Oct 19, 2011

A-Class North Americans: Ben Hall 1st

photo by Elise Read - Ben Hall on his Barracuda-Landenberger
photo by Elise Read - Bob Hodges on Ashby-Glaser  
photo by Elise Read
Sent by Bob Hodges ---- 2011 A-Class North Americans Wrap Up 
"Mother Nature certainly threw a wrench in the gears for the anticipated racing at the 2011 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship held last week at The Islander Resort in Islamorada, FL. 
The week before the event had beautiful 10-15 knot breezes from the east (typical this time of year) but an unprecedented weather pattern started with a huge low pressure system that developed over south Florida the weekend before the event started that produced heavy rain and high winds. 
As the storm headed north up along the east coast of the US, it sucked all of the energy out of the area and the 40 sailors attending the event were left with 5 days of warm and humid weather with little to no wind for the tuneup days and the first two days of racing. 

Finally on the third day of the event, the easterly gradient came back and produced a day of 10-13 knot breezes that allowed four races to be run fairly easily but once again the weather turned against us as another developing tropical system in the lower Gulf of Mexico produced stormy conditions on the last two days that never allowed any racing to begin. There were plenty of “sucker punches” that offered windows of 10-18 knots but these race-able periods would always be interrupted by a squall band that would bring heavy rain and high winds making it unsafe for racing. Despite the weather, at least you could not have been in a more enjoyable venue at The Islander so the sailors made the best of the down time. The race committee even took the sailors out to a reef for some snorkeling after the second day of no wind. On to the racing, Ben Hall sailed fast and consistently to take the series win by one point over regatta favorite Matt Struble. Ben Moon finished third followed by Jeff Linton and Ian Lindhal in fourth and fifth. 

The racing was very close amongst the top 10-12 boats with at least 2-3 lead changes in each of the four races sailed and boats finishing within seconds of each other at the end of each race. This is really good for racing in the US class as there were seven different platform designs in the top ten that all showed fairly equal performance from both new boats and boats that were several years old that had been modified with upgrades (i.e. primarily curved daggerboards). 

Here is the top ten of forty sailors along with their equipment choices (platform, mast, sail): 1. Ben Hall (Barracuda III, Hall, Landenberger) 
2. Matt Struble (Barracuda III, Hall, Glaser) 
3. Ben Moon (ASG3, Fiberfoam, Glaser) 
4. Jeff Linton (Bimare XJ, Riba, Glaser) 
5. Ian Lindhal (LR4, Hall, North) 
6. Craig Yandow (Barracuda II, Hall, Glaser) 
7. Bob Curry (EVO HT, Hall, Glaser) 
8. Brett Moss (Flyer II, Fiberfoam, Landenberger) 
9. Bob Hodges (ASG3, Fiberfoam, Glaser) 
10. Paul Allen (A3, Hall, Glaser) 

Special thanks are in order to regatta organizer Ben Hall and PRO Warren Green and the management and staff of The Islander Resort which is still the best place on the planet to host a regatta even if the weather is not fully cooperative. 
Complete results are at www.usaca.info
Photo Gallery (photos by Elise Read):Picasaweb

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