The 2023 US Albacore Nationals Championship was hosted by Miles River Yacht Club June 17 and 18 in St. Michaels, Maryland. The wind for the weekend brought two days of challenging racing conditions for the 15 boat fleet. Blue sunny skies and 80 degree weather allowed for comfortable racing conditions. A total of 7 races were sailed for the regatta with one race throw out allowed to determine the 2023 US National Championship. The race committee did an outstanding job getting the races off. This year’s event brought back two teams that haven’t raced together in years. It didn’t take much time for the Pedro/Gorton and Harris/Byron teams to be back in sync showing their prowess on the race course.
The wind for Saturday June 17 was from the north to northwest at 8 to 19 knots. A total of 5 races were sailed. For most of the day the left side of the course seemed to be where top boats were able to extend from the fleet. The upwind conditions were shifty, which made for some exciting and challenging races. Throughout the day there were multiple lead changes with one team consistently finding a way to the front. Sailors had to constantly adjust their sails and course to take advantage of the wind shifts to stay ahead of the competition. The shifts at times were as big as 30 degrees. Races 3 and 4 had higher wind speed which created fast reaches if boats were able to sail the correct angles and surf waves. With the elevated wind speed there was one capsize with several boats coming close to capsizing. WIth the capsize of AL 7966 the crew managed to stay dry while the helm (Tyler) tested the water temp during his swim. AL 7966 wasn’t the only boat that lost a sailor for a swim. The crew in AL 8260 (Natalie) also went swimming.
Sunday June 18 had very different conditions from the previous day. Two races were held in 5 to 6 knots of breeze. Finding wind was key with the race course having small holes. Roll tacking and keeping air clear was critical in the light conditions to extend from the fleet. Finding pressure in the light conditions helped teams extend from the fleet both upwind and downwind. Teams being patient downwind were rewarded in comparison to teams that gybed several times looking for more breeze, which never came. Once again the left side of course was favored most of the time. After the second race was completed there wasn’t enough wind to continue racing. Race committee ended racing for the day to the delight of competitors due the diminishing breeze.
Congratulations to Barney Harris and David Byron in AL 8261 for winning the event in dominating fashion. Second place went to Marty Minot and Jordan Minot in AL 8259. Third place went to Chase Cooper and James Schuster in AL 8258. Hapco Marine boats took the top three spots this year. The Top Women Helm Award went to Daphne Byron and Joanna Byron in AL 8027.