Fleet One Championship

Fleet One capped off its yearlong eight-regatta circuit with the first annual Fleet One Championship regatta. Seven boats from the Northern Gulf Coast and Texas made the trip to Pass Christian Yacht Club located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Saturday greeted the sailors with temps in the 40’s and a light and shifty easterly breeze that led to many lead changes across the race course. Despite the variable conditions, PCYC’s Sailing Director Zeke Fairbanks and team did a great job, hammering out five races.

Racing was extremely tight with many crowded mark roundings and close finishes, but the day belonged to USA 148 (Kevin Northrop/Judd Chamberlain) at 7 points and Team Animal (Jeff Jones/Rod Vela) at 11 points.

Forecasts for Sunday called for a solid 15+ southeasterly, but unfortunately the frontal breeze never materialized. The race committee wisely postponed the scheduled 10:25 a.m. warning gun, allowing several sailors to recover from the “southern hospitality” and still make the sixth race.

Race six started in a 5kt easterly that lasted long enough for Team Smuggler (Donnie Brennan/Tim Pitts) to take the victory in yet another close race. With the breeze dying to zero, the RC called it a day giving the Fleet One Championship to USA 148 followed by Animal in 2nd place and Team Smuggler — whose victory in the last race allowed them to win a tie break over Chris Alexander’s 124 — in third place.

Many thanks to PCYC’s Sailing Director Zeke Fairbanks, Manager Clark Brennan, and Cathy Rayburn for the warm hospitality and delicious breakfast and lunch on Sunday.

Charlie Cumbley and Andy Couch win the VX One UK Nationals at Torquay

A damp and misty start in Torquay disguised the fact that a 7 knot NNE breeze had settled into the bay, allowing race 7 to start on time at 10.30am on Sunday. The fleet went away cleanly with crews fully hiking upwind for the first time in the championship. After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the final race on Saturday, Peter Barton and Miles Mence started fast at the pin end to command the race from beginning to end. Holding off a last-minute charge from Charlie Cumbley and Andy Couch, a jubilant Pete said after the race, “Finally! We had our opportunity to win a race yesterday, we should have, but it didn’t go right for us. The Ovington guys are doing a great job of introducing friendship in the VX One with a bar tab for half price beers, it’s really friendly and it’s nice to see them sharing the wins today and good to see Charlie and Andy just ease off the gas at the last minute to share it about a little bit. Miles teased them for a bit with a couple of gybes, but in the end we just went for speed and had them.” The race team quickly turned the fleet around to start race 8. Neil Harris and Phil Rumbelow, who was involved in a couple of incidents yesterday, came good again to take their second race win of the championship. Neil said after the race, “No turns today. Philip was complaining he was getting so dizzy that he didn’t want any more sea sickness in this race, so we played it very calm and cool and it worked well! Going out to sea on the last run was the decisive moment in the race; we took a gybe, stayed in the pressure and came in on the lay line and nailed it. We’d set ourselves a target of an aggregate score of 6 points for the day, so we have to win twice more now.” Just after midday the sun started burning through the morning mist. With it, race 9 started in the best winds of the championship so far. Once again Peter Barton and Miles Mence nailed the start and went on to take a commanding win. On getting to grips with the VX One Peter said, “It’s just a big Firefly really, it’s a matter of sniggling your way up the wind shifts in the offshore breeze. I’m very much enjoying today’s racing, we’re starting to find a few grooves, a few modes, and it’s a matter of exploiting them a little.” Miles Mence on crewing for Pete in the VX One said, “It’s great, it’s a lovely boat and it’s very nice crewing for Pete. He tells you what’s going on the whole time and it’s a big discussion – I’m learning a lot.” Charlie Cumbley and Andy Couch’s second place ensured them of the inaugural VX One National Championship title. The final race of the day saw Barton and Mence once again power away from the fleet on the start. While the rest of the fleet battled at the committee boat end, Pete and Miles spotted a slight shift, diving for the pin and then crossing the fleet on their first tack. They once again controlled the race to take their third bullet of the day and moved up to second in the overall results. Charlie and Andy consolidating their victory with yet another 2nd place, their fourth of the day. Peter Rumbelow’s Royal Torbay Yacht Club team have displayed impeccable race management throughout the event, making the best use of the fickle breeze on Friday and Saturday and packing four good races in with the better breeze on Sunday. Peter’s wife Kay has been uploading the results almost instantly after each race, giving a very clear leader board as the championship unfolded. Racing in Torbay provides superb sea sailing with minimal tides while the club has excellent facilities ashore and good food at a very reasonable price. All in all a great championship venue. Charlie Cumbley said in the prize giving, “A massive thank-you to the club who’ve been fantastic hosts and obviously all the help from the sponsors. Peter and the race team did an amazing job getting 10 races in, looking at the forecast it looked pretty horrific so an awesome job with great courses. Also a massive thanks to Ovington for letting us use one of their boats which I have to say is a fantastic bit of kit. I hope the class goes from strength to strength from now on.” To see pictures and complete results, click here.

