The VX One Class kicked off the 2021-22 Winter Series in Pensacola, Florida this past weekend. With 34 boats competing from all over North America, the competition was tight, and the regatta wasn’t clinched until the last finish of the event.
Race Committee members and sailors lucked out when the conditions for the weekend provided a phenomenal two days of sailing. Day one saw persistent shifts and breeze hanging around the low teens and warmer weather with sunny skies. Day two saw cooler temperatures and a lighter and much shiftier breeze as it was coming over the land from the North.Taking the first win of the winter season was Alexander Heinzemann and Trevor Parekh on Bro Safari from Royal Vancouver YC/ Royal Saint-Laurent YC. The pair sailed a consistent event, with no finish above 6th, in the competitive 34-boat fleet. Double The Fun, sailed by Hayden Bennett and Esteban Forrer from Sail Newport were just two points behind placing them in second overall. In third was Chris Alexander and Ricky Welch, on Counterproductive from Gulfport Yacht Club.
The Oklahoma City Boat Club hosted 15 teams for the 2021 VX ONE North American Championship on September 23-25 in Oklahoma City, OK. The event was originally to be held in Toronto, ON but was moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel concerns and a date change translating to a smaller event than in the past.
Racing was on Lake Hefner just outside of downtown Oklahoma City and provided challenging conditions throughout the event.
Flat water and puffy conditions greeted the fleet for day 1 of the championship regatta. With 12-16kts of breeze from the south, race committee was able to set a 1 mile course and begin racing on time. Race 1 went off without a hitch and the fleet split evenly upwind until a noticeable shift favored the teams on the right side.
Race 2 looked very similar to the first race and the shifty conditions allowed teams in the back unique opportunities to fight towards the top. This also meant that teams leading had to have their heads out of the boat, looking for wind further up the course. It was nearly impossible to call the shifts. The breeze dropped on course left during the third race, and a majority of the fleet pulled out gybe sets to head towards better pressure. Once again, the fleet inverted a few times before finishing.
Race 4 saw the lightest breeze of the day, with teams transitioning to a low mode whenever possible to consolidate their gains downwind. With the wind velocity back up, the first general recall of the regatta happened during the fifth and final race of the day. Once the fleet was off the line, the course had the most consistent pressure of the day but still very shifty.
Chris Alexander established his spot on the top of the leaderboard early, reaching the podium in all five races and winning two of them.
The second day of racing was very similar to the first but boasted more pressure. With only four races allowed for the day, racing went quick and seamless. Teams that didn’t start well were always afforded an opportunity to come back with the shifts. After nine races, Alexander still led the pack by 7pts.
With a weather forecast looking skeptical for the final day of racing, race committee started quickly and a maximum of three races were allowed. The hope was to beat the dying breeze but unfortunately that was not the case as just one race was completed in the 5-7kt easterly.
Chris Alexander with North Sails Expert John Bowden and 12 year old Noah Cina took home the North American Champion title. This is the third time Alexander has won the trophy and the second time with Bowden. In second was Larry Frost and Jackson Benvenutti, followed by Kaitlyn Liebel and crewed by Mark Liebel and Jordan Wiggins. Kaitlyn Liebel was also awarded Top Female Skipper and Noah Cina was awarded Top Youth Participant.
The 2022 VX ONE North Americans will be in September at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Torornto, ONT.
This past weekend, 11 teams made up of 33 women gathered to compete in the inaugural VX One Women’s Championship in Newport, RI. The event was designed to promote sportboat participation among female sailors while also using the regatta as a learning platform for the sailors. The VX One is a rapidly growing amateur sport boat fleet that is 19ft long, requires 2-3 sailors, is super fun and manageable in a big breeze, making it the perfect boat for an event like this. The event kicked off on Friday, August 13, 2021 with an evening clinic led by VX guru Hayden Bennett. With nearly every team in attendance, Hayden led the fleet through a series of starts and short courses. This allowed competitors to hone in on their boat handling and speed test against the other teams. For many of the sailors, this was their first time in a VX and first time sailing as a team. After two hours of on water coaching focusing on upwind trim (and the serious importance of vang and active main trim) and downwind boat handling the teams felt confident going into the first day of racing. Day 1 of the event started slow when a postponement to allow weather to pass kept teams on land. Near noon, race committee dropped AP and the fleet towed out to Potters Cove to begin racing. The eagerness to race was met with another postponement until a light 5-7kt southwesterly filled for the first two races. Race 3 was a different game, the breeze went right and built, making for a more dynamic race course and closer racing. After day 1, Alie Toppa in 329 was leading. Sunday’s racing was much more exciting, with the first two races having a gorgeous 12-15kt northerly. The breeze allowed the VX One to show teams its higher speeds and sporty nature. The northerly breeze hung on for the last two races but dropped in velocity, making teams transition modes and refocus. The final races were sailed in 6-10kts making downwinds and clean lanes the name of the game. The left played out consistently and Toppa was able to hold her lead after eight races to become the first ever VX One Women’s Champion alongside crew member and sister Holly Toppa and Kate O’Donnell. This is what the Women’s Champ Alie Toppa had to say about the regatta; “We had an epic time sailing this weekend in the VX One Women’s Championship! The conditions were tricky and with such good competition, it made for some tight racing. It was awesome being part of such a great event with a lot of enthusiasm and support from the class!” The VX One class is extremely excited about the success of the event and is already looking forward to a similarly structured event next year on August 12-14, 2022. Thank you to our 2021 sponsors; The Magenta Project, Whalers Brewing Company, Streamline Marine and Stringdrop.
