District 20  Regatta Report

Sat Jan 5th, 2013 through Sun Jan 6th, 2013

Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins at trophy presentation. Photo by Meredith Block.

Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins at trophy presentation. Photo by Meredith Block.

2013 Levin Memorial

 

Sailed at Miami, Florida, the third weekend of the Winter Series. Still to come are the Midwinters and the Walker Cup.

The fleet continues to grow for the inaugural Star Winter Series Presented By EFG International, with 20 teams from 5 nations competing in the tricky 5-race Levin Memorial Regatta this past weekend on Biscayne Bay. As the halfway point of the series approached, a funny thing happened to a series designed to provide low-key, economical racing for one of sailing's most prestigious and historic classes: All of a sudden, teams started to get serious.

Perhaps the biggest culprit was series founder and chairman Stu Hebb, who turned up the intensity meter to finish the final three races with a fleet-best 1,3,3 scoreline; enough to propel him from 7th after two races all the way to a podium position in 3rd.

Hebb seemed inspired after getting a hearty helping of success with a runaway 2:20 victory over the next finisher in Race 3; the largest margin of victory of any race in the series thus far. "They're lucky I didn't get warmed uptil the third race; otherwise it would have been a cakewalk," Hebb joked. Quips aside, competitors are definitely upping their game as the end of the series moves in sight, as Hebb's crew Mike Wolfs explains: "Stu really turned up the aggression on the starting line, and he's working substantially harder on downwind boatspeed," said Wolfs. "Along with more active trimming for rake and rig tension, it was a great combination, and our results show it." Series newcomers also showed strong results last weekend; Buenos Aires skipper Alberto Zanetti started his Star Winter Series with a hard-fought sixth place, while Hong Kong's William Zwigart finished just behind Zanetti in 7th.

Meanwhile, two of the Star Class's "Big Dogs" continue to battle for every inch of real estate on the race course, with Augie Diaz taking a strong win over past Star World Champ George Szabo in second. Diaz put on a clinic, never finishing worse than 5th in the regatta; a full 10 points ahead of Szabo in the final standings. It was his second time winning the historic Levin Perpetual Trophy. "It's hard not to be proud of being on a trophy with these names on it; it's truly an honor." Diaz said he owed his gratitude to crew Arnis Baltins; "Arnis is just a pleasure to sail with, and he's always up to any task."

Diaz barely squeaked ahead of London Olympian Mark Mendelblatt for the Race 1 victory in a warm 8-10 knots of wind, and his local knowledge and great boathandling helped him stay away from some of the pitfalls that swallowed other strong teams up over the course of an event that saw unusual Southeasterly winds on Sunday. One of those teams was Szabo and Olympic Gold Medalist Magnus Liljedahl, whose 10th place finish in a shifty Race 3 made it impossible to catch Diaz.

Both Diaz and Szabo have won one event of the Star Winter Series Presented By EFG International, with the other finishing second each time, and they stand deadlocked in 4th place for the overall Series title. Still, Diaz downplays a rivalry that's just starting to get good. "There's no doubt that the lighter air this week played into our hands a bit, but I predict any real rivalry to be short-lived," Diaz said. "George is just too good."

Gamesmanship? Perhaps. The world will find out in just 3 days, when the four-day Star Midwinter Championship begins on Thursday. Organizers expect up to 26 boats from 6 countries.


Star
Place Boat Skipper Crew Sail #: Fleet 1 2 3 4 5 Total
1 USA 8465   Augie Diaz   Arnis Baltins   8465   BisB   1.0 2.0 4.0 1.0 5.0 13
2 USA 8320   George Szabo   Magnus Liljedahl   8434   SDB   4.0 6.0 10.0 2.0 1.0 23
3 CAN 8466   Stuart Hebb   Mike Wolfs   8466   BisB   10.0 13.0 1.0 3.0 3.0 30
4 USA 8000   Arthur Anosov   Mike Nichol   8000   SL   9.0 7.0 6.0 6.0 2.0 30.0001
5 USA 8484   Larry Whipple   Phil Trinter   Barakablue   BisB   3.0 11.0 2.0 9.0 6.0 31
6 ARG 8278   Alberto Zanetti   Gustavo Warburg   Juanita   OL   6.0 4.0 11.0 7.0 7.0 35
7 USA 8291   William Swigart   Brian Fatih   Picnic   CLIS   7.0 3.0 12.0 12.0 4.0 38
8 CAN 8143   Brian Cramer   Cam Lymburner   Remarc   WLOC   11.0 5.0 5.0 13.0 9.0 43
9 USA 8015   Donald Massey   Isao Toyama   USA 8015   CHiH   8.0 10.0 3.0 17.0 14.0 52
10 USA 7741   Benjamin Sternberg   Valentin Veytsman   USA 7741   CLIS   13.0 1.0 17.0 4.0 22.0 [DNF] 57
11 USA 8408   Kevin Mcneil   Shane Zwingelberg   Care Bear   AN   17.0 12.0 8.0 5.0 17.0 59
12 USA 8217   Mike Phinney   Rick Burgess   Tess   SLE   5.0 8.0 16.0 15.0 16.0 60
13 USA 8464   Jack Jennings   Brian Sharp   Pied Piper   LS   12.0 17.0 15.0 8.0 12.0 64
14 USA 7934   Charlie Enright   John Von Schwarz   USA 7934   AN   14.0 15.0 18.0 10.0 8.0 65
15 USA 8063   Bert Collins   Guy Avellon   Grinch   AN   16.0 9.0 9.0 16.0 15.0 65.0001
16 USA 8271   Al Cullen   Phil Toth   8271   EB   15.0 16.0 13.0 11.0 11.0 66
17 USA 8112   J Joseph Bainton   Chris Rogers   Junkyard Dog   NB   18.0 18.0 7.0 18.0 13.0 74
18 USA 8285   Erich Mones     Pichon Pichoni   BisB   20.0 14.0 22.0 [DNC] 14.0 10.0 80
19 USA 7964   Charles F Kohlermann IV   Charles Kohlerman   7964   NCB   19.0 19.0 14.0 19.0 18.0 89
20 USA 8177   Mark Mendelblatt   Ed Morey   Star   TaB   2.0 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 90
21 USA 8379   Bill Allen     Isabella   BisB   22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 22.0 [DNC] 110

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