Photo Credit to M Grant at USSCMC
This year’s 2020 Midwinters was beautiful, with weather in the 70s, and wind conditions in the mid-range – around 10 kts a day – and consistent shifts. 2020 is a notable year for Midwinters because it marks a venue change from the Sarasota Sailing Squadron to the US Sailing Center at Martin County in Jensen Beach, FL. The new venue offered many perks, including a race committee, marks, RC boats, and breakfast. Also notable are the expansive beach and lawn for launching boats and hanging out, and the deck at the club, which offered a nice space with lots of tables at which to mingle and enjoy a meal (see photo from deck below). They even have an option for a catered dinner should we go back next year! The race committee itself did a phenomenal job running about 5, hour long races a day in a course area with depths over 5 ft. The 2020 Midwinters also marked my first ever Midwinters as a skipper, as I crewed at the 2019 Midwinters. There were some notable accomplishments surrounding this milestone:
I successfully towed a boat down to Florida!
We did not place last in every race!
I was the highest placing female skipper (even though I placed last overall)!
Since this was the first major regatta in my new boat, I spent the weekend breaking it in. The shifty conditions of the venue highlighted my lack of a compass and my crew and I were forced to make educated guesses regarding when to tack and when to hold. A compass was quickly added to my list of things to add/replace on the boat, along with a cleat I managed to break. (It’s not a good sail if something doesn’t break, right? No? Just me? Okay.) We arrived in time to participate in the second tuning day, and had the rake measured. Then, throughout the tuning-day sail and the ensuing racing days, my crew and I continued to adjust the rake, the vang and the jib sheet cars, to see which settings worked best for my sails. With help from passing sailors yelling tuning suggestions, we were able to keep good point and speed most of the time. I learned a lot from everyone about the boat itself, as well as about general boat-handling. Goal for 2021 Midwinters: boat-handling AND course tactics.
Overall, the 2020 Midwinters was a success. The venue was fantastic, the sailing was even better, and of course, it was wonderful to get out in the warm Florida sunshine to spend time with a great group of people.