Thursday, October 25, 2012

SSA Plane Insane / Region II Championships - Drew Buttner

The 2012 Region 2 Championship was held this past weekend at SSA in Annapolis, MD.  14 teams competed including the past two North American champions.  The strong fleet enjoyed some great racing, great weather, and great hospitality.

The event started on Saturday, but a few boats decided to get a little practice in on Friday.  The word on the street was that the Chesapeake Bay served up some champagne conditions and that those that couldn't make it out missed a perfect day for tuning.  For those that couldn't make it, some evening rigging or a morning scramble would have to suffice.

Saturday dawned with warm temps and very little wind.  The forecast wasn't great either with a 9 knot breeze to peak at 11AM, then dying throughout the day.  Needless to say everyone was worried about the prospects of the day.  The lack of wind did give the fleet some extra time to digest the coffee and donuts that were supplied by Bryan Richardson!!  The breeze started to fill around 10AM, and after a short postponement ashore, everyone quickly made their way out to the race course and the RC got things started with only a small delay.  The breeze was from the NW, and with the course set just north of the Severn, the wind was off the towers and pretty variable.  In race number one, the majority of the fleet looked to take advantage of the seemingly more pressure on the left, but it would be right angle that would prove dominate.   Nelson/Falsone played things perfectly and led the fleet around the first weather mark.  Diaz/Lanzinger found that pressure on the left at the very top of the beat to sneak into second and put them in position to battle for the lead downwind.  A mistake (jibing away from the pressure) on the run by Nelson/Falsone allowed Diaz/Lanzinger the passing lane they were looking for they capitalized quickly.  Once in the lead, Diaz/Lanzinger would not be caught.  Nelson/Falsone finished second with locals Sitzmann/Becker sailing a solid race to get 3rd.

Unfortunately the breeze was dying throughout the first race, and as the second race of the day was getting started things really went downhill.  Zagol/Buttner were the rabbit, but upon rounding the pin the wind shifted hard left and they were already above the port tack layline to the weather mark.  Great for the rabbit, but not great for the fleet.  The RC wisely postponed at the starting gun and reset the course.  A second attempt got the race underway, but the breeze was light and it really became a guessing game as to where the breeze would fill from next.  Zagol/Buttner headed right (not a big surprise given they were the rabbit) and this tactic paid off as they rounded the top mark first.  Both Meller/Coe and Moore/Ewenson were close but neither could pass on the downwind leg.  On the second beat the wind got even lighter.  Meller/Coe and Moore/Ewenson tacked out to search for pressure coming from the Severn river on the left.  Unfortunately for them the pressure never materialized.  Instead it came in from the right.  Diaz/Lanzinger had rounding the leeward mark in 4th and never tacked, enabling them to be the first to get to the new pressure and to take the lead.  The RC wisely shortened the course and finished the fleet at the top.  Zagol/Buttner were second and Papadakis/Falsone Jr. were third.

After racing the fleet converged under a tent (SSA is being completely renovated) for beer and oysters.  Conversation about a 2016/2017 worlds bid ensued.  Eventually the need for real food took over and everyone convened at a local establishment down the street.

Sunday was much better from a breeze perspective.  The forecast was 10-15 out of the NW and that is pretty much what we saw all day.  The cost of this was of course the temperature which dropped a few degrees overnight.  The sun stayed shining through and kept things manageable all day.  Three races were completed.  Each race turned into a three way battle between Diaz/Lanzinger, Moore/Ewenson, and Zagol/Buttner.  In the first race of the day, and by far the most exciting, the three boats separated from the pack and pushed each other all the way around the course.  Each had their moment in the sun with the lead changing constantly.  Down the last run, Zagol/Buttner held a slight lead but started running out of pressure on the downwind left near the finish.  Diaz/Lanzinger were closing fast on the downwind right.  Zagol/Buttner jibed back to the finish with starboard advantage but now sit running.  The two boats were bow to bow.  Diaz/Lanzinger were forced off the wire by the starboard Zagol/Buttner and tried to square back and beat them across the line.  But Zagol/Buttner held on for the race win.  Diaz/Lanzinger were second and Moore/Ewenson followed in third.

The fourth race of the series was won by Diaz/Lanzinger.  (the editor forgets the details of that race)

In the fifth and final race, Thompson/Curtin jumped out to a commanding lead by nailing the shifts on the first leg.  The course had been changed to a triangle meaning we all had to find the new reach mark.  The fleet had all but conceded the race to them, until they decided to do a harbor cruise and check out the starting pin for another race course.  The rest of the fleet sailed to the correct jibe mark.  Thompson/Curtin's was so big however that they were able to round the wrong mark and then sail to the jibe mark still in the lead.  They held on the rest of the way for the race win with Zagol/Buttner in second and Diaz/Lanzinger in third.

In the end, the team of Augie Diaz and Fritz Lanzinger proved too good and they captured the overall title.  They sailed an amazingly consistent event given the tricky conditions.  Congratulations!!

Many thanks to Bryan Richardson and everyone at SSA for all their hard work, and for putting on a truly GREAT event.

18808Diaz, Augie/Lanzinger, Fritz/ CRYC1121[3]5.001
28830Zagol, Mark/Buttner, Andrew[4]21227.002
38722Falsone, Jesse/Nelson, Macy/ SSA264[8]719.003
49007Moore, Tyler/ewenson, Geoff/ HYC9[11]33419.004
57346Thompson, Craig/Curtin, Mike[11]775120.005
68851Sitzmann, Tom/Becker, Geoff/ SSA35[9]9522.006
77200Meller, Ali/Scannell, Peter/Coe, Mike/ SSA6864[9]24.007
88012Duncan, Whit/Miller, Russell/ Sail Newport10[12]56829.008
98822Burchfiel, David/Froman, Andy7410[12]1132.009
108952Smith, Charles/Smith, Jay/ CYCNC810[13]10634.0010
118850Watson, Doug/ WRSC[12]9871034.0011
12814Papadakis, Stergios/ SSA53[15/DNC]15/DNC15/DNC38.0012
138535Seamon/Artman/ SSA13[15/TLE]12111248.0013
148766Richardson, Bryan/Schoene, Matt/ SSA[14]1311131350.0014

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