2013 Florida Masters Circuit A Great Success Print
Monday, 11 February 2013 23:48

Two terrific write up summarizing the fantastic week of racing for Laser Masters in Florida.

Florida Masters Week 2013 report from Regatta Chairman, David Hartman:

Most sailors arrived at Charlotte Harbor on Friday, Feb 1, to set up, renew old friendships and begin new ones, and go for a little tune-up sail prior to the three day Masters Midwinters East start on Saturday.  We were able to enjoy a good barbecue spread Friday evening as part of the Charlotte Harbor Regatta which was being held simultaneously with the MMWE.

At Saturday’s Competitors Meeting, we remembered our long time Laser sailing friend, Heinz Gebauer who left us recently.  We had a nice sailing day in gentle breezes and we were able to get in four good races under the tutelage of veteran PRO Carl Schellbach, imported from Stuart.  Upon returning to shore, we lined up by the water truck to rinse down our boats (remember the old days without dollys, covers, hoses to rinse boats – but that’s another story).  The beer was flowing and we were treated to a nice dinner of steak and shrimp.  A pleasant surprise was the addition of a Pusser’s Rum party.  Not sure what the drink was, but it went down really well!   Needless to say, there was plenty of enthusiastic socializing among the competitors and their companions.

Sunday presented us another light air day and we struggled to get in two races.  Cagey and wise old veteran John MacCausland hedged his bets after the second race and pulled a horizon job on the fleet for the race to the water truck.  He also became the target of the local press for an interview which made the front page of the local paper.   After cleaning up and enjoying a few beers by the keg, we reconvened at the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club for a sumptious feast of steak, chicken, mahi, and the fixings all superbly done.  All this while watching the Super Bowl!  During the infamous power outage many abandoned the club and headed to hotels or local sports bars to watch the conclusion of what turned out to be a pretty good game.

We knew Monday was going to be an iffy day, and it was.  So by 1100 we gave up, packed up and headed off to our next adventure.

As a Floridian, I was a little disappointed that the weather was a tad bit cold, barely cracking 70 degrees during the day.  However, we all did need our sunscreen!   

Laser Masters were by far the largest class at the event with 59 competitors, possibly larger than all other classes combined.  Our launch site was at Port Charlotte Community Beach.  This was an ideal location with easy access to the open waters of Charlotte Harbor.  The Charlotte Harbor Regatta Committee did a great job publicizing the event in the local community.

We lost a few sailors and picked up a few for the Midweek Madness Regatta sailed at the US Sailing Center, Jensen Beach Wednesday and Thursday, Feb 6&7.  Our temperatures were a little higher than Charlotte Harbor, so few spray tops or warmer gear were spotted on the race course. Wednesday races were held in good breezes of 8 to 11 knots, allowing for four good races in shifty conditions.  Again, we had plenty of shoreside opportunity to chat with friends, old and new before and after the racing.  The “après sail” festivities on Wednesday included a good supply of beer and wine, with a cooked to order meal of chicken, mahi or steak.  Of course, we relived the races and embellished our experiences as the night rolled on.  Halsey Bullen, of the famed Cedar Point Yacht Club, home of what may be the largest frost bite fleet, updated us on an old friend, Ed Rickard, who had some discomfort while vacationing at Bitter End Yacht Club, came back and had bypass surgery and is on his way to recovery.  Hopefully, we’ll see him on the water soon.   Thursday was another fine day of racing, with PRO Charlie MacNider working hard to keep us behind the line in shifty, gusty, conditions with current pushing us over the line.  We were able to sail four more windward leeward races with plenty of wind shifts and velocity changes.   After racing was completed, our gear was put up and we made preparations for getting underway to the next venue in Palm Beach.   During our packing up process, some of us noticed a couple first timers standing around what looked to be a tank used for soda fountains.  It turns out that we now have a brewmaster in our ranks and we enjoyed a few cups of excellent home brew.  So preliminary negotiations were begun to ensure he returns with ample supply next year!   

Saturday at Palm Beach Sailing Club brought us ideal conditions for sailing and we were able to enjoy three great races in 10 to 12 kts of northeasterly wind.  We felt badly for the RC as they rocked and rolled on a trawler.  We were sailing close to the Gulf Stream which meant we got to see plenty of flying fish as we made our way around the course.  In the third race, some dolphin came to play with us, swimming alongside as we made our way downwind.  After sailing back in, I’m sure there were several of the folks from the northeast being very careful in retelling the day’s events to loved ones back home who were getting set for a little storm called NEMO.  We had a great Saturday night dinner, table cloths and all at which we again had opportunities to catch up with old and new friends.

