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Regatta Reports
2007 Western Hemisphere Championship Report - Final
By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Apr 4, 2007, 17:30

Complete results

Day Four - Loof and Ekstrom Win the 2007 Western Hemisphere Championship (Loof's 5th Silver Star Championship)
By Lynn Fitzpatrick

Let’s see if I’ve got this right. Flat water, wind at 10-20 degrees at noon, clouds on every shore. At one point, the anemometer read 6.9 miles per hour. There was a pile up at the pin for the first start and a general recall was signaled. The wind went further right and most boats tried to get a pin end start because it looked like a little more of the dying breeze would stay with them on the left side. Another general recall. The Z flag went up for the third start and the fleet spread out and hung back from the line. We had a clean start, but the wind got completely fickle.

Peter Bromby and Andy Macdonald who had match raced each other to claim the pin had to have looked up to weather at one point in despair. Freddy Loof sailed conservatively up the middle of the course. Several competitors chose to go right toward the port entrance and caught the fleeting zephyrs that just couldn’t carry them all of the way to the weather mark.

George Szabo and Andrew Scott approached the weather mark just as the last grains of sand were tumbling through the hour glass. The general consensus from all of the skippers and crews who were seated on the leeward side was to call the race off, and that was before the wind backed so that many found themselves tacking to make it around the offset mark. The leaders, George Szabo and Andrew Scott, John Dane and Austin Sperry, Rohan Lord and Miles Addy, Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom were nearly half way down the run when the wind readings dropped to one mile per hour and the race committee fired off three guns.

The 2007 Star Western Hemisphere Championship ended with former World Champions Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom claiming the silver star with 11 points. Peter Bromby and Bill Mc Niven were second with 21 points. Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey were third. Rohan Lord and Miles Addy were fourth and Andy Macdonald and Mike Wolfs were fifth. Only four points separated the second place finishers from the fifth place finishers.

Davis Island Yacht Club pulled out all of the stops on the water and on shore for the Star Class. By using Format C, which provided for short courses, they took into account almost everything – except that sometimes no matter what you do the wind won’t cooperate.

Day Three - Bromby and the Beat
by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Peter Bromby and Bil McNiven, photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick
For the third day in a row sailors arrived at Davis Island Yacht Club to find a glassy Tampa Bay. Races were postponed on shore until there was a sign of breeze. Wind readings on the race committee boat and the on the weather mark boat varied enough so that it took a long time for the race committee to reach agreement and set the weather mark at 285 degrees.

Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven had three of their signature starts from the pin end of the line. They read the shifts and the pressure and rounded the first weather mark in each of today’s three races in the lead. They may very well have won all three races had it not been for a fouled jib halyard that distracted them and let their competition get to their right after the final leeward mark rounding of the second race. The Bermudians allowed eleven boats to pass them up the final beat. They finished the day with a 1, 12, 1.

Peter and Bill seem to have perfected sailing in flat water and shifty conditions. “It bears a striking resemblance to Hamilton Harbor. I’m used to trimming hard, keeping the boat flat and pointing a little higher than most. It’s when the wind comes on and there are a lot of waves when I start to have some problems”, admitted Peter. Freddy Loof who had a 2, 5, 2 for the day, said today's sailing conditions were “very tricky and shifty.” The wind, “was very hard to predict. It was tough out there, but it was a great day of sailing.”

Others who managed to stay at the top of the fleet as the wind picked up to top out at about 12 knots include: Eivind Melleby and Petter Morleland Pederson, Rohan Lord and Miles Addy, Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey and Andy Macdonald and Mike Wolfs.

Day Two - Is your heart rate up?
By Lynn Fitzpatrick

Andy Macdonald and Mike Wolfs, winners of race three, photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick
There’s no better feeling than being on the inside of a shift at the top of a leg. By the same token, your heart sinks when you’re caught on the outside. Bermudians Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven and Norwegians Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pederson executed picture perfect starboard tack starts and the pin, tacked, crossed everyone on their hip and clearly had the lead off the line. Americans Fotis Boliakis and Michael Nichol, Argentineans Fabian MacGowan and Federico Engelhard and Kiwis Rohan Lord and Miles Addy were just below Peter and Bill. As they reached the middle of the course, a huge left shift came through with Peter and Bill on the inside sailing 60-70 degrees higher on port tack than everyone to their right.

John MacCausland and Bob Schofield came from the middle right and got a private right hand lift within a hundred yards of the weather mark and forced Andy Macdonald and Mike Wolfs, who had played the left side of the first beat, to take their stern at the approach to the weather mark. They rounded first and second with Peter and Bill and Fotis and Mike close behind. Eivind and Petter rounded 13th and Rohan and Miles rounded 18th. There were plenty of Olympic aspirants at the tail end of the fleet. During the next four legs the breeze built from below 4 knots to 9-10 knots and the rich got richer and those who were in the basement struggled to make gains.

