|ISCYRA Regatta Report|| |
Tue Sep 15th, 2009 through Fri Sep 18th, 2009
Steve Erickson and Andy Horton. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick.
| Report by Lynn Ftizpatrick, WorldRegattas.com|
Champions Continue Their Ways
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
According to Bjorn, "Richard is a magician downwind.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ 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
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: 60ÃÂÃÂº, 30ÃÂÃÂº, 350ÃÂÃÂº, 20ÃÂÃÂº, 350ÃÂÃÂº.
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 HortonÂs second North American Championship and second Silver Star victory and EricksonÂs first North American Championship. Erickson won numerous of championships in the 1980Âs and 1990Âs sailing with skippers Bill Buchan and Paul Cayard, and is not sure how many Silver Stars he has in his collection.
ÂWhat a regatta. We had a bit of everything,Â 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 ArgentineÂs 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 todayÂs conditions to be perfect while others ended up doing chicken jibes around the offset mark. ÂThe waves were just right for surfing downwind and staying in control,Â 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 FridayÂs 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.
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