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RS Aero North American Championships at Bay-Waveland Yacht Club, Mississippi, USA

by Marc Jacobi 10 Jun 06:03 PDT June 3-6, 2021

Bay Waveland Yacht Club in Bay St Louis, Mississippi hosted the RS Aero 2021 North American Championship. 31 sailors were entered for the regatta, which saw conditions ranging from 3-22+ knot winds. The entire fleet of RS Aero 5, 7 and 9s sailed together, with handicap factors used to determine corrected and overall positions.

Day 1 saw the lightest breezes of the event, oscillating and going right throughout the day. This made it difficult for the RC to get the course and start line square, resulting in several delays and general recalls for Race 1. After that the fleet settled down (even if the wind didn't), resulting in one more race before the RC sent sailors home in a dying Southeasterly. Of course, 15 minutes after making the call the seabreeze filled in...

Day 1 was tailor-made for the RS Aero 9s, their superior horsepower allowing them to punch through the chop on the shallow lake. Class newcomer Bob Hodges easily took to the RS Aero, pushing Marc Jacobi in Race 2 before an unfortunate capsize on the second beat. Bob Patterson from Melbourne FL took advantage of Bob's capsize to scoot into second over the line and held that to the finish.

In the RS Aero 7s, local hotshot Ricky Welsh staked his claim early by placing 3rd and 2nd on corrected time, an impressive performance given the light wind. North American Class President Hank Saurage was right behind Ricky in Race 1 but a tumble in Race 2 meant he had to be consistent for the rest of the event. In the RS Aero 5s, Cynthia (CC) Griffith from Viridian Sailing Centre near Dallas questioned her choice of rig given the light air, but was convinced to wait until the morning to make up her mind.

That proved to be the right decision, as Day 2 dawned cloudy, rainy and windy! The breeze ranged from 12-22+ knots, allowing the RC to set 4 Harry Anderson courses that tested sailors on all points of sail. In Race 3, Ash Beatty of Texas came barrelling out of the left to round the top mark first, with Bob Hodges and Marc Jacobi right on his tail. The RS Aero 7s were in their element, taking 7 of the top 10 corrected positions in the race.

This proved to be a consistent pattern, with Welsh and Saurage sharing bullets with Jacobi in the day's races. In Race 6, Welsh and Jacobi's corrected times were tied out to 100th of a second, with Welsh ultimately coming out on top - exciting stuff! Going into the final day of racing, Jacobi was on top by 1 point over Welsh, with Saurage 3 more points back.

A buffet of gumbo, jambalaya and salad was enjoyed by the sailors apres sailing, with lots of discussion about the weather for Sunday. The forecast was calling for fresh winds with possible thunderstorms, so the RC moved the start time earlier in hopes of getting a race or two in before the bad stuff came through.

As predicted, there was plenty of breeze at the club Sunday morning. Sailors optimistically rigged up, noting the imposing bank of clouds rapidly closing in from the Southwest. The RC postponed ashore for an hour until the radar made the unavoidable point: it was going to get nasty, soon. Sailors scrambled to get boats derigged and onto trailers, most succeeding before the heavy rain started, just before the award ceremony.

In the RS Aero 5s, CC Griffith came out on top. In the RS Aero 7s, Ricky Welsh, Hank Saurage and Former BWYC Commodore Eugene Schmidt comprised the Top 3, with Marc Jacobi, Bob Hodges and Bob Patterson leading the RS Aero 9s. Overall, Jacobi squeaked ahead of Welsh for the win, with Saurage in 3rd. Rounding out the Top 5 were Eugene Schmidt in 4th and Paul Perry from Davis Island YC (FL) in 5th. Top Junior: Chandler Taloney (6th Overall), Top Woman: Anne Kochendorfer (18th), Furthest travelled: Akira Tanaka (2000 miles driven, from Los Angeles!).

Ricky Welsh (2nd), Chandler Taloney (6th), Bob Hodges (7th) and Nate Hartwell (12th) admirably carried the torch for the newbies. A large contingent of sailors from Viridian Sailing near Dallas TX came for the first of hopefully many away regattas, enjoying the expanse of a larger body of water.

Bay Waveland YC put on a great event with the staff and membership were friendly and supportive. Zim Sailing did an excellent job supporting with the Charter RS Aeros. The conditions tested sailors in a variety of conditions. It was your scribe's first time sailing in Mississippi, but hopefully not his last!

RS Aero North American Events List.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoSkipper [rig size]ClubR1 R2 R3 R4R5R6Pts
1  3  Marc Jacobi [9]  Cedar Point YC CT1  1  1  [3]  3  2  8
2  3682  Ricky Welch [7]  Bay Waveland YC MI3  2  [4]  1  2  1  9
3  2757  Hank Saurage [7]  Pontchartrain YC   LA4  [12]  2  2  1  3  12
4  3680  Eugene Schmitt [7]  Bay Waveland YC MI5  4  [15]  4  4  4  21
5  12827  Paul Perry [7]  Davis Island YC FL[16]  10  6  5  5  5  31
6  3408  Chandler Taloney [7]  Fairhope YC AL6  8  3  [10]  10  9  36
7  3679  Bob Hodges [9]  Pontchartrain YC LA2  6  7  [18]  16  6  37
8  2404  Robert Patterson [9]  Indian River YC FL12  5  [16]  6  6  12  41 
9  6  Philip Myerson [7]  Cedar Point YC CT8  7  [10]  8  8  10  41
10  3359  Jacques Kerrest [5]  Sailfish Point YC FL9  [13]  5  9  9  13  45
11  3207  Akira Tanaka [9]  Los Angeles CA10  [21]  11  11  7  7  46
12  3685  Nate Hartwell [7]  Fairhope YC AL7  3  12  [15]  14  11  47
13  7  Martin Borrallo [7]  Punta Brava W&SSl  11  9  [20]  7  19  18  64
14  1758  David Chadwick [7]  Browns Creek SA AL14  [16]  9  12  15  16  66
15  1625  Ash Beatty [9]  Lake Canyon TX20  15  8  13  11  [29/DNS]  67
16  3684  Lee Montes [7]  Wet Pants SA FL18  14  19  [29/DNF]  12  8  71
17  2405  Stephen Coward [9]  Viridian SC TX 19  19  [21]  14  13  15  80
18  2771  Anne Kochendorfer [7]  Cedar Point YC CT17  [22]  13  17  17  17  81
19  12829  Ryan Schenck [9]  Davis Island YC FL21  17  [22]  16  18  14  86
20  2408  Robert Kembel [9]  Viridian SC TX 13  11  17  [29/DNS]  S  S  99
21  42  Cynthia Griffith [5]  Viridian SC TX [29/DNS]  S  14  19  S  S  120
22  3423  John Steinkamp [9]  New Orleans YC LA15  18  [29/RET]  S  S  S  120
23  2409  Rachel Coward [7]  Viridian SC TX 23  [29/DNF]  18  S  S  S  128
24  2631  William Griffith [7]  Viridian SC TX 24  23  23  [29/DNS]  S  S  128
25  1948  Phillip Smith [7]  Viridian SC TX 22  20  [29/DNF]  S  S  S  129
26  11  Mark Isaacs [9]  Bay Waveland YC MI[29/DNC]  C  C  C  C  C  145
26  1Randall Richmond [9]  SYC  [29/DNC]  C  C  C  C  C  145
26  3172Gregory Popp [9]  HalifaxSA/Lake Monroe FL[29/DNC]  C  C  C  C  C  145

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