Category Archives: Results

2023 Corisca Annual Regatta Results

Corsica River, Last Race of the year for the Albacores. Without a doubt, this last race was filled with adrenaline. Saturday was a rainy day with little wind. On that day only 4 Albacores of the 5 that were planned ran. Barney with Jim, Dan with Kaityn, Tyler with Eliza and Elvin with Rachel. Lloyd couldn’t run this time. In the first race the results were: 1st place, Dan 2nd place, Barney 3rd place, Elvin and 4th place, Tyler.

For the Second race everything changed. The weather got worse. The rain started intermittently plus the low temperatures, certainly not pleasant for sailing. The RC decided to cancel the races for the rest of the day. The results for the second race were totally different than the first race. This time Barney came in first place, followed by Dan, Tyler took third place and Elvin came in fourth place. By Saturday we are all in the fight. Dan and Barney were tied fighting for first place as were Elvin and Tyler who were also tied fighting for third place.

Sunday, the rain finally went away, but this time we had extreme conditions with a strong wind that reached 25mph at its maximum. It wasn’t very safe to run the boats, any mistake and you could end up in the water in just seconds. Dan and Kaityn made the decision not to race for Sunday. Only 3 Boats remained. Barney, Tyler and Elvin. The three agreed to go sailing. The conditions were extreme sailing upwind, you had to be very careful, the strong wind was changing direction all the time. The most exciting thing was the triangle course. The boats reached impressive speed as we navigated between the Beam Reach and the Broad Reach. The final results were: 1st place for Barney 2nd place for Tayler and 3rd place for Elvin. It was a weekend full of adrenaline and very exciting sailing in such extreme conditions.

By Elvin Aponte

2023 Corsica Results

2023 Albacore North Americans Championship Results Backup

Photo Credit to George Linthicum

Big breeze and rain for day one met Canadian and American Albacore sailors at Miles River Yacht Club for the start of the 2023 North American Championships held in St. Michaels, Maryland October 7-9.  Six Canadian teams traveled south to compete in the event from Toronto for a total of 19 boats registered.  After a short onshore postponement, the race committee headed out to set the course for what would be a fresh and fast three races. The wind increased as the day went on, with the last race seeing a sustained 20+ knots. Double triangles were the course du jour which fed the adrenaline loving sailors of the fleet. Blast reaching and sketchy jibes allowed for a most exciting and tiring day of Albacore sailing. There were several capsizes, which showcased the breezy conditions.  Gale Warning (Barney Harris, Ernest Ayukawa) and Strung Out (Darren Monster, Mabel Chan) were in a league of their own sharing first and second in each race. Back on shore sailors warmed up, de-rigged, and headed inside the MRYC clubhouse for a fantastic dinner. During a brief intermission from refueling, a couple of daily awards were handed out. The “Middle of the Pack “award and the “Dumb Decision of the Day” award were given to Dave Tingle and Albert Chau and the DDD award went to Bob Bear and Michael Tellep.

After dinner, the US Albacore Association held its AGM and nominated its executive board. Two board members stepped down allowing for a new Secretary and Vice President to be elected.  Greg Jordan was elected secretary and Tyler Philips was elected Vice President.

As the sun rose on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, it became clear another windy day was upon the sailors for day two.  Four races were held on Miles River in 14-16 knots. Olympic and Triangle courses were sailed. The race committee did a great job of firing off the races and keeping things moving along. Back on shore sailors gathered at Foxy’s for dinner and Albacore trivia. Leading the trivia was Master of Ceremonies, Ralph Glass. Saturday’s winners of the daily awards were Marty Minot and Jordan Minot.  The DDD award went to Stephanie Stalinski and Mr. MC himself, Ralph Glass who did a fantastic job!

There was a lot to play for on Monday as 2nd and 3rd place were still very much up for grabs. An offshore breeze meant the day would be all about connecting the dots, going from one puff to the next. The Albacores, now very much used to ripping across the river, were at times becalmed. Skippers and crews spent a great deal of time searching for the next zephyr to pass a couple of boats before the next mark. Back on land, sailors worked together to de-rig and load up boats onto trailers. After the awards were handed out, Chris Bennett made an incredibly generous offer to the American Albacores. He gave a burgee from J-Town, a sailing club in Toronto, to Eva Hogan and said if she makes it up to the Mecca of North American Albacore sailing and presents the burgee, she would be provided with a boat for three days of racing.