Sunday presented us with higher winds from the East which made passage through the inlet on an outgoing tide extremely dangerous, more so for the support boats then the sailors.  Unfortunately, this direction does not permit fair sailing inside by the club, so the abandonment signal was hoisted, awards were done, and we packed up to head home.   A few years ago, Jack Pearce came up with an idea to recognize Great Grand Masters sailing prowess.  This became the Peter A Seidenberg Perpetual Award to recognize Peter’s outstanding sailing abilities and overall contribution to the class.  Since Peter is virtually unbeatable, it goes to the GGM with the best overall record in 3 of 6 major NA regattas.  Joe Van Rossem was the winner for 2012 – Congratulations, Joe!  

All in all, Florida Masters Week provided everyone a good mix of sailing conditions and enjoyable shoreside activities.  This was all made possible by countless volunteers at the three venues working hard to put on good events.  Our thanks go out to all of them.  Now it is time to start planning for 2014!   


Report #2:

The 2013 Florida Laser Masters Circuit, a three regatta series held in three different locations over 8 days, wrapped up this past weekend.  
The first event was the Masters Midwinters East, sailed on the shallow waters of Charlotte Harbor, which is just north of Fort Myers.  Charlotte Harbor is a very nice venue for a Laser regatta, and camping on the grounds of the park is welcome.  Day 1 saw only one race completed, as the light air totally dropped off and the second race had to be abandoned on the second leg. The RC tried to set up a course after the breeze showed a little promise; however, it proved to be a teaser and the fleet was sent back to shore.  This did allow sailors to socialize and sip on a few cold ones in the beautiful weather.  Day 2 started with a hiking breeze for the first race of the day, but this dropped off to a non-hiking breeze for most of the day. The RC did a very nice job in squeezing in five good races on the day. This gave the sailors plenty to talk about at tasty regatta dinner put on at the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club. A few sailors followed this up by a trip to a local sports bar to watch an exciting finish to the Super Bowl.  The wind forecast for Monday's third and final day of scheduled racing was not promising, and the RC Chairman wisely kept the fleet on shore and ended up calling it shortly thereafter and handing out the prizes.  John MacCausland demonstrated excellent light air Laser skills to take the title, with Peter Shope putting some serious pressure on John with some consistent sailing to take the runner up spot.
The fleet (most of the same competitors sailed all three events of the circuit) packed up their gear and headed across State to get ready for the Midweek Madness regatta sailed on Wednesday and Thursday out of the US Sailing Center in Jensen Beach (near Stuart, FL).  The USSC is a superb facility for hosting a Laser regatta, and the hospitality and regatta management were top notch.  Plenty of amber liquid and grilled fare were enjoyed by all on the upper deck of the sailing center. The RC ran four good races each day, with an oscillating NE breeze that had the sailors using their hiking straps most of the upwind legs and needing to play a few waves and unpredictable puffs on the downwind runs.  After a rough start in the light air first race, Canadian Andy Roy was glad to see a bit more breeze fill in and he started a consistent 7-race run of consistent top five finishes to take the title. Peter Shope again took the second spot on the podium, with Peter Vessella taking 3rd.
By now the sailors were getting pretty fast at loading the trailers and roof racks, and they started to make their way further south to Palm Beach Sailing Club for the 31st annual Florida State Masters. Friday was a day off, which allowed competitors to get primed for the forecasted 15 knots and waves expected out on the Atlantic. Sure enough, Saturday brought champagne Laser sailing conditions and there were some wide smiles all around. Three races were held, and starting had to be run under the black flag due to an upwind running current. The key was to get off the line in good shape without being OCS, and then playing a few shifts mainly on the right hand side of the course.  The downwind legs were long due to the adverse current, so getting into a nice wave-playing groove was critical.  Andy Roy followed up a bullet in the first race with a 3rd and 2nd in the next two to take a lead after day 1. For the the third time in a week the host club put on a fine dinner.  With more breeze forecasted for Sunday most of the sailors headed off soon after for a good night's rest.  Unfortunately the waves outside, and particularly through the inlet to the ocean, proved a bit too strong for the RC to be confident enough in the fleet's overall safety, so they cancelled any further racing and handed out the prizes.  Andy was awarded the “Dirty Old Man of the Sea” perpetual trophy and was also awarded the ceremonial Masters “Green Jacket”.  The inside of the blazer has the year and name of the previous 31 winners sewn in.  Roy didn't need to use his GM handicap points to take the title over previous 3-time winner, Ernesto Rodriguez (Apprentice Master), with James Liebl (Master division) taking 3rd.
On the overall for the circuit, Roy ended with a 7-1-1 over the three events, with MacCausland scoring a 1-4-6.  Shope had to keep an OCS in the third regatta, ending up with finishes of 2-2-20 over the three regattas.
For any Master sailor looking for a break from the cold and snow, they should definitely consider competing in the 2014 Florida Masters Circuit. They will enjoy great race management, hospitality, sailing conditions and friendly competition.

Masters Midwinters East Results

Laser Masters MidWeek Madness Results

Florida Laser Masters Championship Results

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 19:37