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Lasers Masters North American Championships at New York Yacht Club

by Stuart Streuli on 21 Oct 2013 18-20 October 2013
Marc Jacobi wins the Lasers Masters North American title © Stuart Streuli

Title decided in the final race

Marc Jacobi was one of the last people to officially enter the 137-boat 2013 Laser Masters North American Championships, registering for the regatta just hours before the first race. Once the racing started, however, he quickly jumped to the head of the class, winning three of the first six races.

The only sailor able to keep pace with Jacobi was Peter Shope. The two sailors went into the final race of the regatta separated by just one point, with Jacobi holding the slim lead, and the tiebreaker, should they finish with the same total score.

Shope struggled early in the final race while Jacobi (above, sail No. 194582) found himself comfortably ensconced in the top few boats. On the second beat, with nothing to lose—third overall was quite a ways back—Shope rolled the dice.

"I didn't pay attention to where [Shope] was [at the start], I just wanted to get off the line cleanly," says Jacobi (below, right) of the final race. "I didn't see him until halfway up the leg and he was back. On the second beat, he banged the left corner. I was in great position, second or third, really solid. But he had so much leverage on the left, I could not let him go. I took really bad shift, less wind, to get back over there and he ended up passing me at the top. It was terrifying. And we had a boat in between us.

"We rounded in a right shift. They all sailed by the lee to aim at the mark and I stayed in the pressure and sailed straight downwind, knowing that if we're in a right phase, the next phase is going to be left. I got off to the side of them, got that left phase first and extended on them and passed them on the run. It was nerve-racking."

The sailing season in Newport, R.I., generally runs from Memorial Day through the middle of September. October is usually a mixed bag of weather: many days are beautiful, though storms and cold temperatures are not uncommon. One thing that is certain about running a regatta in October, however, is there's a lot less competition for the available space on Narragansett Bay. During the normal sailing season. a 137-boat Laser regatta would likely need to be sailed on Rhode Island Sound. For the 2013 Laser Masters North Americans, the lack of traffic on the bay allowed the race committee to set courses in the East Passage, within a short sail of Harbour Court. Of the 137 boats entered, 99 sailed in the Full Rig division, with 38 sailing in the Radial Division.

The courses were a touch shorter than normal and with the breeze coming off the land for most of the regatta, the shifts were frequent and hard to predict. This made it all the more difficult to be consistent. Only Jacobi and Shope were able to average less than 9 points per race in the 99-boat Full Rig fleet.

The Masters format groups sailors by age: Apprentice Master (35 to 44), Master (45 to 54), Grand Master (55 to 64), and Great Grand Master (65 and older). A handicapping formula allows for all the sailors to be ranked in one fleet in addition to being scored among their respective age categories.

For more photos, visit the New York Yacht Club Regattas Facebook page.

Overall Results:

Full Rig Fleet (99 boats)

Apprentice Master (points adjusted for full-fleet scoring)
1. Ray Davies, Toronto, CAN, 124pts
2. Brian Fisher, Middletown, R.I., 146pts
3. Roman Plutenko, Chicago, 219pts

1. Marc Jacobi, Norwalk, Conn., 61pts
2. Peter Shope, Oakland, Calif., 64pts
3. Scott Ferguson, Jamestown, R.I., 132pts

Grand Master
1. Peter Vessella, Miami, Fla., 104pts
2. Andrew Pimental, Portsmouth, R.I., 104pts
3. Andy Roy, Peterborough, CAN, 105pts

Great Grand Master
1. David Frazier, Granby, Conn., 371pts
2. Tim Millhiser, Madison, Conn., 440pts
3. Amnon Gitelson, Amonk, N.Y., 542pts

Top Female: Lynne Shore, Newport, R.I. (154 points, 11th overall)

Radial Fleet (38 boats)

Apprentice Master (points adjusted for full-fleet scoring)
1. Eric Siegel, Hingham, Mass., 142pts
2. Kim Couranz, Annapolis, Md., 213pts
3. Dorian Halderman, Annapolis, Md., 217pts

1. Stephen Cockerill, Hampshire, GBR, 48pts
2. Nigel Heath, Toronto, CAN, 74pts
3. Rudolph Ratsep, East Hampton, N.Y., 75pts

Grand Master
1. Tim Woodford, Nova Scotia, CAN, 96pts
2. Rob Koci, Toronto, CAN, 104pts
3. Richard Roberts, Toronto, CAN, 112pts

Great Grand Master
1. Peter Seidenberg, Portsmouth, R.I., 53pts
2. Lindsay Hewitt, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., 71pts
3. David Hartman, Vero Beach, Fla., 149pts

Top Female: Margaret Bonds Podlich, Severna Park, Md. (150 points, 16th overall)

Full results can be found here.

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