Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 East Coast Championship - Drew Buttner

The 2011 505 US East Coast Championship saw a little bit of everything over the course of three days of racing. Big wind, light wind, a broken rudder, and many broken egos. In the end, Tyler Moore and Geoff Ewenson were just better than the fleet and won the event going away (although their ego is one of the ones broken).

The Championship was held as part of the Buzzards Bay Regatta. 15 505’s joined over 400 other boats at one of the biggest regattas around. 150 420’s went home wanting to race 505’s ... 10 tons of keelboats went home wanting to race 505’s ... and the 15 505’s went home glad they race 505’s!

Day 1 started with a light northerly. Half the fleet was in denial and didn't leave the beach in time and missed the first race (they were the smart ones). Those that did race were treated to a healthy dose of "eating vang" and a four lap parade before the breeze completely shut off. Everyone waited for the famous sea breeze, but a strong northerly gradient kept the southerly from filling in. At three o'clock the southerly finally arrived, and although moderate at 8-10 knots, it did manage to provide the fleet with two decent light air races. Tyler/Geoff escaped trouble all day and scored a series of bullets. The rest of the fleet found themselves tied for second as everyone had a good race, a bad race, and a terrible race.

Day 2 was one of those days that put a smile on everyone's face, 12-15 knots all day long. The racing was tight and the fleet started to sort itself out. Tyler/Geoff continued their winning ways going just fast enough to lead everyone around the course, increasing their lead at each mark and finishing each race about 100 yards in front. Ramsay/Drew started the day with a pair of seconds, trying to put a dent in Tyler/Geoff's armor, but unable to do so. Ted/Jesse came on at the end of the day as the breeze backed off a bit to 12 knots. The day was not as fun for the Watsons who broke their rudder blade and had to get towed in. Komar/Russell suffered a broken topping lift shackle, which somehow lead them to a full shrimp of their kite. Whit/Chris broke their forestay control, ripped their jib in half, and limped home to lick their wounds.

The forecast for Day 3 was not great: heavy rain and heavy wind. Arriving at the club we found the weathermen right. Breeze was forecasted to peak in the upper 20's, but the rain squalls were not supposed to contain lightning. The race committee cancelled the 420's and sent the 505's to the inner circle. Out we went. It turned out to be a San Francisco day. Race 1 got under way and Macy/Parry, Ramsay/Drew, and Tyler/Geoff quickly separated themselves from the pack. A drag race to the left and all three stayed even. Macy/Parry tacked first, ducked, and headed right ... bad move.

Ramsay/Drew and Tyler/Geoff continued for another minute until Tyler/Geoff tacked right. Ramsay/Drew would follow 30 seconds later and close to the port layline. At the top mark Ramsay/Drew were able to tack inside of Tyler/Geoff and lead the race around the top mark. Tyler/Geoff proceeded to flip on the set. Oops! Ramsay/Drew held on, trying to keep the boat upright, nailed the jibe, and managed to survive the next lap to win. Tyler/Geoff tried to get back into the race, but couldn't catch Macy/Parry.

Race 2 got underway with about half the fleet. Ted/Jesse won the start, but just didn't have the speed to stay in front. Tyler/Geoff proved too much and were determined to make up for their first race blunders. They crossed Ramsay/Drew at the top and lead the fleet around the top mark. The breeze was reportedly hitting 30 knots by this time. Tyler/Geoff and Ramsay/Drew stayed next to each other for both laps, neither making a big mistake. Tyler/Geoff were faster downwind; Ramsay/Drew were faster upwind. Rounding the last leeward mark, Tyler/Geoff had a 20 length lead. They headed right and went deep into the corner under the lee of the shore. Ramsay/Drew tacked out toward the bay. When they came back together, Ramsay/Drew had a 5 length lead. They tacked to make the finish, Tyler/Geoff tried to punch through to leeward while Ramsay/Drew tried to get the boat moving again ... Tyler/Geoff just couldn't make it through and Ramsay/Drew went on to win the race (then managed to pitch pole on the sail in!).

A nice downpour with horizontal rain while we packed up the boats was a great end to the day. Time for a nap!!

Congratulation again to Tyler Moore and Geoff Ewenson for winning the 2011 US East Coast Championship!!!

Editor's note - all photos courtesy of Spectrum Photo - Full Gallery


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