Seesaw Battle at North American Championships

By Steve Stroebel, US F18 Chair

Let’s set the scene

On September 22, after four days and 15 intense races, the USA team of Charles Froeb and Matthieu Marfaing prevailed over the Chile team of Pablo Gallyas and Isidora Urrutia to become the 2023 F18 North American Champions.  With 43 competitors (23 from Canada, 18 from USA and 2 from Chile) the teams enjoyed an “Indian Summer” warm weather racing on the west end of Lake Ontario at Burlington just west of Toronto.  This was only the second time the North American Championships were held in Canada.

Four days of tense racing

The first day started with a very shifty off-shore breeze of 5 to 9 kts which the Chile team dominated, the conditions being similar to the lake conditions they normally sail.  The Froeb team was set back by a UFD disqualification in the fourth race. 

On the second day after a two hour shore postponement the wind came up on-shore to provide a more steady breeze of 7 to 9 kts.  After completing another three races and using the first throw-out, team Froeb moved into the lead by six points with two bullets in the final two races of the day. 

The third day of racing provided a little more off-shore wind with four races sailed and the Chile team moved into first place with a two point lead.

For the final day of racing the wind remained off-shore with 8 to 12 kts of wind but a very lumpy sea state since the wind had been blowing down the lake all night. The Froeb team dominated this day with finishes of 1-1-2-2 to win the Championships by 10 points.

As a general review

The racing was close with six different teams winning at least one race. The Canadian Championship was also awarded at this regatta to Dan Borg and Chris Molder sailing a Hobie Tiger with a decksweeper rig who finished 7th overall. The youth champions were Tom Seibold (18) and Ian Iles (19) who placed 6th overall.  Maya Tatuch from Vancouver, Canada won the Sandra Tartaglino trophy for top woman helm.  Jill Nickerson from Clearwater Florida was awarded the Steve Piche Perseverance Trophy for her tremendous support of the class trailering boats all over North American to attend the major regattas.  The mixed team champions were Pablo Gallyas and Isidora Urrutia in second place.  The top family team was the father/son combination of Clay and Guy Selsmeyer with the father in the crewing position!

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The Burlington Beach Catamaran Club provided one of the best social scenes at a regatta that I have attended with food immediately after every race, a great assortment of beverages all the time in a relaxing tented lounge area, a great gala dinner and wonderful hospitality. The sandy beach was spacious with boats parked next to their trailers and everyone was able to launch at the same time.