Etchells Jaguar Seriers Florida State Championship Final February 28, 2010 Paige Brooks, Etchells Class North America Correspondent

The third in a series of four race weekends of the Etchells Jaguar Series is now a wrap, leaving triumphant victories and devastating losses. Tony Rey, sailing for George Andreadis on Etchells 1368 sailed on the water like a gold medal figure skater: gaining points with every turn and making the whole competition look like a cinch. With a 7,1,1, 2, DNF Rey, sailing with Bill Bennett and Chris Busch, didnt have to finish his last race after his closest competitor, Bill Hardesty, missed the first shift on the upwind beat. A bit of a risk, but it paid off for Rey, as long as Hardesty didnt claw back for the win. Unfortunately for Bill, it didnt play out that way: he had insult added to injury when he got into a collision at the finish line, earning a ding on his bow. Nothing I cant fix myself, he said resolutely.

The Florida State Championship is also a run for a trophy among the local fleet members. Saturdays race 2 ended part-time resident Bryon Erharts run for his second Florida State trophy, when he fouled Scott Piper, of Coconut Grove, at the top mark, putting a game-ending hole in his own boat. Ultimately, it was George Andreadis, another part-time local, who won the sought-after trophy.

Overall the racing conditions made for superior competition. According to PRO Dave Brennan, Saturdays race was fantastic big consistent breeze. It started at 15 knots from the south and built over the course of the day to 20 knots. The consistent direction made for tight, close finishes and crowded mark roundings.

From Chris Bush, sailing on the winning 1368: For the first start there was a - pile up at the leeward end and a lot of boats, including us, were over early and several boats were late to go back. We heard our number and were able to get around the pin fast on the leeward end. After that they were right back in it a 7th place made for our best race considering how we started.

On the runs it was better to be kind of East (the wind was from the South)- on a starboard jibe we did better by not jibing right away. That's what got us into the lead on the 2nd race Billy (Hardesty) was ahead and a bunch of guys jibed. We found more pressure and actually laid the mark by staying on starboard. We rounded the right gate looking downwind and Billy went the other way. We were right there together again at the top mark - and then were just a little bit faster downwind. We found Saturday that if we stayed outside a bit on starboard and a late jibe really worked for us.

From Tony Rey: For the practice race George skippered and got us warmed up nicely. As to what he attributes to their speed: We've refined the rig tune and we're much more confident in making our changes now.

Sundays racing was a bit trickier, opening with a 15-knot breeze from the North West then shifting and laying down during the 2nd race. Hardesty won the first race of the day before the wind lightened up. The shifty breeze and more current made for a few false starts in Race 2, causing Brennan to hoist up the black flag for the final race. Suddenly, everyone knew where the starting line was, he said and the race got off all clear. Jud Smith, sailing with Dirk Kneulman, Juds daughter, Darby and her friend Tim, won the last race.

Next up is the Etchells Midwinters at the end of March, with some interesting competition for the Series trophy several teams are very close in series points: Hardesty 4; Siegal, 5; Beckman, 5; Rey / Andreadis, 6; Vessella, 6; and Smith / Kuneulman 7.

Top teams for the weekend:
1. George Anreadis, Tony Rey, Bill Bennett, Chris Bush
2. Jud Smith, Dirk Kneulman, Darby Smith, Tim King
3. Jeffrey Siegal, Jeff Madrigali, Becky Nygren, Willem Van Waay,
4. Peter Vessella, John Callahan, Tracey Usher
5. Michael Gavin / Bill Abbott, Ed Fury, Peter Nye


Florida State Championship Races of the 2010 Etchells Jaguar Series (Feb 26-27)

The Florida State Championship is the third of four weekends in the Etchells Jaguar Series. With record snow and record lows around the country, chilled sailors hopping on planes tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow will find upon landing in Miami that it has finally reverted back to warmer winter weather.
The forecast for the weekend looks to be a great test of boat preparation and crew skill with a big gusty breeze expected for Saturday and Chamber of Commerce weather on Sunday on Miamis Biscayne Bay. Sixty boats are expected and much to the relief of many sailors, there are no plans for windward gates this time around.

Now halfway through the series, we start to see the cream rise to the top with many of the series regular winners in contention for the overall trophy. At the moment the order of potential overall series winners are: Bill Hardesty, Jeff Siegal, Marvin Beckman, Dirk Kneulman, and Tony Rey (Tony and Dirk are tied). Of the boats listed here, each boat has at least one professional sailor aboard, and of those, at least two (Hardesty and Kneulman) are funding their own programs. Because of the boat and the outstanding competition, professional sailors will forgo their regular fees and instead spend their hard earned dollars to get their own boats and crew to Miami and race against the best amateurs and professionals (not to mention the added benefit of warm water and 70 degree temps!).

How are you getting ready for the weekend? was a question posed to a few of the regular participants of the Jaguar Series.

From Chris Lanza, in Miami: The scenario goes something like this: I will head down Friday afternoon to scrape off the bird [droppings] and assorted dead bugs, and fix a few things before we throw the boat back out onto the racecourse. I heard back from Brian Kamilar (bow & tactics) who sailed with us last regatta and he has confirmed. North Sails Anson Mulder (speed man) will return for another shot at glory.

My crew tells me that we will have big breeze again on Saturday. Good thing we have been practicing...Not! The good news is that the settings will be right since I never unloaded the rig from the last blustery regatta. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle....and I don't fall off.

Ethan Doyle, of NYC, sailing on Cougar: The Cougar is getting a fresh round of botox and a slight breast enhancement, then a little bit of red lipstick and she will be ready for weekend action. Seriously, we'll be racing this weekend.

Bill Hardesty from San Diego: After today, I am once again cold. It looks like another windy one on Saturday. (Did he ever warm up from the early January racing?)
And from John Callahan, of Sausalito, CA who sails as crew on Peter Vessellas 1168: I'm fending off pneumonia and hoping not to see a repeat of Jan Jag weather. How is that for preparation?

Sounds like cabin fever has set in. A little time in the warm weather should help that. Stay tuned for race updates on Sunday night.

-Paige Brooks
Etchells North America Class Correspondent