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Posts Tagged ‘charleston’

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Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.17.45 AM

Thanks to a string of boat and mast problems in the Mini fleet, we’ve called young solo/shorthanded offshore racer Jeffrey Macfarlane ‘one of the unluckiest guys in the sport’, but as of Monday, Jeff’s luck seems to be changing.  Below is an SA exclusive from Jeff on his victory and leg record on Leg 2 of the Atlantic Cup, with a Billy Black photo to the left, and galleries of the whole race here.  You can check in with the racers tomorrow night at the party at Jamestown FISH, and say hello to Clean and Mer if you show up.  And Newport locals can watch them out racing this weekend alongside the International Moths and the Open 60s.  

My co-skipper, Jake Arcand , and I were looking for redemption in leg 2 and we got it! Our first leg was disappointing. We blew up our A2 spinnaker and lost all of our electronics for the majority of the 600+ mile race. Thanks to generosity of Steve Benjamin we were starting leg 2 with a one spinnaker – he donated an old Spookie kite to our program [that's the one with the Swisher cigar logo -Ed] and we were able to get a last-second sail recut, just in time to replace our irreplaceable A2.

At the start of the second leg, the breeze was fairly light and we decided to stay on the south side of New York harbor to take advantage of a slightly stronger tide and freshening breeze. But, it was not until after the bridge that our strategy began to pay off and we started to leg out on Dragon and Pleiad, more to the North. We led the fleet out of the harbor and planned to take the Swash channel. Everything was going perfectly to plan, but after seeing Pleiad choose to take the more inshore Sandy Hook Channel, we reevaluated and decided to cover. Unfortunately, they were able to stretch some distance on us, but once we were clear of the channel we slowly began to chip away at their lead, eventually passing them.

Most of the fleet chose an offshore route on the way south to the Barnegat Light buoy, but I positioned us more on the beach side of the course, anticipating the wind shifting West. Our strategy worked, except for the brief period of time when there was no breeze in a wind transition. Mike and Rob on Dragon stayed very close to us and they handled the transition a bit better, reaching the new breeze before us.  We rounded the tuning mark just behind, and began the night jockeying positions with them. We took a northerly course from rhumb line anticipating the breeze would head us come morning, and when morning came we were a mile or two in front of Dragon. However, the wind did not head us like all of the weather models predicted and we found ourselves in yet another wind transition zone where Dragon, who was further offshore, managed to pass the transition zone quicker, and passed us in the processl. From then on, it was all drag race – a speed run to Montauk Point during which time we desperately tried to regain our lead. As we sailed inside Block Island we kept going higher in order to get more speed on Dragon. Frustratingly, she matched us until we both began to sail as deep as possible in order to make Point Judith. The breeze offered us ideal downwind conditions on the way to Point Judith and we sailed downwind straight to Newport at 15-17 knots.

As we approached Narragansett Bay, we were still just a few boatlengths behind Dragon on port gybe and very close to the shore. The wind began to lighten and we matched Dragon’s every move, hoping to get an advantage on them. We did not get the advantage until we both gybed and they came out a bit higher. I was able to take a few puffs and soak just a few degrees deeper than them, and we were able to get below them on the inside gybe. We took advantage of any depth we could get and we tried to get more separation from Dragon, covering their every gybe. It worked! We ended up in very light winds approaching the finish just 80 seconds in front of Dragon. We not only won the leg, but we also set a new course record by over 6 hours.

Jake and I could not have been more pleased, and what a result for one of the oldest Class 40s in the fleet, donated for my use by the inimitable Ralfie Steitz from the USMMA Sailing Foundation.  Ralfie and the King’s Point program continues with its mission to help young, up and coming sailors get more opportunities in the limited American shorthanded sailing scene.  By coupling his support with that of Oakcliff Sailing, our team has fulfilled this mission proudly.  There is a very long list of sponsors and supporters that have had an instrumental part in the success that I have had over the past few years.

We have a fantastic inshore team consisting of Phil Garland – our mast manufacturer and sponsor from Hall Spars, Ross Weene – one of the boat’s designers from Roger Martin Designs, Chris Poole – fellow Oakcliff sailor and top ranked match racer, as well as Oakcliff graduate Ervin Grove. We are looking forward to combining our strengths to find more success in the final, inshore leg of the Atlantic Cup this coming weekend.  We are hoping to win the inshore series and pull out an overall Atlantic Cup victory.

Wish us luck!

