|Browning/Mann edge Sponars in Bradenton
The newly re-chartered Bradenton FL Windmill Fleet #2 staged its first regatta March 10-11 under the auspices of the Bradenton YC and Bishop Sailing Center. Lisa Fath was instrumental in making this happen and securing the local support so we all owe her a great vote of thanks. Thanks also to the PRO team of Susan & Terry Tibbits who organized and ran a great series of races with the support of the Sea Scout mentors Joel Heyne & Tony Angel as well as other local people.
Races were run over a W-L course with the leeward mark below the start/finish line allowing for a final beat. Saturday saw winds of 12-13 gradually diminishing to 6-8 by the last of the 5 races. Although the racing was very close, Ralph & Sandy Sponar (5060 Go Blue) were the dominant team with wins in 3 of the races. A seaweed encounter on the last beat of the 3rd race led to a 6th which became their drop race but necessitated counting all other finishes. Colin Browning & Eric Mann (5252 Bella) were consistently 2nd except for the final race where a bad start, lack of free air and other problems left them well behind in 5th. Allen Chauvenet & Sarah Steward (5586 Beauty & The Beast) put things together to win the 3rd race but misplayed a shift on the closing beat of race 5 to drop from 1st to 3rd while Jake & Lisa Fath (4028 Elvis) followed their opening string of 3rd place finishes with a bullet as they edged the Sponars who edged Allen & Sarah. The racing was close and some good individual results were turned in by the other competitors in the 8 boat fleet with all leaders other than Jake & Lisa following Cam Carlin and/or Sea Scout Tye Belcher (using Mainsail 4205) across the finish 1 or more times.
Sunday brought delightful SUNSHINE along with light airs in the 5-7 mph range. Allen & Sarah took the lead at the weather mark and held it throughout the race with only Colin & Eric in striking distance as they secured their 5th runner up spot in the first 6 races. The Sponars took 3rd, almost cliniching the regatta win while Jake & Lisa's 4th provided an opportunity for Allen & Sarah to contest 3rd overall.
The final race found Jake & Lisa just leading Allen & Sarah around the weather mark with the other teams seemingly well back. Part way down the run, Allen & Sarah saw the Woithe team with wind from their R and jibed to starboard. Father back, the Sponars did the same while Jake & Lisa continued on port farther out in the river. Colin & Eric followed them and resisted the urge to jibe when Colin felt he could see some wind coming from the L. This proved true and Jake & Lisa came down rapidly in this new breeze with Allen & Sarah jibing back just in time to stay ahead of Colin and Eric. After the boats rounded the last mark in that order, everyone tacked to starboard as it was possible to fetch the finish. Colin & Eric got moving soonest to pull of a remarkable comeback and win (anything other than a win would have left them second for the regatta) the race and regatta while Allen & Sarah came up fast from leeward to beat Jake & Lisa by < 1 boat length--but enough to tie them on total points and win the tie break via most firsts! Very exciting finish where distribution of all trophies was decided on last leg of the 7 race regatta!
All of the other sailors showed steady improvements and were often in the mix and pushing for higher finishes. A really great opening event for Fleet #2. Lisa and Jake are working hard to rebuild at strong Windmill presence at the Manatee River Pram Fleet locale and follow in the footsteps of Clark Mills, the designed of both the Pram & the Windmill.