Nov 23, 2016

A-Class US: Woods Regatta 2016

Some great photos courtesy of Kirk Jockell Photography, check event full gallery at his web  -

This weekend we had a first formal A-Class regatta here in BA which included two well defined groups of sailors, those with more hours and the rookies. It was great fun and made me appreciate the work done in the US by Bailey, Ben and all the US & North American A-Class members on how good is to gather the group together beyond the current differences in A-cat equipments, age & skills.

In the US and thanks to Bailey's report & Kirk Jockell pics, knowing  Ben Hall at his young 70s is still sailing & performing is a huge inspiration, of course I need plenty of hours and regattas to even start thinking on reaching his racer & sailors skills, but  I will be more than happy just being able to get onboard an A-Cat 30 years from now!
Same for Bob Hodges and other US A-Cat sailors who continue to push the limits at their 60s.

Below check report sent by Bailey White, US Class 'Presidente' and IACA new Gral Sec.from the 2016 Woods Regatta held at Lake Lanier.
2nd Annual Woods' Regatta
"Last weekend marked the 2nd Annual Woods' Regatta at Lake Lanier outside Atlanta, Georgia. The event is held just before the US Thanksgiving holiday as portions of the northeastern fleet start the drive to Florida for the winter series and stop at Lake Lanier for weekend race.

The forecast was brutal, calling for winds to over 30 knots on Saturday and wind chills below freezing on Sunday morning. Friday was light, almost no breeze, high in the 80's. Beautiful summer day. Two boats went out and floated. Most others rigged, and fussed with boats.

Friday night was a great sale at Zhik, with most guys buying arm loads of new gear at really, really great prices. Friday dinner at the Ale House was picked up by Zhik and the regatta fees. THANKS MIKE KRANTZ and ZHIK!

Saturday was breeze on, with some gusts reported to 43. We postponed, and then a few brave men took to the water at about 3pm, about two hours too early. Chris Bolton, heavy air welterweight Warren Mitchell at 135 lbs, Richard Stevens, and Andrew Woods went out on classic boats as did Randy Smyth. Randy is beginning the process of conversion to a foiler and was going so fast upwind that the power boat with the pro photographer couldn't catch him.

Andrew flipped, righted and then flipped again in the heavy air. The second flip broke his mast. Three power boats filled with Acat sailors went to the rescue. Daniel Seagraves, a new A-cat sailor from Los Angeles, established his seamanship abilities, having helped rescue Bora Gulari in Newport in a capsize and now Andrew.

Dinner was a South African buffet cooked over three days with the leadership of Deborah Doyle with Mike Krantz providing an assortment of sipping rums from his personal rum cellar. The class presented two of Karen Ryan's photos mounted on metal to Mike Krantz and Ben Hall as a thanks for their continued class support and sponsorship.

Sunday started cold but was a great day of 5 races in 12 to 15 knots of breeze with big gusts and very light air at the top mark. We joked one lap was like a Vendee Globe race with doldrums and Cape Horn all in one leg. Overall the conditions were manageable and a lot of fun. J24 sailors came in bragging of over 9 knots of boat speed so it must have been windy.

Ben Hall arrived at the top mark first or in the top group several times at age 70 going on 50 with an AD3 eXploder setup for the light air he expected with C boards and no rudder elevators. He was fighting to the win the classics before retiring after 4 long races.

Larry Woods showed ferocious speed but also capsized something like 8 times including one where he flew eight feet high on the trapeze as he swung the boat into a bear away and jibe while starting to foil on an overstood last race beat. In race one, Larry and Bailey traded the lead on each tack and jibe upwind and downwind, racing so hard that both made the ugliest leeward roundings on the racetrack and were panting at the finish.

Chris Bolton showed that a straight board A2 can still go very fast in heavy and variable conditions, winning the classics and placing fourth overall. Randy Smyth showed his expertise in starting, winning most of them and working out the kinks in some of his new systems. Andrew Woods borrowed a mast and sailed all Sunday, but after growing an affinity for the sound of carbon breaking, broke two tiller extensions. Mike Krantz dealt with a broken mast rotation control but still managed a second in the last race of the foilers with a huge lead in the first beat.

By the end of the races, some people were so tired they could barely talk. Two of the Woods brothers thought that with the low lake levels they could hop off the boats and walk them onto a launch ramp. Until they grow to be 20 feet tall, that's a no-go. Their boats ended up looking like gigantic moths, pinned to a dock to leeward as other sailors helped them recover in heavy winds.

Results are attached. Bailey White combined enough consistent downwind foiling to get all bullets even when he flubbed a start and started last. His best finish was one where he foiled nicely upwind across the finish line but upwind flight was rare.

We had several spectators who enjoyed the races and all came away sharing what they saw in the water and helping the sailors understand the different techniques they saw on the water. The $40 entry fee covered lunch, two dinners, drinks, and racing thanks to Lake Lanier Sailing Club, Zhik, and the volunteer race staff.

Some quotes:
"The Best $40 I've ever spent, dinner Friday night, Dinner on Sat and Sunday and free beers and Rum." Larry Woods
"Andrew and Larry Woods, synchronized docking." Todd Woods.
"Fantastic, we will come back just for the food." Kiwi aka Andrew Burdett
"Awesome place, awesome people." Mark Skeels.
"Good ole boys on a wild lake." Daniel Segraves
"Big league regatta, and it was fantastic" Richard Stevens
"I'm going to the gym and sail all 5 races next year." Ben Hall
"Don't you dare take a picture of me capsized on the dock." Andrew Woods.
"Hahaha, too late." Bill Vining
"The wind was almost as crooked as Hillary." anonymous
"its my Trump scooter, loud, dangerous and kills the environment." Warren Doyle.
"Tacks better and is so much more responsive than my F16. Best day I have had sailing." Dean Mayke on his first A-Class regatta.

Kirk Jockell took many pictures which can be seen here.

Bill Vining also provided a few pics that show an effective upwind passing move by Chris Bolton and highlight the windy conditions.

Full results in pic below. Click for bigger size.