ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – At long last the weather cooperated and organizers of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship took full advantage of a day with steady, consistent wind. Principal race officer Sandy Grosvenor reeled off three races on Tuesday, bringing the series total to four and ensuring this is now an official championship.
Tuesday proved eventful as the British team of Andy Smith and Roger Gilbert grabbed the overall lead while the German entry of Nikola Birkner and Angela Stenger became the first all-female team to win a race at the SAP 5O5 World Championship.
Smith and Gilbert won the day with a solid score line of 3-6-2 to take over the top spot in the standings with a low score of 21 points. That is two better than a pair of American entries – Mike Holt and Carl Smit along with Edward Conrads and Brian Haines.
“We certainly didn’t expect to be in the lead coming off the water today so that was certainly a pleasant surprise,” said Smith, who lives in Nottingham, England and boasts a pair of Top 10 finishes at 5O5 Worlds. “We were conservative all day because we felt like we had good speed. We had our heads out of the boat, Roger in particular, trying to make the boat go fast. I think most of the time we were in the middle of the race track, just trying not to get caught on one side or the other.”
Smith and Gilbert are sailing as the Gill Race Team and doing their first world championship together. Smith felt the conditions – northeasterly winds ranging from 7 to 10 knots – suited the tandem well.
“We’re quite a new team sailing together and we’re rather light in terms of crew weight so I’d say up to 15 knots is our optimum breeze,” he said. “We hear the forecast is supposed to be for more wind on Thursday, but we’ll see. If it’s windy, I think it will favor some other teams a bit more than ours.”
Nonetheless, Smith and Gilbert are thrilled to be where they are at the moment. They finished 10th in Race 1 on Sunday so really have not sailed their throwout.
“In all the sailing I’ve done, I’ve found it’s always good to be in the lead at any point in a regatta,” Smith said. “It’s still early so we’ll go out there on Thursday and just try to maintain consistency.”
Wednesday brings a scheduled lay day for the 87-boat fleet with sailors being given an opportunity to explore Annapolis or perhaps go sightseeing with their families in nearby Washington, D.C. As Smith indicated, the forecast for Thursday is promising and there is a good chance Grosvenor will try to complete three races again.
A throwout enters the equation following five races and that would most benefit past world champions Mike Holt and Carl Smit at the moment. Holt and Smit, who won the 2015 SAP 5O5 World Championship together, absorbed a 15th in the second race on Tuesday and will be keen to toss that result. Subtract the 15th and Holt-Smit would be winning the regatta on the strength of a 2-1-5 score line.
“We’re happy. It was really tough sailing out there today. I think it was one of those days when you had to keep your head on because everything was changing and you never felt safe,” said Smit, an Annapolis resident and member of co-host Eastport Yacht Club. “There are a lot of teams in the hunt and we’re just thankful that we haven’t thrown it away yet.”
Smit said the team battled for the lead throughout Race 2 and finally closed out the victory on the final run. “In the first race, we were early gate and punched out early then caught the first shift. We played the fleet and the shifts, but we finally ground it out on the last run,” he said.
It was an easy day to get caught on the wrong end of a significant shift and Holt-Smit felt the sting of doing so during Race 3, going from the front to the back in a hurry.
“Even the 15th was a victory of sorts because we were 38th around the first mark and had to fight our way back,” Smit said. “I think overall we did a good job of keeping our heads out of the boat and were probably playing the shifts in the middle of the course – just looking for pressure all the time. There was no right answer today, that’s for sure.”
Conrads and Haines, who list Mill Valley, California as home port, won the last race on Tuesday and also posted a sixth and a seventh. They have been the most consistent team, having notched all single digit results.
“It was a tough day on the water. In the last race we were able to get off the line better than we did in the first two and we also chose the correct side of the course,” Haines said. “We did not get off the line wellin the first two races. In the second, we got a little lucky that the right came through. Had that not happened, we would have been really deep.”
Haines said he and Conrads are slowly learning the vagaries of the Chesapeake Bay, which has a well-established reputation for delivering 20, 30 – even 40 – degree wind shifts.
