|District 20 Regatta Report|| |
Sun Mar 5th, 2006 through Fri Mar 10th, 2006
John Dane and Austin Sperry with Bacardi Trophy,. Photo by Jan Walker
| Overall results at bottom of page|
Bacardi photos by Jan Walker, Regatta Active Images
George Szabo's reports in Scuttlebutt's blog
Sixth Race: Dane/Sperry win 2006 Bacardi Cup.
The duo from Gulfport, Mississippi, finished fourth in the regatta’s final race today to assure them the overall victory with six points over Germany’s Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski, who finished second in the regatta’s final race and second in the overall standings. It is the first Trofeo Bacardi for both Dane and Sperry.
According to Race Committee Chairman Craig Prandini, Dane, 55, also is the first Master sailor to win the Bacardi Cup in its 79-year history.
France’s Xavier Rohart and crew Pascal Rambeau, the 2005 Star Class world champions and number-one-ranked Star tandem in the world, finished first today and fourth in the overall standings, while Bermuda’s Peter Bromby and crew Bill McNiven finished third today and take third overall.
In today’s action, Pickel started on the left side, while Bromby and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt, sailing with crew Bruno Prada and entering the day in third overall, began towards the middle of the line. Dane also sought to remain with the boats in the middle, but stayed well behind to avoid a black flag and consequently sailed to a slow start.
Pickel rounded the windward mark eight boats ahead of Dane and in the lead, but fell behind Rohart at the leeward mark. Dane, meanwhile, manufactured consistent gains on winds that were 10-15 miles per hour out of the southeast throughout the first two beats to round the leeward mark in fifth. Once behind Rohart, Pickel began protecting against Bromby and allowed Dane to gain several boat lengths on both boats.
“That was a bit of a break for us,” said Dane, who considers himself an amateur sailor despite an aggressive sailing schedule and training program in preparation for the 2008 Olympic trials. “Our strategy was to never lose sight of [Pickel and Bromby], but we couldn’t keep up with Pickel early on the left side. Once [Pickel] started covering Bromby, we had them both in our sights and knew we could win the regatta if we hung with them.”
Scheidt fell outside the top 20 at the leeward mark and was never in contention to win today’s race.
Dane and Sperry finish the regatta with two victories, a third, a fourth and a sixth place finish for a total of 15 points; they drop their 17th place finish on Wednesday. Sailors throw out their worst finish of the regatta, such that the teams’ best five races are used to determine the overall winner.
Fifth Race: Bermuda’s Peter Bromby Wins Pivotal Fifth Day
The in-law tandem of John Dane and Austin Sperry were the recipients of good fortune today, when a first start was scratched after the pin boat failed to hoist the flag marking the start of the race, and both race committee boats then raised conflicting individual and general recall flags. The duo from Gulfport, Mississippi, was over the starting line and would have been disqualified for an early start had it not been for the confusion that forced a restart.
Instead, their sixth place finish positions them solidly in first place overall entering the sixth and final race of the regatta, eight points ahead of their nearest threats, Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski of Germany. A black flag on day three also was the German duo’s only blemish, as they jumped the starting line along with 13 other teams.
Americans Joseph Londrigan and crew David Giles finished third today and currently rest in 11th place, while Andy Horton and crew Brad Nichol finished fourth and rest in 15th overall.
The Brazilian team of Robert Scheidt and crew Bruno Prada finished 13th today and climb from fourth to third overall, while France’s Xavier Rohart and crew Pascal Rambeau, the 2005 Star Class World Champions and number-one-ranked Star tandem in the world, finished fifth and climb to fifth overall.
Fourth Race: In Laws Regain Overall Lead
Sailors drop their worst finish of the regatta, such that the teams’ best five races will be used to determine the overall winner.
Dane and Sperry were among a large group of boats that elected to attack the left side of the course on today’s first run. Shifty 18-20 mile-per-hour winds and choppy waters carried the duo to an early lead rounding the windward mark.
Once out in front, Dane and Sperry leveraged strong winds again on the left side to build a commanding 10-boat-length lead at the second mark, substantially ahead of their nearest competitors, Poland’s Mateusz Kusznierewicz and crew Dominick Zycki, who finished fourth Wednesday and climb to third in the overall standings, and the Brazilian team of Robert Scheidt, who has dominated Laser Class sailing for more than a decade, and his crew Bruno Prada.
On the final run, the Brazilian team led a group of three boats to within two boat lengths of Dane and Sperry, and finished second, moving them to fourth overall. Three-time Olympian Jali Makila and crew Erkki Heinonen of Finland finished third as the Polish team dropped to a fourth place finish.
“We were on the right side yesterday, but the wind filled in on the left, so we missed the first shift and had to fight our way back from the middle of the fleet,” said Dane. “Today, we thought there would also be more breeze to the left and protected the left side of the course. Turns out that was the place to be in both velocity and direction.”
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Reynolds of San Diego and crew Christian Finnsgard, the overall leaders going into the fourth race, finished 27th today and fall to fifth overall, while the Portuguese team of Afonso Domingos and Bernardo Santos, the 2004 BACARDI Cup champions, finished 9th today and climb to second overall.
