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|2019 International Windmill Championship Regatta at Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Deltaville,Va||July 25 - 28|
|ANOSOV TEAM TAKES INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
In an entirely light air series at the FBYC, Arthur and Max Anosov always kept the boat going and captured the Windmill International Championship in a 24 boat fleet July 26-28 with an outstanding 1-3-2-3-2-1-(6) in the 24 boat fleet. The Anosovs were pressed by 3rd place finishers Larry Christian and Allie Sponar who actually led going into the last of the 7 race series (and were the only team that could possibly best the Anosovs) and by our International skipper and runner-up Brett Wright (from Bermuda) sailing with Matt Sponar who were the only team to place in the top 5 in every race.
Action really started on Thursday with measurements which were done with wonderful efficiency under the supervision of Larry Christian with participation by many of our racers. Brett Wright from Bermuda commented on the friendly and well organized nature of this process for which special thanks go to Larry, Ralph & Sandy Sponar and everyone who assisted in getting things done quickly and easily. FBYC Coordinator Alex Alvis was also of great help (as in the past) to the class.
Friday brought the light airs that were to be seen throughout the series and PRO Rick Klein appropriately signaled an H3 course (Windward/offset, Run to gate below the line, finish on a beat). After 2 general recalls, the Anosovs (5527) showed excellent speed and found some breeze on the L side of the course. Lin Robson & Sari Wakefield (5706) from FL also thrived in these conditions and led at the gate mark. On the tricky beat to the finish the Anosovs came back to take the gun just ahead of Brett Wright (our Bermuda sailor in 5702) and Matt Sponar, dropping Lin & Sari to 3rd ahead of Stuart Proctor & Patrick Bernhardt (5404) with John & Anne Danneberger rounding out the top 5 in their first race in their new boat (5710). Chris & Nancy Demler (5705) edged Larry Christian and Allie Sponar (5319) for 6th and that 7th proved to matter at the end of the regatta! Max & Jon Penders (5151) placed 8th, their best finish in a Nationals or Internationals race, showing that their "new" "Witchy Woman" is still an excellent boat and was a great buy! Rounding out the top 10 were Nathaniel & Sheila Plant (5271) from FL (5th in last year's Nationals) and Pat & Janet Huntley (5707) from Erie PA
Allen & Christina Chauvenet (5586) and Mike & Matt Crotty (3886) both managed to run aground, not the best way to start the regatta! There is a lesson there somewhere!!
In a generally successful effort to discourage early starters, the RC started all remaining races under the "Z" flag. This did not lead to any penalties on Friday but did come into play on the second day of racing. The second race found Larry & Allie doing well upwind and taking the lead approaching the gate then sailing well on the final beat to earn the first of their regatta-high 3 bullets. They were pressed by the Plants who led early in the race and held on for an outstanding runner-up position ahead of the Anosovs. Brett & Matt took 4th just in front of Allen & Christina who made major gains jibing on lifts on the run and broke away into clear air on the final beat to snatch 5th by 1/2 boat length (or less) from the Demlers who were likewise just ahead of Lin and Sari --all part of a set of extremely close finishes. Frank Murphy & Mike Miller (5708) had their new boat moving very well to edge Stuart and Patrick for 8th while the Crotty brothers joined Allen & Christina to demonstrate that NOT running aground produces better results and rounded out the top 10.
In what proved to be the final race of the opening day, Chris & Nancy Demler battled for the early lead but Brett & Matt eventually emerged victorious just ahead of the Anosovs and the Demlers. Larry & Allie were just off the pace while Allen & Christina sailed another great final downwind leg and beat to the finish to give the wooden boats 4-5 results. The second 5 saw 4 boats break into the top 10 with Nate & Tim Bachman (4689) showing outstanding sailing on the final short beat to take 6th while Pat & Janet Huntley secured a 7th just ahead of Eric Mann & Kat Hanson who honored Colin Browning's 5252 with an 8th. Completing the top 10 were Alan Taylor & Joel Blade (4051) from NC and Lansing Williams/Sandy Sponar (5252) who had their first top 10 result in a Nationals or Internationals. The winds were so tricky that Robson/Wakefield were 22nd just ahead of Lon Ethington & Meg Gimmi (5070) in 23rd. These were drop races for both and each team ended the regatta in the top 10.
