2016 Steeplechase Catamaran Race, December 10-11, Islamorada to Key Largo and Back.
The 32nd running of the Steeplechase was a challenge, and that’s just as it should be. This years event was won by the Team of Jamie Livingstone and Kenny Pierce on a Tornado in a fast total time for the two days of 7 hours, 48 minutes. Second was Ralph and Pat Cole on a Nacra 20 Carbon followed up by James Zelmer and Joe Velwave on a F18 (with a team name “Hobie 21”).
Special mention to the F18 team of David Reed and Mark Herendeen who, despite being demasted during day one, were able to recover and race the second day back from Key Largo. In the true spirit of endurance beachcat racing, other teams provided the needed parts and help to get them back on the water for Sunday’s start.
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Steeplechase Catamaran Distance Race, Islamorada Florida December 10-11 2016
Catamaran distance races are always exciting but the sailors planning to enter the 32nd running of this event had to consider very high predicted wind speeds and possible storms in the 120 mile path of the two day race.
Seven teams started the race Saturday morning, headed for the first day finish at Key Largo. This was an experienced bunch, with a variety of boats, two F18’s, a Nacra Carbon 20, Tornado, Nacra 6.0, Nacra 20OD, and a Hobie 21.
The actual conditions at the start were nice 12-18 winds from the SE but once the Magnificent Seven headed out the the winds greatly increased causing one team to turn back. A little later the team of David Reed and Mark Herendeen lost their mast due to a shroud failure. They were able to tie off to a crab pot and call for help and were rescued with no injuries.
Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) have won gold after a heart-stopping Medal Race in the Nacra 17 Mixed Multihull. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) took silver and bronze goes to Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT).
The Argentineans made hard work of the Medal Race, picking up a penalty early on to round the first mark at the back. But they fought back to third by the top of the final lap, only to incur another penalty for sailing too close to the Austrians. After dropping the gennaker and taking their 360 penalty turn, Lange and Saroli rallied to cross the finish in sixth place, just seven seconds ahead of the Italians.
It was a crucial seven seconds that gave gold to the Argentineans by a single point from Australia. The young Aussies crossed the finish behind the New Zealand team of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL), but more importantly finished 10 seconds ahead of the Austrians who crossed for third place. Australia and Austria were tied on points, but silver goes to Waterhouse and Darmanin for their superior finish in the Medal Race.
It has been an extraordinary Games for Lange, at 54 the oldest competitor in the sailing at Rio 2016. He has had the pleasure of watching his sons, Yago and Klaus, represent the nation in the 49er skiff, and he has survived cancer in the past year.
Lange says the rigours of his sport helped to save his life and return to competition after he lost a lung to cancer just a year ago. His hectic schedule led to diagnosis of the disease, he said, while the experience of five Olympic campaigns, winning two medals along the way, was key in keeping him positive through his ordeal and returning for a sixth challenge.
Lange, with crewmate Carlos Espinola, won bronzes for Argentina at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 in the now discontinued two-person Tornado class event before combining with Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) in 2014 in the Nacra 17 mixed class, a new addition to the Olympic sailing schedule at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
But plans were suddenly placed on hold in 2015 when Lange was diagnosed with cancer and eventually had his left lung removed. "The six months I was dealing with that, I was so positive," Lange said. "Now when I look back it was a good experience, difficult but I learned a lot. I was operated on in Barcelona and after five days I was cycling, in a month I was back sailing.
"I was very lucky to find it (the cancer). Probably if I wasn't travelling so much and wasn't so tired it wouldn't have been found. I see myself as very lucky.
"For sure my philosophy and what I learned through the sport helped me a lot. With sailing you learn to suffer in a certain way, to go through hard times and stand up and keep pushing."
The four-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) had a worrying first day and sit in 17th place in the 20-boat fleet. Besson is carrying a severe long-term back injury and is struggling even to walk any distance, so one can only imagine the pain he is suffering to compete on board the athletic Nacra 17.
The Florida 300 starts Tuesday, May 17th from Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Race headquarters at the start is the Guy Harvey Outpost Islander Resort.
TheBeachcats.com will be posting stories and pictures each day along the way. The photos will be posted to the 2016 Florida 300 album at
Videos will be posted to the Florida 300 Youtube channel
Also please these Facebook Pages to follow the race.
TheBeachcats.com on Facebook
The Florida 300 Facebook Page.
Here is a quick list of the start and finish locations, the beach starts and landings can be quite a spectacle so come by and say hi and watch the show, get motivated and join the fun next year!