Congratulations to AL 8261 Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa on winning the 2023 Albacore North American Championship.  Rounding out the podium were Darren Monster and Mabel Chan in AL 7363, and Stephen and Ian Duncan sailing in AL 8199. Top female helm went to Stephanie Stalinski, who sailed in AL 5009 with Ralph Glass.

2023 North Americans Results

2023 North Americans Photo Album
Photo Credit to George Linthicum

2023 Billy Heintz Results

The 2023 annual 94th Billy Heintz Regatta held at West River Sailing Club was a great event for Albacore class. The regatta brought two days of planned racing from September 2 – 3.   Day two of racing was canceled due to a lack of wind.  Conditions Saturday were sunny and wind ranged from 4 to 11 knots.  The Albacore sailors showed up in force by being the largest fleet with 13  boats competing in the regatta.

The racing was fierce and competitive, with each boat jockeying for position to be where the wind pressure was during the first race of the day raced in 3 to 5 knots.  After the first race the postponement flag went up as RC waited for more wind.  The fleet moved from the West River into the Chesapeake Bay.  This change allowed racing to be held in 7 to 11 knots of wind.  The southerly wind direction brought a steady breeze with small wind shifts.  A short race course brought congestion at the leeward mark and gaining inside overlap was key to gaining on competitors.  There were a few contentious leeward mark roundings with multiple boats involved.   Upwind playing the 5 to 7 degree shifts made a difference with the top boats able to extend leads.   Downwinds legs saw many boats change positions throughout Saturday with the left side of the course downwind often being favored.  

Congratulations to Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa in AL 8261 for winning the event.  Second place went to Mchael Heinsdorf and Eva Hogan in AL 8125. Third place went to Greg Jordan and Scheuermann in AL 8256.  The Billy Heintz Memorial perpetual trophy was awarded Barney Harris and Ernest Ayukawa as the first place finishers in the class with the largest number of registered competitors at the regattaHapco Marine Albacores took the top three positions.

Results are here!

VA Gov Cup Results

Ware River Governor’s Cup 2023

Ware River Yacht Club welcomed us with their wonderful hospitality for the 59 th Virginia Governor’s Cup Regatta the first weekend in August. With several of our ace crews in Wales for Internationals, some of us were thinking we might have a shot at some silverware!

Natalie and I arrived Friday and camped out for two nights. We don’t have stars in DC, so it was a real treat when the skies cleared and the Big Dipper, Cygnus, and Scorpio lit up the sky. The club included breakfasts, lunches and dinner in the registration fee which made for an easy time off the water. Maize colored technical shirts for all and engraved pewter cups for the winners rounded it out. And a good-sized sea turtle joined us briefly on the water during Sunday racing!

Both days of racing saw light to moderate conditions, so boat speed did make a real difference, though, of course, a good start and clear air always helps. It was hard to keep track of Dave, Jim, and Scott since they were all sailing yellow boats! With the varying wind speeds, crews were moving their body weight all the time and the lighter among us sat on the rail.

On Saturday, Marty Minot shot out to an early lead, taking a number of firsts, while I trailed a bit, being challenged by Dan/Kaitlyn and Dave Huber. Elvin made the trip down for this away regatta and was first to the weather mark in the fourth race while Jim Englert, a returning Albacore sailor now at WRYC, made a strong appearance. Scott Titus was a genial host, and it was good to see Suzanne Morgan (she crewed with me two years ago) along with the other active sailors from WRYC.

Natalie and I were in striking distance of Marty and Jordan after the first day, and when we managed to just beat them in the first race on Sunday, our hopes soared. We had a bit better boat speed than on Saturday, having tweaked our mast adjustment, but the excitement came when Marty engaged us in a tacking duel near the finish line. We went back and forth at least five times, neither boat losing speed nor focus while rolling our boats. Finally we were able to break off toward the line and get the needed first. Alas, in the next race we did lose focus on the leeward rounding and Marty slipped away for the win. And Dan, going out to the right in clear air, also picked us off.

