The 2013 Midwinters took place out of St Pete's YC in Florida. The event took place over 3 days with good courses and excellent race management for the St Pete's team ably lead by Jeff Harris as the PRO, Donna Sue Marks and all the rest of the crew, dropping marks, moving them and generally doing a top job! I had the pleasure of sailing this year with Dustin Romey in Henry Amthor's new Rondar. It was actually amazing we even made it to the start line. Some 100 miles short of the venue Dustin "lost" the double containing Henry's boat and 9007, formerly Tyler's boat now owned by Matt and Thomas on the freeway while traveling 1 mph below the speed limit. By the time he came to a stop the trailer was no longer in one piece, but luckily the boats were. Ethan then stepped up to the plate and drove down with his double to pick up the two stranded boats while Dustin got the broken trailer to a repair guy. A huge thanks to Ethan! But I have to ask the question, isn't it time for the US to consider the metric system and do away with the BS of 1 7/8" and 2" etc?
So with the addition of the 2 wayward boats 15 boats came to the course for 5 races on Friday. Five! And people complained about the sail in at St Francis! Note to self, expect a long day at any yacht club associated with a Saint… With so many races I can't remember much, but Fritz and Augie won all but one and they would have won that too but for a breakage. They were faster and smarter in the 10-15 knot conditions and controlled from the front. Behind it was much tighter with half a dozen boats fighting for the next spots, Mike and Ethan were the only other race winners but at the days end they were in 6th, Will and Zack, sailing with the A sail and clearly faster downwind were in 5th, Drew and Mark were in 4th, Doug and Parker 3rd and Dustin and I were 2nd. All day long Drew and Mark had been as quick as Fritz and Augie up but were struggling a little downwind. Also of note, The Body and Macy were sailing Macy's new Rondar, that looked exactly like his old boat… They had their moments including a 3rd in race 2.
Saturday was slightly lighter, despite a forecast for more and the start was delayed by fog but oddly and unlike the real stuff it was warm, some sort of Hollywood prop I think. Racing again was a blur, same race winners but Doug and Parker upped their game and pushed Dustin and me down to 3rd in the standings. Mike and Ethan also had a better day but Will and Zack struggled a bit with the A sail. Saturday night saw a great spread provided by the YC, but the party wrapped up pretty early with some tired bodies after 2 long days of racing.
So to Sunday once the fog cleared it was all to play for, well not really, basically Fritz and Augie just had to sail the course to win, but duly won the two races in still lighter breeze, a 50:50 day on wire running. Dustin and I did enough to move up to 2nd so now Dustin has the curse too and Doug and Parker hung on for 3rd, despot doing their best to "throw it away" under pressure! To be fair, when I have my sights set on 2nd I take some shaking…
This was my 3rd midwinters and all have been great fun, sailing off of a lovely beach with great sailing and socializing in a warm and picturesque venue. Sailing on the gulf is great fun, good waves and breeze giving good fair racing and I cannot think of a reason why you would not be here in February. A big thanks to Ethan, Lin and all the crew at St Pete's YC! I will be back!