ISCYRA  Regatta Report

Tue Sep 15th, 2009 through Fri Sep 18th, 2009

Steve Erickson and Andy Horton. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick.

Steve Erickson and Andy Horton. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick.

2009 North American Championship

 

Report by Lynn Ftizpatrick, WorldRegattas.com

Champions Continue Their Ways
Westport, CT (September 15, 2009) - Long Island Sound's seabreeze exhaled as if had emphysema, one lung and was toting around a respirator. The water was flat during the first two races of the 2009 Star North American Championship being hosted by Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT. At times, the current was flowing in the same direction as the wind's mighty gasps, which registered two to four knots. Despite the mentally exhausting beats and runs, recently crowned Star World Champions, George Szabo and Rick Peters, sailed with the same consistency that earned them the World Championship title in last month's light air regatta in which current played a major role.

Jud Smith and Stuart Delisser, fresh off this weekend's victory in the Cedar Point Open for the Bedford Pitcher, looked as if they were going to continue on their rampage when they rounded the first windward mark of the series opener in the lead, extended and crossed the finish line ahead of Szabo/Peters and John Vanderhoff and Adam Dolezal. Smith was noticeably relieved when the race was over. As for the second race, he and Delisser are looking forward to putting it behind them. The pair got caught on the wrong side of a large shift during each of the two beats. Smith, however, did take note of some amazing recoveries, especially from Eivind Melleby and Petrus Eide, who flew in Monday afternoon from Norway and only had time for a sunset sail as preparation for the regatta.

Rick Peters' word for the day was, "LUCKY." According to Peters, "Pete McChesney is the luckiest man alive." During each weather leg of the day's second race, Peter McChesney and Shane Zwingelberg saw some wind on the left and sailed for it. "We were very nervous out there on our own, but it worked out," said McChesney.

All agreed that the current flowed more swiftly during the first race.

Szabo, Peters are winning with two top five finishes. Racing is tight and the next seven teams posted one single-digit score and one double-digit score and have a total of 19 points or less. More wind is forecast for the rest of the week.

Day Two - Sept.16: Clarke and Bjorn and the P Star Surf Ahead in the Star NA's
Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn (CAN) surfed their way to two bullets in an easterly that swept swells and saturated rain clouds down Long Island Sound. Andy Horton and Stevie Erickson (USA) went down the run neck and neck with Clarke/Bjorn, during the first race and finished overlapped, yet a couple of feet behind the Canadians. The second race was a different story; Clarke pulled out all of the stops that he used to use in the Finn and crossed the finish line over a minute ahead of the Horton/Erickson.

According to Bjorn, "Richard is a magician downwind.” According to Clarke, "I owe it all to Tyler and the P Star. The P Star is an awesome platform. Tyler tells me what to pull, and there isn't a lot for me to pull back there. The P Stars are fast downwind and we had a great time."

Clarke sailed the Finn in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens for Canada and has been on Finn racecourses with Star World Champions Xavier Rohart, Freddie Loof and Iain Percy all too often. Bjorn persuaded Clarke to sail the Star in this year's North Americans and made all of the arrangements for the team to participate. The pair sailed together for the first time in six years on Monday, the day before the Star North Americans began. Clarke has no idea what the tuning numbers are for the Star and left pulling the strings to Bjorn. "What can I say, ignorance is bliss."

Clarke and Bjorn are sticking to the party line, "We're on vacation and we're just having fun," but experience tells me that we'll see that Star sailors will be seeing a lot more of that combination."

Star Class President, Bill Allen, had quite a thrill. He survived three general recalls, a start under the black flag, big swells and rain to round the first weather mark of today's second race in the lead. "It was fun, but the professionals passed us on the first run and things went downhill from there. We even lost Brad overboard at one point."

There were a number of casualties today. A handful of teams returned to shore shortly after peaking their bows outside of the cover of Saugatuck Island and the channel. Slam jibes and stressed parts took down masts and disabled boats. More than one crew went overboard.