-Jeff

 

May 22nd, 2014 by admin

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It’s got more entries than any keelboat regatta in the Western Hemisphere, more women and juniors than any open regatta we’ve ever been to, and one of the best venues in the entire sport.  And now it’s got one of the best highlight videos, too.  Petey Crawford from Penalty Box Productions went two days without sleep to get dozens of hours of footage from 2014 Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week turned into 10 minutes of reality show/highlight reel/tribute film, and the result is just goddamned excellent.  If you want to know the recipe for success in modern American regattas, watch and learn.  And go here to find all the interviews, photos, and race coverage from the SA crew over this past weekend.

 

April 16th, 2014 by admin

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2014 CHARLESTON RACE WEEK

This week’s Sailor Chick of the Week was a no-brainer; 23-year old Grace Lucas is smart, sassy, fast as hell, and just helmed her way to fourth place in an extremely competitive Charleston Melges 20 fleet, losing the podium spot she’d held through 6 races after a last-leg charge from Michael Kiss’s Bacio.  Grace is finishing her college career this year after 3 years on the CofC sailing team; here’s hoping she doesn’t get so sucked up in the employment world that she gives up sailing.  Get to know Grace more in two interviews our own Mr. Clean did with the young NJ native, and enjoy tactician and Melges fixture Sam Rogers’ new nickname.

Day One Interview

Day Two Interview

 

April 14th, 2014 by admin

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CHSF2B

Young Tim Fitzgerald shares his experience as the founder of the first drag-race style speed sailing event on the East Coast; the 3.8 mile Fort2Battery Race in Charleston, SC.  Photos from Els Sipkes; her blog is here with more, and there are hundreds more in her SmugMug gallery.  

60 days ago I didn’t know if Charleston wanted a drag race sailing event, and after today I can only say “WOW” when I see how much they do! Today I saw 150 people line up on the Battery to watch kites and boards and boats on a 9-minute sprint down Charleston Harbor. Elderly people stopped me in the park to confirm the start time. People in golf carts tailgated on the points of land on James Island to watch the watery wipeouts that equate to “the big one” in a NASCAR race. The only time in my sailing career I’ve ever heard of more than 100 people coming out for an American sailing race was the America’s Cup or the Olympics and today we accomplished that with little more than the economical low-end of sailing’s high speed Band of Brothers.

Charleston is the perfect place for a sprint like this; with the beaches, breeze, and boating community, it’s a playground for those who chase the wind, and with North America’s biggest regatta, the biggest Sportboat regatta in the world, and the East Coast’s biggest kiting community, the “Sailing Capital of the South” has emphatically stuck its pin in the world of high-performance sailing.  With an oversubscribed field of 55 entrants in the first ever running of the Fort 2 Battery Race, you can consider that pin the size of a railroad spike driven in with the overhead swing of a sledge hammer.

Anyway, it went like this:  At 3 PM on Sunday, a new battle took place in the shadow of Fort Sumter; the site of the Civil War’s opening salvo.  A ragtag fleet of foiling moths, kite board, catamarans, sailboards, and skiffs went on a downwind blast to the Battery in 13-18 knots of Northeasterly breeze for a cash prize, bragging rights, and the new title of “King of the Harbor.”  Bora Gulari, fresh off his win in last weekend’s Moth North Americans, led from wire to wire on a starboard-tack favored run; his time of 8m58s for the 3.8 NM course equates to an average VMG of nearly 26 knots – even more incredible when you account for the 2-3 knot outgoing tide and a gybe.  The first four finishers were moths, with the fastest course-race kite board about a minute behind; importantly, there were no foil boards in the inaugural Fort2Battery Race; we’re told they will most definitely be back next year, as will the Moths.

Fort2BOf course there were obstacles along the way, but you’d be amazed at what a great community there is here around the water. The kind of roadblocks you’d expect for a new race with a new format and extremely high speeds just didn’t exist; the USCG, Department of Natural Resources and local governments all shared the same message when I approached them; “That sounds awesome – go for it!” was their almost unanimous response, and thanks in large part to Sailing Anarchy, the entries rolled in from the moment we announced the race right here on the front page.

Now that it’s finished, I find myself why there aren’t events like this one everywhere; people were so eager to jump up and support a speed sailing event that it blew my mind, and confirmed what I had suspected; the only thing keeping people from doing more of this stuff is a lack of events.  The format – one start, one finish, and a short course – makes the racing incredibly accessible to both competitors and the public, just like the hundreds of easy 5K runs that happen every weekend all over the country.  We had a perfect mix of sailors; from full-family programs on a Hobie 20 to 65 year-olds on sailboards to the Moth World Champion, and everyone had a smile on their face afterwards.  The simple format was a relief to the journalists and spectators we spoke to; people who often struggle to understand the details of more complicated sailing formats

When it comes to gaining the attention of young people and our communities, high performance sailing is where it’s at. This is exactly what kids need to put down the X Box and pick up a mainsheet, and I guarantee you that if you or your club or association wants to make it happen on your harbor, river, lake, or bay, you’ll find it absolutely worth the effort.  And if you are interested in organizing a sprint race in your home town, hit me up through my website and I’ll share any tips I can with you.

