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2011 Florida Masters Week Wrap Up PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 March 2011 19:49

The 2011 mid-winter masters’ migration to south Florida started with a bang and ended with a whimper.

Florida Laser Masters Championship, Feb. 12-13
Things got off to a rousing start at the annual Jack Swenson Memorial Florida Laser Masters Championship, where 55 competitors were greeted with big wind, big waves and the warm hospitality of the Palm Beach Sailing Club. The RC elected to send the geezers outside on day one despite 20 knot winds and epic seas. After two races, much carnage, and some confusion about the exact coordinates of the leeward mark (resulting in a protest, later disallowed, of 19 boats), the tired troops were sent in, John Bertrand and Ernesto Rodriguez leading the pack with a first and a second each. Day two dawned sunny and brisk, but no less breezy. This time the RC set a course inside the channel, and the gang proceeded to duke it out in four tightly fought windward-leewards in a stiff northerly. Ernesto put the pedal down hard, taking three bullets and beating the masters’ handicap to win first Apprentice and the coveted champion’s green jacket. Bertrand hung on to take second overall and first Master. Grand Master Jorge Abreu and Great Grand Master Peter Seidenberg tied for sixth, each taking first in his age division, but Peter winning the tie-breaker based on the masters scoring rule of age before beauty. Michelle Davis was the first woman, and also the artistic talent behind the handsome prizes. Food, drink, and race management were all first rate, thanks to the great team at PBSC.

Midweek Madness, Feb. 15-16
After a (way too short) day to rest and recover, the fleet reconvened at West Palm Beach for Midweek Madness. Meanwhile, the temperature warmed up and the wind calmed down, resulting in the kind of champagne sailing conditions that lure sailors from thousands of miles away to sail in Florida in the winter. The 42-boat fleet included entries from Germany, Denmark, Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Hawaii, and the far corners of the continental US. But it was local boy Ville Roberts from Ft. Lauderdale (via Finland) who crushed it the first day, recovering from a first race restart after being over early to finish 13-2-1-1 and end the day in a dead heat with Cooper River, NJ, rock star John McCausland. Day two brought a lighter, shiftier, easterly breeze and some major shakeups in the finishing orders. Still, at the end of the day it was the same two names at the top, McCausland finally getting the best of Roberts in the last race to win first Master and first overall by three points. Third overall and first Great Grand Master was Peter Seidenberg, and Bill Symes’s fifth overall was good enough to win the Grand Master division. Jay Vann finished first in the Apprentice division and Michelle Davis once again took home the prize for first woman. Blissful but bleary-eyed after four magnificent days of sailing, the happy band packed up their Lasers, bid a fond farewell to Palm Beach, and headed west to the big one–Masters Midwinters East.


Masters Midwinters East, Feb. 18-20
By the time the masters fleet arrived at Davis Island Yacht Club for the 2011 Masters Midwinters East, its numbers had swelled to 71, but the wind had shrunk to zero. Fortunately for the competitors, the race committee was patient and the kitchen was proficient. As everyone sat gazing across the perfect glass of Tampa Bay on Friday morning, the Davis Island YC staff was serving up whopping plates of eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits and gravy. Then, just when we feared all this carbo loading might go to waste, zephyrs started to appear out of the northwest. The breeze filled in, the AP came down, and the fleet hit the water around 4 pm, just in time to knock off two brisk races before sundown. Showing the way around the course was the amazingly youthful looking Matias Del Solar, followed in the first race by his amazingly youthful looking brother Juan Pablo and in the second race by the amazingly youthful looking Eric Oetgen (is nobody checking IDs?). Just beyond the finish line, the beer boat was handing out pre-opened cans of Bud Light to refresh the competitors for their reach back into the club, where more Bud Light and hot appetizers awaited.
Saturday morning looked like a Groundhog Day of day one. Sailors lined up at the breakfast buffet and hunkered down to wait for wind. Out on the front lawn, amid a sea of limp Laser sails, Juan Pablo Del Solar offered an impromptu seminar on the latest rigging tricks. Then around 2:30, the RC detected whispers of a developing sea breeze and sent the fleet out. Race three got off to a hopeful start in an 8-knot westerly, but the breeze faded, then veered hard right on lap two. 2010 Masters Midwinters champ Peter Vessella figured it out to take the bullet, followed home by John McCausland and Laser legend Dick Tillman. As the breeze filled in and steadied, two-time world champion John Bertrand found his groove, leading Matias Del Solar and Mike Matan across the finish line in race four. There was just enough time and just enough wind to squeeze off one more heat, at the end of which Matia Del Solar was once again at the front of the pack, followed by Peter Shope and Eric Oetgen. The beer boat was on duty at the finish line, and the weary competitors sailed home to hot showers and a bodacious regatta dinner.
And that, as it turned out, was that. With no wind lines in sight by lunch time Sunday, the RC called it a regatta and fired up the barbeques. Over burgers and beers, the hardware was handed out to the following sailors:
• Apprentice: 1) Matias Del Solar, 2) Eric Oetgen, 3) Juan Pablo Del Solar
• Master: 1) John Bertrand, 2) Peter Shope, 3) John McCausland
• Grand Master: 1) Peter Vessella, 2) Bill Symes, 3) Alden Shattuck
• Great Grand Master: 1 (yawn) Peter Seidenberg, 2) David Hartman, 3) Dick Tillman
• Overall: 1) Matias Del Solar, 2) Peter Vessella, 3) John Bertrand


Masters Midwinters East was also the grand finale of Florida Masters Week, which combined scores for all three regattas to determine top dog for the week.  Ville Roberts of Lauderdale Yacht Club took the overall title with scores of 3-2-6 in the Masters division.  Age group winners were
• Apprentice: Matias Del Solar (DNC, DNC, 1)
• Master: John MacCausland (7,1,3)
• Grand Master: Bill Symes (2-1-2)
• Great Grand Master: Peter Seidenberg (1-1-1).
Many thanks to the huge team of volunteers that put on this terrific sailing/dining extravaganza, especially Regatta Chair Eric Robbins and PRO Jane Anne Pincus. Full results can be found at http://diyc.org/results.asp.

Last Updated on Saturday, 02 April 2011 14:19
 

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