Sunday, March 21, 2010

Etchells Midwinters: Up and Down Weekend!

By Paige Brooks, Etchells North America Correspondent

Another Etchells Jaguar Series wrapped up for the winter season in Miami Florida today, with Greenwich, CT based Jeff Siegal taking home all the silver. And it was a nail-biter. Going into the final day of the regatta and the series, three boats were nearly tied for the regatta, and also for the series: Jeff Siegal, Tony Rey, and Marvin Beckman. Jeff Madrogalli,, sailing with Siegal said, “How cool is it when it all comes down to the last day?”

The Jaguar Series score combines the rankings of the four weekends with one dropped result. For many years, Siegal sailing with his regular crew of Madrogalli, Willem Van Waay and Becky Nygren, has been in the top 5, but never won it all. This was their year, and Siegal was on cloud nine.

The racing this weekend was truly up and down. Mother nature barely blew any wind over the south part of Biscayne Bay on Friday, causing the RC to shorten the only race of the day to two legs. With the odd shifts, the results were scrambled. Siegal finished in 13th while Marvin Beckman took 1st in a race that was finished at the Leeward Gates. Beckman said that win really helped them keep their standings up for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday was another light day, but the RC managed to get in 3 hotly contested races, with more mix-ups happening. Usually it is consistent finishes that win the regatta, this time, it was persistence and teamwork, even when the chips were down. The top contenders this weekend have all worked together as a team on a regular basis.

According to Bill Barton, a psychiatrist from San Francisco, who sails regularly on Etchells 1327 with skipper Peter Duncan and Tom Blackwell: “I fully believe that if you stick with racing as a unit that has fun and complements each other that you can sharpen many small things in the way you race and communicate on the boat and thus the team can continue to grow and improve.”

Sunday was the day to test the teams’ mettle in the 2 race shoot out. At the dock the wind was piping up to 20 knots, causing many to change to their heavy jibs and tighten their shrouds, but by the time competitors got to the windward mark, the wind had lightened to a pleasant 10 knots. Siegal and team must have seen the change coming, because they went decidedly right for both races and really shut down their closest competitors who worked up the middle and left.

Chris Busch, who finished 4th sailing with Tony Rey and Bill Bennett and doesn’t usually spend too much time out of the lead pack, was frustrated. He said they just couldn’t find their fast gear to keep Siegal in check. “The silver lining in all of this is that Jeff has been close a number of times, but never won it all. This year they did it. They sailed clean, really well, and certainly deserve it.”

For the series (name/name indicate co-skippers):
Jeff Siegal
Marvin Beckman
George Andreadis / Tony Rey
Peter Vessella (4th overall and also the top all am team)
Phil Wehrheim

For the regatta:
Jeff Siegal, Jeff Madrogalli, Willem Van Waay, Becky Nygren
Marvin Beckman, Kurt Oetking, Watt Duffy
Phil Wehrheim, Karl Anderson, Max Skelley
George Andreadis / Tony Rey, Bill Bennet, Chris Busch
Tom Lihan, Moose McClintock, Barr Batzer