The Hapco boats were all set up differently. Dan pinned up for really light air on Sunday and shared the helm with Kaitlyn, who powered to second place in the sixth race and Dan matched her with a second in the seventh and last race after being first to the weather mark. Marty, Lloyd and Tom caught up downwind in that race. Marty gybed to pass behind Dan but Tom on the right got to the leeward mark first then went right and won going away. Dan and Dave went right with clear air.

Natalie and I cleared our air after the leeward mark and got left, where we thought the wind would be coming from the bay. Marty followed us, though he was ahead, and every time we tried to break contact, he covered, closely. We even tacked into headers to avoid him, but to no avail. Ugh! When the left and the right converged at the finish line, Dan crossed ahead of Marty to gain second behind Tom, and I was able to just barely tack toward the finish on Dave’s bow.

Marty and Jordan won overall, Natalie and I finished second, and Dan and Kaitlyn came in third. Jill Williamson, who had come down to enjoy the scene and help out, won the Congressional Cup, awarded for best sportsmanship at the regatta for helping launch and recover all the fleets each day. Congrats!

Saturday evening before dinner, a grand buffet, Natalie and I had a nice swim with no sea nettles, but we did miss Celeste, Farley and our usual WRYC swimming buddies. And guess what? The club has resurfaced their tennis courts (and added pickle ball lines, of course). So Natalie and I hit the tennis ball for half an hour before heading home on Sunday, completing a summer vacation trifecta of sailing, swimming, and tennis.

Next year is the 60th Anniversary Governor’s Cup Regatta so we are especially hoping to have a good turnout, with our returning friends from Wales and even more sailors from Ware and the DMV. That way we can beat out the Hamptons, who won the actual Governor’s Cup this year with strong participation.

Lloyd, with Dan and Kaitlyn

2023 Fishing Bay Annual One Design Results

Fishing Bay Yacht Club held their 84th Annual One Design Regatta on July 22-23.  There were 96 boats in 9 different classes registered to enjoy racing on the Piankatank River.  Saturday morning the winds were coming from the NNE so the race committee set up across the river from the club.  The winds varied in strength, but not much in direction. There were only 4 Albacores so we were placed in the PHRF fleet with three San Juan 21s and three 420s. The RC was able to hold 4 races on a Windward Leeward course.  Starting a race with boats that greatly outweighed us proved challenging, but the long staring line did give us plenty of room – for the most part.  The key to a good race was to play the shifts in the middle and avoid the spinnakers coming downwind.  On Sunday morning there were only whispers on the water so the RC opted to delay on shore.  Ultimately the wind just wasn’t going to fill in in time so racing was cancelled.  The Albacores performed as they should and took the top 3 finishes with Dan Miller/Kaitlyn Lucey in first, Dave Huber/John Huber in second and Lloyd Leonard/Natalie Rehberger in third.

On the social side there was a good barbeque dinner on Saturday night.  Many folks enjoyed the pool at one time or another.  And the on site camping worked out well with good conversations with new friends lasting well into the evening hours.

This was the first time FBYC held their Annual One Design regatta in July.  Many sailors may recall going to Ware River’s Gov Cup first followed a week later by FBYC.  The change was made to deconflict with other races around the Chesapeake Bay.  Hopefully next year we will see more than just 4 Albacores registered so we can have our own start.

2023 Hampton One Design Results

The 2023 Hampton Annual One Design Regatta was hosted by Hampton Yacht Club in Hampton, VA from July 8th to the 9th. Due to lack of wind and an anticipated storm, racing only took place on July 8th. A total of five Albacores participated in the regatta.

The Albacores undertook two races on Saturday, July 8th near the mouth of the Hampton River. The weather was sunny, the wind was consistently strong, and the race committee did a great job of running races. Battleships in the distance and expansive water made for an interesting setting. Most of the skippers and crew were family, such as Andrew Scheuermann who skippered instead of crewing for Gregory Jordan with Delaney Jordan as crew. While the wind was strong, sailors were not overpowered to the point of capsize and the consistency of the wind made for ideal sailing conditions. Due to thunder, the race committee concluded racing early after two races. On land, sailors gathered in the Hampton Yacht Club gazebo for dinner, curtsey of the Hampton Yacht Club. That evening some of the sailors went out to a Korean hot pot restaurant for dinner.