“There were definitely some big shifts and toward the end of the day the current began to play more of a factor,” said Haines, son of sailing legend Robbie Haines.
Haines acknowledged that the boat named “It’s Big, It’s White,” will not necessarily move up in the standings once the throwout comes into play, which is not necessarily a bad thing at this point.
“I’m not sure we would benefit as much as some others by the throwout. We still have a lot of sailing and who knows, we might have a throwout in the next race.”
For the uninitiated, the 5O5 class uses a unique “gate” starting system that employs a pathfinder – also known as the “rabbit.” That designated boat, always the 10th place boat going into the day, sails close-hulled on port tack as fast as possible. Every other boat in the fleet must then dip the pathfinder.
Birkner and Stenger, sailing Bikini Atoll, served as the pathfinder on Tuesday and found it to be a great benefit. After placing 10th in opening race of the day, the German duo picked up a favorable right-hand wind shift and walked away from the fleet to win Race 3. It was historic as no team featuring both a female skipper and female crew had ever won a race at 5O5 Worlds.
“We are super happy and super proud!” Stenger said of the accomplishment, which helped propel Bikini Atoll up to seventh in the overall standings.
Please find complete results and other regatta information at this link:
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SAP 5O5 World Championship highlights for Day 1 and Day 2 are now online at:
Principal race officer Sandy Grosvenor made a wise decision by delaying ashore for two hours on the second day of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. In hindsight, Grosvenor wishes she had kept the 89-boat fleet on the lot at Severn Sailing Association.
Following a couple false starts, Grosvenor was unable to start a race on Tuesday as a sail-able breeze that had developed on the Chesapeake Bay disappeared just as fast as it materialized.
“Sailors arrived on the race course under tow to find total glass conditions,” Grosvenor said. “I wanted to get on the radio and say ‘Honest to goodness, there was wind when we made the decision to bring you out.’ We had five to six knots out of northeast, but it completely dropped out to total calm.”
Grosvenor originally posted the AP flag first thing in the morning, announcing a two-hour postponement. That flag came down around 11 and the race committee sent the fleet out for a planned 1 p.m. start. However, a signal boat that blazed out to the racing area in advance reported becalmed conditions and the boats wound up remaining at Severn Sailing Association for another couple hours.
Encouraged by the wind readings out on the bay, Grosvenor brought the fleet out to the racing area and soon wished she had not done so. However, no opportunity to conduct a race can be missed as Sunday’s opening day proved. While the forecast was ominous, Grosvenor wound up getting in a good race in better-than-expected conditions.
“It’s a little frustrating to be two days into the regatta and only have one race completed,” she said. “However, I’m satisfied that we didn’t leave a race on the table and I’m satisfied that we didn’t hold a race we shouldn’t have.”
Grosvenor said the forecast for Tuesday is more encouraging with most models showing 7-9 knots of wind holding steady through the morning and early afternoon. She is hoping to complete the maximum three races before the wind drops out later in the afternoon.
Annapolis-based Hunt Yachts has come onboard as an official partner of the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. Jesse Falsone, regatta chairman for the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship, said the company has kindly agreed to provide a Hunt 32 Center Console powerboat as a spectator platform.
“We were pleasantly surprised when Hunt Yachts reached out and asked if there was anything they could do to support the event,” Falsone said. “We had a need for another spectator boat and they came through with a very beautiful and comfortable vessel.”
Hunt Yachts, which is part of the Hinckley Company family, was founded in the early 1990s by Raymond “Ray” Hunt – a self-taught designer with an instinctive understanding of the principles of yacht design. Hunt’s diverse portfolio of timeless designs includes the Concordia yawl, 12-meter America’s Cup yacht Easterner, Bertram powerboats and the Boston Whaler.
After decades of attempts by others to design a better high-performance hull, the Hunt Deep-V continues to dominate powerboat design into the 21st century. Ray Hunt Jr., the founder’s grandson, continues the family legacy for excellence and plays an integral part of each Hunt Yachts project as Director of Manufacturing and Engineering.