We are thrilled to announce that the 2021 VX One North American Championship has been rescheduled for September 23-25, 2021 at the Oklahoma City Boat Club! The Oklahoma VX Fleet has been supporting VX events around the country for many years now and we are extremely excited to now have the chance to support them at their home club.
We will look forward to going to Toronto in 2022 and appreciate all of the hard work the Canadian fleet has put in to try to make an event happen despite all of the restrictions.
2021-22 Winter Series
Dates have been announced for our 2021-22 Winter Series at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron! Registration will be available in the near future but mark your calendars and be sure not to miss out on some of the best racing on the schedule.
It was great to be back racing in Charleston! We can’t say enough good things about it. From the people, to the atmosphere, to the racing, Race Week is not an event to miss. 25 teams battled it out over 3 days of tricky and variable conditions, with a variety of different teams taking the top spots in each race. The VX fleet was named the most competitive fleet at Race Week for the first time ever, thanks to some of the closest and most competitive racing we’ve ever seen. In third place was 296 Tudo Bem (Michelle Warner, Austin Powers and Reed Baldridge), second place went to 276 Counterproductive (Chris Alexander, James Roe and Madeline Gill), with the top spot going to 241 Angry Baboon (Doug Clark, Rod Favela and Emmi Triplett). 241 also took home the boat of the week trophy for the regatta.
The energy and enthusiasm in the VX One fleet is at an all time high, and it is fantastic to see so many teams, both new and old, competing together at events all over the country. Charleston Race Week never disappoints and we are happy to be a part of it!
The VX One Winter Series wrapped up this past weekend with 3 days of tight racing hosted by the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Thanks to an experienced group of volunteers on the Race Committee and a continued efficiency gain from the MarkSetBots, the fleet powered through 13 races.
Friday’s conditions tested each team’s preparedness as the northerly breeze built a bit more than was forecast. Sailing clean and just conservatively enough was the name of the game in the solid 18-20 knot breeze and 2-3’ chop. Jim Ward, at the helm of Destiny’s Bounty, was the dominant force of the day with only 4 points in 3 races.
Saturday brought a beautifully moderate breeze with only one race touching down into fluky territory. The key of the day was sailing fast and in phase with the shifts, which wasn’t always easy with a 25 boat fleet and only 0.65 nautical mile beats. No boat won more than a single race, but Chris Alexander’s Counterproductive won the day by staying focused and finding passing lanes even after congested start lines got the best of them.
Sunday’s breeze started off light but built steadily throughout the day. Most of the pressure and angle came from course left, but short-lived righties periodically came through and mixed the fleet up. Ian Maccini’s Blue Lobster, Paul Murphy’s Alternative Facts, and Emily Billing’s #284 had moments of glory and each posted their first bullet of the event. Winning the event was Chris Alexander with Madeline Gill and Kate O’Donnell on Counterproductive. Second place went to Jim Ward with Jeff Eiber and Lynda Bryant on Destiny’s Bounty. Rounding out the podium was Tim Pitts with Tim Desmond on Leatherback Mutiny.
Congratulations Doug Clark, series overall winner.
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.
It’s good to be back in Sarasota! Hats off to the team at Sarasota Sailing Squadron for creating a safe environment for us to be able to race in.
Saturday’s heavy breeze outlasted the fleet and only one challenging race was completed before RC called racing for the day. Sunday’s opposite forecast allowed 7 races to be sailed in a light 5-9kts. The fleet rose to the challenge and with a total of 8 races over the weekend, Chris Alexander, Madeline Gill, & Steven Holm took the top spot!
Off the water, it was nice to see VX sailors back together again in a COVID safe environment, swapping quarantine stories and talking sailing. The biggest thank you to our amazing fleet who was eager to get back racing and to make this a safe event. An additional thank you to our Race Committee, powered by a great group of volunteers, Sail22, Marksetbot, and Sarasota Sailing Squadron. We can’t wait to see everyone at Winter Series 2 February 13-14!