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Inaugural Melges 24 'Bushwhacker Cup' and Zane Yoder's Quantum Race Clinic at Pensacola Yacht Club

by Talbot Wilson 19 Oct 2019 09:27 PDT 15-17 November 2019
Come to Pensacola November 15-17 for a fun, competitive regatta and Zane Yoder's Quantum M24 Racing clinic in Pensacola's fantastic venue. © Quantum Sails

On Friday afternoon Nov 15, Zane Yoder will host a Melges 24 Racing Clinic following Practice Racing on Pensacola Bay for the inaugural 'Bushwhacker Cup' (the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Championship). The clinic, hosted by Quantum Sails, is the kickoff for a great weekend of racing out of Pensacola Yacht Club Nov 16-17.

Sailors beware, the regatta's new Bushwhacker machine will be dedicated, too.

Fall sailing in Pensacola Bay can be quite different from Summer seabreeze sailing. Even by mid-October, fronts have started coming through bringing brisk east winds shifting around to northwest with a noticeable temperature drop. That's a game changer for local knowledge.

Pensacola also has s fairly active current pattern caused by 1.5 foot daily tides and by the 'river' that runs NE to SW down the middle of the bay. Land and buildings surrounding the sailing area cause the gradient winds to be quite shifty especially with a north west or northerly breeze.

Yoder commented, "If we do have a front come in, it might be a little more tricky, but these teams should be able to figure it out. Melges 24s have some great sailors and are very in tuned to wind shifts."

Of Pensacola Yoder said, "Preparation and team balance are crucial to this event. Come out on Pensacola Bay for pre-regatta race practice and then come to my 'dock talk' clinic to share some of what you've learned. Refreshments will be served."

For this regatta, Pensacola PRO Hal Smith plans to introduce new robot race marks — MarkSetBots— which are in Pensacola for the Performance Sailing League's winter Exhibition Series. Using robot marks will allow the committee to set courses quickly and accurately and to shift marks at the push of a button.

It's the First Annual Atlantic and Gulf Coast Championship for the "Bushwhacker Cup" with clinics and registration on November 15 and racing scheduled for November 16-17. "We want to offer a fun, competitive regatta in our fantastic venue. Pensacola Bay is perfect for Melges 24 sailing," Smith said. "To that end, we invite all the class sailors to enter the 2019 inaugural Melges 24 regatta on Pensacola Bay. We have dates reserved and Pensacola Yacht Club is ready to shine."

As of October 17, seventeen Melges 24s had entered this inaugural event. Organizers hope for another flurry of entries in the final month before the regatta. Melges 24's heading South for their Winter Series can store their boats on Pensacola YC's 22 acre campus before heading sown that long road to Miami's winter venue.

The preliminary schedule for the regatta calls for Melges 24 sailing, tuning and tactical clinics to be offered on Friday November 15, along with regatta check-in. The competitors briefing will be Friday, November 15 before the first party and racing on the weekend.

Sailing on Pensacola Bay

Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound are naturally protected by Santa Rosa Island to the south. The pass to the Gulf of Mexico is located to the southwest, across from the Naval Air Station Pensacola and divides the Gulf Islands National Seashore on Santa Rosa Island from the western park on Perdido Key.

The racing area is a matter of minutes from the Bayou Chico channel and the Pensacola YC marina. That's close racing... more racing and less transit time.

In summer months, sailors find a daily sea breeze that builds from a mid-day southeasterly to the afternoon 12-15 knot southwesterly they love. In other seasons, the winds are determined by frontal passages, temperature variables, sunshine and other factors. Tides are minimal, about one foot to one and a half feet.

Pensacola Bay is naturally deep with a white sand bottom. The water is clean, seasonally warm and just choppy in a breeze, but not often rough. The east-west shoreline in downtown Pensacola to the north is perfect for regatta spectating.

All sailors— race or cruise— are invited to come sail on Pensacola Bay. Organizers of both amateur regional, national or international sailing championships and professional sailing events should contact Pensacola Yacht Club to discuss racing on beautiful Pensacola Bay.

www.pensacolayachtclub.org

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