Day Three: Two Horizon Jobs for Horton and Erickson
Andy Horton said, "Could it get any weirder than that?" as he crossed the finish line of the first race of the day over a minute ahead of Alberto Zanetti and Gustavo Warburg (ARG). In fact, it did get a lot weirder as the afternoon on Long Island Sound wore on. The weirder it got, the more the man who used to be hoisted up Prada's mast to spot wind and his Olympic Gold Medal and Star World Champion crew, Steve Erickson, distanced themselves from the rest of the fleet.

Horton/Erickson (USA) cracked the code of Long Island Sound's wind shifts and flushing current and walked away from Thursday's two races of the 2009 Star North American Championship with two horizon jobs. They crossed the finish line in the second race over two minutes in front of Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn (CAN). John Bainton, Jr. and Will Christiansen (USA) held the lead in the second race for about half of the five-leg race, but were passed by Horton/Erikson during a huge right hand shift during the second beat. In the meantime, Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn (CAN) clawed their through the fleet and pulled from sixth to second in the sixth race of the series.

With Thursday's two bullets Horton/Erickson and their Lilia inched ahead of Clarke/Bjorn and their P Star by one point. Clarke/Bjorn posted 8 points to their scoreline during the day.

Crews braced themselves for a cold and windy northerly and a swell rolling down Long Island Sound. They punched through lumps on the way to the starting area and waited for the wind to settle under the low-bottomed cumulo-stratus clouds. The clouds were like a vacuum sweeping back and forth. During the first race, teams who were in synch with the sweep to the left off the starting line were launched and the boats that went right hoped that the pendulum and the pressure would swing in their favor. Throughout the rest of the race, the current swung, the wind lightened and went right and then left: 60º, 30º, 350º, 20º, 350º.

The current swept the fleet over the starting line a couple of times before they had a clean start for the second race of the day. When a huge left shift came through, half of the fleet found itself overstood from the port tack layline. As they approached the weather mark, the race was abandoned. The fleet rendezvoused with the Committee Boat partway up the leg and then and waited for the wind to settle for another attempt at a second five-leg race.

The second attempt at Race 6 was well underway before things got funky again, but those who have been going fast and calculating the wind and current vectors in their heads or on their decks have a way of stymieing the fickle finger of fate rising to the top of the fleet.

Day Four: Andy Horton and Steve Erickson win 2009 Star North American Championship

Andy Horton and Steve Erickson (USA) were in command of the 2009 Star North American Championship and kept the upper hand on the 47-boat fleet right through the final race of the series. This is Horton’s second North American Championship and second Silver Star victory and Erickson’s first North American Championship. Erickson won numerous of championships in the 1980’s and 1990’s sailing with skippers Bill Buchan and Paul Cayard, and is not sure how many Silver Stars he has in his collection.

“What a regatta. We had a bit of everything,” said Horton as he hoisted hull 8156, a Lilia, out of the water on a sunny afternoon.

The fleet left the dock in the morning, a 12-15 knot westerly was sweeping white caps and rollers out Long Island Sound from Manhattan. Before leaving, Horton joked with Richard Clarke and Tyler Bjorn (CAN) that the Canadians should win the North Americans this time. In 2007, Horton and Bjorn went into the final day of the North American Championship in Vancouver with one point separating them. As it turned out, Horton and Brad Nichol won the day and the series over Canadians Ross MacDonald and Bjorn. This time, on US soil, Horton and Erickson proved impossible to catch.

Alberto Zanetti and Gustavo Warburg (ARG) were on fire in the Argentine’s favorite conditions during the first race of the day. They won and Horton/Erickson were right on their tail. The rest of the fleet never really came within striking distance of them. Some considered today’s conditions to be perfect while others ended up doing chicken jibes around the offset mark. “The waves were just right for surfing downwind and staying in control,” said Horton. While Horton/Erickson had great starts, rounded the first weather mark in the lead or in second and pulled away from those behind them, Clarke/Bjorn were busy picking their way through the top of the fleet one boat at a time, particularly on the runs in their P Star.

2009 Star World Champions George Szabo and Rick Peters (USA) and Peter McChesney and Shane Zwingelberg (USA) were tied with 23 points apiece going into the final two races. Szabo/Peters beat McChesney/Zwingelberg in both of Friday’s races and took third in the regatta.

