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Yacht Studio Blokart Racing wins North American blokart Sailing Champs

by Ross Vickers on 2 Apr 2011
Racing at Ivanpah Dry Lake, CA Steve Irby
Yacht Studio blokart Racing Team wins the North American blokart Sailing Championships 2011, Performance Middle Weight Division and finishes second overall behind current world champion Santi Oliver from Spain.

Los Angeles Friday night traffic is not the best way to start an event. Landing at 3pm and then picking up a car for the drive from LAX to Primm, NV (around 285miles) put the group in the thick of things. Once we discovered the car pool lane we were off at a massive 30 miles per hour, at one stage the GPS said arrival at 8am... first race at 10am... That wasn't going to work !

The traffic final got going and we pulled into Primm at 10pm much to the delight of Paul Beckett (the inventor of the Blokart) as we got him out of bed for a late night welcome drink.

Saturday morning we hit Denny's for the biggest heart attack breakfast you have ever seen.... I am glad I lost the 10 pounds to get under the weight limit for the middle weight class, its all gone back on with the crazy meal sizes.

Day 1

On drive out the Ivanpah's Playa we saw the dust devils dancing.... it was going to be a great day. Santi from Spain was already blasting around at 89 km/hr with a 2m sail on. Once we had a quick committee meeting to set courses, start lines and the timing system, it was time to rig. The 2m went on the kart for the first time and out I went. Lift off for about three minutes, then STOP. Where did the wind go? I am glad I wasn't out as far as Santi who had a mile wheel back to the camp site.

The wind at Ivanpah is very thermal based and goes as quick as it comes. Such is inland sailing.

After about a two hour wait the wind came up enough for a 5.5m sail at a nice 15 knots upwind and 25 down. It was clear at this stage that Santi and myself were in for a great regatta of close racing.

The committee got two practice races underway giving all the competitors a great feel for the Playa and the courses.


Day 2

THe first race day started with no wind, the committee delayed the racing for a few hours waiting for the wind which arrived lick clock work at 12:30pm

Race one was one of those races that really had to be seen to be believed, I nailed the start, crossed the fleet on the first tack back, and then nailed every lay line, hit every target speed and lapped the ENTIRE Fleet including Paul Beckett and Santi Oliver (both world champions)

The other races provided great tactical battles with Santi, with whom I shared the top spot

Day 3

We once again arrived early for a 10am start, the wind forgot that the regatta was even on, and took a holiday. The committee delayed the start on an hour by hour basis, eventually giving up at 4:30pm.... reports flowed in a few hours later that a 12 knot breeze filled in at 4:45pm after everyone left. Of course it did.

Day 4

The forecast looked better for the day, so the committee push hard to get everyone out there and get racing in. At 9:30am racing looked doubtful, but as if the wind knew that this was the final straw it blew up at 9:50am filling in instantly to a 12 to 15 knot glamour of a day. Racing got underway on time at 10am and the Santi - Ross battle continued.

By the end of the days 4 races Santi and I were locked at a single point apart for the overall series. In my division I had one every race except the last for the day as the wind died right at the bottom mark leaving Santi and I to wheel to the bottom mark while Werner Bolhman ghosted through to take the win.

Day 5

Day 5 was to be a fun day, but with Day 3 cancelled due to the lake of wind the committee wanted to race. The wind was forecast to blow hard with numbers like 35 knots being bantered about.

Santi and I headed out on the Playa early for some tuning work. Much to Santi's frustration every time head lined up near me I would dump my main sheet and downhaul and cruise back downwind. It took Santi a grand total of six times before he realized I wasn't going to sail near him.... I now know why they call him the crazy spaniard, he was not impressed.

Racing got underway at 10am with around 15 knots of wind. I started every race right on the button and won the first 2 races bringing Santi and I within 1 point for the overall series win.

Santi won the next with me finishing second, setting up a show down for the last race in which I had to beat him by three places to take the title. I nailed the start, so much so that I was sure I was over early. I went back just to be sure, I wasn't, a mistake that cost me overall place, While I got back to third place I just couldn't beat Santi's first place, handing him the win.

In the Performance Middle weight division whilst the results say I won all races except one, the truth is that the other two in the division were much much closer that it would appear.


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