On Sunday, July 9th sailors mostly socialized in the Yacht Club due to the race committee’s racing postponement that became a race cancellation due to lack of wind and a projected storm in the afternoon. The award ceremony was held at noon in the gazebo. Congratulations to Daphne Byron and Joanna Beaver for receiving 1st Place, David Huber and Mike Huber for 2nd Place, and Andrew Scheuermann and Delaney Jordan for 3rd Place. Until next year!

2023 Hampton Annual One-Design Regatta Results

2023 US National Championship Results

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. 

2023 US Nationals Results

View the Photo Album!

2023 Dave Irey Results

The 2023 Dave Irey Memorial Regatta this year brought a wide range of challenging wind conditions for sailors in the Albacore class. The regatta brought two days of racing from June 3 to the 4 from West River Sailing Club.  The Albacore fleet was the largest fleet with 9 boats competing in the regatta. A total of 7 races were sailed.  Other classes in attendance this year were the A Cats and Flying Scots.

Sailors experienced a wide range of sailing conditions. The breeze ranged from 4  to 18 knots.  The most successful teams were able to manage the changing conditions.  At the high end of the wind spectrum teams able to hike hard upwind gained on the fleet.  In the breeze hiking and boat handling downwind was more important than being on the favored side of the race course.  Crews during big breeze moments were rewarded with salt water spray during hiking.   With the low end of the wind spectrum smooth coordinated tacks by crew and skipper helped boats extend on other boats in the fleet.

Congratulations to Barney Harris and Lee Sayasithsena  in AL 8261 for winning the event.   Second place went to Michael Heinsdorf  and Eva Hogan in AL 8215.  Third place went to Daphne Byron and Joanne Beaver in AL 8027.

2023 WRSC Dave Irey Regatta Final Results

2023 PRSA Spring Regatta Results

The annual 2023 PRSA Spring Regatta this year was a great success for the Albacore class. The regatta brought two days of racing from May 27 to the 28 on the Potomac River.  Shifty, puffy conditions with sunny and cloudy skies made racing conditions challenging.  The breeze ranged from 7 to 17 knots.  The Albacore sailors showed up in force by being the largest fleet with 13  boats competing in the regatta.

The racing was fierce and competitive, with each boat jockeying for position to be where the wind pressure was.  At times wind pressure was lacking on the olympic race course which made some reach legs difficult.   Boats able to find and stay in wind pressure were able to break away from the pact.   The wind conditions made picking the favorable side of the course difficult.  For both days the right side of the course upwind seemed to be the better side.  Boats repeatedly made the most gains upwind from the right.  Downwinds legs saw many boats change positions throughout the weekend with the left side of the course downwind often being favored.

Congratulations to Barney Harris and Farley Will in AL 8261 for winning the event, which doubled as the MidAtlantics Championship.  Second place went to Marty Hublitz and Ernest Ayukawa in AL 8214. Third place went to Stephen Duncan and Kate VanPortfliet in AL 8199.

2023 PRSA Spring Regatta Results

2023 Midwinter Championship Results

2023 Albacore Midwinters

Michael Heinsdorf
USA 8125

The spelling error in the email’s subject line from the Sarasota Sailing Squadron said it all: “Canceled 2023 One Design Midwinters”. 

A week prior to the regatta, the Squadron had fired a shot across the proverbial bow with an email stating that they were, “not optimistic about, the effect of the Red Tide Algae Bloom on the Sarasota Bay.”

Red Tide, or as science calls it, “harmful algae bloom” is pretty common in Florida, but it doesn’t make its way inland that often. As the name suggests, it’s an algae that produces a toxin that kills fish, makes shellfish dangerous to eat, and potentially suck all of the oxygen out of water, and turn the water red. Remember that last point as it’s pretty critical to our story. Red tide is also made slightly worse by global warming, as warm water temperatures encourage it to grow. It is something that you don’t want to swim in, or in some cases, breathe in. According to maps by the US Geological Survey, there were reports of Red Tide within the Sarasota Bay. Online, it looked legit.

