Tense fight for Americas Championship lead at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club

Argies Gonzalez-Smith/Heuser squeezed between Reiss/Lauridsen & Melvin/Melvin – picture by Tom Walker

From Eileen Haubl, ABYC

The 2021 Formula 18 Americas Championship has seen 32 teams representing 5 different countries descend upon the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, ready for stiff competition amongst Long Beach’s infamous wind and challenging conditions.

With practice racing and comradery commencing the day before official racing started, the yard was filled with at least 6 brand new boat designs that arrived (literally) JUST in time to be put together for some much-needed fine tuning on the practice day.

The Wild Bunch! – picture by Tom Walker

As we get ready for this 4th and final day of racing, all are feeling the effects of large swell, mixed wind conditions ranging from a mere 7 knots to 18 and gusty, broken boat parts and bruised bodies – Just another high-level catamaran event. Robbie Daniel, currently in 10th place said of the conditions: “These are the conditions I really enjoy. Nice waves, almost always steady wind and a great place to sail.”

Any OCS? – Picture by Tom Walker

As I strolled the beach, talking to the teams as they prepare for the final day, many of the comments were the same; “Competition this year is way tougher than in 2017”, “Epic conditions, excellent venue and really well run.” But the remarks that stood out the most came from Steve Stroebel, currently in 8th place sailing with Steven Leuck: “Two things really stand out for me at this event. There is an extreme battle with the lead going back and forth between Cruz [Gonzales Smith] and Ravi [Parent] that is great to watch, and the fact that this is overall a true Americas battle between North and South American teams.” 

Ravi Parent & Nick Lovisa close to the gate – picture by Tom Walker

With just a few short hours before the final start sequences begin, there is a tie for 1st place between Cruz and Ravi. But all eyes are on those top ten boats, with another tie for 4th and slim margins between all. No wiggle room for errors today. Forecast is again, for steady winds from 12 to 18 knots with swell, and bright, relentless sun. Who will take home the pride? Stay tuned……

Current results here.