Please select your home edition
Clipper Ventures

RS Aero North American Midwinter Championship at Indian River Yacht Club

by Bob Patterson 5 Mar 05:51 GMT 8-9 February 2020
RS Aero North America Midwinter Championship © Sean & Tiffany Fidler

Trailers of boats from across the United States descended upon Kelly Park in Merritt Island Florida for our RS Aero Midwinter Champs. Thursday, Marc Jacobi put on one of his signature pre-regatta clinics in strong breeze. Your author was unable to attend the clinic, but by all accounts the participants learned a lot and handled the challenging conditions with aplomb.

An approaching cold front made the weather a point of anxiety for many competitors. Friday looked to be breezy and cold with overcast skies. Four races were completed with Marc Jacobi and Madhavan Thirumalai sailing RS Aero 9s revelling in the strong conditions. Bob Patterson and Hank Saurage were in the lead pack as well in RS Aero 7s, mixing it up with the 9 rigs and thinking they were looking good while on the water. There was a good bit of swimming on Friday, with Boris Mezhibovskiy showing impressive form. Staying upright was a key component to better results. When results were posted later and they realized that they had OCSs in their score card, they realized they had their work cut out for them Saturday.

Saturday was clear and sunny with a little less breeze but still quite sporty conditions. Jacobi and Madhavan continued their run in the RS Aero 9 fleet while Patterson and Saurage went to work. With the exception of race 1 on the day when Saurage went to the wrong mark and ended up at the back, the two sailors were 1, 2 on the day. Patterson was especially careful to be conservative at the starting line, hanging back and relying on his upwind speed to keep him within striking range. I will also mention that Erik Aker, sailing clean on day one (no OCS) and in the top three on Saturday was leading. Only when discard races would come into play would his lead be threatened.

A lovely dinner at the Hawksbill Restaurant was held Saturday night with some tired but happy sailors enjoying food and camaraderie. The restaurant was close to the sailing venue and was glad to accommodate us.

Sunday was forecast to be warm (correct) and light (nope). While not as consistently strong a breeze as Saturday, boats were depowering with sailors hiking full on to get that last chance to move up. Saurage put up a 1, 2, 1, 1 and Patterson was looking to move past Erik Aker with a 3, 1, 2 until he miscalculated a cross with Jacobi, did a penalty turn, capsized and had to battle his way back to 4th in the race. This cost Patterson second place overall but Erik Aker, having a 4 and a 5 as his drop races (versus 2 OCS for Patterson and a 12, OCS for Saurage) sailed a great series with very consistent results. Well done!

In the RS Aero 9 fleet Jacobi played his regular tune of straight bullets while Madhavan and Sean Fidler had quite a back and forth battle. Madhavan prevailed, but only by 3 points. The top 7s and 9s were often racing each other so it was interesting to see how things unfolded.

An interesting fleet in the regatta was the race among the RS Aero 5 rigs. While grouped with the 7s in the results, Paul Gingras, Gregory Popp, Melissa Solnick, and Tony Corkell all decided to sail with the smaller rigs, deciding that it was more fun to be out on the water than to be killing yourself with too much sail or staying on shore after trying to do so and getting hurt. We will definitely have a separate RS Aero 5 fleet next year.

The general consensus from this regatta was it was a positive experience. Indian River YC put on a great event, with little waiting on the water in between races and efficient changing of marks for the conditions. Launching was from a soft sand beach that we shared with windsurfers and kites and hose off right at the top of the ramp leading to it. There was ample parking for cars and trailers and Gregory Popp even had space to bring his RV as the unofficial shore base for the event. The racing area had little motorboat traffic and was a quick sail right off the beach. There were lots of smiles on shore afterwards and most agreed they will be back next year.