However, as we later found out, there wasn’t any visible Red Tide in the Sarasota Bay or on the Gulf. This was a bit puzzling, as all the Squadron would have had to do to confirm the existing of said masses of seaweed or red tinted water was go for a short motorboat ride into any of the racing areas. Once the Albacore fleet made our way out on the water, we did not see any evidence of Red Tide (seaweed salad, dead and rotting fish, whale carcasses, etc.). To add a dab of manatee dung icing onto this rotting cake of seaweed, the Squadron held other, scheduled, events while we were there, such as their Luffing Lassies Thursday sail, Opti Training on Saturday, and an E-Scow series.

However, I’m getting ahead of events. Once the aforementioned email came out, the US Albacore class leadership made the decision to NOT cancel Midwinters and seek out alternative venues, with the less than week notice given by Sarasota. After many calls by Eva Hogan and Tyler Phillips, no alternative venue was found. 

In the immortal, unprintable words of Barney Harris, (of which I’m sure you can get the ethos), we just did it. We’d roll our own regatta in Sarasota. And a dozen boats, all of them loaded up, either en route, or already at the Squadron (not to mention the car reservations that were non or limited-refundable) showed up at Sarasota Sailing Squadron for a clinic and a couple days of racing.

Since this was not a regatta, I took this an opportunity to try out my unauthorized modifications to the HAPCO adjustable shroud system. Surprisingly, Barney did not even come over to look at these modifications, likely because he was busy unloading or keeping track of the two Albacores that he had brought. I’m happy to say that my modifications worked much better than the original setup, which, if it hadn’t been for some quick moves by Farley Will in the 2017 Internationals, almost cost USA 8125 a mast as a control line started slipping. To keep things fair, I didn’t use them while we were racing on Friday or Saturday. 

Back to Sarasota. Most of us showed up on Wednesday and rigged boats. Thursday, Barney and Lars, myself and Lizzie, and Dave and Chris (from here on known as “The Bruces”), went for a leisurely sail around Lido Key. While it was somewhat breezy, it was overall quite pleasant, with consistent breeze in the low teens, plenty of sun, and marginal wave action. We rounded the north end of Lido Key, headed down south along the shore close hauled, and then hit the south channel back in. Chris Maslowski was staying in a boat anchored at one of the marinas, which was crewed by an owner who was more than happy to deplete his beer stash by tossing us some cold ones. As this was happening, we suddenly lost sight of Barney, which is odd when beer is involved. Apparently he got incredibly distracted and excited by what he thought was a Hylas 47. Once Barney got his excitement under control, we headed back to the Squadron via a pleasant reach.


The weather forecast was a bit more challenging on Friday. Mid to high teens consistent breeze. Cloudy. The water was no longer flat. Waves were about one to two feet in height, just enough to be something you had to worry about, unless the crew didn’t mind getting a wave to face every thirty seconds. Puffs were forecast to be in the 20s, some even hitting the 30s.

The decision was made to do an around the island race. Since the breeze was out of the south, the fleet would head out to the channel, hit Mark 12, round it to starboard, and head south, upwind, to Mark 8 (more on this later), also round that mark to starboard and head parallel to the Lido Key shore on a screaming reach, then head back into the Sarasota Bay via New Pass, likely getting stalled under the bridge, then round back up to Mark 12 and back to the beach.

The start was also going to be a bit different than our usual timed start. Instead of a traditional start, we’d be doing a Le Mans start. For those who don’t know what this is, it comes from the French LeMans 24 Hours Automobile Race, one of the oldest car races in the world. The Le Mans start involves the driver running to the car, jumping in, starting the car and racing. As a side note, it’s also a start technique no longer used, because it’s a bit dangerous. And we did have a bit of carnage – Eva Hogan tipped over her boat on the start line and Tyler Phillips’ boom tried to take out my crew.

