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A Q&A with Martin Holland on the 2023 VXOne Winter #3 Finale

by David Schmidt 8 Feb 2023 08:00 PST February 11-12, 2023
VXOne Weapon of Choice, Monday, Day 4 Day 4 racing, Festival of Sails 2016, Geelong © Craig Greenhill

When the conversation turns to performance-minded two- or three-person dinghies, the VX One is usually quick to make an entrance. The boat's design attracts sailors ranging from motivated juniors to advanced-level adults thanks to its clean-looking lines, ample sail area, and its planning-friendly undercarriage. Couple this go--fast design with an active class association that organizes competitive events such as the class's winter series, and it's clear why the boat has become so popular.

The 2022-2023 VXOne Winter Series consists of three regattas: Winter Series #1 (December 17-18, 2022), Winter Series #2 (January 14-16, 2023), which also served as the class's midwinter championship, and Winter Series #3 (February 11-12, 2023).

All three regattas were —or are being—hosted by the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, in Port Charlotte, Florida, and all three events feature great racing on the waters of the Sunshine State's Charlotte Harbor between Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda.

I checked in with Martin Holland, regatta chair of the 2022-2023 VXOne Winter Series, via email, to learn more about the final regatta in this exciting One Design winter series.

Can you please tell us a bit about the VXOne Winter Series's history, culture, and the kinds of sailors one can expect to meet at its regattas?

This is our 1st year hosting the VXOne's. The VXOne group is a very friendly Fleet, where anyone can feel comfortable off the water and have a high level of competition on the water.

How would you describe competition levels at this year's VXOne Winter Series?

The Fleet has a range of levels, [from] first-timers to seasoned competitors. This series has had 16 different competitors finish in the Top Five out of 27 boats [racing].

How many boats are you expecting on Winter #3's starting line?

30.

Generally speaking, what kinds of conditions can sailors expect on the waters off of Port Charlotte in mid-February?

[Earlier in the series,] we [had] a cold front that came through the area the day prior to the start of the regatta. This gave us lighter air on Sat. morning with a smaller front later that day to put us in the 14-21 mph. Then very light on Sunday with only one race completed, and on Monday we had three starts with only getting to the first weather mark to have to abandon the day and close the regatta with five races completed.

How big of a role—if any—has local knowledge been playing at this series? Also, come Winter #3, do you expect all sailors to be up-to-speed on any local racecourse nuances?

With this being the fleet's first time here, the only knowledge gained was by practice sailing a day or so before the regatta.

I believe the competitors will continue to learn that we have minimal tides on the harbor, this time of the year and the tidal flow can play a factor when the conditions dictate longer course legs for a race.

I realize that these are still early days, but do you have any entries that you're eyeing for podium finishes, both for Winter #3 and for the overall series?

Yes, it is early,but we have Hayden Bennett sitting in first place in the series by one point over Doug Clark. Trevor Parekh is in third with an additional 11 points.

I bet these three will continue to fight it out.

What kind of onshore entertainment can sailors look forward to once the finishing guns have gone silent each day?

We offer a regatta dinner for each regatta, along with being able to sit on our deck with Race Committee members to review the day.

Can you please tell us about any efforts that the club has made to green-up the regatta and generally lower its environmental wake?

We do use Regatta Network for our online registrations and the review of our results. Each of Mark Set and Safety Boats all have four-stroke outboard motors.

We will continue to look for improvement.

Is there anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

I have been in the sport for over 25 years as a competitor and/or in regatta management. The VXOne Fleet is one of the most welcoming that I have seen. The competition speaks for itself, whether you are new to the fleet or not.

It has been a real pleasure working with them.

Many thanks to Bob Knowles for his help organizing a team of 20 volunteers who are helping to put on this regatta series.

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