35 boats battled it out at the 2022 VX One Midwinter Championship (and the second stop of the Winter Series) in Pensacola, FL. After 8 races, Chris Alexander and team on 276 bested Hayden Bennett on 269 by two points to take home the title.
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!