Groundhog day at Star Midwinters

Published on February 20th, 2021

Miami, FL (February 20, 2021) – The glory of Biscayne Bay sailing continued for the 2021 Star Midwinter Championship after the awards for the Harry W. Walker Cup regatta last night. Walker Cup races also count for the Midwinter Championship, and all are thrown into a black box for the overall Star Winter Series results for the winter of 2020-21.

Today dawned clear and brisk as a cold front cleared the Bay overnight, with much cooler winds out of the northwest at about 12-15 knots as the Coral Reef Yacht Club Race Committee set up the course for the sailors. After winning four of five races in the Walker Cup, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise (above) entered the day with an 11 point lead.

The RC set a starting line that had all 16 starters within inches of the line under yet another Papa flag, and the racing was on. The fleet soon split in the shifty northwesterly wind conditions, searching for the little lifts and current advantages that will get them around the course first.

As the wind worked its way to the right, as was expected, the runs in today’s first race turned out to be, yet again, speed tests as opposed to tactical advantages. A good split was, however, seen on the second beat, but the righty continued to dominate the final run, and the Doyle/Infelise team took the horn at the finish, Gold Star sailor Paul Cayard with Luke Lawrence in second, and Silver Star (and IGC Chair) Tom Londrigan with TC Belco in third.

Unfortunately, an injury to Phil Trinter, who with skipper Peter Vessella came into the day sitting in third overall, put an end to their day. Thanks to the good work of the safety crew both on the water and on land, Phil had the opportunity to show off a few staples in his scalp courtesy of a late duck of the boom, and all were well and no lasting effects are expected.

Race two of the day, and seventh of the Midwinter Regatta, was set for a 5 leg windward/leeward course in breeze that had shifted 30 (or so!) degrees to the right. Once to the right of the downtown tower complex, the oscillations settled down to a more manageable range for the sailors.

Yet again, a clean Papa flag start sent the sailors upwind on the first of three beats, with a wide split indicating a fair race course. This time, the downwind runs showed a wide split as well, indicating that there were good tactical considerations on top of flat-out speed in the minds of the crews.

Once again, however, the team of Doyle and Infelise showed ‘em how it’s done, Augie Diaz with crew Arnis Baltins reminding the fleet that he’s still in this game, and Ante Razmilovic with crew Philip Carlsson posting their best finish of the regatta in third to keep the fleet’s eyes on them for the upcoming championship events.

There is one race remaining in the Midwinters and the Star Winter Series. The weather is forecast to be challenging in terms of velocity, though the shift to the east should calm down the direction and pressure changes as they go. As the regatta, as with all of the SWS events, have no discard, it is still a horse race, and anyone (well, a few) can still win this regatta. SWS scores are still up in the air, as the Midwinters results count double for the Series.

Racing for the Walker Cup was February 18-19 and continues to February 21 for the Midwinters.

Current Standings (7 races)
1. Eric Doyle / Payson Infelise , USA – 2 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 8
2. Augie Diaz / Arni Baltins , USA – 1 -9 -3 -2 -2 -6 -2 ; 25
3. Paul Cayard / Luke Lawrence , USA – 9 -3 -2 -4 -4 -2 -5 ; 29
4. John MacCausland / Guy Avellon , USA – 5 -5 -6 -5 -5 -7 -4 ; 37
5. Ante Razmilovic / Philip Carlsson , GBR – 4 -4 -8 -7 -7 -8 -3 ; 41
6. Jim Buckingham / Phil Toth , USA – 3 -8 -5 -8 -10 -5 -6 ; 45
7. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter , USA – 8 -2 -4 -3 -3 -19/RET -19/RET ; 58
8. Shane Zwingelberg , USA – 7 -11 -7 -6 -6 -11 -10 ; 58
9. Tom Londrigan / TC Belco , USA – 10 -6 -12 -10 -13 -3 -19/RET ; 73
10. Joshua Powell / Mark Strube , USA – 13 -12 -11 -9 -11 -10 -7 ; 73
11. Alberto Zanetti / Javier Bok , ARG – 6 -7 -9 -11 -8 -19/RET -19/RET ; 79
12. Darren Mason / Paul Loubet , USA – 12 -15 -10 -14 -19/DNS -4 -8 ; 82
13. Nick Madigan / Aaron Smith , USA – 16 -13 -14 -12 -12 -9 -9 ; 85
14. Mike Hecky / Michael Brundage , USA – 15 -10 -15 -15 -9 -13 -19/RET ; 96
15. Robert Lippincott / Matthew Rajacich , USA – 11 -16 -13 -16 -15 -14 -11 ; 96
16. Fabiano Vivacqua / Dave Martin , USA – 17 -14 -16 -17 -14 -12 -19/RET ; 109
17. Larry Whipple / Brian Fatih , USA – 14 -19/DNC -19/DNC -13 -19/DNS -19/DNC -19/DNC ; 122

Race informationResultsStar Winter Series

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: L. Carl Schellbach, Jr.

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