2017 One Design Midwinter Regatta
Sarasota Sailing Squadron | March 17-19, 2017
Crews in 88 boats from across the nation and beyond took part in this annual sailing event that has been hosted by the Sarasota Sailing Squadron on City Island for the past 24 years. The resurgent Sarasota E fleet, with 8 local boats, was pleased to host 7 out-of-town crews. In the last two seasons, the Sarasota fleet has completed the conversion to the A sail rig, so all 15 boats were in one competitive fleet. Visitors hailed from Atlanta, Carolina, Lavallette, Metedeconk, and New Orleans.
The weather and water conditions gave sailors a great taste of what Sarasota Bay has to offer. The typical Florida conditions of 60 degree nights and 80 degree days prevailed for the weekend.
"The conditions were wonderful for sailing," regatta director Donna Hillmyer said. "The water was crystal clear. Sarasota Bay was beautiful. "We had all the conditions covered. On Friday, we had a light wind. Saturday was perfect for sailing. Sunday was pretty windy."
Crews went out to tune up throughout the day Friday, with some E sailors jumping over to a one day series in MCs. Sean Bradley, in his gorgeous new E, MC-2, really threw down the gauntlet Saturday morning with back-to back Bullets. Bill Nolden in LA-11 squeezed out 2, 3 in the first two races, followed by Commodore Cole with 5, 2. In Saturday's final race, MC-2 threw a bone to LA-11 when they checked Sarasota Bay for shrimp on the final set. This allowed LA-11 to slip by for the win, and SF-5 driven by Bill Misenheimer to grab second.
So at the end of Saturday's racing Bradley held first with 5 points, Nolden was second with 6, and Ted Weihe in SF-2 was third, having shown great consistency getting 4th in each race. The competitors enjoyed an al fresco dinner and spectacular sunset at the club.
Sunday dawned clear and was forecast to become blustery. MC-2 was sailing light with three, as the local boats started adding crew. The breeze picked up to about 18 by the start. The wind freshened throughout the race, with a gust on the final run dismasting SF-3 and sending Ted Weihe and company for a swim. LA-11's years of experience (and extra bulk) kept them ahead for the win, followed by the Bradley team. Misenheimer brought the SF-5 team to third in good order. So with winds still building, several teams retiring, and two boats in need of assistance, the Committee wisely sent the fleet back to the club.
This left MC-2 and LA-11 tied at 7 points. In the end, Skipper Bill Nolden of Lavallette/Venice FL. edged out Sean Bradley of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, winning the E Scow class on a tie breaker. Bill Misenheimer finished third and Bob Cole fourth. NCESA Commodore Robert Cole also brought home the top trophy in Friday's MC Scow class, skippering "Game Board" to the victory.
Visitors and local sailors alike agreed that the incredible Florida venue and great fleet racing had them looking forward to next year's Sarasota Midwinters.