Hunt Yachts outgrew its facility in Padnaram, Massachusetts and moved to the Melville Marine complex in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. This new facility provided an increase in production space as well as a service department, indoor storage and dockage.
“Hunt Yachts is excited to support the sailors and spectators in the SAP 505 World Championship here in Annapolis”, said Brad Holbrook, Sales Director for the Annapolis office of Hunt Yachts. “We believe our seaworthy, fast, and well-appointed boats are suited perfectly to the task of supporting the sailors and entertaining spectators on the racecourse in any condition. We appreciate the opportunity the 505 Worlds provided to Hunt Yachts, and look forward to continuing our partnership in support of future regattas.”
The 2017 SAP 505 World Championship gets underway on Sunday and continues through Friday on the Chesapeake Bay with Severn Sailing Association and Eastport Yacht Club serving as co-hosts.
For more information on the SAP 5O5 Worlds go to: 505Worlds2017.com
For more information about Hunt Yacht go to: huntyachts.com
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – There was a collective groan from the sailors when principal race officer Sandy Grosvenor announced from the deck of Severn Sailing Association that she was sending the fleet out on Day 1 of the SAP 5O5 World Championship.
Some of the competitors felt the forecast looked shaky, but Grosvenor thought there was a window to get in some racing. Grosvenor is a respected World Sailing race officer and it turns out she was right.
“I was delighted when we got out there and found the wind we did,” Grosvenor said.
A northeast wind was blowing about 10-11 knots when the mark boat dropped anchor. That enabled Grosvenor to set the TL3 course that is standard for the International 5O5 class. It features a reaching leg thrown in after the first downwind leg and creates a triangle.
Californians Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn drew first blood at the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship – snatching the lead just after rounding the leeward mark and holding it the rest of the way to win Race 1, which was seven legs and approximately five miles with a downwind finish.
“We got a good start in the middle of the line, which is where we wanted to be,” said Hamlin, a Long Beach resident. “Andy set us up in a good spot and we knew right away that we looked good.”
Mike Holt and Carl Smit, the 2015 world champs, were first around the initial windward mark and held the lead on the run. However, Holt-Smit and Hamlin-Zinn split gates and that would ultimately prove decisive.
“We gybed just before they did and went for the left gate. They went around the right one and it looked like they had more traffic,” said Zinn, who has teamed with Hamlin to capture three North American Championships.
Holt confirmed that version of events and said a little hitch he and Smit had to take on the second upwind leg allowed Hamlin and Zinn to pass.
“I felt like we had a good start and good speed on the beat. We wanted to work our way left then take what opportunities we could to come back right, which is what we did,” said Holt, world champion in 2014 and 2015 with different crew. “It was a surprisingly steady breeze, no shifts to speak of. So there were no real opportunities to find a passing lane or take them on. All in all, we were quite happy to come in second.”
When it was over, most of the usual suspects were in the Top 10 with Chesapeake Bay locals Tyler Moore and Rob Woelfel taking third, just ahead of the British tandem of Ian Pinnell and Dave Shelton. Defending world champions Mike Martin and Adam Lowry finished eighth.
Grosvenor said the pressure steadily dropped during the race and was barely above the class cutoff of five knots when she went into sequence for Race 2. She got the fleet started, but very quickly abandoned, due in part to a strong ebb current that was sweeping boats down the bay.
Doug Hagan is an Annapolis native who competed in the Club 420 World Championship out of Severn Sailing Association way back in 1984. Hagan, who now lives in Maui, has returned to his hometown for the 2017 SAP World Championship and got off to a good start by placing sixth in Race 1.
“We wanted to start with as few boats as possible and noticed there was a gap in the line near the pin end. So we were able to get off and get away clean,” said Hagan, who has Shane Illidge aboard as crew. “We had good speed and Shane pushed me hard to keep the boat rolling. It was kind of typical Chesapeake Bay sailing and definitely a nice finish for us.”
For complete results of Race 1 and the full scoreboard for the 2017 SAP 505 World Championship, visit: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4206
Please click the following link to check out the SAP Race Analytics:
Severn Sailing Association was a flurry of activity on Wednesday evening as competitors prepared for the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship. Skippers and crews were busy performing last-minute adjustments to their boats, tuning the rig and working on other gear.
