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Damon Linkous


2015 Key Largo Steeplechase

Added by grandude on Nov 20, 2015 - 12:32 PM

2015 Key Largo Steeplechase… check it out.

If you have ever had an interest or curiosity in the Key Largo Steeplechase, you should look at the race again, this year. The 2015 Steeplechase is scheduled for December 12th and 13th and will be the new format we ran last year. This new course is the result of the sailors’ initiative and everyone agreed the changes worked well.

Instead of rigging and launching from Gilbert’s, the boats are rigged at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. The start is from the beach at the Islander. As the host of Tradewinds, The Florida 300 and many other great regattas, the Islander is perfect for sailing beachcats. Many thanks to Dennis Greene and Water Sports, our contact onsite.

The Islander has been upgraded and is now a Guy Harvey Outpost. The rooms, bar, restaurant and pool area make it great for evening socials and really nice for ground crews. One year at Tradewinds we even had a camp fire.

Saturday morning is the start, and the longer of the 2 days. We sail north east to Angelfish Creek. Navigation is pretty simple but a GPS is standard equipment. Through Angelfish Creek and down through Card Sound, under the bridge and across Barnes Sound. Card Sound bridge offers great photo opportunity and many crews meet there to check on their teams. Jewfish Creek slows things down where some teams paddle and some show skills that only the Steeplechase can teach. Past Gilbert’s and down Blackwater Sound, through Dusenbury Creek and into Tarpon Basin. Grouper Creek opens up into Buttonwood Sound and the final drag race into the Upper Keys Sailing Club. 

Florida 300 Date Set for May 17-21, 2016

Added by cyberspeed on Oct 16, 2015 - 03:34 PM
2016 Florida 300

Sail Series Promotions is fully committed to the Florida 300 for 2016. We are excited to announce the date for the 3rd running of the Florida 300. The event date is set for May 17-21, 2016 with a course predicted to be similar to the first year.

We wanted to get the date out in advance of upcoming national races so sailors can start planning for next year. We sent out a survey to previous competitors last month and had good response with all responders either committing to next year or definite maybe's for the 2016 event.

Various course ideas have been considered including the feedback received in our survey. Although we have not been able to finalize the course, we did not want to delay posting our race dates.

We are actively looking for sponsorship for next year and need your help. The more sponsorship involvement we secure, the better the event we can put on. Please feel free to email info@sailseries.com or contact Craig Van Eaton at 561.881.1226.

75 year old Hans Geissler sailing Hirams Haul

Added by DamonLinkous on Oct 12, 2015 - 02:31 PM
75 year old Hans Geissler sailing Hirams Haul for his heartfelt mission

October 31, 2015- November 1, 2015

Hans GeisslerThe 14th running of Hiram's Haul is set for October 31 - November 1. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melborne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday.

Hans Geissler (75) a winning catamaran designer, builder and racer for over 35 years will compete with his partner Ronald Hiell to help draw attention to the need to engage and help the Race 2 End Hunger as he already did, for example, at the Florida 300 in May and has done most of the latest 20 years.

Hans Geissler left his boat building business in 1994 to create Morning Star Fishermen; a Dade City based charity that promotes fish farming and Aquaponics as a solution to help end world hunger. His quest to help end global hunger through research, development and training individuals from around the world however has not removed his passion for catamaran racing. Money raised through sponsors and donations to Morning Star Fishermen will go toward making a local and global impact on ending hunger. Mr. Geissler also hopes that the trip will help draw attention to the ongoing problem of global malnutrition and hunger. Please see the links below to see how you too can be more involved and join the Race 2 End Hunger now.

For more information on the Hirams Haul event, please check out

Morning Star Fishermen

Morning Star Fishermen is an international Aquaponics research, development and training facility located in Dade City, FL. The Morning Star Fishermen staff and scientists have been pioneering more efficient and productive ways to live sustainably through Aquaponics since 1993. “Our goal always stays the same; we educate students in a way that encourages and prepares them to teach others." says Phil Reasons, Executive Director.

For more information view; www.morningstarfishermen.org or contact: Phil Reasons at 523 352-2722. 

Hiram's Haul Date Set for Halloween Weekend

Added by cyberspeed on Jul 21, 2015 - 11:50 PM
The 14th running of Hiram's Haul is set for October 31 - November 1. The catamaran race is a total 60 mile race running from Melborne, Florida to Sebastian, Florida on Saturday and back to Melbourne on Sunday.  Hiram’s Haul started in 1997 has been hosted by Performance Sail and Sport until last year when Sail Series Promotions USA took over as the Organizing Authority (AO).  It is one of four races of the Endurance Sail Series and each day counts for points separately.

