While most sailor’s attention was focused on the action at KWRW last week, small boat sailing during the winter months is also hot and the A-Class catamarans made their annual pilgrimmage to The Islander Resort in Islamorada for their winter race week January 11-16. This year, we actually sailed three events over five days. On Sunday, 9 boats raced three races in very light air as a tuneup event for the week’s racing. Woody Cope of Tampa won the 3 race series followed by Tornado Olympic Trials runnerup Robbie Daniel.
The fleet grew to twenty six sailors who raced 8 races in a 6-12 knot northeasterly on Monday and a 12-14 knot southerly on Tuesday (perfect!). This 8 race series was called the Coconut Grove Sails Classic and the top three after racing ended were Robbie Daniel in first followed by Ben Moon and Brett Moss. The fleet also included Randy Smyth, Ben Hall, and Sweden’s Goran Marstrom (Tornado, A-Class, Sea Cart builder, and carbon wizard). Wednesday is typically a la y day for this event to enjoy with tuning or time with the family. This year we decided to keep racing as a cold front was scheduled to come through on Thursday night with forecasts of 25-30 knots for Friday (the A-Class has a maximum wind limit of 22 knots). Two races were sailed on Wednesday in an 8-12 knot northerly which picked up on Thursday to 18-20 knots for two more races. The top three finishers for this last event of the week were Woody Cope followed by Ben Hall and Ben Moon.
We can’t say enough great things about The Islander Resort in Islamorada. This is the third year they have hosted our winter race series in addition to hosting the 99 boat A-Class World Championship in November of 2007. The room rates are reasonable, you can walk to your boat from the back porch of your room, the facility has a bar, restaurant, two pools, and a hot tub. PRO Warren Green did an outstanding job and with his son Craig would like to host more racing and sailing at The Islander. If you are a one design class looking for the perfect winter regatta venue, we think this is as close to heaven as it comes. Bob Hodges.