The 2013 SLAM Mid Winters West Regatta, the first of two major Etchells events on the west coast this Spring, was hosted by San Diego Yacht Club over the Easter Weekend. Point Loma Outfitting, owned by Fleet 13's own Tom Carruthers, proudly sponsored the three day regatta which attracted some of the best One Design racers on the left coast.
Day One - Vince Brun sailing with Rodney Hagebols and Julie Servais on USA 1227 demonstrated tremendous speed and smarts to win the first race over Chris Snow on USA 1018, Avalanche and Bruce Nelson USA 986, Rhino followed closely by Steve Wright on USA 984, Reposada.
With race one of four scheduled races in the books, the teams shook off the rust and settled down to business. The next race bullet went to Mr Rolex, Bill Hardesty and Team Line Honors, followed closely by Steve Wright, Mark Butler and Tom Goddard on Reposada and Tom Carruthers on USA 1000 'K' sailing with Eric Doyle and Andrew Campbell.
SDYC Race Committee, led by the ever reliable Bruce Greene, sent the fleet off on another four leg windward, leeward course. Despite shifty conditions, Argyle Campbell, sailing USA 975 Black Jack,led the fleet to a comfortable win followed by Frederic Laffitte on USA 1281 Hustle and Flow and Lola USA 1066 skippered by Chuck Sinks took third.
The final race of day one sent the fleet on a five leg course. Jim Cunningham, sailing with Jeff Madrigali and Karl Anderson on USA 935, won the race followed closed by Team Line Honors, Hustle & Flow and Rhino.
With four races now complete and four different teams each with a bullet the leader board was tightly grouped with just a couple of points separating the top 7 teams. In first place was Vince Brun tied with Frederic Laffitte just one point ahead of a hungry pack of America's Cup veterans, Olympic Medalists and World Champions all anxious to make a move on day two.
Race Chair Mike Held hosted a debrief Friday evening led by Bruce Nelson, Vince Brun, Bill Hardesty and others who enjoyed a good day on the water. Sharing their views of the race course and tips on rig set up and boat handling.
Day Two - teams were treated to a warm sunny day and moderate but shifty winds. With four races scheduled there were going to be plenty of opportunities for teams to leg out, fall back, tack on one another, OCS and shoot themselves in the foot. All of which happened. As usual, the top teams shared the honors and quickly separated themselves from the mid fleet. However, these same teams also struggled in the shifty conditions to stay consistent and posted a mixed bag of results for the day.
Following another fun day of racing, teams were treated to cocktails, dinner and more cocktails in the Jessop Room courtesy of Point Loma Outfitting and Fleet 13. The evening was enjoyed by all and provided competitors with an opportunity to connect with old friends, re-hash the days racing and swap a few stories.
Day Three - Easter Sunday and the fleet had been visited overnight by the Easter Bunny in the form of Etchells sailor Marnie Buddo. The Easter Buddo had left some teams with what many believe were Rum soaked Peeps. A nice way to start the tow out. Thank You !
With just three races left to determine this year’s Mid Winters Champion, some teams got hopping while others laid eggs. Argyle Campbell posted a 1, 1, 2. Chris Snow posted a 2, 2, 10. Bill Hardesty a 3, 4, 11 and Bruce Nelson a 4, 7, 1.
After eleven hard fought races victory went to USA 979 Team Line Honors led by Bill Hardesty sailing with Mandi Markee, Joe Markee and Victor Diaz. Second place went to Chris Snow sailing Avalanche with son Patrick Snow, John Rudderham and Cole Harris. Third place to Fleet Captain Bruce Nelson on Rhino sailing with Steve Pickel, Patrick Morrisey and Morgane Renoir.
The next major event for the Etchells is the prized Orca Bowl. Scheduled for May 18, 19th it is expected to draw an even larger fleet with teams coming to San Diego from all over the country to swap tacks with some of the World's best teams.
2013 SLAM Mid Winters West Regatta Final Results
1. Line Honors / Bill Hardesty
2. Avalanche / Chris Snow
3. Rhino / Bruce Nelson
4. USA 935 / Jim Cunningham
5. Chowder / Vince Brun