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Oakcliff Sailing May Update: In like a lion and, well, out like a lion too

by Oakcliff Sailing 29 May 05:50 PDT
Melges 24s Distance Racing © Oakcliff Sailing

May has been a crazy busy month at Oakcliff. We hosted our Short-handed Offshore Acorn program which culminated with our much-anticipated Melges 24 Distance Race.

It was designed to be a logistical test for the new mixed, double-handed offshore Olympic event. It was a monumental challenge for the team but everybody managed to play their part to make the event a huge success.

Since, then we've hosted two Match Races, a Grade 4, a Grade 5, and sailed the Block Island Race in our three Farr 40s and the Ker 50 Temptation. Congratulations to Farr 40 Blue for snagging a first- place finish. Next up is a Grade 3 Clinegatta this week. Dave Perry will coach the clinic and compete in the regatta.

Next week most of the team will head south for the Annapolis to Newport Race, while Andres holds down the fort for the High Performance Acorn camp. This year Oakcliff collaborated with US Sailing to add the camp to the Olympic Development Program schedule.

First-Time skipper wins Grade 5

Last weekend's Grade 5 saw some changes in the usual skipper line-up. Lionel Crear who normally crews for Jim McNally took the helm and Irina Beloborodova, who normally does bow on Derek Webster's boat, skippered her first match race. The breeze refused to cooperate and OA Patrick Burks had to abandon the regattax after the third flight, two short of a full round robin, but without a single loss on her score line, Irina came out on top. Not a bad way to start her match racing career as a skipper!

"Minimizing mistakes was what put us ahead or helped us catch up when we were behind," said Irina. "As a Laser sailor, getting the hang of steering with a wheel was a challenge but the light wind helped."

Farr 40 Blue takes first in BI Race

Oakcliff's three Farr 40s and the Ker 50 Temptation crossed the start line of the Block Island Race Friday afternoon outside of Stamford, CT. They started out reaching in a gusty 15 to 20 knot breeze. Prospects looked good for Black who initially pulled ahead of the fleet but when they rounded the first mark off Block Island at sunrise the next morning, they were neck and neck with Blue and Red wasn't far behind.

They pushed through light and shifty conditions as they sailed back from Block Island. Blue chose to go through Plum Gut to get back into Long Island Sound. Black opted for the road less traveled and passed through the Sluiceway. Despite having a three knot current boost in the Sluiceway, it didn't pay off and Blue made gains through the Gut.

A few hours later a Southerly filled in and it was a drag race to the finish line. The breeze oscillated between 15 and 20 knots sustained. The crew on Black alternated between a full main and a reef but they couldn't keep up with Blue who crossed the line half an hour ahead. See full results on Yacht Scoring.

Team were composed of Oakcliff Staff, Supporters, and trainees. If you want to have access to opportunities like this, Become A Supporter or contact us to schedule a tour.

Webster wins Grade 4

For most of the six teams in Oakcliff's May Grade 4 Regatta, it was the first match race regatta of the season so the teams who came out on top were the ones who shook off the rust the quickest. If the light and shifty conditions on the first day didn't do it, the big breeze on the second day certainly did.

"We were here a month ago at the David Storrs Memorial Qualifier Regatta," said Jim McNally who took third, his highest finish in a grade match race regatta. "That warm-up really gave us an edge over the competition this weekend, especially dialing in our crew work in the heavy wind today."

Adapting to the rapidly changing conditions was key for getting ahead and staying ahead in the knockout rounds on the second day. "My crew did an amazing job of shifting gears," said Derek Webster who opened his sixth season at Oakcliff with a first place finish. "There were never more than ten seconds, especially on the upwinds, when we weren't adjusting something. It was really important to depower in the puffs and power back up in the lulls. I know my main trimmer is going to be very sore tomorrow."

Read more here...

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