Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland, Michigan hosted the 3rd VX One Great Lakes Championship on May 17 and 18 on Lake Michigan. Sailors enjoyed great sailing conditions on Saturday and Sunday and great social time at the Club. We had 10 VX’s on the starting line, with sailors coming from Connecticut, Ohio, and Ontario to participate in this year’s Championship. 4 races were held on Saturday with winds coming out of the south ranging from 8-12 knots. Racing concluded early Sunday afternoon after 2 races in steady breeze from the Southwest ranging from 12-15 knots. MBYC’s Sam Padnos and Grant Goeman finished at the top of the pack with 7 points, followed by Ched Proctor, Jeff Eiber, and LJ Nykamp finishing 2nd with 10 points. John Arendshorst and JP Del Solar Goldsmith rounded out the top three with 13 points. We had fantastic racing conditions and race management. Thanks again to all of the volunteers, Race Committee, and Yacht Club staff for making this a wonderful event.
Charleston Race Week on a VX One
By Cedric Lewis
This was my first time racing on a VX One and my first time participating in Charleston Race Week. For those of you that don’t know me, I grew up in Annapolis and participated in the Junior Sailing program at Severn Sailing Association. I have owned several big boats all named Mirage including a J-29, Mumm-30, and my current J-105. I am now just 6 months removed from surviving a major heart attack called the widow maker. My friend, John Potter called me a couple of months ago to check to see how I was doing. Our conversation switched to sailing, as it always does. He was telling me about the winter series they have for the VX One is Sarasota. He is trying to grow the fleet and help promote the boat and asked if I wanted to come and sail CRW. He said he would get myself and Fredrik Salvesen (my partner in the 105) a boat to use in the regatta. Unfortunately, Fredrik’s work commitments wouldn’t allow him to sail. I called John back and we came up with a new plan. John’s boat partner, Dave Guggenheim, would sail with Paul Curry in their regular boat and I would crew for John on a borrowed boat.
I have been feeling pretty good and I am always up for a new challenge, especially when it comes to sailing. After hanging up the phone I was thinking to myself, what did I just get myself into! I had only sailed in the boat one time before in Beaufort and it was in only 5knts. I knew I needed to get some more time in the boat before getting to Charleston so I didn’t embarrass myself. Paul Murphy had just brought a boat back from Sarasota to Annapolis. I arranged to go out with Paul a couple of times to practice. One more practice day on Thursday when I got to Charleston and I guess I was ready.
Friday’s conditions were light in the morning but built to ~12knts out of the SSW. The first race I was still trying to figure out the boat and the current. The wind got light and shifty but we managed to catch a couple shifts and we were launched. It is a good thing because downwind I felt like I spent the entire time on my backside in the bottom of the boat. As the day went on I was getting better with my blow through jibes but I was still ending up too far forward in the boat and John was constantly telling me to move back. After three five leg races the RC switched it up and gave us a 4 leg race with finish down wind. Things were starting to click for us and I was starting to get a hang of it. In the last race of the day we lead from the start. On the last leg I was having probably the best downwind of the day with good jibes and I was managing to stay back in the boat. We were looking for the other end of the finish and realized we were about miss the finish. John jibed the boat and I was not ready for it. I got caught with my weight leaning out and the boat quite literally jibed out from underneath me and I went over the side. I hung on to the spinnaker sheet and managed to stay attached to the boat. I made my way to the back of the boat and pulled myself back on board, sheeted in the spinnaker and we finished third. We ended the day with 9 points, tied for first with Will Van Cleef and Marc Durlach.
Saturday we woke up to fresh breeze 15~20knts. I was half dreading it and half looking forward to it. The first race we seemed to be slightly out of phase and did not sail a good upwind. We rounded in about mid-fleet. I was having trouble getting the chute up and pulling and several boats went past, John’s comment was “well that’s embarrassing.” I finally got the chute up and we took off screaming down wind. We passed a couple boats downwind and managed to do the same on the second downwind and clawed our way back to 4th. We did much better and won the next 2 races and the then the wheels came off in last race. Since it was forecast to blow up to 20 and we were in a borrowed boat, John decided to use one of his older jibs instead of the boat owner’s newer jib. We started the last race and on probably the second tack, the foot cord on the jib got caught on the cheek block on the bow. I went forward and cleared it but it did it again on the next tack. The jib is a deck sweeper and over the time the chafing had worn a hole in the foot expose the foot cord. I came up with a solution to ease the sheet a couple of inches just before the tack to lift the foot up off the deck and then sheet back in after the tack. That got us to the weather mark but we were well behind at that point. I had been struggling all day with the hoists. We originally thought the halyard was getting hung up on the spreader because I would get it up to a point and then it would hang up a few feet short of a full hoist. Then we would here a pop and then could pull it the rest of the way up. On the last race the problem became apparent. There was no stopper knot on the belly cord and I pulled it through the grommet on the sail and this time it would release. It looked like we had an upper chute and lower chute pinched together by a couple of feet of line. At that point we threw in the towel and withdrew from racing. We headed back to the dock to exact repairs. With the drop we maintained a 4 point lead on Will.