Next up in Florida is the fleet's first visit to the keys with an event at Key Lago March 7/8, before moving on the Sarasota OD Regatta on March 20-22. For full detail of RS Aero events in North America through 2020 check out the Events List.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoSkipperClubR1  R2 R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12Pts
RS Aero 7
12757Hank SauragePontchartrain YC / LA16[OCS]1[12]111121116
21422Eric AkerMA211313[5][4]234222
32404Bob PattersonFL[OCS]2[OCS]52222312425
43173Dave ChadwickBrowns Creek SA/ AL433244[6][5]453335
52896Philip MyersonCedar Point YC/ CT[6]4443533546[DNS]41
62732Boris MezhibovskiySebago/ Brooklyn/ NY[DNF]7[9]65646665556
71378Paul GingrasSailfish Club/ FL3[9]2767[8]7787761
81626Jeff DunmallCAN[10]108[11]7878878677
91610Gregory PoppHalifax SA9[11]698[11]111091010991
102119Melissa SolnickSebago/ Brooklyn/ NY887810109[11][11]11111092 
111738Tony CorkellPalm Beach SC/ NC712[DNC][DNS]991091099892 
121983David SolnickFraglia Vela Riva/ ITA5551011[DNC][DNC]DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC101
RS Aero 9
12210Marc JacobiCedar Point YC/ CT[1]111[2]111111110
21982Madhavan ThirumalaiCedar Point YC/ CT32221332[4]2[4]424
33172Sean FidlerCrystal Lake YC/ MI234[DNC]3[7]23242227
42639Jim MyersWatch Hill YC/ RI44[OCS]3[6]244355337
51041Jim BuffumWeekapaug YC. RI663456666[7][7]654
61126Ash BeattyLake Canyon YC/ TX55[DNC][OCS]4555566DNS54
72279Mark SchwegmanPointYC/ South Africa[DNC][DNC]DNCDNCDNS4DNFDNSDNS33563

Related Articles

RS Aero VR Championships Review
109 entries from 17 countries take part 109 entries from 17 countries entered the RS Aero VR Championships, seeking a place in the coveted RYA Spring Class Champs, being held in June. Posted on 8 May
RS Aero VR Championships Finals Night
Top 40 battle it out, starting at 18:30 BST After 60 Flight Races over this week, the RS Aero VR fleet has found their top 40 sailors who will take part in two VR Finals series starting at 18:30 BST on Thursday 7th May. Posted on 7 May
RS Aero Virtual Regatta Championships starts today
A strong fleet of well over 100 helms entered This week sees the RS Aero Classes holding their Virtual Regatta Championships supported by RS Sailboats. With a strong fleet of well over 100 helms, this event promises to see who really is the fastest across the water, whether it be a 5, 7 or 9 rig. Posted on 4 May
RS Aero Virtual Regatta Championships preview
Entries already flooding in for the event taking place 4th-7th May Entries are already flooding in for the RS Aero Virtual Regatta Championships to be held on the VR waters of Aarhus, Fécamp, Kiel and Cagliari over the week commencing the 4th May. Racing will take place from 6.30pm BST onwards for the various fleets. Posted on 28 Apr
The perfect modern single-handed sailboat!
The RS Aero is incredibly light - with a hull weight of 66 lbs The RS Aero is the most technically advanced, exhilarating, and fun sailboat available. Posted on 24 Apr
RS Aero UK Winter Series 2019/20 overall
A fantastic winter of racing for the fleet With an RS Aero Winter Series 14 events planned across the country and only three required for a series it was possible to choose your events and qualify without too many winter miles. Posted on 11 Apr
RS Sailing Newsletter
Still open and ready to make a splash on the day you get back on the water! The last few weeks have been unprecedented for RS Sailing. We wanted to let you know that we are still open and we're ready to make a splash on your day if you are pining to get back out on the water! Posted on 2 Apr
At-home tips, tricks, hacks and entertainment
Top Rooster Reads in March 2020 We'd like to think that one of the safest places to go at the moment is out on the water. Turn your phone off, kit up, and for a short while at least, let the woes of the world take backstage on your home waters. Posted on 23 Mar
In conversation with Steve Cockerill
An in-depth discussion with the top dinghy sailor and Rooster founder Mark Jardine chats with Steve about his own youth sailing, the changes which happened recently in the RYA Youth system and squads, coaching in the sport, becoming a sailor for life, his own dinghy sailing and a bit about Rooster, the company he founded! Posted on 12 Mar
NeilPryde Sailing Team Riders announced for 2020
Representing a broad cross section across dinghy classes NeilPryde Sailing, the choice for high performance watersports clothing and accessories, is pleased to announce its Team Rider sponsorship line-up for 2020. Posted on 3 Mar