Tradewinds 2012: Report by Matt McDonald


Always good to have people pushing for the sport at any level, Matt McDonald from Falcon Marine is one of them, building and racing his own boats and helping the F16 becoming a huge success in the USA. 
The F16 was the biggest fleet at Tradewinds... a detail not to be overlooked.
Also proud to have Argies like Leandro Spina, US Coach, along with Jamie Livingston having the youths racing these F16 machines, in the US majority of Vipers, Falcons and Blades.
Having the kids racing these kind of cats it is a huge incentive for them for sure. Bright future for the US Multihull Sailing.
I have a report from Leandro, I will publish it later along an interview.
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By Matt McDonald
Tradewinds 2005, I attended with the first US built F16 (US Blade).
We had about 4-5 boats and were assigned to the slow boat small course.

In 2012 the F16 class was the winner of the Carlton Tucker trophy for the largest class in the regatta. Add to that prestige, with the F16 event being both the Olympic development team qualification and the US youth multihull Worlds qualifier.
25 F16's registered to race and some of the country's top youth teams and multihull racers got on F16s to race this event.

This event was the brainchild of Leandro Spina, the US development coach and
Jamie Livingston , the US multihull youth manager.
As there is not a boat currently selected as the next Olympic multihull, they were instrumental in pushing US sailing to select the F16 as the youth and development boat so teams can move forward with training and associated programs leading up to 2016 in Brazil. Working closely with this group, Falcon Marine set up 5 brand new stock boats to teams looking to enter into the Olympic fray.
3 mixed teams traveled to the event with us, all of who were sailing with each other for the very first time. 2 youth teams came with us as well. 
All 5 of the teams were sailing a Falcon F16 for the very first time.

After a very hectic few days of assembly, tuning and going over the systems on their new boats all the teams hit the water for the first day of racing on Friday.

This event of course attracts teams in a huge variety of boats from all of the country coming for some winter sailing and of course the lure of the event being the F18 as well as other classes mid-winter championship.

What a great site to see all the boats and especially the huge fleet of F16's on the beach and heading out for the start with a big mix of Blades, Falcons, Taipans and Vipers. After all the build up for everyone, it was a pretty big disappointment to have such a beautiful site, nice weather and then no wind for Fridays scheduled day of racing.
A few hours floating around, some swimming and lot of people catching up with each other on the water racing was finally abandoned for the day and the traditional Tradewinds scattering could begin.

Saturday morning broke gray and with the windows rattling in the rental, it was obvious that we were not going to be suffering from the lack of wind that killed Fridays racing. With gusts coming through in the mid 20's as the teams rigged and more than a few boats upside down heading to their respective courses there was some obvious nerves with a few of the less experienced teams in the fleets. The experienced racers headed out with grins.

I was spending the event on a coach boat and got an unique (for me) view of the racing and some great lessons from Jay Glaser on sail shape, tuning and trim. Watching the first few races it was really apparent which teams had been practicing and sailing together as the gusty conditions and busy course made teamwork pay some huge gains over the new teams. 

John Casey and his new crew Sophie Shultz had to retire from racing after the first race when she was hit in the eye with a trap handle. The top 4 remaining teams though quickly separated themselves from the rest of the fleet as the racing continued.

The highly practiced team of Taylor Reiss and Matthew Whitehead split up to run coed, but their time on this boat and the coaching they have had was evident in their holding the first 2 places for the day. Following closely at the end of Saturday were the 2 Falcon teams of Pease Glaser / John Williams and Mike Easton / McKenzie Wilson.

Sunday broke with a little more sun, but very similar forecast for the weather. There were a few casualties from the weather conditions to the less experienced or prepared teams but a strong contingent headed back out to finish the battle. JC and Sophie made it back out luckily with nothing worse than a black eye. With a bullet and the rest 2's they won the day on Sunday to restore their hurt pride from the day before. With 5 races now under their belts the newly formed Falcon teams began to figure out their teamwork and the boat and showed a lot more consistency around the course.

Despite a rather nasty pitch pole and a messed up spin pole, with some quick on water fixes the team of Pease and JW worked their way into second place for the regatta and finished with a bullet in the last race. Mike and McKenzie continued to sail faster and consistently to finish third. The team of Sarah Newberry and Matthew Whitehead started the event sailing extremely fast, especially in the bigger winds early each day and their
skill and team work paid off giving them the 1st place title in the F16's for Tradewinds.

Many youth teams traveled to this event to vie for the coveted US spot at the ISAF youth multihull Worlds. 2 of those teams raced Falcons. Jeremy Herrin and Sam Armington came down from the Sarasota Sailing squadron, where their coach Brian Paine has been working very hard and has put together a great youth multihull sailing program. (Brian was racing an F18 with another youth and many of his other team members were in attendance on other boats as well.)

The other Falcon team of Ben Brown and Luc Lisi traveled all the way from Northern CA for this event. For both teams this was their first time racing on this boat and it was just the second time that the team of Ben and Luc had ever raced a spin rigged catamaran. With almost all top 10 finishes and consistently the top 2 youth boats in the event, the Falcon teams took 1st and 2nd in the youth qualifier. (Jeremy/Sam 1st and Ben/Luc 2nd)".
Ends---

3 comments:

UK sailing said...

I need to find a freelance instructor for a sailing courses. I want to learn in my are? thanks

FRENZIED said...

Great report. Good to hear of the Falcon success!

John Williams said...

It was a terrific week of sailing in the Keys and a really fun two-day event. Many thanks to Matt and Gina of Falcon Marine for unrelenting attention to detail and outstanding support throughout.