Activity at the SailNet Pro-Am Regatta starts in low gear with a short-distance tune-up race from North Sound down to the islands renown Baths and back on Day One. This is an easy way for the amateur crews as well as the pros to learn the boats and get to know one another in anticipation of the actual competition. Cayard and his crew showed their mettle this year by winning the tune-up race.
Day Two means the start of the formal competition, with the Masters Division sailing in the morning and the so-called Junior Division rockstars competing in the afternoon. Racing at this event is conducted under a Triple Racing format (see sidebar Did You Say Triple Racing), which means that three competitors at a time go head-to-head on the racecourse while the others view the action from a spectator vessel nearby. Only one point can be scored in each contest, so it becomes an interesting battle to watch as the leader does his or her best to defend against two opponents simultaneously.
This year the organizers added a new twist to the proceedings by creating a Team Trophy. By way of a random drawing, they paired Master and Junior competitors, and encouraged them to sail with each other during their respective races. Rod Johnstone was matched with Peter Holmberg, and they bonded from the get-go. Holmberg jumped aboard for every race with Johnstone, and vice versa. As a result, these two built an unassailable lead and took the inaugural honors for the Team Trophy with nine combined victories.
Action in the Masters Division became particularly heated on the final day, with multiple collisions and boats finishing overlapped. Sailing in moderate 10-knot winds, Johnstone managed to maintain his overall lead, and won two of the days four races. In the first race, he was luffed so severely by Lowell North, that the two boats collided. Johnstone survived a 270-degree penalty issued by the umpires and win the race, but Norths infringement was so flagrant that the umpires chose to slap him with a reduction in points. In the last heat of the day, Keith Musto finally jumped onto the scoreboard after he was fouled by North at the finish line, and the latter had to re-finish.
Indeed, everyone who participated at the SailNet Pro-Am Regatta was a winner. And the organizers provided a special acknowledgement for Linda Coleman and Mark Fineberg of St. Louis, MO, who have attended this event for 11 yearsthey won the Spirit and Enthusiasm award. Not bad for a fall vacation.
Did You Say Triple Racing?
The action on the water at the SailNet Pro-Am Regatta is conducted under a little-known format called Triple Racing, which is based upon the simple concept of combining the best aspects of three different racing disciplines to produce a superior format for competitionmatch racing, fleet racing, and team racing. Created three years ago by legendary sailor Paul Elvstrom, Triple Racing adds one more player to the match-racing format. The theory is that the suspense is heightened for both competitors and the spectators because the lead boat must cover not one but two competitors.
The First International Elvstrom Triple Race Event was sailed in Alexandria, Egypt, in October, 1998. The organizers at The Bitter End have refined the format, but here are the basics of Triple Racing:
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