The Albacore Le Mans start had one rule: one crew member must be out of the boat with their feet on the bottom of the Sarasota Bay. Realizing that The Bruces, who were tall, and some others who fit that vein, may have an advantage in getting out the deeper water with clearer air and a bit of a head start, my crew extraordinaire, Lizzie Ellis, and I planned on positioning ourselves as far out as possible, with as much separation as possible. This put us in the deepest part of the southern side of the starting area that I, as the tallest of the two of us, could get into. Once the start happened, I would pull what Lizzie called a “reverse ninja” (the “ninja” is my sneaky way of getting out of the boat as we come in, as generally Lizzie doesn’t know I’m out of the boat until I’m in the water), jump into the boat, and start trimming and steering as soon as possible. 

As Lee Mullins started a countdown, Lizzie got the boat ready for a reach (pulling in slack in sheets, pre-trimming the vang, setting the centerboard, and making sure she was ready to go out on max hike immediately). This was highly prescient, as once I saw Lee make what looked like a “go” sign, and I angled the boat off the breeze, we shot out like a bullet on a reach. While my legs were still outside of the boat, we were making massive separation from the fleet, with The Bruces and Tyler rounding Mark 12 in 2nd and 3rd respectively. There was a good 8-9 boat lengths separating us from The Bruces.

As we headed upwind, The Bruces and I made the decision to go to the east end of the channel, with Tyler choosing the west side. Lizzie and I shifted gears from reach mode to upwind mode. This involved a lot of talking about how the boat felt, which was initially a bit constrained and overpowered.  We talked sail trim, and strategized on the tradeoffs we were going to make over what was going to be a long upwind leg, knowing that we were going to have a screaming reach or run once we got into the Gulf. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves keeping up with The Bruces in about 20 knots of steady breeze. Our tuning was working.  When we were reviewing RaceQs later, we were hitting a consistent five knots upwind. RaceQs had even higher upwind speeds, some pretty consistent numbers in the 5.5 to 6.6 knot range, which I’m a little skeptical of. The hull speed of an Albacore is technically 5.19 knots. From my perspective, it was a pretty stable and dry ride. I’m not sure Lizzie would agree on how stable or dry the upwind legs were. But they were a blast!

The breeze died once we turned west into the Channel and started heading out into the Gulf. We were still crossing The Bruces. Bob Bear, who had been out of sight for much of the upwind leg, was still in breeze and was closing the gap to 10-12 boat lengths. As we approached the Gulf entrance, the breeze started picking up. Significantly picking up. And the wave amplitude was getting significantly larger with the frequency increasing. 

This is when I made the call. In our minds, it turned out to be a brilliant call, though it meant that we technically didn’t complete the race. During the Skippers Meeting, mention was made of rounding Mark 8. There was one map which I did not take a picture of, which meant I missed that Mark 8 was in the Gulf, not in the Channel, because it was not on the map. I was also not right next to the person holding the map and couldn’t see where the finger was when the mark was pointed out. (Note: we didn’t didn’t make either mistake the next day.) There was a Mark 8 in the Channel in Sarasota Bay. Which seemed perfectly logical to round.  In the spirit of sportsmanship, we tried to let The Bruces know that they needed to round the mark, but they seemed very confused. We understood why when they separated from us and headed to another mark in the Gulf.

My call was to head down on a run about 300 meters off the shore in the Gulf. The water seemed plenty deep.  The rollers were big, but not as close together, and I could see it getting hairier the further that The Bruces got out. In fact, it looked like they were struggling. And as a backstory, this regatta was the first time that I had sailed USA 8125 in 3.5 years, and the first reach or run that I had done in 3.5 years. So had we gone further out into the Gulf, there was a little question of my skill and ability. I had no qualms about Lizzie’s confidence or skill level.

On a very conservative run, with full board down for stability, marginal pumping, marginal movement, and steering with the breaking waves, we were planning and averaging 10-12 knots. It got very calm and very quiet, almost trancelike, which was highly unusual for the two of us as there is normally a lot of back and forth. We were both a little nervous as we’d never gone so fast doing so little work. Lizzie took the opportunity to berate me as I hydrated, and had choice words when I offered her the water bottle. Apparently, as USA 8125’s newly appointed Boat Safety Officer, I had chosen a bad time to take care of my insignificant need to hydrate.

Turning into the New Pass Channel back into Sarasota Bay we saw some of the biggest rollers of the day. This seemed to me to be a great time to practice gybing on top of a wave. It was an incredible, beautiful gybe.  Once it happened, we shot off into the Channel, only to come to a screeching stop as the breeze shut off a couple houses into the New Pass Channel.