The annual class dinner and meeting were held at the FBYC Friday evening with much discussion about continuing efforts to build the class and secure a new builder for the longer term. Max Penders (a rising junior in High School) was elected to replace Alan Taylor as the class 2nd VP (technology) and thus became the youngest member (ever) of the Windmill Class Governing Board! All were delighted to welcome Max and his continuing and increasing involvement with the class. FBYC coordinator Alex Alvis made everything run smoothly not only Friday evening but throughout the regatta. Food for the dinner was provided by Something Different (Urbanna, VA) and enjoyed by everyone present!
Saturday dawned warm and beautiful but with no wind at all. Rick Klein very wisely hoisted the "AP" ashore so sailors could socialize rather than drift in no wind. After about a 2 hour delay, some wind appeared and the intrepid sailors headed for the race course. W-L courses continued to be the choice of the committee although the second race had 5 legs rather than 3. This worked well but at the end of that race the wind again died and thus only two races were sailed on the second day of racing.
Races continued to be close but the day belonged to Larry/Allie who won both of the races! The first race started with a light but promising breeze and Alan & Joel jumped out to the best start at the committee boat end of the line. Unfortunately, though they stayed in the top group throughout the race, it turned out that they "jumped" a little too soon and were OCS, thus making a good race their drop race! Larry & Allie were challenged throughout the race but held off Brett & Matt with the Ansovs "relegated" to third at the finish! Pressing the top 3 were Lin & Sari who rebounded from the last race on Friday with an excellent 4th just ahead of the Crotty brothers who sailed a very clean race and showed the form that led them to a runner up position at the Midwinters in March. John & Anne took 6th as they got their new boat going well; unfortunately back issues forced their retirement after the race and they were unable to start the final 3 races of the series (the 5-11-11-6 was a trend that would certainly have led to a top 10 finish). Lon & Meg also rebounded with the first of three consecutive 7th place results that would ultimately return them to a top 10 overall results. The Demlers crossed the line 8th and thus became the first team impacted by the dreaded "Z" flag (20%) penalty which gave them a 13 point drop race for their efforts. The final spots in the top 10 went to the Plants and the Chauvenets (finishing, as is often the case, with no boats between them and the Bachmans!).
What proved to be the final race of the day was started in slightly less wind but again the Christian/Sponar team sailed well around the course and led throughout though pressed hard by the Anosovs. This gave Larry and Allie 3 bullets in the 5 races and the overall edge in the regatta. The Ansovs (never out of the top 3 in the first 6 races!) held the runner up spot. Allen & Christina rebounded with a great last downwind leg, turned the left gate and sailed for the breeze, making an amazing comeback to secure 3rd not far behind the top 2 and perhaps a half boat length ahead of Lin & Sari thus relegating Brett & Matt to their "worst" race of the regatta--a 5th! Pat & Janet were consistently near the top group and took 6th with Lon & Meg recording their second 7th of the day. Chris & Nancy sailed well but had a few adverse shifts that left them 8th just ahead of the Bachmans who returned to the top 10 with their 9th. Alan and Joel bounced back from the prior OCS to round out the top 10.
Some wondered when the RC sent the fleet in after the second race, feeling we had time and breeze for another race. The extra data and excellent judgment from our PRO was soon seen as the wind died to almost nothing while the fleet was "sailing" back to the launch area!
This left the top 3 to contest the Championship. Larry & Allie had a slight edge with 3 bullets in the 5 races, but also had a first race 7th. The Anosovs had never place out of the top 3 which meant they could afford a drop on the final day. Brett & Matt had a bullet and two seconds to go with their 4th and 5th so were easily within striking distance of the top two boats. Lin & Sari held 4th but with the 22nd would have to count all remaining races while the Demlers, Allen & Christina and the Plants were in a tight group for 5-6-7.
