|WINDMILLS RETURN TO DAVIS ISLAND "Fireballs and Friends"
For the first time since Thanksgiving 2010, our class returned to the DIYC "Fireballs & Friends" regatta which saw a turnout of 9 Fireballs, 7 Windmills and 6 Interlakes. Windmills sailed on Saturday and Sunday with the upcoming Midwinters at Sarasota the following Friday/Saturday/Sunday and thus missed the very heavy air day on Friday. Both Saturday and Sunday saw fitful and shifty light airs. A special highlight for Windmills was the participation of both boats from Sea Scout Ship 915 of Gulfport who showed the benefits up some boat upgrades, newer jibs and more experience.
The Saturday race started in 4-6 mph winds from the club with Allen Chauvenet & Sarah Steward (5586: Beauty & The Beast) off to a good start and heading to the left side. They were joined by Cam & Kiley Carlin sailing the St Pete Sailing Center Johansen 5701 but using 2585 sails. The course was a modified Olympic (triangle followed by W-L). B&B moved well in the light airs and worked over to the mark with well-timed port hitches to establish a useful lead over 5701. However, B&B gave some of the lead back by tacking to starboard short of the lay line and needing 2 extra tacks to round the mark. The boats sailed the short reach and rounded the jibe mark in the same order with Colin Browning/Eric Mann (5252: Bella) 3rd ahead of Lisa & Jake Fath (4028: Elvis) and the Sea Scout Mills 4886 (Tye Belcher/Camille Dodson) and 4049 (Talib Moran/Ian Witbreak) not far behind. The "run" to the third mark saw drifting conditions with boats barely moving; the course was shortened to finish at the leeward mark and a light breeze came up from astern so the fleet compressed in distance with at least 4 boats having a chance to win. B&B maintained the lead and trimmed immediately to the 180 degree "shift" to finish close hauled and win while the Carlins also picked this up to save second, followed by Bella, Elvis and the Sea Scout boats 4886 and 4049 close astern. A second race was started but abandoned by the committee.
Sunday saw light winds from the east with the same course set. Allen & Sarah again made a good start and headed left with Bob & Rob Woithe (4481: Kraken) moving well ahead and to leeward. A timely tack to port gave B&B the lead until they tacked back to lay the weather mark, overlooking new breeze coming in from the right. Playing this perfectly, Tye & Camille came down rapidly to round first with Colin & Eric just behind and charging over B&B at the mark. On the reach 4886 & 5252 got into a luffing match while Allen & Sarah used any puff to make distance to leeward. At the jibe mark B&B had an inside overlap on Bella with Tye & Camille now 3rd & doing turns after a foul. The "run" to the 3rd mark (which again became the finish) found the wind swinging to the south and then SE, making the leg a close reach & beat. Allen & Sarah established & steadily extended their lead by driving off for speed in every small puff to win handily followed by Colin & Eric. Lisa & Jake caught Tye & Camille on this leg to take 3rd with Bob & Rob rounding out the top 5.
Thus Allen & Sarah (starting their 7th season sailing together) secured their first regatta win when racing was again abandoned for the day while Colin & Eric (4-2) took 2nd on tie break over Lisa & Jake (3-3). All were delighted with the "new" approach to trophies where each skipper and crew chose either a bottle of wine or Mount Gay Rum!! A good time was had by all and we hope to return next year with a larger fleet.