better with a little dust on

OG Anarchist “The Rev Petey” checks in after a golden weekend in Fort Lauderdale for the M32 Gold Cup aboard Jason Carroll’s ARGO.  Petey’s shot of the trophy, Joy Dunigan photo of the leaping ram with full gallery here. Remember that, as well as being one of the most macho melges mastman on the water, Petey is also one of the world’s top sailing videographers.  Hire him for your class or event here.

It has been awhile since my chicken scratching, um, check that, my hunting and pecking has found its happy way to the front page, but at 30 wordsa minute this story has a legitimate shot to be ready before I finish my 4th vodka-soda….ok, maybe my 5th.

Lets see, Gold Cup, on the heels of America’s most gluttonous holiday, wait that was last year’s article, but yet somehow still relevant. It’s always a tough weigh-in at this event but luckily (for myself anyway) I am walking around about 15 lbs lighter this year than last, so my weigh in was easy as that 3rd helping of pumpkin pie. Oops, I just let the cat out of the bag, and now surely my target will change for the 2013 sailing season. Oh well, it is what it is and I wouldn’t change it for the world, feeling better and in better shape than I have been in years and I love the guys and girls I sail with on the ARGO.

We had a bit of a crew changeup this short off-season and this was our first event with the new crew. We signed up our past main trimmer Anthony Kotoun who sailed briefly with us last year when we lost Chad due to a gnarly road bike accident, acquired Mark Towill from the Warpath, and got Eric Aakhus from Bronco to round out the team of the usual suspects. Most importantly Chad ”broken arrow” Corning has stayed on as the project manager and is now overseeing the coaching and sail inventory aspect of our program at the venue; he knows just what the team needs in a debrief and has a laser-beam ability to trim out all the garbage that keeps us from getting to the first post-race painkiller.

So, with Mascalzone Latino pulling the plug late [sound familiar? –ed] just 14 boats raced last weekend with much of the US fleet still on the post-Worlds hangover; plenty of Italians still here mixing it up with Bombarda, Fantastica and Robertissima racing alongside the other non US teams of Red, Synergy GT, and Inga From Sweden.  It was a good mix of talented and fun sailors racing in some of the best weather you can find anywhere.

Day 1
The regatta was started (and finished actually) in excellent sailing conditions; blowing 15-25 with big waves for great rides downwind.  Joel Ronning on Catapult captured the bullet in race 1, Joel has been banging off race wins in the past few regattas and if he works on his consistency and could find a way to finish all of the races, this team could start to make an impact. Fantastica’s Momo Cirillo was the winner of race 2 with a nice bounce back from an uncharacteristic 9th in the previous race. Roberto Tomasini Grinover on Robertissima won race 3. They took the day with an extremely well sailed 2,2,1.

Day 2
Our plan was simple, keep out of trouble, period. A lot of bad happened on day one for some teams. Catapult broke rudder number 4 sending them in for the day after their race win, Leenabarca managed to destroy all of their spinnakers leaving them with one option and that was to go home and regroup instead of racing in the non-spinnaker division. Most teams had some damage; it was just that kind of day. Today was no different except the sun was shining. We started out 9 points behind the leader, and we were set to shrink that number. We ended up missing a small opportunity on the first beat of race 4 but still rounded in 3rd. We missed a few waves on the first downwind and got passed but fought hard to stay in 4th one point ahead of Robertissima. We dropped the hammer from that point on and finished the day with 2 bullets. After the throw out we were just a slim point behind the leaders. Again it was Robertissima in the top spot, we were in second, and Bombarda in 3rd.  Alex Jackson and the Leenabarca crew showed their speed and got a 2nd in race 4, only to have Catapult absolutely paste them at the top pin forcing them to retire early yet again. So much for that new boat smell.

Day 3
We have found out over time that we actually perform better with a little dust on, we all set out after the party at the club to do just the right amount of damage.  Some went out, some stayed home, but I think we all had our fun. We had 2 races to go and in the back of our minds we were all thinking about the “inspirational” speech we got from Commander Buzz Carroll just before dock out on day 1. Buzz basically told us ARGO had never done well at this event. He even went so far as to write a list of the top 5 every year and then make a note to mention how far out of the top 5 ARGO had placed. Thanks Buzz, I think that was just enough inspirado to get us fired up. We started out just wanting to keep an eye on the competition, and keep them close. We got around them and we were off, although they did a good job of charging through the fleet on the final downwind to take 5th.

Catapult won another race, and we finished right on their heels, Bombarda fell back to 11th, meaning it was just one boat to have to deal with for the final race. We set up for a boat end start and it was stacking up pretty thick and we thought we were in trouble. Then we saw Robertissima pop out through the line higher on the line and in a much tougher spot than we were.

They were going to be held out if they stayed there, so they started ducking boats to try and find a hole.  Aaaaaand…they didn’t. We were able to start clean at the boat and just manage them comfortably from that point out. It was over, finally the Gold Cup was ours, and now Buzz will have to write a whole new speech for next year.