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RS Aero North American Midwinters at Palm Beach Sailing Club

by Greg Popp 14 Feb 2019 03:38 PST 9-10 February 2019
RS Aero North American Midwinters at Palm Beach Sailing Club © Patrick Sullivan

Ideal sailing conditions greeted the 24 RS Aero Midwinter racers who converged on Palm Beach this past weekend. The fleet raced on the ocean on Saturday in 15-20 knot winds and building seas that ranged from three to six feet, mixed with considerable chop. The challenging conditions added to the competitive racing over the four races run on Saturday.

With a strong contingent of first timers in the RS Aero, the opportunity to sail on the ocean was a bonus. Returning after racing through the Palm Beach Inlet on a strong ebb tide and a swell made for exciting surfing into Lake Worth as well!

Saturday evening a gourmet burger dinner was provided for the competitors by hosts, Palm Beach Sailing Club. Co-hosts, Sailfish Club of Florida, provided an array of appetizers and the always popular rum punch. Smiles and laughs were evident amongst the old and new friends.

Sunday conditions were too rough to attempt offshore racing so the Harry Anderson course was set on Lake Worth with winds inside ranging from 12-18 knots. Four races were run on Sunday with lots of close quarters action at mark roundings, and tactics playing a significant role in how the competitors fared.

A number of newbies in the 24-boat fleet made auspicious entries into the class. Eugene Schmitt from New Orleans looked very strong hiking and won the twelve boat RS Aero 7 class, followed by North American Class President Hank Saurage from Baton Rouge. Bill Dickey, a last-minute charterer from CT turned on the afterburners in Sunday's last two races to finish third, just ahead of Bob Patterson, with another newbie, Lee J. Montes from NY finishing fifth.

Jamie Gilman from RS Aero US Winter Series sponsor KO Sailing wasn't messing around, nabbing straight bullets in the nine boat RS Aero 5 class, including some very impressive port-tack starts. Regatta co-host Sailfish Club had three representatives in the top five, with Paul Gingras in second, Top Junior Nicholas Lorentzen in third and John Brim in fourth. Top Female sailor Melissa Solnick from NY rounded out the top five.

In the RS Aero 9s, Mark Schwegman, originally from South Africa but now living in Ft Lauderdale, placed second. Mark hadn't sailed a dinghy in 20 years but quickly took to the RS Aero, duking it out for the lead on a number of upwind legs with great speed and astute tactical decision making. Add a year of practice and this guy'll be scary fast! Madhavan Thirumalai finished third, and receives the Furthest Travelled award, coming to the regatta from Bangalore India via San Francisco(!).

Palm Beach is one of the few venues that provides the opportunity to sail both offshore on the Atlantic and on the Intracoastal Waterway giving sailors a full range of conditions in which to test their skills.

Overall Results:

PosSail  NoSkipperClub R1  R2  R3  R4  R5  R6  R7 R8 Pts
RS Aero 5
1  2119  Jamie Gilman  Conroe YC TX  [1]  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  7  
2  1378  Paul Gingras  Sailfish Club FL  2  2  2  2  2  [3]  3  3  16  
3  1759  Nicholas Lorentzen  Sailfish Club FL  3  3  [5]  5  3  2  2  2  20  
4  1764  John Brim  Sailfish Club FL  6  4  4  [DNF]  4  6  5  5  34  
5  1  Melissa Solnick  Fraglia Vela Riva ITA/NY4  6  6  4  5  [7]  6  6  37  
6  1278  Jeffrey Leach  Sailfish Club FL  [DSQ]  5  3  3  6  8  DNF  DNS  45  
7  2279  Geoffrey Moehl  Lake Eustis SC7  [DNC]  DNC  DNC  8  5  7  4  51  
8  1610  Gregory Popp  Halifax SA FL[DNF]  DNC  DNC  DNC  7  4  4  7  52  
9  1761  Matthew Lorentzen  Sailfish Club FL5  7  7  6  [DNC]  DNC  DNC  DNC  55  
RS Aero 7
1  2122  Eugene Schmitt  Bay Waveland YC MS1  1  [2]  1  1  2  1  1  8  
2  2757  Hank Saurage  Pontchartrain YC LA  [DNF]  2  1  2  3  1  3  2  14  
3  2276  William Dickey  RYC  2  3  4  4  4  [9]  2  3  22  
4  2404  Bob Patterson  Melbourne YC FL3  6  3  5  2  3  4  [11]  26  
5  2  Lee Montes  Menantic YC NY4  4  [7]  3  5  4  7  5  32  
6  3  Josh Morrison  SC Chesapeake MD  5  5  5  6  [7]  7  5  4  37  
7  2024  Jeff Dunmall  Toronto CAN7  7  8  7  [10]  10  6  7  52  
8  5  Bill McKenzie  Pam Beach SC FL  8  8  6  [OCS]  12  5  12  6  57
9  2278  John Savickas  New Mexico NM  9  [10]  9  9  6  6  8  10  57
10  1983  David Solnick  Fraglia Vela Riva ITA/NY 6  9  [10]  8  9  8  9  8  57
11  1738  Tony Corkell  Carolina SC SC[DNF]  DNC  DNC  DNC  11  11  10  9  80  
12  2282  Chris Schmitz  Concord YC TN[DNF]  DNC  DNC  DNC  8  12  11  12  82  
RS Aero 9
1  2210  Marc Jacobi  Cedar Point YC CT1  1  [2]  1  1  1  1  1  7  
2  2209  Mark Schwegman  Point YC 2  2  1  2  2  2  [3]  2  13  
3  1982  Madhavan Thirumalai  Cedar Point YC CT3  3  3  3  3  3  2  [DNF]  20  

Next up on the US Winter Series is another set of back to back weekends in March at Port Canaveral on 8-10th and then Sarasota on 14-17th, ideal for the long distance travellers looking for good racing and winter sun! Full event details and info on Charter RS Aeros are on the RS Aero North American Events List here and you can keep in touch with Everything Aero via the RS Aero North American Facebook Group.

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