Star Winter Series gets underway

Published on November 15th, 2020

The ninth edition of the 5-event Star Winter Series got underway with the 2020 Schoonmaker Cup on November 14-15 in Miami, FL.

After a terrible forecast, 13 Star teams were blessed with five good races run by Coral Reef Yacht Club. Racing was tight among the top four teams going into the final race with Augie Diaz and new Star crew, Rob Scrivner, edging out Argentinean skipper Alberto Zanetti sailing with Payson Infelise by only one point in the last race for the win. Peter Vessella and Phil Trinter finished in third.

With the teams spread out over three venues and no Skippers Meeting, it was smiles all around when they finally met out on the water after summer and fall seasons with almost no Star racing in North America. The Star Worlds, scheduled at Coral Reef for the coming week, was cancelled in early September, but the club agreed to run a scaled down Winter Series.

“The only real racing I did this summer was some casual Wednesday night racing and some local cruising on my boat in Boston, so it was great to come down here this weekend and get some really good racing,” noted Drew Plominski. “The social scene wasn’t exactly the same as it usually is, people were more spread out across different facilities, but the quality of racing was still great and everyone had an awesome time on the water.”

The fleet completed three races on day one in seven to ten knots of breeze. Augie Diaz, who normally sails with top Brazilian crews, had to go local and chose new Star crew Rob Scrivner, who hopped into the Star for the first time one year ago at a Class clinic in Miami to train new young Star crews. The pair won the first race, but it was Peter Vessella and Phill Trinter who dominated day one with a 2, 1, 2.

“We kept it clean off the start and played the shifts upwind, managed to be up there at the weather mark in all three races. Downwind we kept the lane clear and went pretty quick, and had a good day,” said Vessella after the third race.

Despite major regattas being cancelled over the summer, Vessella was been able to keep in good form over the past few months, taking advantage of an explosion of local one design racing in Newport, Rhode Island where he spends his summers.

Day two started with sunny skies and a breeze of about 8 knots. The current was ripping from right to left across the course, making starts a little more challenging for both the competitors and the race committee. The beautiful day also brought a large number of power boats onto the bay, which coupled with the traditional Biscayne Bay chop, make sailing a bit more difficult.

Californians Scott Barnard and Craig Moss won race five. The final race of the series was the most difficult as breeze started to die. Jim Buckingham and Phil Toth led for most of the race but when on the final stretch a large powerboat came through the course near leaders, Diaz anticipated the powerboat waves and jibed away early, giving them a better angle through the wake to get by Buckingham and Toth for the win.

“More than anything we’re pleased to be here in the great weather,” said Vessella. “Biscayne Bay in the winter is the place to be if you’re a sailor.”

Race informationResultsStar Winter Series

Final Results (5 races)
Star (One Design – 13 Boats)
1. Danilu, Augie Diaz / Rob Scrivner , USA – 1 -7 -3 -2 -1 ; 14
2. Juanita, Alberto Zanetti / Payson Infelise , ARG – 5 -2 -1 -4 -3 ; 15
3. 8459, Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter , USA – 2 -1 -2 -7 -5 ; 17
4. 8440, Jim Buckingham / Phil Toth , USA – 4 -3 -4 -6 -2 ; 19
5. 8504, Scott Barnard / Craig Moss , USA – 3 -4 -9 -1 -4 ; 21
6. Carebear, Kevin McNeil / Jake Doyle , USA – 7 -5 -6 -3 -9 ; 30
7. Inshane Asylum, Shane Zwingelberg / Drew Plominski , USA – 8 -8 -5 -9 -6 ; 36
8. High Octane, Lothar Geilen / Carlos Miquel , GER – 12 -13 -8 -5 -7 ; 45
9. Muffin man, Zach Hansman / Charlie khoules , USA – 9 -10 -7 -10 -14/DNF ; 50
10. 8148, Aaron Smith / Tim ostrander , USA – 11 -12 -10 -8 -10 ; 51
11. DRAGONFLY, Fabiano Vivacqua / Dave Martin , USA – 10 -9 -11 -12 -11 ; 53
12. BRaja. Lue, Larry Whipple / Brian Faith Fatih , USA – 6 -6 -14/DNS -14/DNF -14/DNC ; 54
13. Vagrants, Emily Simon / Neal Turluck , USA – 13 -11 -12 -11 -8 ; 55

The Star Winter Series schedule is made up of four winter weekend regattas and a 4-day Midwinter Championship, all sailed in Miami, FL.

2020-21 Schedule
SWS Event 1 – Schoonmaker Cup – November 14-15, 2020
SWS Event 2 – Commodore’s Cup – December 5-6, 2020
SWS Event 3 – Levin Memorial Cup – January 9-10, 2021
SWS Event 4 – Walker Cup – February 18-19, 2021
SWS Event 5 – Star Midwinters – February 18-21, 2021

Scoring: Only the best three Winter Series weekend regattas will count toward the SWS Championship. The Star Winter Series Champion will be the skipper with the lowest total score to be calculated as follows: The sum of the overall place in the Star Midwinters multiplied by 2, plus the lowest three scores from the four SWS weekend regattas. Series Championship ties will be decided by the finish position in Midwinters.

Source: Kathleen Tocke

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