Race Report by Madeline Gill for North Sails
Sarasota Sailing Squadron welcomed the VX One fleet for their second winter series event over Valentine’s Day weekend. Following the successful Midwinter Championship in January, the fleet grew slightly to 24 boats. By Friday afternoon, most teams were onsite prepping, practicing, and sitting in on Chris Alexander’s rules discussion focused on mark room at leeward gates and downwind finishes.
Early morning fog on Saturday cleared before start time and the race committee was able to get four races off. The southwesterly breeze built from 5 to 10 knots and generally trended left, but not without some irregular righties rolling through. Teams who stayed focused on maintaining adequate power and balance onboard while also staying in phase were generously rewarded. One of the day’s biggest takeaways, however, was that the top teams are not the ones who only seek perfection, but the ones who adapt the most efficiently when mistakes are inevitably made. With no team winning more than one race on Saturday, it’s clear that resilience and forward-thinking were common traits amongst the leaders.
Sunday’s forecast was much less stable, with dark clouds looming on the horizon. A squall hit the fleet with heavy rain on the way out to the course but gave way to overcast skies by the time racing started. The 15 knots southerly steadily built to 25 knots over the course of two races. Sunday’s top teams were the ones who not only depowered the sail plan and hiked hard but also trimmed the sails to minimize heel angle and leeway. Many teams hit personal best downwind speeds, but the race committee made the decision to send the fleet in after seeing a few too many keels in the air.
Winning the weekend was Doug Clark with Mike Marshall. Second place went to Jim Ward with past class president Jeff Eiber and Lynda Bryant onboard. Rounding out the podium was current class president Chris Alexander sailing with Madeline Gill and Kate O’Donnell.
Teams powered by North Sails finished 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9.
The final event of the winter series will have a more extended format, with three days of racing on March 19-21. North experts Austin Powers and Madeline Gill will host a debrief after practice on Thursday. Keep your eyes out for more information as we get closer to the event.