The highlight of the regatta was watching Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom engage Andy Macdonald and Mike Wolfs in a tacking duel during the last beat. Andy and Freddy spent a lot of time training together prior to the 2004 Olympic trials. Despite sailing their first regatta together, Andy and Mike took on the challenge and most importantly never lost sight of the layline to the finish. After nearly two dozen tacks, Freddy and Anders threw one last tack to the right and Andy and Mike headed off on starboard in a full hike to take the gun. John MacCausland and Bob Schofield sailed up the left side of the course to finish third, followed by Australians Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey and Bermudians Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven.

Freddy Loof, over twenty years younger than Andy Macdonald, admitted to Andy that he had gotten a workout during the tacking duel when he smiled and asked his friend, “Is your heart rate up?”

Third Race Results
1. Macdonald/Wolfs 2. Loof/Ekstrom 3. MacCausland/Scofield 4. Murray/Palfrey 5. Bromby/McNiven 6. Kohlhas/Scott 7. MacGowan/Englehard 8. Melleby/Pederson 9. Zambella/Costa 10. Anderson/Morey

Day One - The Wind goes right on Tampa Bay
By Lynn Fitzpatrick

Day 1 leaders Loof/Ekstrom, photo by Gil Williams
This is the second time in the past five years that Davis Island Yacht Club has hosted the Star Western Hemispheres. These Olympic Class keelboats and their crews have the run of the new clubhouse and all of the facilities. You can tell that an important event is taking place here just by all of the flags that adorn the second floor balcony and the flagpole. Continental Vice President of the Star Class, Joe Zambella says, “It’s so nice to come to a club that caters to sailors. Yesterday, the Optis and the Stars were out practicing and the PHRF boats were returning from Sun Coast Race Week.” Joe has been responsible for selecting the venues for the Star Spring Championship for the past several years hopes for a large turnout form the New England and Mid Atlantic fleets for next year’s championship on Seneca Lake in New York State. Rick Burgess, the Chairman of the International Governing Committee of the Star Class, and his club, Seneca Yacht Club will host the 2008 Westerns. He is taking cues from his skipper, host of tomorrow night’s party and Star Class Vice President of the Western Hemisphere, Claude Bonanni of Davis Island Yacht Club.

Lord/Addy, photo by Gil Williams
Davis Island Yacht Club not only has an impressive view of Tampa Bay, the starts can take place within a couple of hundred yards of the club’s shore. The Star sailors took advantage of these assets today. There was hardly a breath on the bay when they headed out for the noon start. After drifting in the warm air and sun for about an hour, the fleet returned to the shade and air conditioning of the clubhouse. The competitors had enough time to eat lunch and soak in the pool before the Davis Island Race Committee turned on the wind switch at exactly 2:57 pm and transformed Tampa Bay from a glassy mirage fit for water skiing a sailing arena very similar to San Diego’s Mission Bay.

It’s no surprise that George Szabo and Andrew Scott read the wind and the water conditions like tea leaves and rounded the first weather mark in front of Kiwis Rohan Lord and Miles Addy; Aussies Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey; Canadian Brian Kramer and crew, Tyler Bjorn and Americans Karl Anderson and Edward Morey. While George and Andrew extended their lead, the pack of 6-7 boats behind them remained tight all the way down the run and there was at least one pile up around the leeward mark.

Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom worked their way past one boat at a time and moved from seventh around the first weather mark to third for the race. They were followed closely by John Dane and Austin Sperry, Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey, Carl Anderson and Edward Morey and Jock Kohlaus and Larry Scott.

Szabo/Scott, photo by Gil Williams
The wind shifted right throughout the second race of the day. Freddie Loof and Anders Ekstrom port tacked most of the fleet from the pin to lead around the first weather mark and hold the lead all of the way to the finish. As Larry Scott said, following his and Jock Kohlaus’ comeback from 13th at the final leeward mark to second at the finish, “we went just where we were supposed to go. The wind went right as the sun started to set, and we followed it.” The right hand shift threw more than a few boats for a loop. Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven finished third, Rohan Lord and Miles Addy were fourth, Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pederson were fifth.

Preliminary results following two races:
1. Loof/Ekstrom 5 points, 2. Lord/Addy 6 points, 3. Szabo/Scott 9 points 4. Kohlaus/Scott 12 points 5. Dane/Sperry 12 points 6. Melleby/Pederson 16 points 7. Murray/Palfrey 16 points 8. Macdonald/Wolfs 19 points 9. Cramer/Bjorn 20 points 10. Anderson/Morey 20 points.




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