Third race: Seven-Time Bacardi Cup Champion Mark Reynolds Takes Overall Lead, 14 Boats Black Flagged for Early Starts
Andy Beadsworth and crew David Carr of Great Britain won Tuesday’s race, well ahead of second place finishers Xavier Rohart and crew Pascal Rambeau of France. With today’s performance and a third place finish on day two, Rohart and Rambeau, the 2005 Star World Champions and number-one ranked Star crew in the world, move from seventh to third in the overall standings. Joseph Londrigan and crew David Giles of Springfield, Illinois, finished less than a boat length behind Rohart in third today and move to 14th overall.
A total of 14 boats were black flagged and disqualified Tuesday for early starts. The casualties included Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski of Germany and two-time Bacardi Cup Champion Peter Bromby and crew Bill McNiven, the overall third and fourth place teams respectively going into today’s race.
Tuesday’s race was sailed in winds that escalated from 15 to 25 knots out of the Northwest and followed a combination triangle and windward-leeward course on the waters of Biscayne Bay. The former Olympic-style course is not sailed regularly in the Stars, and the addition of two reach marks caught many of the sailors by surprise.
“We had to make special preparations at the last minute, but we were fortunate that we have the training to do those tough reaches,” said Finnsgard.
Sailing with very good speed, Beadsworth started in the middle of the fleet, as Dane and Reynolds led a large group that elected to attack the right side. After rounding the first mark in second, Beadsworth was successful in gauging wind shifts and found clear water to lead the fleet rounding the gybe and leeward marks. He lost most of his 10-boat-length when he was unable to leverage strong right-hand pressure on the final run, but held off a charging Rohart and Londrigan to the finish line.
“We ran the last half of the race very conservatively, taking the small opportunities,” said Beadsworth, a two-time Olympian, who began sailing Stars in January 2005.
“You need consistency, good speed and a little bit of luck to win this regatta,” he added. “The Bacardi Cup is rich in tradition with a list of past winners that is very illustrious. The competition and all that surrounds it attract more of the top sailors than even the World Championships. I would say you’re wrong to compare it to the Worlds.”
Defending Bacardi Cup Champions Mark Mendelblatt and crew Mark Strube finished eighth today and currently rest in ninth place overall. The 2004 Bacardi Cup Champions Afonso Domingos and crew Bernardo Santos of Portugal finished 10th Tuesday and are fourth overall.
Second race: Father and Son-in-Law Tandem of John Dane and Austin Sperry
Take Overall Lead
Dane and Sperry trailed Marc Pickel and crew Ingo Borkowski of Germany by about a boat length following the third and final mark of the double windward-leeward course. Both teams were several boat lengths ahead of their nearest competitors heading towards the finish line.
Dane elected to jibe starboard towards the finish in the hope of securing the better angle, while Pickel chose the more consistent, albeit conservative, approach of remaining on course. The move proved decisive for Dane and Sperry as they edged Pickel and Borkowski by less than a foot, according to race committee chairman Craig Prandini.
“We ran a pretty conservative race and listened to our coach, Larry Souter, who gave us a lot of very good weather input. He’s the reason we stayed competitive today,” said Dane, 54, a 2008 Olympic hopeful in the Star Class with crew Sperry, 27. “We sailed side by side with Pickel all the way down the final run, then jibed away towards the starboard end of the finish line because we thought that would be the better angle; we figured we didn’t have anything to lose since we had some space between us and the other boats. Pickel just didn’t jibe and got the slower angle,” Dane added.
2005 Star World Champions Xavier Rohart and crew Pascal Rambeau of France finished third on consistent gains throughout the race and currently rank seventh overall.
Reynolds said he had a nice start but couldn’t figure out what the wind was doing. He said he was trying to keep up with Andy Horton and crew Brad Nichol who charged from the start and aggressively sailed the course leading all the way. Horton/Nichol did cross the finish line first only to find out they were black flagged at the start line along with six other boats.
First Race: Mark Reynolds Wins Day One at 2006 Bacardi Cup Regatta
More than 90 teams representing 19 countries are competing in the six-day regatta that is widely regarded as one of the best and most competitive Star Class events in the world.
The duo of Reynolds and Finnsgard bested a fleet that included Peter Bromby, one of most acclaimed Bermudian sailors of all-time and a two-time Bacardi Cup champion; Erik Lidecis, a 2008 U.S. Olympic hopeful who sails out of Huntington Beach, California, and finished second Sunday with crew Michael Marzahl; and the 2005 Star World Champion and the ISAF’s top-ranked Star sailor Xavier Rohart of France.
Seventh after the first mark, Reynolds manufactured consistent gains throughout the race in winds that ranged from 10 to 15 knots out of the northeast with several empty pockets. He made the fourth mark just ahead of Lidecis and attacked the right side on the final run to take the lead. Lidecis chose the left side on all five runs and rounded each mark in the top five, but lost considerable distance to Reynolds on the final run.
“The fourth mark made it for me,” said Reynolds. “We decided to play the right side after that; and that’s where we made the big gains.”
“There are few opportunities in a fleet of this caliber,” said Miami’s Augie Diaz, the 2003 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year who finished 12th Sunday. “I don’t like hitting the edges like [Reynolds and Lidecis] did, but with a fleet this large, you have to be aggressive and they proved it.”
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