Light winds for Star Winter Series #2

Published on December 5th, 2021

The Commodore’s Cup, the second event in the 2021-22 Star Winter Series, attracted 18 teams on December 4-5 in Miami, FL. The Race Committee had their work cut out for them to get off four quality races in very light conditions, ranging from two to seven knots. Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada won the event with a score line of all top two finishes.

Conditions on the first day looked optimistic as teams warmed up happily hanging over the rail, but as racing got underway, the wind gradually decreased throughout the race. Paul Cayard, sailing in his first Winter Series event of the season with crew Luke Lawrence, maintained a solid lead for most of the race, until second windward mark, where they found themselves, even with Diaz and Prada going into the last downwind. It was a hard fought, battle as both teams proved throughout the event that they had a downwind speed advantage over the rest of the fleet. Cayard and Lawrence prevailed to win race one.

Pressure built again for race two, but remained light. A number of boats were called over early and Cayard and Lawrence suffered a poor start. Peter Vesella and Phil Trinter sailed an excellent first two legs, but on the second upwind, the breeze began to die again. Diaz and Prada and George Szabo and Guy Avellon gained majorly on the second upwind by playing the favored left-hand side, thereby passing Vesella and Trinter. The two teams continued to the finish with a significant lead over the fleet taking the top two places with Vesella and Trinter in third.

Race three was the trickiest of the day. Diaz/ Prada led at the first mark with Bert Collins in second, sailing with Will Harding, a high school senior, from Annapolis, racing in his first Star event. The wind almost completely shut off on the first downwind. A huge left shift made the course completely left-sided for the second upwind. A faint breeze line on the left side teased teams to go even further left, with the risk of overstanding the port tack layline.

The first boats around the second windward mark didn’t set poles due to both the left shift and the need to sail hotter angles to maintain speed in the extremely light wind and Biscayne Bay chop. Cayard and Lawrence, managed to work their way up to fifth place by the second windward mark and went on to sail a masterful downwind, taking a more direct line to the finish. They passed three boats to finish second hot on the heels of Diaz and Prada who won the race. Collins and Harding finished third, a top Winter Series result for Collins.

Biscayne Bay was a mirror when sailors arrived at the club on day two. The race committee decided to delay and hour. A break from the usual was a meeting among sailors, who discussed maximizing the limited wind that was forecasted to fill at noon. The sailors, in conjunction with the race committee decided to have the fleet tow out to be ready to race at noon, rather than wait for the wind to fill as has been customary in the past. The wind filled as expected around noon.

The first start was called back, the line was adjusted and a black flag followed. The pin end was still heavily favored. Cayard and Lawrence won start at pin and led easily at the first mark. Regatta leaders, Diaz and Prada, rounded mark one in fourth. As expected, the wind proceeded to die and skippers found themselves sitting inside the boat on the upwind.

Despite the almost a complete lack of wind, Diaz and Prada passed two boats on the first downwind to move themselves into second. After a very tough downwind, the breeze filled in more for second upwind, which was shortened. By the second windward mark, it was all gold stars leading, Cayard followed by Diaz, then John MacCausland/ Rick Burgess and Szabo. Cayard and Lawrence won the race, but the major fight was between MacCausland and Szabo for third position. Szabo and Avellon won the battle, enough to give them third place for the event, as no more races were sailed due to lack of wind.

Details: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=14745

Final Results (4 races)
1. Augie Diaz / Bruno Prada , USA – 2 -1 -1 -2 ; 6
2. Paul Cayard / Luke Lawrence , USA – 1 -7 -2 -1 ; 11
3. George Szabo / Guy Avellon , USA – 4 -2 -5 -3 ; 14
4. Peter Vessella / Phil Trinter , USA – 9 -3 -4 -9 ; 25
5. John MacCausland / Rick Burgess , USA – 3 -10 -10 -4 ; 27
6. Scott Mason / Phil Toth , USA – 6 -12 -7 -5 ; 30
7. Mat Johnson / Isao Toyama , USA – 8 -14 -6 -8 ; 36
8. Bert Collins / Will Harding , USA – 7 -21/UFD -3 -6 ; 37
9. Scott Barnard / Craig Moss , USA – 16 -6 -8 -11 ; 41
10. Josh Powell / Pedro Trouche , USA – 10 -5 -12 -15 ; 42
11. Larry Whipple / Rob Schendier , USA – 11 -15 -9 -7 ; 42
12. Kevin McNeil / Jake Doyle , USA – 5 -11 -13 -14 ; 43
13. Aaron Smith / Charlie Koules , USA – 13 -4 -16 -17 ; 50
14. Shane Zwingelberg / T C Belco , USA – 14 -8 -15 -13 ; 50
15. Robert Lippincott / Matthew Rajacich , USA – 12 -16 -14 -12 ; 54
16. Jock Kohlhas / Arthur Anosov , USA – 17 -9 -11 -19/DNC ; 56
17. Zachary Hansman / Luke Morton , USA – 15 -13 -17 -16 ; 61
18. Fabio Prada / Andreas Perdicarls , USA – 19/DNC -19/DNC -19/DNC -10 ; 67

2021-22 Star Winter Series
Schoonmaker Cup – November 13-14, 2021. (up to 5 races)
Commodores Cup – December 4-5, 2021. (up to 5 races)
Levin Cup – January 8-9, 2022 (up to 5 races)
Walker Cup – February 10-11, 2022 (up to 5 races)
Star Mid-Winters – February 10-13, 2022. (includes Walker Cup, up to 8 races total).

SWS 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 your place in Midwinters. – https://starwinter.com/

Source: Kathleen Tocke

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