Hood Regatta

Houston Yacht Club was the host for six VX ONE teams from Oklahoma and Texas last weekend during the Houston Open One-Design Regatta or HOOD. Saturday brought four good races with winds blowing 10-12 kts and flat water. Racing was tight all day with three teams claiming first place finishes. Shawn Cina managed to win two and hold off Vernon Green to lead the day. Sunday winds were lighter at 5-10 kts and shifty. Once again racing was close but Vernon Green managed to find the right place to be on the water and closed out the day with three bullets moving him into a solid first place for the regatta. Shawn Cina dropped to second, and Matt Haddon sailing on a boat borrowed from Rod Vela locked up third. The Race Committee did an outstanding job of keeping the 4 fleets on the Division 3 race course moving without down time between races all weekend long. Thanks to Rod Vela and JD Hill for providing the fleet with plenty of cold drinks between races and a big thank you to the regatta organizers, HYC staff and sponsors of the event for making sure the VX Ones were all well take care of both on and off the water.

Gulf Coast Championship

The VX One Class started to show off its strength and future potential this past weekend with two regional events on the same weekend, each drawing great turnouts with amazing sailing. Thank you to Tim Pitts for the following report: I want to share the great experience I had this weekend in the Gulf Coast Championship at Buccaneer Yacht Club. I got the invite to come sail with Fleet 1 by Fleet Captain Donnie Brennan. I had a great time with the whole fleet, and we had 10 boats registered. The regatta was a two-day event, however the boats arriving on Friday afternoon were welcomed by the commodore & local fleet members, offering to help or even stand in as crew if needed. Once on the water, we had a six-boat tuning session for about an hour. After getting off the water, we had a welcoming/skippers meeting at the club. The first race was at 11:30 on Saturday, but you wouldn’t have known that by looking at the dock, as it was nearly empty at 10:30. Everyone was eager to get out and sail in the building northerly. The racing was epic in the four races on Saturday, each having a different winner and lead changes every leg. The best part was it was just clean tight racing. I did not hear one sailor raise their voice, maybe with exception of when I ripped my pants during the last race, but that’s a “whole ‘nother story.” Once on shore, the fleet was treated to an amazing meal that cost $10. Sunday racing was just as tight, and the race committee was able to get two great races off in a dying breeze. 
My biggest takeaways: 
• All boats seem to be equally quick, being brand new or three years old 
• You can be fast with 2 or 3 people 
• Top three boats all used different sailmakers 
• No one is really off the pace 
• Everyone is excited about the Winter Series (20 plus boats for Sarasota + 30 likely for Bacardi) 
By the numbers: 
• 10 boats registered 
• 6 races sailed 
• 4 different race winners 
• 3 won by crews sailing 3 up 
• 3 won by double-handers 
• 2 husband and wife teams 
• 1 point decided the winner – (we lost) 
• 0 complaints about the regatta

2015 North American Championship Confirmed 

The 2015 VX One North American Championship is confirmed for Gulfport Yacht Club from October 3-7, 2015. Here are unofficial, preliminary plans: 
NAC Measurement – Saturday, October 3 
Measurement and practice race – Sunday, October 4 
NAC racing – Monday to Wednesday, October 5 –7 
Thursday, October 8 – rig VX Ones for Championship of Champions and practice race (proposed) 
Friday to Sunday, October 8-10 – Championship of Champions (proposed) 
The NAC runs back to back with the US Sailing Championship of Champions for which the VX One has been the selected for 2015. We are going to need 21 boats for the C of Cs. This opportunity comes at a key time for the growth of our Class and all owners are asked to consider the gracious use of your boat following the NAs for the C of Cs. Bennett Yachting and Fleet 1 members are dedicated to making both these events notable for our Class. We will also be asking those who can hang around and assist and spectate to do so. This can also be the staging point for moving boats back down to Florida for the 2015/16 winter series. Yes, it’s more than a year out, but now is not too late to start capitalizing on this opportunity to grow our Class.