John MacCausland and Kevin Murphy (USA) took fifth on a countback to Eivind Melleby and Petrus Eide (NOR).

An awards ceremony was held at Cedar Point Yacht Club on Friday evening. With all of their first, seconds and thirds, Horton/Erickson and Clarke/Bjorn had quite a trophy haul of half models made by longtime Star Class and local fleet member, Bill Watson and framed racing photos supplied by member/sponsors Allen and Daniella Clark of Photoboat.com.


Star
Place Boat Skipper Crew Sail #: Fleet 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
1 USA 8241   Andy Horton   Steve Erickson   8241   NB   5.0 13.0 2.0 3.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 15
2 CAN 8361   Richard Clarke   Tyler Bjorn   8361   Isol   16.0 3.0 1.0 1.0 6.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 19
3 USA 8263   George Szabo   Rick Peters   8263   SDB   2.0 4.0 4.0 2.0 12.0 11.0 9.0 4.0 36
4 USA 8264   Peter McChesney   Shane Zwingelberg   8264   AN   12.0 1.0 3.0 16.0 3.0 4.0 17.0 8.0 47
5 USA 8195   John Maccausland   Kevin Murphy   8195   CR   11.0 7.0 5.0 4.0 15.0 5.0 48.0 [DNS] 7.0 54
6 NOR 8317   Eivind Melleby   Petrus Eide   8317   NOR   19.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 13.0 7.0 8.0 10.0 54.0001
7 USA 8306   Jim Buckingham   Austin Sperry   8306   NH   15.0 21.0 8.0 7.0 7.0 17.0 11.0 2.0 67
8 USA 8177   Jud Smith   Stuart Delisser   8177   CA   1.0 17.0 10.0 10.0 20.0 12.0 5.0 17.0 72
9 BRA 8159   Andre Mirsky   Marcelo Jordao   8159   RdJ   17.0 2.0 9.0 13.0 48.0 [DNC] 14.0 14.0 13.0 82
10 ARG 8169   Alberto Zanetti   Gustavo Warburg   8169   OL   28.0 15.0 7.0 24.0 2.0 23.0 1.0 12.0 84
11 CAN 8143   Brian Cramer   Matt Johnston   8143   WLOC   7.0 10.0 17.0 11.0 10.0 30.0 19.0 11.0 85
12 USA 8112   John Bainton Jr   Will Christenson   8112   NB   18.0 14.0 19.0 6.0 35.0 3.0 27.0 15.0 102
13 USA 8067   Tomas Hornos   Luis Hornos   8067   BH   6.0 42.0 16.0 9.0 8.0 16.0 29.0 18.0 102
14 USA 8215   Bill Allen   Brad Lichter   8215   WH   20.0 43.0 11.0 23.0 5.0 6.0 21.0 19.0 105
15 USA 8080   Fotis Boliakis   Roman Gotsulyak   8080   CLIS   10.0 23.0 20.0 12.0 48.0 [DNF] 22.0 22.0 5.0 114
16 USA 8227   Arthur Anosov   Michael Nichol   8227   SL   24.0 31.0 18.0 29.0 21.0 15.0 4.0 9.0 120
17 USA 8044   John Finch   Ivan Bunner   8044   WLOC   32.0 41.0 21.0 14.0 24.0 13.0 6.0 14.0 124
18 CAN 7626   Mark Passmore   Brad Anderson   7626   WLOC   27.0 26.0 12.0 18.0 11.0 27.0 12.0 22.0 128
19 USA 7620   Derek Decouteau   Stuart Frost   7620   BI   9.0 20.0 28.0 21.0 4.0 29.0 28.0 20.0 130
20 USA 8376   Jon Vandermolen   Geoff Ewenson   8376   GL   25.0 34.0 15.0 15.0 14.0 10.0 18.0 48.0 [DNF] 131
21 USA 8007   William Watson   Roger Sharp   8007   CLIS   30.0 6.0 25.0 17.0 27.0 24.0 16.0 21.0 136
22 USA 8318   Daniel Coughlin III   Brad Balmert   8318   HB   14.0 22.0 22.0 19.2 [19.2, RDG] 18.0 20.0 24.0 29.0 139.2
23 CAN 7930   Oskar Johansson   Jeffrey Imai   7930   LOC   8.0 18.0 14.0 22.0 48.0 [DNF] 48.0 [DNC] 20.0 16.0 146
24 USA 8333   Larry Whipple   Mark Strube   8333   PS   36.0 44.0 13.0 8.0 48.0 [DNF] 8.0 15.0 26.0 150
