Miami has been depleted of its Stars over the past month. Many have made it to Europe in time for the Princess Sophia Regatta, others are en route and nearly 30 have traveled northwest to Tampa for the 2007 Western Hemisphere Championship hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club. The sailors are adjusting to different landmarks- smokestacks instead of Stiltsville, an airport instead of the Rickenbacker Causeway, a port entrance rather than Mercy Hospital. They are also adjusting to a lighter breeze, less chop and sailing right off of the yacht club. With the practice race starting at 1500 hrs., this event has started out down right civilized.
Temperatures were in the 80’s and the breeze was between 6 and 10 knots out of Southwest. The event will be run under the Star Class’ Format C prescription for fleets under 30 boats. With shorter legs, the race committee hopes to run two to three races per day. Light air is predicted for the early part of the week, so it will be important for crews to keep their heads out of the boat and concentrate on staying in the pressure.
Norway’s Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pederson started close to the committee boat and played the middle right side of the course. They were chased around the first weather mark by the boat bearing a gold star, Sweden’s Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom, Bermuda’s Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven, the US boat sailed by Andy Macdonald and Canadian Mike Wolfs and John Dane and Austin Sperry.
The deck was shuffled quite a bit as a result of a number of gybes down the .8-mile run, Freddy and Anders rounded the leeward mark just inside Eivind and Petter. John Dane and Austin Sperry, John MacCausland and Bob Schofield, Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven and Rohan Lord and Miles Addy rounded in the top five. A number of boats peeled off to sail the 100 yards or so back to the club while others went the distance, but heeded to superstition and did not finish the race. Eivind and Petter took the gun of the practice race.
Look for a team that is well versed in lake sailing to win the Silver Star.