Sundays breeze was back down to 12~14knts. The first race we were fouled at the start and got away slowly. The whole first beat we were getting ping-ponged around the course with people tacking on us. We rounded the weather mark deep and needed to do some catching up if we wanted to remain in the hunt. Downwind was more of the same with boats jibing on top of us but we managed to claw back a couple of boats. With the boats spread out we were able to sail the shifts and made gains to weather. We rounded the weather mark and this time we got our chute up first and passed two more boats. We finished the race in 5th which was our worst finish excluding the drop race. We did manage to maintain our lead over Van Cleef by 2 points heading into the final race. We vowed not to repeat our mistakes from the first race and go out and win the final race. We got away clean at the start and we were able to sail our own race. We played the shifts while maintaining a loose cover on Will and we rounded in first place. We managed to connect the dots downwind going from puff to puff. The second beat we did the same thing, playing the shifts while keeping track of #154. We again rounded the top mark in the lead headed for the finish.
Here are my impressions after only 5 days of sailing the boats. The boats are extremely well laid out, simple and crew friendly. The vang kicker goes up and mainsheet trim comes from the boom leaving plenty of room and a wide open cockpit to cross on tacks. The jib is self-tacking with one continuous line to trim sheet and adjust the car. Once the jib is sheeted in I only made minor adjustments to the car height. Hoisting and dropping the chute is all done with a single line (how cool is that). Pull from behind the block and the chute goes up, the pole is extended and the tack line is pulled in. Sheet in and off you go. To drop the chute you pull the same line in the other direction and the pole retracts and chute uses a belly cord to suck it into the bow.
What did I learn? I am not in as good shape as I thought I was. I have been sailing big boats for too long and hiking like that, especially on Saturday, was challenging. I was fortunate that the boat we were sailing had a hiking line to hold on to which did help with the abs. As the races added up I slowed down. Up wind I did my best to look around and call puffs and shifts and report on the other boats. Sailing downwind everything speeds up ten-fold. I would say I had my hands full. I had absolutely no time to look around. The speed of these boats off the wind is mind boggling! One false move on my part and we drop off a plane and 4 boats go whizzing by. The boats are much more tactical downwind than the boats I am use to sailing. You sail at much hotter angles to get the boat planning. The hotter angles also means the jibes are reach to reach.
The VX sailors are a tight knit group willing to step in and help each other out. This was apparent when Peter Gamble broke his rudder on Saturday. Everyone jumped in to help make the repairs and get him back on the water on Sunday. The class is full of great sailors willing to share knowledge. They recognize that building the class means helping along the back of the pack sailors. It will only make the class stronger as a whole to keep these boats involved.
I never got a max reading going downwind on Saturday but I am guessing we were ~17 knots which is the fastest I have gone in a mono-hull since my Mumm-30. And unlike my Mumm-30, I felt like the VX One was in complete control the whole time. I had an absolute blast sailing these boats and Charleston is an ideal sailing venue. The conditions could not have been better. I plan to be back next year and hopefully in my own VX One.
Royal Forth Yacht Club, in Edinburgh, welcomed 9 VX One’s for their 2016 UK national Championships over the weekend of 10th– 12th September. Crews attended from all over with representation from Torquay, Ullswater, Lock Earn, Tynemouth, Edinburgh and even Switzerland.
Racing began on the Saturday, in a light to moderate southerly breeze. Windward / leeward courses were set on the Forth, with excellent conditions welcoming the non Scottish visiting boats. It was Beat Steffan, from Switzerland, crewed by Chris Turner, who revelled in the conditions, producing a clean sweep of 1st places on the opening day’s 3 races. Completing the podium on day 1 was Kevin Anderson and Edmond Clarke from Ullswater, followed by local RFYC boat Willpower (Will Davies and Donald McLean). The day ended with an excellent commodore’s reception in the clubhouse.
Day 2 bought more wind and sunshine. With wind increasing to moderate to strong, the VX One’s showed some exhilarating sailing and handling skills, with speeds of 20+knots recorded. Five back to back races were held, in anticipation of even higher winds expected on the Monday. The son and father team of Monian and Adrian Peach, from Torquay, and Nathan Bachelor, finished the day with three 1st places, which moved them up the leader board. Anderson/Clarke and another family team from Ullswater (Donald, Charlie and Kathlyn Chandler) also took a 1st each. Steffan/Turner and Anderson/Clarke had solid string of performances during the day, leaving the top 3 boats ending day two overall with only 3 points separating them. The class dinner was held in the evening, with RFYC once again providing an excellent meal and hospitality.