25 USA 8036   Jack Rickard   Sam Eadie   8036   WH   41.0 12.0 23.0 25.0 25.0 21.0 13.0 31.0 150
26 USA 7462   Dave Watt   Mike Thompson   7462   PS   4.0 40.0 31.0 19.0 17.0 28.0 31.0 24.0 154
27 USA 8245   Joe Zambella   Bill Gottling   8245   BH   26.0 19.0 26.0 20.0 19.0 35.0 23.0 23.0 156
28 USA 8132   Jack Jennings   Brian Sharp   8132   LS   42.0 33.0 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 16.0 18.0 10.0 6.0 173
29 USA 8013   Richard Dhein   Clark Dhein   8013   LG   23.0 11.0 34.0 28.0 30.0 19.0 36.0 32.0 177
30 USA 8028   John Vanderhoff   Adam Dolezal   8038   NCB   3.0 24.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 23.0 32.0 25.0 30.0 185
31 USA 7619   Peter Brzechffa   Richard Burgess   7619   LH   22.0 27.0 37.0 27.0 33.0 9.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 203
32 USA 7629   Kenneth Woods   Jim Pickering   7629   CA   45.0 9.0 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 36.0 37.0 7.0 27.0 209
33 USA 7715   William Swigart   Carroll McCallum   7715   CLIS   34.0 16.0 48.0 [OCS] 48.0 [DNS] 28.0 25.0 32.0 35.0 218
34 USA 8083   John Chiarella   Bob Carlston   8083   Sun   29.0 46.0 35.0 30.0 31.0 33.0 33.0 28.0 219
35 USA 7565   Jack Button   Bud Converse   7565   MID   38.0 29.0 27.0 26.0 34.0 40.0 35.0 34.0 223
36 CAN 7601   Doug Folsetter   Larry Scott   7601   WLOC   21.0 25.0 24.0 48.0 [BFD] 29.0 31.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 226
37 USA 8269   Jock Kohlhas   Witold Gessing   8269   CLIS   13.0 28.0 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 9.0 34.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 228
38 USA 8176   John O'Donnell   Huy Nguyen   8176   LB   35.0 32.0 29.0 48.0 [DNE] 26.0 36.0 30.0 33.0 233
39 USA 7959   Thorsten Cook   Mike Young   7959   CLIS   37.0 35.0 32.0 48.0 [DNF] 22.0 26.0 38.0 48.0 [DNF] 238
40 USA 8175   James Babel   TC Belco   8175   GL   31.0 39.0 30.0 48.0 [BFD] 32.0 38.0 34.0 48.0 [DNS] 252
41 USA 7986   Barbara Beigel Vosbury   Tom White   7986   AN   40.0 30.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 26.0 25.0 265
42 USA 7998   David Cutler   Nelson Stephenson   7998   CLIS   39.0 8.0 36.0 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 275
43 CAN 6729   Vadim Panna   Neil Gibb   6729   WLOC   44.0 45.0 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 37.0 39.0 37.0 36.0 286
44 USA 8065   Douglas Steele   Barton Jahncke   8065   LB   33.0 36.0 33.0 48.0 [DNE] 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DNF] 48.0 [DNS] 294
45 USA 8238   Joe McCorkell   Brent Ostbye   8238   AN   43.0 37.0 48.0 [DNS] 31.0 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNF] 48.0 [DNS] 48.0 [DNS] 303
46 USA 8295   Stuart Miller   Jack Winthrop   8295   LH   46.0 38.0 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 41.0 39.0 48.0 [RAF] 308
47 USA 7306   Lou Roberts   Kevin Elterman   7306   MID   47.0 47.0 38.0 48.0 [DNF] 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DSQ] 48.0 [DNC] 48.0 [DNC] 324

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