2015 Midwinter Team Race
Published on January 3rd, 2015
Fourteen teams descended upon Eckerd College for the first ever, provided boat, Midwinter Team Race (Dec. 31-Jan. 2) in St. Petersburg, FL. Over the course of 3 days the Race Committee completed 149 races sailed in Eckerd’s FJ and the new Zim 15 provided by Zim Sailing. When the dust settled “Be a Lot Cooler If You Did” emerged in 1st place after losing only 1 race. “Team Shred” and the “Kirkwood Ticklers” closely followed.
Day one brought a chilly breeze out of the east, northeast at 12-15 kts. Conditions proved challenging for competitors as they settled into the Zim 15’s lightweight and higher performance. Needless to say, those that were getting the hang of it, were having a ball, blasting around the course. Racing was kept tight and fast all day, ending around 5pm as the breeze lightened to around 8kts with “Be a lot cooler if you did” in the lead. Many sailors had sailed the Zim 15 at the 2014 US Team Race Championships in light air and were excited to see how the boat would perform in stronger breeze. Dillon Paiva, an Old Dominion alum, sailed the boats in heavy breeze while they were in Annapolis. Taking a second chance at them, he commented, “It was fun screaming downwind and maneuvering tightly” during the racing. Although just about everyone sailing the Zim15s capsized, Dillon said, “the boats were becoming more and more attractive to me after having a few shots at sailing them, and figuring out how to tweak the boat.”
A northerly breeze at 8kts greeted the sailors for day 2 and racing was tight. The leeward mark was action packed which saw a few capsizes and quick recoveries. With the warm Florida sun starting to peak out, and the breeze dropping, competitors were thrilled to be sailing the Zim15s, as the boats’ moderate air performance is awesome! The racing was turned up several notches as sailors became more accustomed to the Zim 15’s maneuverability. Mitch Hall, assistant coach for the College of Charleston Cougars, mentioned, “the Zim15s were very responsive to sail trim and angle changes. They were particularly fun off the breeze as it takes very little wind to get on a plane.” Be a lot cooler if you did continued their dominance and remained undefeated after day 2.
On the third, and final day of racing, the fleet was greeted with a gloomy morning, accompanied by a bit of fog and only 6-7kts out of the north, northeast. Typically a shifty breeze direction for the venue, this kept PRO Bob Savoie on his toes with a race against time to complete the rotations. The last race began at 2:30 as the breeze bottomed out at 5kts.
In the light air, the difference in speed between the Zim15s and the FJ fleet was apparent, with the Zim 15’s nearly catching the FJs during the last race.
Kevin Reali, Eckerd College coach and event chair, said, “With the dying breeze, everyone was happy to have their rotation in the Zim15.” “
Be a Lot Cooler If You Did” made up of Graham Landy, Chris Klevan, Joseph Morris, Katia DaSilva, Thomas Barrows and Kate Wysocki finished up with a 22-1 record to dominate the field.
Thanks goes out to Judge Carrie Green who was extremely professional and helpful. Thanks to Zim Sailing for their fleet of Zim 15’s and their performance rep Allie Gray for being on site to help. We also could not have done the event without the help of Eckerd College and the stellar RC team of Kevin Reali, Zack Marks, and Darby Smith lead by PRO Robert Savoie. Next year’s event will be bigger and better. Eckerd is building a new boathouse and docks and all 26 boats, as well as rotations, will be on the dock. Parking will be closer to the rotation area and there will be bathrooms in the boathouse, making logistics that much easier. Hope to see everyone next year!
Report by Zim Sailing