Tuesday, August 2, 2016

North Americans Review

July 29-31, 2016
For most people on the East Coast, this past weekend was a wet and dreary one. The good people gathered at Lavallette Yacht Club, however, didn’t seem to mind. The North American Championships for the M-Scow class featured 17 boats, including representation from Ontario (Mike Burton-Davies and Al Barker of PI-818), and Minnesota (Joe and Mitchell Schroeder of LH-11). Most others were very familiar with the Barnegat Bay area. As boats trickled in to be weighed and tuned on Friday, practice races were held for those looking to get an extra edge that weekend. It was shaping up to be a very competitive regatta.
Come Saturday, things started out slow. The wind took a bit of time to fill in, and the races were postponed as everyone crawled to the course. The wind filled in to a steady 7-9 mph directed south as dark storm clouds loomed over the mainland. The courses were windward-leeward, with 4 legs each.
The first race set the tone of the regatta, as the top 4 finishers, Tim Faranetta (LA-5), Brad Wright (LA-33), Curt Morton (LA-22), and Doug Corbett (BH-41) would go on to sweep the top 4 spots of the regatta respectively.
A competitive start
The lighter winds gave way to steady gusts of 11-13 mph over the course of the second race, where we saw a similar spread of boats taking the top spots. The storm clouds inched closer, but the rain stayed away, only spurring on more wind and waves. This time around the top three boats were Brad Wright, Tim Faranetta, and Doug Corbett.
Tim and Julia Faranetta (LA-5)
During the lunch break winds really picked up, and started to clock around from the south to the southwest, making the tacks to port longer and longer. The third race saw winds well over 15 mph, and the accompanying turbulence on the water took Mark Lewis’ (MA-18) splashboard right off! He and his crew Catherine Lewis scrambled to retrieve it, and shoved it into the back of the bilge, where it stayed for the rest of the day. The top 2 in this race was again occupied by Brad Wright and Tim Faranetta, while clinching 3rd with an exceptional performance was Dave Applegate (LA-50).
Brad Wright and Jamie Wasco (LA-33)
Race #4 saw even heavier winds than the last. While the storm clouds passed to the north, whitecaps peppered the water. Curt Morton thrived in the tough conditions, claiming 1st by a large margin, followed by Doug Corbett and Tim Faranetta. Just behind them was Dale Froriep (T-44), who shot out in front of mid-fleet to secure an impressive finish. Multiple boats capsized over the course of the 4th race, prompting the committee to abandon the last race scheduled for the day. It’s safe to say that most sailors agree with their decision, save for maybe Curt.
Curt Morton and Tom Hanley (LA-22)
That night sailors enjoyed dinner on the second floor of the clubhouse prepared by Patricia Faranetta and Lavalette staff. Photos taken by Susan Wright and Brian Emmanuelle on the first day of races were available to view, and a fleet meeting held outside was complemented nicely by the setting sun.
On Sunday, the rain finally decided to pay us a visit. Fog cloaked the bay for most of the morning, and thankfully, there was enough wind to send everybody to the course on time. The goal for the weekend was to host 7 races, which meant making up the one abandoned the day before. Conditions were again fair, with winds to the south at around 6 mph and building through the day.
The biggest news coming from race 5 was a stellar performance by Blair Davis (LA-11). After a Saturday with middling results, Blair had a great start and spent the majority of the 4 legs in 1st, only for Tim Faranetta to steal the win away by inches in the downwind finish. Following them was Brad Wright and Mark Lewis.
Blair Davis and Chelsea Wright (LA-11)
The wind shifted and swelled as the 5th race concluded, resulting in a readjustment of the course. This meant there was not adequate time to start a 7th race. To make up for this fact, our final race of the regatta contained 5 legs - the only upwind finish of the regatta. The rain and fog had all but cleared out, giving way to beautiful sun. Blair Davis has a another fantastic race, finishing second once again, this time behind Curt Morton, who favored the heavier wind. Doug Corbett took up 3rd behind them, holding off Tim Faranetta.

The regatta concluded with a lunch and award ceremony catered by Surf Taco. More pictures were up for viewing, and the food was delicious. It turns out that the top 4 finishers were separated by only 8 points. All in all the regatta could not have been run any better, given the wind’s shifty nature. For that, we give thanks to the race committee, led by Bob Marrow and Ed Reardon. Here’s to another great North Americans next year at Pigeon Lake Yacht Club.

- Jeremy Welsch (LA-24)
Full results of the regatta can be viewed here: