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Florida Masters Championship 2019

Starting on March 8th to the 10th, master sailors raced out of Palm Beach Sailing Club in
the 2019 championships.

Provisional dates and venues for two major Masters events in 2019

The following are provisional dates and venues for two major Masters events in 2019.

The 2019 Master Worlds are expected to be held in Scheveningen, Netherlands in September (note: contract still to be signed).  
Link to the Harbour’s web site.

The 2019 Master Europeans would be in Rosas, Spain from 14 to 20 June.  This was the site of the 2007 Masers Worlds and is a superb place to sail and visit.

Eight Bells - Jim Christopher

Older Master Laser sailors on the west coast will have no trouble remembering the inimitable Jim Christopher on the race course.

2012 Florida Masters Midwinters PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 18:50

Get all the insight and things learned from competitor Doug Peckover.


I (Doug Peckover) was told that it’s a tradition for the winner of this event to do the write-up. Having never competed in this event before, or for that matter, never being asked to do a similar write-up, I decided to focus on what I learned.
The Masters Midwinters East held by Melbourne Yacht Club was the final sequel in the Masters Week trilogy of regattas held in Florida each year. Masters Week started at Palm Beach Sailing Club with the Florida Masters Championship and then moved north to the US Sailing Center of Martin County for Masters Midweek Madness and then further north for the final regatta, and my personal favorite, the Midwinters East in Melbourne, Florida. It was my favorite because it was the event that allowed me to spoil Peter Shope’s hat trick for the series. He had two very convincing wins at the previous events where he showed amazing speed in a breeze despite weighing only 175 pounds (there goes my excuse). It was a genuine pleasure to watch Peter sail by being very fit, keeping the boat flat, and working the boat hard. Very talented and, fortunately for me, very willing to give a struggling Grand Master a little advice all week to improve my sailing.
Actually, the talent for all three events was a pleasant surprise. The Midwinters had the biggest turnout of the three regattas and the talent was deep. I learned that the attendance actually qualified it as an “International Regatta” according to ISAF requirements. There were 57 competitors from 15 states and 6 countries (USA, CAN, DEN, NOR, FRA, and ARG). Melbourne Yacht Club put on a great event with a third of its 150 members volunteering their time to make this a memorable event. We started out light on the first day and ended with gusts over 30 mph on the final day. Great practice for learning to shift gears and being prepared for anything.
Day one was light and shifty, but these are familiar conditions for me since I’m from Dallas and sail on small lakes. There were holes in the windward-leeward course and I’ve learned the hard way that a slight breeze that's moving towards you is better than a stronger breeze that's stationary. My experience with these conditions helped and I finished with two firsts, while many very good sailors were caught in some of these wind mirages and had horrible finishes. John MacCausland and Buzzy Heausler sailed really well to have 5 and 6 points for the day.
Day two had similar conditions. Alden Shattuck pulled ahead in race 3 by keeping his air clear on the first run and easily won. In race 4, the racing was very close resulting in a lot of congestion at the first mark. Buzzy led John Potter and Peter Vessella, while I rounded in the mid teens and played the pressure, angles, and shifts in that order to finish 4th.
Day three started with a wind speed of 15 that increased above 30 as recorded at the Melbourne airport. With an Olympic course for race 5, I led after the first triangle because of a good start and reaching speed, but the heavy-weather pros pulled ahead on the second beat as the wind strength increased. Peter Shope won easily followed by Buzzy and John. The breeze really picked up for the final race, with Otto Strandvig (DEN), Peter Shope, Benoit Meesemaecker (FRA), and Peter Vessella pulling away. At the bottom of the run, things got a little out of control as I approached the mark so I put my centerboard all the way down early and then tipped to windward. This bad news was followed by good news as I was standing in less than three feet of water - I had hit a sandbar. To the race committee, it must have looked funny to see me walk around to get my boat up by just lifting the mast. Luckily we had sailed enough races to have a throw-out.
When the overall scores were added up, I edged out Buzzy Heausler, followed by John MacCausland, a very consistent Mike Matan, and Alden Shattuck. Sandy Westphal put in a gutsy performance and was the top female.
The awards, which were specially labeled wine from a Florida vineyard, for all age groups were presented to the following:
First Lady – Sandy Westphal
Apprentice – 1st – David Hillmyer; 2nd – Cary Limehouse; 3rd – Michelle Davis
Master – 1st – John MacCausland; 2nd – Mike Matan; 3rd – Otto Strandvig
Grand Master – 1st – Doug Peckover; 2nd - Buzzy Heausler; 3rd – Alden Shattuck
Great Grand Master – 1 Joe Van Rossem; 2nd – David Hartman; 3rd – Dick Tillman
Complete results are at:
Many thanks to John Fox and his team, and to Ross Herbert who took hundreds of pictures that will be on the Melbourne Yacht Club's website. (
As an aside, one of the highlights of my week was on a rest day when Peter Shope arranged an excellent one-day clinic given by Luke Lawrence where we were towed upwind and then carved downwind. Luke has excellent form and I'm grateful that he will not be a master for a long time. He was strongly recommended by Peter as a coach and I would definitely second that recommendation.
For those of us headed to Brisbane for the Masters Worlds, we could not have had better conditions and competition to whip us into shape. If you've never attended Masters Week, be sure to put it on your calendar because you'll have three great venues with great competition.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 18:53
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