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When the overall winner isn’t

Published on December 8th, 2021

We were confused with the report for the 65th annual Wirth M. Munroe Ocean Race when the boat which got the first place overall perpetual award didn’t have the best corrected time. We assume it was a mistake, but it wasn’t, as detailed in this report on the UK Sailmakers Facebook page:

On New York’s Long Island Sound, race committee goof-ups and errors are recognized by the International Society for the Perpetuation of Cruelty to Racing Yachtsmen through the presentation of the Moosehead Award to deserving RCs.

If the ISPCRY had a southern station, they would have awarded such an award to the collective brain trust of the Sailfish Club of Florida, the Storm Trysail Club, Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, and the SORC for the 2021 Wirth M. Munroe Race.

This experienced and well-regarded quartet of race managers on December 3 ran the 65th Wirth M. Munroe Race from Miami to Palm Beach. In seasons past, the Best Performance award was presented “to the boat that has won her class and, in the judgement of the Officers and Race Committee, had the best overall performance.” (Notice of Race)

That subjective selection of an overall winner may have worked when there were multiple rating rules being used in various divisions; but this year all five divisions sailed under ORC. Where was the question of which boat had the best overall performance? Was this still a subjective decision to make?

This year, the overall was presented to the Farr 395 Senara. First on corrected time in ORC 3, Senara nipped the J/44 Kenai sailed by Chris and Karen Lewis by a mere 21 seconds on corrected time. That’s pretty competitive, right? One would agree that those two had a pretty good go at each other out in the Gulf Stream.

But wait a minute, weren’t all competitors sailing within the same handicap system? Shouldn’t the overall been given to the boat that corrected out best for the race? Senara’s time corrected to third in fleet. Seems like the Organizing Authority had other thoughts.

Drop down to ORC 4. That division’s winner was the Italia 9.98 Relentless III sailed by Oscar Valdes and Carlos Santiago. Finishing just two-and-one-half minutes before the time limit, Relentless III shaved over 13 minutes off Senara’s corrected time, and placed first overall under ORC – an objective scoring calculation.

Oh, well, Senara got the nod…and the folks aboard Relentless III had to settle for first overall in ORC, but not the Best Performance award. Even so, there was still a lot of joy aboard Relentless III as UK Sailmakers Miami’s Mark Wood reports:

“It was a great weekend to be out on the water. A classic SORC race from Miami north to Palm Beach. 60 miles upwind with a good seaway running. I was aboard as both the navigator and sailmaker. It was a typical Florida race where you had to go offshore and get into the stream.

“Once we found the Gulf Stream, we had to start playing the shifts. These were true ‘medium’ conditions, blowing between 8 and 16 knots out of the north with four-foot seas. It was a dead beat the whole way. Ninety percent of time we were max hiking, but when the wind eased to 5-6, we were sailing into left over chop that slowed us down.

“There was a transition zone between the breeze outside and the breeze on the beach. One boat went into the shore too early and missed the time limit as she lost the three knot Gulf Stream push too soon. As the race was winding down, the whole crew was getting nervous about making the time limit. Luckily, in the last hour, the wind picked-up again to 10+ and we made the time limit by a breath.”

Usually, in an upwind race like this, the big boats leg out. However, Relentless III corrected out over two TP52s and a Botin 44 and a bunch of other much faster boats. An Italia 9.98, Relentless III was equipped with a full sail inventory of X-Drive® from UK Sailmakers.

“I would like to send a big thanks to my RELENTLESS III family, Italia Yachts and UK Sailmakers for making this weekend memorable,” concluded co-owner Oscar Valdes.

Oh, yes, remember the Moosehead Award? Do you think the ’21 Munroe Race deserves one? Let us know by commenting with no malice intended: click here.

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