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A Pensacola Bay sunny spectacular ends VX One Class Winter Series

by Talbot Wilson 21 Feb 21:12 PST February 19-20, 2022
2021-22 VX One Winter Series overall Champion Hayden Bennett sails #167 in Winter Series regatta #3 on a blustery Pensacola Bay © Talbot Wilson

The VX One class crowned two groups of winners at the final event of their 2021-22 Winter Series in Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola YC PRO Hal Smith ran seven races over the two-day regatta. For the Series, that brought the total up to 23 races after eight in December and eight in January.

When the committee tried to sail race #8 of the regatta— the 3rd race on Sunday— it was foiled by an erratic weather mark, a bot with a mind of its own which just wouldn't stay on station. After two attempts and two abandonments, the regatta was concluded with seven races for the weekend. The racing was sunny and spectacular for both days. After five windy races on Saturday, nobody was badly disappointed to miss race #8.

The top three spots in Regatta #3 went to Nick Cleary and crew in 'Double The Fun' with a line score of 6-4-5-1-5-6-[10] for 27 points, the [10] was their 'worst score' drop. Following in second was Michelle Warner, from Dillon [CO] Yacht Club and her crew Austin Powers and Katie O'Donnell with scores of 1-[13]-9-11-13-2-6 for 42 points. Kaitlyn Liebel and her crew Mark Liebel and Jordan Wiggins on 'Another Bad Idea' followed in third, only one point behind Warner with 43 points... 5-2-1-17-1-17-[18].

Hayden Bennett was crowned overall champion of the series with 584 points out of a total possible of 706 and a winning percentage of 82.76%. Trevor Parekh of Ontario's Royal St. Laurent YC was second with 525 points and 74.36%. Paul Kleinschrodt of Buccaneer YC in Mobile AL came third with 506 points for 71.67% of possible points for the series.

Warner was the Top Woman Skipper and Liebel was the Top Youth Sailor for the series.

Full results for regatta #3 and the overall three-event Winter Series are posted on Regatta Network at www.regattanetwork.com/event/23477

For the entire three-event series Pensacola was locked into the same weekly weather pattern. A front moved through each Thursday or Friday and winds shifted to the North for Saturday and swung to the East on Sunday. Winds were brisk 12-22kts or more each Saturday, moderating later on Sunday. One regatta had a few drizzles on the first day but otherwise sunny skies prevailed.

On the Saturday of Regatta #2 there were five capsizes on the first downwind leg. On the Saturday of the final regatta there were four. Race #7 won the aggressive starting, over-early award with two general recalls and an X-Ray for individuals over early.

All of the winners and other crews at the awards ceremony praised the Pensacola YC Race committee for excellent courses and management. They gave high marks to the venue, both the bay and the club's famous Blue Bar.

At the prize-giving Sunday Pensacola YC announced that Pensacola YC Commodore Tom Pace had invited the VX One class to return for their Winter Series and their Midwinter Championship in 2022-23. That was met by cheers from the sailors all around.

If approved by the VX One Class, the 2nd Annual Pensacola YC VX One Class Winter Series will probably be sailed December 10-11, January 14-15-16 and February 18-19 in 2023.

Winter Series #3 Results: (top ten)

1. 269, Double The Fun, Nick Cleary[VXOne], Sail Newport, 6-4-5-1-5-6-[10]; 27pts
2. 296, Tudo Bem, Michelle Warner[VXOne], Dillon Yacht Club, 1-[13]-9-11-13-2-6; 42pts
3. 313, Another Bad Idea, Kaitlyn Liebel, Sarasota Youth Sailing, 5-2-1-17-1-17-[18]; 43pts
4. 340, Sideshow, Doug Clark[VXOne], Coast Guard Sailing, 11-6-11-6-[17]-5-5; 44pts
5. 284, Jailbreak, Matt Haddon[VXOne], None, 4-1-14-10-8-10-[16]; 47pts
6. 276, Counterproductive, Ricky Welch, Bay Waveland YC / Southern YC, 14-5-[18]-5-15-1-8; 48pts
7. 167, Blue Lobster, Hayden Bennett[VXOne], Sail Newport, 10-8-4-[15]-9-15-3; 49pts
8. 275, No Name, Greg GriffinJeff Eiber[VXOne], EYC, 9-9-[12]-9-6-8-11; 52pts
9. 345, Flip Flops and Pearls, Reggie Fairchild[VXOne], Carolina YC SC, 3-[24]-10-14-21-4-1; 53pts
10. 123, Bro Safari, Trevor Patekh[VXOne], RSTLYC, 13-3-3-13-10-11-[20]; 53pts

VX One Winter Series information is posted on Regatta Network and the Pensacola YC web site 'Racing' section, www.pensacolayachtclub.org/Racing, and on the VX One Class website, vxone.org/na.

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