Oct 24, 2016

F18 Argentine Nats 2016: Pablo Volker & Juan Martín Benitez Champs

All images: Esteban Cousillas / El Ojo Náutico -- What a great nationals, 30 boats and many different sailing conditions to challenge all levels and skills. Two races held on Friday, 4 on Saturday and 4 more for Sunday which were sailed in "Phantom Condition" as we refer here to the 1-2 Trapeze situation (when you are constantly going out/in as helm) with added chop.

The top performers of the event were our local youth promise, Pablo Volker & Juan Martín 'Tigre' Benitez sailing one of the first (if not the actual #1) production Phantom that I made a local sailor to buy when the boat was released some years ago. The kids were in 'untouchable' mode since the last races from Buenos Aires Week where they missed 4 races on bowsprit failure but finished 3rd the same, which was a teaser for this Nats: 1,5,1,3,1,1,1    for the first 7 races, establishing a great gap with the rest of the fleet.

It seemed all done with 3 more races left on the mentioned 1-2 trap & tricky weather conditions , but one of the fastest crew of this regatta had other intentions, 'veteran' sailor & F18 Arg Class co founder, Ian Rodger & 'Supergirl' Euge Bosco  (Phantom F18) put on a speed show in the last stage scoring  3,3,1,3 in the final day.
It was not enough for the title , although a great performance for them, specially Eugenia handling the high loads of the F18 compared to the Nacra 17 for instance she also sails.
Excellent result for the Class having a mixed crew doing so well, and of course in current shape a dangerous crew for next week.
Another mixed crew to follow is Pablo Gallyas & Isidora Urrutia (Goodall Design C2) from Chile, those two are fast and Isidora stepping up as a crew in every condition 4 races per day.

For the Arg Nats crown Volker & Benitez prevailed finally in cruising mode mode with 1,5,3,5 for the last day to win their first Nats and getting ready the regatta of their lifetimes starting this Friday.

Third place for crew on the rise, Juan Pablo Sucic & Juan Cruz 'Cuco' Benitez  (another talented youth of the fleet)  sailing an Infusion MKII, super consistent the whole regatta to stamp their names in the history of the local Class. Juan Pablo comes from racing 30' yachts among others, and he has adapted pretty well last years to the F18. But when you are good, you just need to put hours in the new boat/class.
On Cuco, well one of the new guard who came for 29er and dinghies and realized where the real fun relies in the Sailing arena.

Great combo of crews for the 2016 Arg Nats podium.

4th place for Esteban Blando & Nico Quagliotti, Phantom F18,  definitely fastest boat of the fleet , even in 5-6knots, as they won easily the race we were leading after we established a great gap with them . But current and 5knots downwind is really technical, and both have the skills to sail fast from 5 to 25 knots. A breakage in a rudder gudgeon pin left them out of  the podium, they finished 2,13,2,2 showing they will be aiming high.

5th place for some serious contenders for the Worlds, Cruz Gonzalez Smith & Mariano Heuser had some average results this weekend, coming from a solid win at BA Week. The most experienced Arg crew (2nd North Americans2015 , 5th Europeans 2016)  finished in 5th place, showing how tough is to sail in our local fleet,  as you can be capable of winning the NAs (they were close by 1-2pts) and having a hard time sailing back home.
Nevertheless they are totally focused for the big one, and they have trained hard and traveled as none towards the final goal.

6th overall for  top notch Hobie 16 sailor Jason Hess from Guatemala, sailing with local Nicolas Schargoroski (chartered C2) is getting in the F18 'zone' and started the championship with a 2nd on Friday. Sat some +10s and mast down on stay failure, tough day. For Sunday they came back to score 7,1,10,1 with an impressive performance for a team sailing together for the first time some weeks ago. After this weekend Jason & Nicolás  has put themselves as contender for the Worlds.

Olympic Nacra 17 sailor Matías Buhler & Sergio Mehl (Phantom F18) put 4,3,3,2,10,4 but some ret/dnf and a lost daggerboard closed their chances. We are doing some magic to get a replacement the boat and originals boards are no longer in production. And guess who other is going to save the day for you than Jakub Kopylowicz from Exploder? Contacted him yesterday afternoon and he prepared today 3 Exploder F18 boards and shipped asap to BA, some retro fitting to be done, and hoping for the boards to arrive. Jakub as always confirming he is Nr 1 guy on the Catsailing community.

My friends Agustín & Billy on the Exploder/ C2 rig didn´t had a good regatta on their potential but for me they are the 'Dark Horses' for the 2016 Title.

For us personally a calm wind race we led was really good feeling in spite of final result (defended a final 4th but I touched finish line buoy....  360 re enter for a 15th!) and confirmed the 3rd we had in similar conditions 2 weeks ago.  So the goal is still getting a sole top 3 for the Worlds.
The rest of races still getting in rhythm, plenty of errors for me but excellent fun racing in such a fleet and finding the sweet spot for double & 1-2 trap winds.

One of the best things this year is having local dinghy / monohull super talented sailors joining us, like 2x Opti World Champ Martin Jenkins, or Julio Alsogary (""2nd"" Worlds Laser 2008 and top ten Riom 2016) , for us a great satisfaction and achievement having such talented sailors racing F18.
So I'm really happy to be racing F18 again, more with 30 boats on a National, a blast really as we are having a sailing & racing fest down here in Buenos Aires having completed 27 races in 3 weeks.

And still much left to come.
Arg Nats 2016 Full Results: http://cuba.org.ar/sites/default/files/resultadoos.pdf

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