Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Etchells Jaguar Series

Photo by John Payne

Florida State Championship Races of the 2010 Etchells Jaguar Series (Feb 26-27)

The Florida State Championship is the third of four weekends in the Etchells Jaguar Series. With record snow and record lows around the country, chilled sailors hopping on planes tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow will find upon landing in Miami that it has finally reverted back to warmer winter weather.

The forecast for the weekend looks to be a great test of boat preparation and crew skill with a big gusty breeze expected for Saturday and Chamber of Commerce weather on Sunday on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Sixty boats are expected and much to the relief of many sailors, there are no plans for windward gates this time around.

Now halfway through the series, we start to see the cream rise to the top with many of the series regular winners in contention for the overall trophy. At the moment the order of potential overall series winners are: Bill Hardesty, Jeff Siegal, Marvin Beckman, Dirk Kneulman, and Tony Rey (Tony and Dirk are tied). Of the boats listed here, each boat has at least one professional sailor aboard, and of those, at least two (Hardesty and Kneulman) are funding their own programs. Because of the boat and the outstanding competition, professional sailors will forgo their regular fees and instead spend their hard earned dollars to get their own boats and crew to Miami and race against the best amateurs and professionals (not to mention the added benefit of warm water and 70 degree temps!).

“How are you getting ready for the weekend?” was a question posed to a few of the regular participants of the Jaguar Series.

From Chris Lanza, in Miami: “The scenario goes something like this: I will head down Friday afternoon to scrape off the bird [droppings] and assorted dead bugs, and fix a few things before we throw the boat back out onto the racecourse. I heard back from Brian Kamilar (bow & tactics) who sailed with us last regatta and he has confirmed. North Sails Anson Mulder (speed man) will return for another shot at glory.

My crew tells me that we will have big breeze again on Saturday. Good thing we have been practicing...Not! The good news is that the settings will be right since I never unloaded the rig from the last blustery regatta. I hope it will be like riding a bicycle....and I don't fall off.”

Ethan Doyle, of NYC, sailing on “Cougar”: “The Cougar is getting a fresh round of botox and a slight breast enhancement, then a little bit of red lipstick and she will be ready for weekend action. Seriously, we'll be racing this weekend.”

Bill Hardesty from San Diego: “After today, I am once again cold. It looks like another windy one on Saturday.” (Did he ever warm up from the early January racing?)

And from John Callahan, of Sausalito, CA who sails as crew on Peter Vessella’s 1168: “I'm fending off pneumonia and hoping not to see a repeat of Jan Jag weather. How is that for preparation?”

Sounds like cabin fever has set in. A little time in the warm weather should help that. Stay tuned for race updates on Sunday night.

-Paige Brooks

Etchells North America Class Correspondent