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Summary by John Payne at bottom of page
Report by John Payne:
The 2012-13 Etchells Midwinters Series, continued this weekend (January 5 & 6) with the Sid Doren Memorial in Miami, FL. “The Jag”, as it has come to be known, is a series of four regattas between December and March. South Florida once again proved to be the place to sail in North America in January. Hosted by Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the series consistently draws forty or more boats to the good weather, great competition and even better camaraderie.
Seven of the top ten boats from last year’s series were present amongst the fifty-seven Etchells that reported to the starting line Saturday morning for the first of five scheduled races. The conditions on Biscayne Bay were just what the Chamber of Commerce would have ordered, with sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-seventies and a nice breeze of eight to ten knots.
Race one began with a northeast breeze of 8 knots. While small oscillations were present, the persistent shifts clocked towards the east. At the first weather mark rounding, the first boat came from the far left side, and the second came from the right. (Despite the appearance of the east shift, the left side paid big dividends in all but one upwind leg throughout the day). At the first weather mark, George Andreadis led Michael Gavin by three boat lengths. After four 1.6 mile legs, Keith Whittemore passed Gavin and Andreadis to take the gun. As the day wore on, the winds continued to clock. Race two went off with the wind holding at 7 knots. Keith Whittemore led to the top mark, followed closely by Skip Dieball and Jon McClean, sailing Jon’s second regatta in the Etchells. Skip was able to pass Keith on the last upwind to take race two. Robert Hitchcock sailing with Barry Allardice finished third. By race three the winds had clocked to east-south-east. While the winds were still holding near 6 knots, big holes had developed across the race course, making the conditions difficult at best. The oscillations were becoming more frequent making starting the race difficult. After two AP’s, PRO Dave Brennan sent the fleet off on the final race. Senet Bischoff played the shifts brilliantly to lead wire to wire. Ante Razmilovic, sailing Swedish Blue with Chris Larson and Stuart Flynn, finished second.
A trademark of The Jag is the post-race social gathering. A free keg of beer, hot dogs and chicken wings are served to the thirsty and hungry sailors. Over post-race libations, many were licking their wounds from the first day. Several perennial podium finishers suffered from a poor result or two…or three, dropping them from contention. For example, the second and third place boats averaged over ten points per race! One skipper who has taken home more than their fair share of Jag Series hardware said, “That was the worse day I have ever experienced in an Ethcells.”
The nice thing about a two-day regatta is that tomorrow is another day. With two races scheduled on Sunday, a drop would factor into the score lines. Sunday brought southeast winds of 8-12 knots with mostly sunny skies. Race four (first of the day) went off with a 1.7 mile upwind, with a bearing of 105 degrees. At the first mark, Ernie Pomerleau and Mike Dressell, sailing in from the left side, narrowly edged out Shannon Bush sailing with Flip Wehrheim who had sailed up the right middle. By the leeward gate, Shannon had passed Pomerleau and Dressel to take a lead she would not relinquish. Skip Dieball and Jon McClean held on for second. The start of the last race featured numerous boats over early. After calling the many bow and sail numbers, a big pack of boats returned to clear themselves. The top finishers in race five were the boats that played the start safely. Finishing first were Ernie Pomerleau and Mike Dressell followed by Shannon Bush. Ante Razmilovic on Swedish Blue rounded out the top three.
Winning the Sid Doren was “Swedish Blue” with Ante Razmilovic, sailing with Chris Larson and Stuart Flynn. Second went to Skip Dieball, Jon McClean and Paul Abdullah. Steve Girling, sailed his Lion Heart to third along with Ched Proctor and Dave Lutian. Senet Bischoff followed his third in the Piana Cup by placing 4th in the Sid Doren. He was joined by Ben Kinney, the “K” of the boat’s name, “KGB”, and John Eedenbach. Rounding out the top five were Mike Dressell, Ernie Pomerleau, Monica Trjo and Chris Morgan sailing USA 1300.
Next up in “The Jag” is the Florida State Champs, February 2nd and 3rd.