For the second straight day, easterly winds at 10-13 knots pushed the fleet of almost 40 entrants to some exciting, sometimes rugged moments of racing at the Jaguar Land Rover Sonar American Championship.
“We have a great boat and an amazing team,” said SPITFIRE skipper Karl Ziegler of Norton YC, the overall leader after four races today. “We’ve sailed together for a number of year and have great chemistry.”
Ziegler finished 2-1-5-1. Ziegler’s core crew includes Bill Crane and Greg Stephens (Libby Alexander is the third crew member and is new to the team). He has won the North Americans twice before: in 1993 while sailing for Connecticut College (420s and FJs), and again in 1999. He also won the 2015 worlds in Falmouth, MA.
“I’ve never sailed with Libby before, but she fit right in,” said Ziegler. “Her calm and focus fit right in with vibe of the team and we had a great day out there.”
After two days of consistent wind, the expected weather shift may mean the event will be decided by the best light air sailors on the water. Ziegler feels his team excels in these conditions, and expects challenges from Colin Gordon, Ed Sweeney, Erin Maxwell (Olympic 470 sailor), and Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick (three-time All American in college).
Libby Alexander (then Libby Connolly) crewed for Scott MacLeod in 1986 on Spitfire, the same boat Ziegler is sailing this week (MacLeod is crewing for defending North Americans champion Gordon). MacLeod and Alexander won the Sonar North Americans that year, and Alexander says this is the first time she’s been on the boat since.
The event continues through Sunday at the Noroton Yacht Club in Darien, CT.
Current standings can be found here. Photo credit Dan Tucker.