Sunday dawned with more light winds but tantalizingly just a touch more than the earlier days. The W-L courses were sailed again and there was a great battle between the Anosovs and Larry/Allie. The Anosovs won with Larry & Allie second. When the Demlers parlayed an excellent all-around race into 3rd ahead of Brett & Matt this left the odd situation that had there been no more races, Larry & Allie would have taken the title (on tiebreak, discarding their first race 7th). However, Brett & Matt could catch Larry & Allie, though if only 1 more race were sailed it was impossible for them to catch the Anosovs!! Pat and Janet turned in their best race of the series, a 5th, which essentially clinched 8th overall. The Plants were a solid 6th which left them in the mix for 4-7 as all of the boats in that group had a race they wished to discard! Lon & Meg secured another top 10 regatta finish with their third consecutive 7th just ahead of the Penders who secured another fine 8th. This left Lon & Meg with an excellent chance at returning to the top 10, though like Lin & Sari, they needed to sail well enough to discard their third race. This left Lin & Sari just ahead of Allen & Christina to round out the top 10. Another race would not only lead to an epic struggle for the Championship but also meant that 4-5 teams would be battling for the final beautiful 10th place trophies!
With hopes of enough wind, the Race Committee set the two-lap H5 course for what all rightly assumed would be the final race. Alan and Joel made their bid for trophies with an almost flawless opening beat to lead starting the run. The Plants turned second and moved very well downwind to quickly take the lead. Stuart and Patrick looked to be turning 3rd but in the light airs and adverse tide hit the weather mark which allowed Lin & Sari to lead Allen & Christina around. The long run was agonizingly slow in what became light airs but the Plants found all the right shifts and angles to hold a good lead at the gate mark. The other leaders were bunched very closely together when the second weather leg started. The Anosovs had the advantage of knowing that they would win the regatta if Larry & Allie finished worse than 3rd, regardless of their own finish. Up the second beat the Plants held their lead with Brett & Matt, Alan and Joel, Lin and Sari all around just ahead of Allen & Christina. Others were not far behind and the race and trophies were really up for grabs on the final two legs. Allen & Christina found all the right angles downwind while the Plants wound up on the wrong jibe approaching the gate. The Plants still turned the L gate first but with Allen & Christina only 2-3 boat lengths astern and Brett & Matt contesting the top 3 positions. Allen & Christina found some speed and pointing on port tack and when the Plants tacked starboard they barely crossed, heading to the left with Brett & Matt. When the boats came together, Allen & Christina had the lead and the others had to tack which allowed Allen & Christina to tack to port, aimed at the stern of the committee boat and taking the gun. Brett & Matt edged the Plants for second while Lin & Sari held 4th just ahead of Alan & Joel. No one knew it at the time but it turned out that Allen & Christina beat the time limit by 3 minutes to snatch 5th overall from the Demlers and Alan & Joel's 5th place was exactly what they needed to take 10th (on 4th tie break) place over the Crotty brothers. The Anosovs followed with their throw-out race just ahead of Larry & Allie whose second 7th left them 3rd overall in spite of 3 wins in the 7 races! The Demlers took 8th, just losing the tie-break for 5th and the Crottys re-appeared in the top 10 with a 9th, just losing the 10th place trophy and the Huntleys sailed well to place 10th, though any finish at all would have left them 8th overall. Others with a good shot at 10th had bad races and fell out of 10th place (Bachmans, Stuart & Patrick, Penders) in spite of many good results. The Plants joined Allen and Christina as the only team outside the top 3 to have 2 top 3 races and wound up 7th overall. Meg & Lon sailed well enough to discard their 3rd race (a 9 point improvement) and took 9th for the regatta.
While the top 3 certainly dominated the regatta (6 wins and 6 seconds), the races were close and there were amazingly close battles for 4th-10th which included very close finishes and many place changes on the final run and beat of every race!
In addition to the top 10 special recognition went to Eric Mann who not only became an old goat but took home the old goat perpetual trophy! Frank Murphy was honored as top over 60 skipper outside the top 10 and Lance Williams was likewise the top 70+ skipper outside the top 10. Carroll Sparwasser is far better in heavy airs so took home the Russell Chauvenet "Persistance" award for the skipper with the highest point total who finished every race!
As always, it was a wonderful gathering of old and new friends. Everyone enjoyed the food provided by Something Different (Urbanna, VA) and appreciated the work of Karol Pichon as official recorder. Thanks to all of them as well as others who made our first Internationals since 1980 such a success! Finally, we appreciated having Brett & Matt sailing with us for their expertise, Brett's trip from Bermuda and especially for being the only boat to capsize during the entire weekend!
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