Of course the usual suspects of the grand-prix circuit were in attendancethe elite IMS racers, the Farr 40s, 1D35s, and the Mumm 30samong whom you find the majority of the professional programs. But there were also the rank and file, the people who, sailing a broad spectrum of designs, have populated this event for decades. Theyre the ones youre less likely to read about in the daily press releases churned out for the minions of the media, but across the country, these people make up the backbone of the sport. I took a random sampling of such folk to get their take on the event and to find out how the Acura SORC fit into their sailing lives.
Flick, an attorney by profession, handles the spinnaker pole controls on Out of Options. She grew up sailing on the Bay, and as an adult shes collected a vast resume of racing experience participating in events like the TransPac, the Phucket Kings Cup in Thailand, China Race Week, Antigua Sailing Week, and Etchells regattas in Hong Kong. She and the rest of the crew on board Out of Options were in the hunt in almost every race in Miami, and ended up third for the event. Apart from one night of clubbing in South Beach, what Flick and the rest of the crew enjoyed most about the action in Miami was the camaraderie on the water. "In San Francisco Bay, we often get upward of 30 J/105s on the starting line, and its very aggressive on the water. But here people were generally very friendly; granted there were just eight boats, but that was the case in Key West too," [where there were 25]. Flick says the team will be back for sure.
Born and bred in Miami, and a 20-year veteran of the sport, Frank owns an architectural woodworking business there, which puts him in a good position to build his own boatshes built two others. Resting on the dock after a long and hard three-race day on Saturday, he was obviously proud to be racing with the guys who helped him build the boat. "Everything you see here we built," said Frank. "We put those pedestals together, did the whole lay up, the foils, pretty much everything." Look Again is easily one of the most unusual boats on at this event, and Frank says the sole intent is speed. "I just wanted the fastest thing I could have. I love this boat. Its just fun. It goes fast, and in sailing, fast is fun. Jib reaching is its best angle, and weve gotten it going 14 knots jib reaching before."
Frank and his 10-person crew had their best day in the stronger breeze on Saturday. "We had the most breakage today too. We blew up a spinnaker, broke a jibsheet, and lost the outhaul car. But that kind of carnage helps too. We had to deal with it. We put up the cruising spinnaker and kept going, so that was a good drill .Were steadily improving, and we like that."
"You sail a near perfect race and you get some guy correcting out on you from behind," he said. "And the downwind finishes hurt us because were the smallest boat so were not able to get the time back that we earn upwind." Despite those misgivings, Team Hustler was having a good regatta and a seemingly a good time. "Were looking good for tomorrow, unless we break something else," said Esposito. "Weve got the boat dialed in, but we went the wrong way twice today, and that hurt .Its still a fun event," he said. "I mean South Beach is just a great place, we love coming here." The boys from New York ended up second in class, which must of made the long drive back to New York and into the teeth of this winters worst storm a little less painful.
Wormwood and the five-person team aboard Zuzzelis boatMerlinmanaged to tune their versatile ride well enough to hang tough in the broad range of conditions and win the event. "Its really a quick cruising boat," he said, [in fact it does sport 60 square feet of teak deck], "but we managed to sail it well enough to win the regatta." He had just come off the water from a day where they sailed three races back to back in winds that approached 20 knots. "We did a lot of hull flying today, which is pretty wild. Even the 26 footer flew a hull .For me, this was a great learning opportunity. We dont get a chance to sail this boat against such a strong caliber of boats and sailors that often. This kind of competition gives us a good benchmark for moving leads and trimming the sails. Thats the great thing about this event, theres just more diversity of boats at the SORC. And, as a designer, thats pretty good R and D."
With a raft of strong winds buffeting the palms along Miami Beach Marina mid afternoon on Sunday, the event wound down with a flurry of trophy presentations at Montys Bar. Bob Hughes 1D 35 Heartbreaker went home with the top overall honors, winning its class and the enormous silver bowl given annually to the top performer at the event. Jim Kilroys Farr 40 Samba Pa Ti narrowly snatched a victory in that 29-boat class by a quarter point. And the sailors youll never read about, the rank and file, they got their rewards too. As Wormwood put it, "Winning is nice, but its great just being here too."
Racecourse Lessons from Key West by Dobbs Davis
A Kindler, Gentler SORC by Dan Dickison
Buying Guide: Spinnaker Poles
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