A Class 2016 Midwinters Key Largo

Report by a-cat.org, video by Nick Bowers

While the North European fleets shiver in drysuits and 5mm wetsuits or are still laid up, over in Florida, the US Ronstan Midwinters took place at Key West. USACA President Bailey White reports

The 2016 Ronstan Midwinters at the Upper Keys Sailing Club turned out to be much bigger than we expected and even more fun. What started with registration just breaking twenty turned into 35 boats as they just kept showing up on Friday.

About 15 boats made a week of it and enjoyed flat water, mid teens winds, and warm tropical weather all week.

The club put a lot of effort into making sure we had a good time with home made food and great work all around. They are already talking about next year. Skip Kaub and his finance Melania made the event possible by hosting enough boats at their home to keep things comfortable at the club.

Thursday’s foiling clinic started with video and set up review at the club led by me. It was a good time for people to ask questions and share their insights on what was working and not working. A lot of talk on rudders, getting the boat up, etc. UKSC prepared several drills for both foilers and classics and got us all on the water but a storm system brought us in quickly.

Friday’s weather gave us high winds and big gusts at the beginning of the day. The club postponed us until 2PM and we got in three great races in windy conditions that moderated as the day progressed. It was the first day for me to try a second prototype of a deck sweeper made by Carolina Sails. It is fairly flat and performed very well with good upwind speed and relatively stable foiling.

Saturday was more of the same initially but conditions lightened. Matt Keenan continued to foil on his eXploder with Glaser DenBen in light conditions while the rest of us struggled to make it pay. He had more rudder lift in his setup. He got his first bullet in the A-Class in Race 5 and said it was his first win in 15 years! Matt is getting really fast, especially if he keeps the boat right side up. Woody Cope showed who is the boss with his first bullet of the weekend in Race 6 on the Nikita before the wind freshened a little again for me to pick up Race 7.

A lot of very close racing up and down the fleet. A lot of smiles all around, even from Galt who at 16 was the youngest sailor at the event and also the only one to foil into a crash jibe and break his previously repaired mast. It will go to OH Rogers and be ready for the next winter event.

Sunday started off with almost no wind, but created the perfect time for the Woods brothers to scatter their dad’s ashes on the start line. The Race Committee gathered everyone around as Larry spoke about his dad from his boat. Kevin and Gerard gave each sailor a flower to drop in the water as part of the ceremony. Really touching.

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