A huge thanks to Mr. Clean and Sailing Anarchy for all their help and support; without you guys, this would definitely never have happened.  Also a big thanks to Dave Pritchard at Gill North America for helping us out with competitor vests, and much love to James Island Yacht Club for your support and RC work; please can check out the rest of the sponsors at the Fort2Battery site, and we’ll see you next year!

 

 

April 7th, 2014 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 8.44.29 AMWhile Charleston continues to stack up accolades including the US Sailing award for the best regatta in America and Travel & Leisure’s award for ‘most attractive population’ in the country, what many of you don’t know is how quickly the high-speed kiteboarding scene has grown in what’s become the de facto kite racing capital of the East Coast.  Kansas transplant Tim Fitzgerald decided to do something with it, organizing the Fort2Battery point to point sprint just before Charleston Race Week for prizes and bragging rights as the fastest gun in town.  If you’ve got a moth, fast sport boat, kite, or board, you’d better get entered – they’re already have sold out after just a few days online.  More from Fitz:
Unless you’ve been living under an old Catalina 22, you’ve heard of San Francisco’s Bridge to Bridge race for any and all comers on the fastest wind powered stuff they can find.  I’m  putting together the East Coast version of the Bridge to Bridge in Charleston, SC, and the timing couldn’t be better as the Moth North Americans finish up that day at James Island Yacht Club, and Charleston Race Week begins just after.  Throw in Charleston’s very large group of kiters, the growing Hobie 20 fleet, windsurfers and beautiful downtown Charleston (AND the beautiful people who live there) and this should be one hell of a good time.  The winner gets a cash prize and local establishments are coming together to add to the post-race awards & party. The course is a drag race from the edge of the harbor at Fort Sumter to the tourist-heavy Battery.  We’re working on stands and live streaming with a guest appearance by Sailing Anarchy’s own – whether you want to race your boat or board or just come hang out and watch the fun, we’re nothing if not welcoming!  If I’m carried away by a loud mob of college co-eds, don’t send help.

 

February 17th, 2014 by admin

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You may remember the Mothies making their winter “Moth Camp” home in Miami the past couple of years, but 2013 brings a change of scenery to Moth Camp.  The first race of the season was last weekend, when 13 Moth Sailors gathered in Charleston to kick off the first event of the 2nd Annual Gorilla Rigging Winter Moth Series.

“It’s never like this” temps in the 70′s and major high pressure meant light air for the first event of the series; Friday was slalom racing where the moths started upwind and did a 5 buoy downwind slalom that lasted 3-4 minutes. Matt Knowles, Eric Aakhus, Brad Funk and Anthony Kotoun had a great final “battle royal” with multiple lead changes. Anthony found the puff from heaven for the win.

Friday night the Mothies attacked a college house party and later, trolled down King St.  With different sailors having different intensions the inevitable happened and we all got split u, but thanks to the Mothies’ love for GPS trackers and the Friend Finder iPhone app, we were able to rescue the wayward from likely tears, expensive cab rides, or walks of shame…The college party didn’t go as well as they used to; we got there as the beer ran out, and they quickly figured out that most of us were around twice their ages.

Racing on Saturday went along the same lines as the college party. We were all ramped up with nowhere to go.  We waited until 3 PM before having two “exhibition races”; welterweight USA Class President Matt Knowles took both bullets.

Fearing more failure amongst the playground of beauty and youth downtown, we resorted to beer and pizza at the club, burning up some of our competitive energy with some old guy vs young guys flip cup. The young guys took it two to one; unsurprising, yet depressing.  The fine southern gentleman of host club James Island Yacht Club then treated us to their “Lowrider Lemonade” double bourbon special. Not too bad!

The high pressure kept its grip on Charleston Harbor on Sunday as well, but luckily, a touch of seabreeze filled; enough for us to do six AC reaching start courses. Brad Funk, Anthony Kotoun and Bora Gulari battled it out again and again with lots of lead changes and come-from-behind wins. Brad Funk took the overall with Anthony and Bora rounding out the podium.

The Moth Class continues to grow with each regatta posting better and better numbers. This event had three new sailors as well as competitors from Sweden and Australia. The Gorilla Rigging Series continues here in Charleston with event two in February and the North Americans in April.  For more, check their Facebook page.

Priscilla Parker photo.

 

January 16th, 2013 by admin

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