SSA members considerately cleared every other dinghy off the lot to accommodate the influx of 89 5O5s, which came from 12 different countries. Action got underway Thursday with the pre-worlds, which provide the sailors an opportunity to practice and study the venue.
Racing in the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship will be held Sunday through Friday on the Chesapeake Bay with organizers hoping to complete at least 10 races. Annapolis resident Sandy Grosvenor – a World Sailing and US Sailing International race officer, judge and umpire – is leading the on-water management along with a top-notch committee from co-host Eastport Yacht Club.
There are eight past 5O5 world champions in attendance and all rate among the pre-regatta favorites. Mike Martin and Adam Lowry are the defending champs after capturing their first title together last year in Weymouth, England. Martin, who previously won worlds in 2009 off San Francisco with Jeff Nelson, is considered a heavy air specialist.
So are Mike Holt and Carl Smit, who teamed to take the 2015 crown off Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Holt, a Santa Cruz Yacht Club member who garnered the 2014 championship along with Rob Woelfel, said conditions will determine a lot this year. Smit is an Annapolis resident so does bring some local knowledge to the table.
“We’ll have to see what the weather is going to do. It seems at the moment like it will be somewhat light and variable,” Holt said. “We’ll go out there over the next two days and see if we’re on the pace in those type of conditions.”
Heavy air does not seem likely for these worlds, which may expand the list of teams capable of being atop the podium at the end. Holt said there are too many talented sailors in the fleet to name all those that could contend.
“If we could dial up a forecast we would wish for 20 knots or more, but we probably won’t see those conditions this time,” Holt said. “It will not be a pure boat speed battle. This is a year in which you will need to keep your head out of the boat.”
That is a reference to the extremely shifty nature of the mid-Chesapeake Bay breeze, which can routinely change by as much as 40 degrees at times. Holt mentioned a pair of Chesapeake Bay entries – Tyler Moore and Rob Woelfel along with Chris Behm and Jesse Falsone – as having the localknowledge necessary to excel in light, shifty winds.
Moore has five North American championships to his credit while Woelfel has an incredible record of success as a crew. Moore, a resident of Hampton, Virginia, is an outstanding helmsman while Woelfel is a master tactician.
Behm and Falsone captured the 2016 5O5 East Coast Championship that was co-hosted by SSA and EYC last September. That is a positive indicator consideringit was the same time of year and same courses. However, the tandem has not been able to practice much leading up to this world championship, missing the recent East Coast Championship due to commitments.
Falsone is serving as regatta chairman and thus has been consumed with myriad organizational duties. “You really can’t organize a worlds and truly focus on sailing,” said Falsone, somewhat downplaying his team’s chances. “Chris and I just have not sailed as much as necessary to be in top form for an event that is this competitive.”
No one would ever count out Howie Hamlin and Andy Zinn, who have teamed to capture three of the last four North American Championships. The Long Beach, California tandem secured the 2015 title off Annapolis, displaying versatility in a wide range of conditions.
“It’s nice to sail on the East Coast and Annapolis is widely recognized as a renowned venue,” Hamlin said. “We are hoping for variety with regard to wind range. We’re probably not the fastest in any one condition, but can do well in light, medium and heavy. So all around is what we really need.”
In analyzing the 2017 SAP 5O5 World Championship, class president Pip Pearson estimated that as many as 20 boats had the ability to win a race. Pearson listed nine very viable candidates, including the aforementioned Martin/Lowry, Holt/Smit and Hamlin/Zinn.
Also likely to be in the mix are Mike Quirk and Curtiss Hartmann, the six-time Australian national champions. Californians Ian Pinnell and Dave Shelton also have quite a track record of success separately with the former winning the 2008 world championship and the latter posting a pair of podium placements.
Pearson also mentioned Australia’s Malcolm Higgins and Marcus Cooper, Britain’s Andy Smith and Roger Gilbert and San Francisco-based stalwarts Ted Conrads and Brian Haines as teams that certainly could make some noise.