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2023 AON Etchells Miami Worlds preparation kicks off with host fleet's qualifier

by Etchells Class Media 19 Oct 2022 19:41 PDT October 15-16, 2022
AON Etchells Miami Worlds © Nic Brunk

This past weekend it may have only been six boats on the starting line but it felt like the start to something much bigger for Etchells Fleet 20.

As the organizing authority for the World Championship in April 2023, the Race Committee from Biscayne Bay Yacht Club is already preparing by utilizing MarkSetBots for course management and TracTrac for monitoring during the Fleet 20 Qualifiers for Worlds.

Dave Brennan, PRO remarked: "All the sailors very happy. We were able to keep our starting line and the offset and gate square. We had beautiful beats and runs with competitors splitting the gates in most races."

The fleet was held ashore due to a brief squall coming across the bay. However, the weather cleared quickly, and the wind picked up, ranging from 10-12 knots.

After four races and four different winners, it was 58-year-old, Jeff Dever, with his 25-year-old Etchells, USA 1090, Leading Edge, who walked away with the final bullet securing a spot for Worlds with 10 points. All the participants were from the Southern Florida region, close behind were Chris Lanza's Vertigo 2 (USA 1368, at 11 points) and Ronald Zarrella's Victory (USA 1373, at 12 points) also securing a spot at Worlds.

Dever, one of the Fleet's founders, says the win was made all the more gratifying because it was six months to the day recovering from a torn quadricep. He credits his crew to keeping their head out of the boat and patience to their victory.

"I am one of the longest-tenured members of Fleet 50 and I still think I am figuring Biscayne Bay out," says Dever. "It really is one of the best race tracks because the conditions are unpredictable so it rewards the sailors who can stay on top of your game when it comes to the shifts."

Now that he and his crew, Scott Hoffman and Kyle Assad (Luke Lawrence filled in for Assad this weekend), will look ahead to the five Pre-Worlds Events held in Biscayne Bay over the next six months before the Championships. For them, focusing on starting will be key as 80 boats are expected to be on the line for AON Worlds.

"Looking forward to welcoming the World to Miami next year, our winter series has been almost like a mini-Worlds for decades, so now it will be great to make that official," added Dever.

Jeff Nehms, BBYC Commodore and Fleet 20 Captain reiterated the sentiment. He was on the water himself racing as well. "We are all very pleased with event the RC ran. By keeping racing tight, it really put pressure on the competitors to execute well. Also, the TracTrac was a great draw after racing to re-live the races."

The next event will be the Louis Piana Cup December 10-11th. As of October, 52 boats are already registered for that event with similar numbers for other BBYC Winter Series regattas. All culminating in 2023 AON World Championships April 16-21st.

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