to 12 knots, and in a flooding tide that, due to the wind direction, ran perpendicular to the Race Course. Looming rain storms in the area added another variable to the mix for the sailors to consider in their race strategy should the squall affect the wind on its approach or hit mid-race. Several Eastern Shore of Maryland Star Fleet and District 2 locals excelled in Race Day 3’s conditions, using their many years of experience sailing in Oxford to carefully navigate through the fleet and around the course.
When the Star fleet reached the race area yesterday morning, the Race Committee posted the AP Flag at 11:00 am for a few short minutes to give competitors extra time to check in and view the course information. Within 2 minutes, the AP Flag was taken down then one minute later the 5 minute horn sounded signaling the beginning of the starting sequence for Race 6. The Race Committee set a Course 4, windward-leeward twice around with a downwind finish, with a windward mark bearing of 085°. Race 6 began with an individual recall and no longer than 100 yards past the starting line the fleet split in two when one half tacked to port headed to the right side of the course while the other half remained on starboard sailing forward toward the left.
Ultimately the right side of the course was favored on the first leg giving Jack Rickard and Sam Eadie (USA 8036), leaders of the right side, the momentum they needed to cross the boats approaching from the left and round the windward mark in first place. Argentinians Alberto Zanetti and Federico Calegari (ARG 8278) rounded second with 3rd place John Chiarella and Bob Carleson (USA 8215), 4th place Bert Collins and Jake Doyle (8063), and 5th place Tom Londrigan and Steve Cutting (USA 8361) close behind. At the windward mark Bob Lippincott and Michael Zuschnitt (USA 7512) were notified they were OCS at the start and they left the race course.
As the rest of the sailors raced downwind to the leeward gate, the fleet was hit with a 15° right shift that gave Larry Whipple and Mike Wolfs (USA 8484) the opportunity to take over the lead as well as the opportunity for USA 8361 Londrigan/Cutting to move into second place. At the gate, USA 8484 Whipple/Wolfs rounded first just ahead of USA 8361 Londrigan/Cutting, USA 8036 Rickard/Eadie, USA 8063 Collins/Doyle, and ARG 8278 Zanetti/Calegari who proceeded to rounded in that order and head upwind for the newly adjusted windward mark at 100°.
ARG 8278 Zanetti/Calegari sailed a flawless second weather leg and reached the windward mark in first, just as a new left phase breeze began to control the course. USA 8036 Rickard/Eadie rounded in 2nd followed by Brazilians Torben Grael and Guilherme Almeida (BRA 8210) in 3rd, USA 8063 Collins/Doyle in 4th, and Doug Schofield and Bob Schofield (USA 8264) now in 5th. The wind had shifted almost a full 70° before it settled into its new direction and consequently, the last downwind leg of Race 6 became almost a parade to the finish. ARG 8278 Zanetti/ Calegari maintained their lead for the entire 4th leg and won Race 6 with BRA 8210 Grael/Almeida crossing in 2nd, USA 803 Collins/Doyle in 3rd, USA 8036 Rickard/Eadie in 4th and USA 8264 Schofield/Schofield in 5th.
Race 7 got off to a clean but tough start due to a small rain cell that was passing over head. The starting sequence began in a steady 6-8 knots from 020° that progressively lightened to 4 knots and became more unsettled as the storm moved away. Right off the line, the majority of the fleet began working up the right side of the course and about half way upwind the breeze filled back in to its previous 6-8 knots. As the fleet neared the windward mark, the leading boats came from the middle of the course with local Eastern Shore of Maryland Star Fleet member, Championship organizer for this regatta, and novice skipper R.J. Cooper with Brain Boyd (USA 8024) at the front of the pack.
USA 8024 Cooper/Boyd rounded the weather mark in first with John MacCausland and Rick Burgess (USA 8490) hot on his tail. Another local Fleet and Yacht Club member Alan Campbell with Steve Rollo (USA 8045) rounded the weather mark in 3rd followed by Steve Braverman and Kevin Hetherington-Young (USA 8052) in 4th and Will Murdoch with Tim Paris (USA 7713) in 5th. As the fleet headed downwind, the wind began shifting to the right and Torben Grael with Guilherme Almeida (BRA 8210) took advantage of the new breeze, using it to move into the top 5.
USA 8024 Cooper/Boyd maintained their lead all the way downwind and lead the fleet around the leeward mark. USA 8490 MacCausland/Burgess rounded in 2nd, ahead of now 3rd place BRA 8210 Grael/Almeida, 4th place USA 8045 Campbell/Boyd, and 5th place USA 8052 Braverman/Hetherington-Young. The wind continued to shift further right again on the second upwind leg and USA 8490 MacCausland/Burgess was able to get farther right than USA 8024 Cooper/Boyd to gain an advantageous position and pass USA 8024 Cooper/Boyd with just a quarter of the leg left until the windward mark.
USA 8490 MacCausland/Burgess rounded the windward mark first with USA 8024 Cooper/Boyd less than 2 feet behind and both jibed around the offset. BRA 8210 Grael/Almeida held his 3rd place position upwind and around the windward mark followed this time by Arthur Anosov with David Caeser (USA 8000) in 4th and Paul Cayard with Brian Terhaar (USA 8460) in 5th. These five boats continued on downwind to finish in the same positions they rounded in. Both R.J. Cooper and Brian Boyd (USA 8024) were novices when the entered the 2014 Star North Americans but with their 2nd place finish in Race 7 they have each earned their first Star Class Honors ever: 1 Silver Chevron, and 1 Silver Bar respectively.
Report by class media.