Register early, reserve your room early, SAVE MONEY!
Early registration is encouraged and maybe accomplished by registering before September 30th, 2015. You may register online or by mailing in the entry form which can be found online at www.SailSeries.com/hiramshaul.  Entry fees may be paid on the day of racing, but if not registered early, the fee will increase to $90.

Key Sailing Wins Second Florida 300

Added by DamonLinkous on May 18, 2015 - 02:02 PM

2015 Florida 300 Presented by Waves Surf Shop, Race Recap by Damon Linkous from TheBeachcats.com

The second running of the Florida 300 is concluded and the teams and support staff are either back home or on to their next adventure. For most of the 300+ miles of coastal racing, with surf starts and landings, the teams experienced excellent conditions for their powerful beachcats. No long distance beachcat race is without it's challenges and problems and this Florida 300 was no exception. There were gear failures such as teams Cat In The Hat and SSS Racing who both broke shrouds while racing, and boats capsizing in the rough surf including Team Lupe Tortilla capsizing and de-masting their new Flying Phantom foiling cat arriving at Vero Beach. See more below.

First, the winning team on corrected time for both the overall and open class win was team Key Sailing with Kirk Newkirk and Tom Whitehurst sailing a Nacra 20 Carbon. Kirk and Tom were defending their win from last year and promised to return. Team Royal Yellow with Steve Lohmeyer and Jay Sonnenklar won the I20 fleet and came in second overall. The Foiling Fleet was won by Team Rocket with John Casey, and Colin Page sailing the awesome Nacra 20 FCS

Complete Final Results for the 2015 Florida 300 Here

Key Sailing Wins the 2015 Florida 300

There are many stories from the beach over a four day endurance race like this but the big intrigues from this race was how the new foiling designes would handle launching and retrieving through the surf, and how fast would they really be over long distance compared to the non-foiling beachcats.

The second question had an interesting direct comparison available for reference since the Nacra 20 FCS sailed by Team Rocket and the Nacra 20 Carbon sailed by Key Sailing are virtually the same boat with the exception of the foils. Both boats share the same hulls and rig on a 20ft. x 10.5ft platform, so the speed increase provided by the ability to foil could be observed. The foiling FCS was first to finish every leg beating the non-foiling Nacra 20 Carbon by an average of around 30 minutes despite the foilers starting 5 to 10 minutes later. The shear speed was observed on the water with more than one team commenting on the amazing site of the foiling boats blazing past despite some rough conditions in the open Atlantic.

Some questions still remain about the viability of racing these beasts "off the beach" because after the first two legs of low surf conditions, Vero Beach produced large steep difficult surf. The problem for the foiling boats was the need to turn into the surf and get beach wheels under them before being pulled onto the beach. When the surf was low this was still diffucult as anyone who has stood in even knee-high surf knows how hard it is to maintain your position against the incoming waves. Holding onto a large beachcat and getting the beach wheels underneath while in the surf takes a lot of effort and coordination. It also means that the crew of the arriving foiler must perform a 180 degree turn as close the beach as possible so that the ground crew is in shallow enough water to maintain control.

At Vero Beach we got to see what can happen when the turn is completed a little to far from the beach. When Team Lupe Tortilla turned they ended up with the boat just out of reach of the waiting ground crew, this caused them to miss the opportunity to pull the boat back before the next large wave hit the Flying Phantom while boards and rudders were already pulled up. When the wave hit the boat was turned and immediately flipped first on it's side and then completely inverted, breaking the mast in several pieces in the process.

See Pictures of The Surf Capsize Here

Other teams had hardships along the way and overcame them, Team Cat In The Hat was demasted during the 3rd leg when a shroud broke but with the help of Team Key Sailing was able to re-rig the boat and complete the final leg. There were bruises, cuts, scrapes, sunburns and "saddle sores" from long hours in the trapeze but thankfully no serious injuries and no boats lost, even the Flying Phantom will be back foiling soon since the main damage was the broken mast and they do have a replacement available.

That's it for the 2015 edition of the Florida 300 for now.

Discuss the race or ask questions at.

See all the pictures from the race at

Florida 300 Website

Visit the Florida 300 on Facebook at

Footnote: Are you ready for an adventure like the Florida 300? Let's here you comments and questions in the forums.

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