Lizzie, now enjoying her role as Boat Safety Officer, deemed it an appropriate time to engage in personal care such as hydration and chapstick/sunblock application, and informed me as such. This felt like a good time to let Lizzie know that the outhaul wasn’t working, and that the rudder had been popping up. When we got to shore, I found that the 12 year-old outhaul line had broken where it was knotted into a hole in the boom. As for the rudder tie down, I’m not quite sure what happened there.

Author and helm Michael Heinsdorf and crew Lizzie Ellis – Photo credit M. Heinsdorf

Once the rudder and outhaul were somewhat fixed, we launched the boat to honor Mark 12 for the finish and had an amazing reach out and back, hitting over 15 knots.

We completed our entire ten nautical mile trip around the island in just under an hour and a half. Over the next couple hours, boats came in one or two at a time. Notably, Lloyd Leonard showed up with a mast that had clearly met the bottom somewhere and lost. The tip of the mast was about two feet back from where it would normally be. Chris Gorton’s initial comment was along the lines of, “I’ve never fixed anything that bent.” However, Bruce rose to the challenge and a couple hours later, with the help of a couple palm trees and Tony Zakrajsek, it ended up respectably straight.


For our second day of racing, the plan was to engage in buoy racing using preset marks in the Bay. Breeze was in the mid-teens when we left the dock and stayed in the mid to low teens all day. Water was generally flat, but there were still small waves to deal with.

Once the right mark was found and all had congregated around it in preparation for the rabbit start, we had a slight delay to the start of the racing. The rabbit went down the hole. Specifically, Eva Hogan (USA 7970) dumped about a minute or two before the start and they spent some time enjoying the waters of Sarasota Bay. Once she hauled her crew back into the boat, we started.

And that’s when most of the fleet went to the wrong mark. Only The Bruces managed to get to the right mark. Everyone else was chasing Barney and someone else, when the fleet suddenly turned downwind, and not around a mark. 

This turned into a legit race, and once Lizzie and I got clear air, we popped ahead on a planning run, closing a gap between us and The Bruces. We rounded the windward mark in second, with a pretty significant lead over third, and managed to extend that lead upwind. Downwind we played an angle that kept us in between The Bruces and the fleet, resulting in a second-place finish.

Dave Huber and Chris Maslowski – Photo credit M. Heinsdorf

The second race saw the wind die down a bit, but it was still pretty breezy, calling for a good amount of vang and the skipper and crew to hike. 

For this race we, along with the rest of the fleet, rounded the proper upwind mark. We were in third at the upwind rounding, headed down, playing the middle of the course with the intent to go down, when the bungee on the jib stick snapped. 

Luckily for us, the jib stick stayed in place and I was able to continue on our course downwind, ultimately rounding in second place at the downwind mark. However, there was an issue – what do we do upwind with the pole? There was no quick way to untie or move the pole. So I had Lizzie cut the pole line, which launched the pole right into the water. Oops.

Our second downwind was done college-style, with the skipper holding out the jib, and we quickly learned that the pole is essential for sailing deep angles in the Albacore. We went from second to seventh as a gaggle of boats passed us. We had to work around these boats, and ultimately got into a pinwheel at the downwind mark. There was a hole, a very, very tiny hole, just behind The Bruces and the windward boat that we punched in, did a crash tack onto starboard, accelerated away from The Bruces, and then got back on to the favoured port tack and rode a lift to a fourth-place finish. Racing was cancelled for Sunday because of the forecast (which turned out to be wrong).

Ultimately, the top three boats, Christine and Tony, Greg Jordan and crew, and myself and Lizzie, tied with a total of 6 points. 

This brought in the US Sailing tiebreaker rules, both of which had to be applied. Lining up the scores in order of best to worst finish, first place resulted in a tie since both Christine and I had a 2 and 4. The second tiebreaker rule counts results from the last race.


Final Results:

First Place – Christine and Tony Zakrajsek
Second Place – Michael Heinsdorf and Lizzie Ellis
Third Place – Greg Jordan and crew

2023 Midwinters Scores