Feb 17, 2016

Helly Hansen St Pete NOODs Regatta 2016: Ben Hall 1st

Photo above , The 'Admiral' sailing at past 2015 North Americans by Walter Cooper. No photo available of Ben Hall sailing the C board Dna at NOODs. --
But how is possible that a floater wins over a foiler? Maybe if you are a good sailor you can overcome equipment diffs...? But lets be honest , foilers in flying conditions  and 1 to 1 in sailing/racing skills are untouchable, and in Punta Ala they also won in light winds.
But having latest tech wont do the job for you alone or will grant you a victory in the the wide range of winds the A-Class continue to race.

Ben Hall's win is fresh air for the Class and those who continue to sail floating mode. It is the proof that the Class is experiencing transition times, and the best option is to race together and only split rankings, Then if a a legend like Ben Hall on a floater gets you in the overall, and you just bought the '2020' Dna or Exploder or Scheurer and you finished behind him, well, you just need to put some hours into your racing & sailing skills.

Report below by Bill Vining & Ben Hall
Don't fear the foilers' - 2016 St Pete NOOD Report

"The Acat fleet showed up in force for the 2016 St Pete NOODS with the largest fleet on the water. The Acats raced on the same course with the Megles 24's and the J70's. While the Melges and J's worked hard to go slow, the Acats zigged and zagged around and through them with only one reported collision as OH Rodgers couldn't slow his pony down enough around the top mark to avoid hitting the back end of a J70. OH made it back to the beach in good shape with a hull full of water and a big smile on his face saying "I looked down for a second, and next thing I know I had a J70 between my bows."

For the 3rd regatta of the winter series, Ben Hall, aka "The Admiral" took the overall first place finish on a C board classic DNA. Bailey White took second on his A15 foiling exploder with a Carolina Sails decksweeper main. Bailey was very fast upwind in breeze on Friday and Sat, but he was ultimately undone by free Rum on Saturday night and light winds on Sunday.

Friday we had 3 races in near perfect 13-15knt winds with reported gusts to 18. Saturday we had 3 races in a building breeze that got up to 21 by the last race. Bob Orr got separated from his boat at the finish of the last race and was rescued by Mark Skeels. In these conditions Bailey had a clear advantage with his flat sail upwind and foiling downwind speed. The downwind speed differences of two identical boats is dramatic based purely on technique. Sitting in vs. trapping out even when not foiling has a dramatic difference in speed as proved by a couple of downwind gybes from sailors with identical Exploders winning and losing 300+ yards in each gybe. Trapping out in breeze is markedly faster, even in skimming mode with the boards not pulled back to full foilng mode.

Saturday evening's party, which was sponsored by Emmanuel Cerf, was a great success with lots of antics on the dance floor, at least one new love connection and some very fun stories for Sunday morning. The Acat guys not only foil, but they can dance, and all of the sailor girls were love struck with the impressive talents of the Acat guys on and off the water.

Sunday morning was COLD, with the thermometer reading the in low 40's, and with the wind forecasted to die as the morning went on. Woody Cope decided that "there would be lots of better sailing days," and retired. A few others followed his lead. 2 races in light winds on Sunday showed the foiling/decksweeper combo's kryptonite. Bailey and Bob Hodges reported that they were slow downwind with the decksweeper sails. One of the challenges reported by Bailey White, aka, "el Presidente", was that it was difficult to raise the leeward board with the deck sweeper setup downwind in light air. One of the provisional rules that has been adopted in the US for a trial period is to allow a second sail. This rule was introduced with the thought of having a heavy air, smaller cut sail, but perhaps this can be the answer to a decksweeper setup in light air. Maybe you use the decksweeper on 10+ days, and pull the big fathead, non-decksweeper out of the closet for light wind days.

So far in the series the Classic boats have won 2 out of the 3 Regattas, with Ken Marshak winning the first event on a DNA C board classic boat. Bailey winning the Upper Keys event on a foiler and Ben Hall winning the 3rd event on a classic DNA. Buying a foiler doesn't seem to guarantee a first place finish. Most of the sailors that have upgraded to a foiling boat have reported that its a new skill and learning how to keep the boat on foils requires some skill, practice and more conditioning.

The classic guys on last generation C board boats are still hard to beat. The DNA C board platform has taken two wins vs one win for the foiling exploder. The Miami event will most likely prove this point again.

Blue Oyster Cult said it best:
Come on baby
(Don't fear the foiler)
Baby take my hand
(Don't fear the foiler)
We'll be able to fly
(Don't fear the foiler)
Baby I'm your man

Ben Hall & Bill Vining

Top Ten below , Full resutls at http://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1588

Pos Sail Boat Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 tot
1   USA *99 Hall Spars Hall, Ben 3 4 3 1 1 4 3 1 20.0
2   USA *320 el Presidente White, Bailey 1 1 1 3 3 1 4 8 22.0
3   AUS *192 ShackAttack Marshack, Ken 5 5 4 2 4 3 1 3 27.0
4   USA *357 Bello Bello, Joseph 8 2 2 4 8 2 5 2 33.0
5   USA *230 Exploder A14 Hodges, Bob 2 3 7 5 2 6 2 6 33.0
6   USA *342 Fabbys Xmas Gift Romey, Dustin 9 6 9 8 5 7 7 5 56.0
7   NZL *268 Kiwi Magic Burdett, Andrew 7 7 6 10 10 8 9 9 66.0
8   USA *108 Last Year's Model Orr, Bob 12 12 14 9 7 13 8 4 79.0
9   CAN *44 Woodscraft Woods, Larry 6 10 5 7 ocs dnc 6 7 91.0
10   USA *358 A-Cat Vandenoever, Tony 13 9 11 13 14 11 10 11 92.0