A-Class: Flying South for the Winter
Published on April 6th, 2015
The annual winter Florida circuit for the US A-Class Catamaran class starts in the Keys in January, goes to St Pete in February for the NOOD, returns to the Keys in March, and then finishes back in St Pete / Gulfport with the Admiral’s Cup. Twenty to thirty boats generally attend each event.
The Admiral’s Cup on March 28-29 attracted 25 boats, but the conditions kept most ashore on Saturday. The breeze quickly built to levels that were too big for the fleet with puffy breeze-on conditions and gusts into the mid-twenties. Racing was postponed, recommenced, and then abandoned for the day before any boats crossed a starting line due to the conditions.
Ben Moon and Joseph Bello still went out to sail, putting on a great show of “on the edge” foiling in the 20-25 knot breeze. Video here: https://vimeo.com/123736456
The winds on Sunday began to build but never established itself across the course. The ebb and flow of the breeze put a premium on perception outside of the boat, boat maneuvers, and patience. Winds ranged from 4 knots or less to 12 knots.
After two races we had a three way tie for first between Rush Bird, Woody Cope, and Bailey White. Rush and Woody, sailing Nikita’s, have had superb speed in light and shifty breezes this year and won most if not all of the events in the southern circuit in 2015.
After the fourth race, Woody took a bullet and was one point behind Bailey with Rush two points farther away. Some people were ready to pack to go home due to the light and challenging conditions but the Race Committee still had six minutes of racing left per the NOR. They started a fifth race. Bailey hooked into pressure on the left side after not looking good initially and lead conclusively around the marks to win the event overall.
As a development class, the events have various generations of boats and most all of them still have their day. This year saw boats from 2000 to 2015 racing, and an older Bimare XJ with straight boards got 5th while a 2000 Marstrom beat some of the newest boats on the market.
It is the sailor that is most important in our class, as it has always been. Every boat on the course is capable of winning a race, and with the camaraderie and off the water experiences the class enjoys, people keep coming back to the events.
Skipper / Boat / Boards of Top Five:
Bailey / eXploder / JZ boards
Woody / Nikita / C boards
Rush / Nikita / C boards
OH / Little O / CZ boards
Dave / XJ / Straight boards
OH Roger’s work continues deserves mention. He was sailing his own design from 2010 on a boat that has at least five sister ships. He has improvised a new foiling board that takes an existing C board and retrofits an additional lifting section. The boat works well in heavy and light breeze and just requires the trunk to move out from the center of his original boat design.
Less than two months now to the 2015 A-Class North American Championship on May 18-22 at St Andrews Bay Yacht Club in Panama City.
Boats are available for charter. Contact: www.facebook.com/usaclass
Report by Ben Hall and Bailey White.