All was to sail for on the final day, and as expected, the wind strengthened again, with winds gusting to 30 knots. The last two races were held to decide the final podium positions. In the end it was the Peach/Peach/Bachelor who deservedly won the UK Championships, followed by Anderson/Clarke and Steffen/Turner completing the podium. The Chandler’s won the top family prize (outside of the podium) in 4th.
Huge credit must go to Royal Forth Yacht Club and John Robertson (PRO) for laying on a fantastic event, both on and off the water, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The VX One Class continues to build a strong reputation of having a great boat that produces some tight and adrenaline filled racing, supported by extremely friendly owners. The class now looks forward to next year, with events being planned for the Nationals, Inlands, Scottish Series in Tarbert and an inaugural Gold Cup event at Riva del Garda in August.
2016 VX ONE North Americans September 23 – 25 hosted by Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland Michigan.
VX ONE’s lined up on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan to race the 5th North American Championship. VX ONE teams came from locations spanning North America from Massachusetts to Louisiana to California and one South American team from Chile.
Racing took place in beautiful Lake Michigan with perfect wind conditions for full hiking upwind and fast planning offwind legs.
Close racing between teams of various weights yielded many position changes in each race.
Day one we had winds growing from 9 to 12 knots and after four races the team of John Potter/ David Guggenheim led the fleet with 3 wins and a 8th, followed by the team of Sam Padnos/Grant Goman/Charlie Sligh with two 4th’s and 2nd’s and the team of Tim Pitts/Joe Ferra with two 2nd’s an 11th and a 1st.
Day Two we had winds starting at 13 knots and diminishing to 10 knots. Three more races were completed with the team of Emily Billing/Matt Haddon/Justin Howard winning the day with two firsts and a third, followed by the Teams of Sam Padnos/Grant Goman/ Charlie Sligh and Phillip Norris/Anthony Norris/Eden Nykamp alternating a very consistent 2-5-6.
On day Three with two more races required to complete the series five teams were in contention for the title. Winds averaged 12 knots and as usual racing was very close. The day was won by former N.A champion Christopher Alexander/Brad Winslett with a first and a 3rd, followed by Phillip Norris/Anthony Norris/ Eden Nykamp with a 4th and a 2nd and John Potter/ David Guggenheim with a 2nd and a 5th.
With racing completed John Potter/David Guggenheim were crowned North American Champions with Sam Padnos/Grant Goman/Charlie Sligh finishing second and Phillip Norris/Anthony Norris/ Eden Nykamp finishing Third.
Awards took place on the grounds of Macatawa Bay Yacht Club with recognitions given to our oldest crew at 64 years and our youngest at 12 years of age. Several family members and juniors made up the crews for event.
The North American fleet will be heading south for the Sarasota for the Winter Series, Miami Bacardi Cup, St. Pete NOOD and Charleston Race Week.
Full results are on: yachtscoring.com
As the city of Cleveland prepared for its first championship win in 52 years, 92 one-design boats were welcomed at Edgewater Yacht Club for the 36th annual Cleveland Race Week from June 17-19. Ten fleets competed. Saturday morning started with AP onshore due to light winds and after a valiant effort by the Race Committee, no races were sailed as winds died throughout the afternoon. Sunday morning, entrants woke to decent, but shifting breeze with winds out of the southwest shifting north throughout the afternoon. The Race Committee was able to get in two races for the series. Winning the VX One fleet was local Jeff Eiber’s This Side Down with 2 points. For complete information, click here.
The Whitsun weekend brought around the Silvers Marine Scottish Series, and for the second time the VX One fleet having its own class start. Six VX Ones made the trip to Tarbert, Loch Fyne from as far afield as Aberdeen, Darlington and Rhode Island. The weather was not typical Scottish Series–light winds and sun were the norm for the regatta, ideal for the après sail beer and scallops. Racing was dominated by the USA father and son team of Brian and Hayden Bennett. They were consistently quicker in the light to medium breezes encountered. The fleet was appreciative of the ‘chalk talks’ put on by these two during the regatta, enabling all sailors to up their game and learn some of the nuances of rig tuning the American way. Best of the rest was another family affair–brothers Jono and Benji Shelley finished second in Abracadabra. In third place, having had been adjudicated a photo finish with Abracadbra in race one was The Lead Sled sailed by Neal piper, Euan Dunn and Nathan Batchelor. Interestingly all boats but one were crewed by members of the same family, four of which were father and son combinations. First under 18 was Rhys Lewis sailing on Battlecruiser from Ullswater YC. Next regatta on the 2016 VX One circuit is the Inland Championship at Ullswater YC on 25/26 June.