RS Aero Midwinter Championship
Published on February 10th, 2019
Ideal sailing conditions greeted the 24 sailors for the 2019 RS Aero Midwinter Championship on February 9-10 in Palm Beach, FL.
Day one had the fleet on the ocean venue with winds of 15-20 knots and building seas from 3 to 6 feet, mixed with considerable chop. Four races were held in the challenging conditions, and with a strong contingent of first timers in the RS Aero, the opportunity to sail on the ocean was a bonus.
However, day two conditions were too rough to attempt offshore racing so the Harry Anderson course was set on Lake Worth with winds inside ranging from 12-18 knots. Four more races were run with lots of close quarters action at mark roundings, and tactics playing a significant role in how the competitors fared.
A number of newbies in the 24-boat fleet made auspicious appearances into the class. Eugene Schmitt from New Orleans looked very strong hiking and won the twelve boat RS Aero 7 class, followed by North American Class President Hank Saurage from Baton Rouge. Bill Dickey, a last-minute charterer from Connecticut turned on the afterburners in the final two races to finish 3rd, just ahead of Bob Patterson, with another newbie, Lee J. Montes from NY finishing 5th.
Jamie Gilman from KO Sailing wasn’t messing around, nabbing straight bullets in the nine boat RS Aero 5 class, including some very impressive port-tack starts. Regatta co-host Sailfish Club had three representatives in the top 5, with Paul Gingras in 2nd, top junior Nicholas Lorentzen in 3rd, and John Brim in 4th. Top Female sailor Melissa Solnick from New York rounded out the top 5.
In the RS Aero 9s, Mark Schwegman, originally from South Africa but now living in Ft Lauderdale, placed 2nd to winner Marc Jacobi. Mark hadn’t sailed a dinghy in 20 years but quickly took to the RS Aero, duking it out for the lead on a number of upwind legs with great speed and astute tactical decision making. Madhavan Thirumalai finished 3rd, and receives the Furthest Traveled Award, coming to the regatta from India via San Francisco.
Source: Greg Popp