From Eileen Haubl, ABYC
Going into the last day of competition with a tie for 1st, there was a lot on the line for the top teams. The morning was clear, with early breeze, and by the time Race Committee had set A-pin, it had built rapidly to a robust 15 -18 knots with a 6-8 foot mixed swell.
The 1st race saw a re-shuffle in the starting positions from previous days, as teams abandoned the crowded boat-end of the line seeking a clear lane further toward the pin. The battle between Parent/Lovisa & Gonzalez Smith/Heuser drew the most attention from spectators and press.
The breeze continued to build for races 2 & 3 with frequent lead changes as the waves took their toll. Several boats capsized – some rounding the offset mark had stuffed the bows so hard, they snapped their spinnaker poles and were forced to retire.
In very tight racing for the top 5 positions, Parent/Lovisa prevailed over Gonzales Smith/Heuser as they finished 1st and 2nd respectively for all three races. Ricardi/Tebo, who had led the series early on, slipped to third and Froeb/Van West built on their results to move into 4th. Rounding out the top five were Reiss/Lauridsen posting consistent enough results to land in 5th. The fleet’s work was not done after the last finish, as they faced a very challenging twin-wire, close-reach for the 2.5 miles back to protected water.
As teams broke down their boats to go their separate ways, some to Cata Cup, some to their home clubs, and others to the next race venue, the camaraderie and Corinthian spirit was evident throughout the boat park as seen in smiles, hand shakes and the sharing of near-catastrophe scuttlebutt.
ABYC and sponsors, Jeff Newsome and Michelle Eatough treated the fleet to warm pizza and cold libations for the awards ceremony, which included the coveted Sandra Tartaglino special award for Top Female Skipper. Which was awarded to Katie Flood, who finished 13th overall. Katie gave a moving and brief thank you, encouraging the women of the fleet to continue to strive for better performance. USF 18 chair, Steve Stroebel was awarded with a special recognition for his effort to organize the event following a year-long postponement. He received a miniature model of his own, personal F18 – Complete with sail number USA 44. Event Chair Eileen Haubl was presented a gift certificate by the US F18 Fleet in appreciation of her tireless work to carry off such a complex event.
The awards were closed out with a reminder of upcoming events, including the next F18 Worlds, hosted in Sarasota Florida next October by Red Gear Racing. The tired, but jovial fleet of sailers stayed a while longer for nosh and de-brief…these events are not only about the competition, after all – but the coming together of friends over the sport they love. Until the next time…..
Final results here.