Chris Alexander Commands VX ONE North American Championship

Chris Alexander’s Isabelita dominated the standings at the VX ONE North American Championship to claim the title with 19 points. No races occurred on Saturday, after nine races were completed Thursday and Friday. Hosted by Newport Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island, Phip Hallowell and Chuck Brown’s The Wagon placed second with 39 points, and Tom Chiginsky’s VX140 rounded out the top three with 50 points. Nineteen VX Ones registered, representing Canada, New Zealand, the Virgin Islands and the United States. Visit www.vxonenac.com for complete results.

Chris Alexander Takes Charge at VX ONE North American Championship

Chris Alexander’s Isabelita notched a 1,2,2,4,2 in Friday’s five races at the VX ONE North American Championship to take a commanding advantage into the final day of competition. Hosted by Newport Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island, Alexander has totaled 19 points with a line of 2,(5),4,2,1,2,2,4,2. Phip Hallowell and Chuck Brown’s The Wagon moved into second place (44 points), and Tom Chiginsky’s VX140 remains in third (50 points). After Alexander won Friday’s opening bout (with Kevin Northrop in the silver position and Lawrence Frost’s Flash Gordon in the bronze), Brian Bennett won the next four contests. Alexander was runner up in race six, and the Hallowell/Brown team third. Alexander again took second in race seven, as Chiginsky followed. Jim Myers’ Satisfaction grabbed second in the day’s fourth battle, with Hallowell & Brown behind. Alexander returned to the number two spot in the day’s last race, trailed by Myers. Racing concludes Saturday for the 19 VX Ones, representing Canada, New Zealand, the Virgin Islands and the United States. Visit www.vxonenac.com for complete results.

Four Races on Opening Day of VX ONE North American Championship Lead to Tie

Four races were completed as the VX ONE North American Championship got underway Thursday, hosted by Newport Yacht Club in Newport, Rhode Island. Brian Bennett’s Bennett Racing and Chris Alexander’s Isabelita are locked in a tie for first place at 15 points each. Bennett notched a 1,7,2,5, while Alexander tallied 3,5,5,2. Tom Chiginsky’s VX140 holds third place with 21 points. It was Bennett who began the championship with a victory, while the team of Phip Hallowell and Chuck Brown on The Wagon took the silver position. Alexander placed third. Jeff Jones’ Animal r2 GFlash moved to the top spot in race two as Chiginsky and Lawrence Frost’s Flash Gordon filled out the top three. The Hallowell/Brown duo snatched the win in the following contest, tailed by Bennett and Paul Currie’s Wild Deuces. Chiginsky ended the day on a high note, as did Alexander and Donovan Brennan’s Team Smuggler behind him. Racing continues through Saturday for the 19 VX Ones, representing Canada, New Zealand, the Virgin Islands and the United States. Visit www.vxonenac.com for complete results.

VX One North American Championship Kicks Off Thursday in Newport, Rhode Island

The third annual VX One North American Championship kicks off Thursday, July 17 from Newport Yacht Club in Rhode Island. Nineteen VX Ones, representing Canada, New Zealand, the Virgin Islands and the United States, are gathering for three days of competition. Reigning North American Champion Rob Doolittle (from last year’s event at Rush Creek Yacht Club in Rockwall, Texas) is set to defend his title in Newport. For a full listing of entrants and for complete regatta information/results, go towww.vxonenac.com.

Newport Regatta Rocks the East Coast

Sailors from 21 US states and eight countries gathered in Newport for Sail Newport’s annual Newport Regatta on July 11-13, featuring Bacardi Newport Race Week with long-term sponsors Heineken and new sponsor Helly Hansen. The mammoth event on four circles of racing on Narragansett Bay, in its 31st year, requires over 100 volunteers and partnerships with New York Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport Yacht Club and Barrington Yacht Club. Racing couldn’t have been much tighter for the top three VX Ones, as just two points separated them in the end. Robby Brown’s VX Racing came out on top with 14 net points in the nine races. Tim Desmond and Brian Bennett’s Satisfaction was just one point behind in second place. And just one point further behind in third was the Chuck Wagon team of Phip Hallowell and Chuck Brown. 11 VX Ones were registered. For complete results click here.