The Unbeatable Billy Besson and Marie Riou chose to sail the final race of the series even though their point spread was enough to call it a week! Billy and Marie are definitely please with their performance and with the event as a whole. They feel the race committee, and all of the organizers were great on the support and thank them for helping put on a successful World Championship. The pair took a 2nd place finish to add to their already extremely low score. When asked how he felt about his days finish Billy replied,
"It was a little bit complicated near the harbor because the wind is going to be shifty with the buildings. We finished two, which is not so bad, but when we are competing, we like to win every time." Never settling for second best apparently.
Interestingly enough, competing on just another race course away from the Nacra 17 fleet, the 49er skiffs also had their 2016 World Championship. They too had a World Champion announced. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke also took home their fourth World Championship title. Billy notes,
"We were in competition to see who could get the four World titles, haha." Well Billy, it seems you both take home the win!
Still sitting in second, taking their first ever silver medal at a World Championships is Danish team of Allan Norregaard and Annette Viborg Andreasen. Allan gave us a quote before going out as he was all smiles and completely relieved. Today Allan and Annette found out they are the Nacra 17 duo going to represent Denmark in the Rio Olympic Games, this August. Three regattas were used in the Denmark national selections: 2015 Europeans in Barcelona, 2016 Miami World Cup, and this final 2016 World Championships. The second boat in contention Lin Ea Cenholt Christiansen and Christian Peter Lübeck fought hard to stay near their compatriots, but after the final points/protests, they were unable to beat out Allan and Annette.
"It's a big relief to be over that trial, and now we are surprisingly in such a good position, which we didn't know because we were defending our trial, it's really surprising for us that we would end up so high on the scores, so it's really just a bonus for us now to go out there and fight for a medal," said Allan. "It turned out as good as it could for us, cannot complain!"
Allan and Anette finished just two places in front of the Italian to give them just a five point lead ahead of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri of Italy. The strong Italian team pushed their way back on the podium managing a third place finish, bumping their overall place into third.
The Danish team of Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank came to shore with low hanging heads. The pair competed very strongly throughout each day, and were very much looking forward to ending this 2016 World Championship with some silverware.
The final medal race took a turn for the worse for these two Austrians. The boat was focused very much on their competitors around them that they weren't focusing on the shifty conditions that only progressed as the race went on.
"It was nice to see that we can fight for a medal, and looking at the 2015 Worlds, they were not like this, so that was quite great. Even with the medal race, we are proud we had come so far," Tanja admits.
This pair will be have their chance in the coming months to take on their competitors once again before the ultimate athletic event in Rio.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin came back from a bit of a dip in scores to steadily finish in fifth overall. The pair took a bit of a risky move going into the first upwind leg and had to fight back to keep a near top position.
"We still were able to pull off a fifth off at the Worlds which is a great achievement, especially after coming off a silver in Miami, so its a great way to finish off our US tour,"
Jason Waterhouse feels he and Lisa will be able to keep this momentum going into the rest of their season continues.
"Now, back home for a bit of rest, and then back at it training in Sydney harbor!"
The sailors all enjoyed their time in Clearwater, and with the trying and variable conditions, they all felt this venue definitely helped to showcase the extreme talent amongst the fleet.
END of regatta reports, we call it a wrap here at CLEARWATER Florida. Thanks for receiving and posting.
NACRA 17 Class association.
For more information, high res photos and interviews please contact Gunnar Larsen at email@example.com or at +31 (0)6 533 55 806
Photo credits: Laurens Morel
The fleet was sent out just before noon in a varying 8-12knot breeze, and was back to the beach by 4:30pm. The fast and furious French team of Billy Besson and Marie Riou had a consistent performance throughout the four races that were held. Both of them felt satisfied, and pleasantly happy with the point spread they are currently sitting in. As it stands the French pair sit in first by a staggering 53 points [pending other changes in scores from other teams sitting behind them.
The long day in the Floridian sun didn't seem to phase the three time Nacra 17 World Champion, Billy Besson who came out to win the first race of the day. Marie notes, "We are really happy with our performance thus far, especially after three long days." Their worst performance of the day was an 11th in the second race in which they had a situation with the Swiss team costing them quite a few places after rectifying their mistake. "We lost a lot of places after the first upwind in that race, but we came back and back, ending eleventh, so to us it wasn't really a bad race." The pair is confident they will be able to tackle any other type of condition Clearwater will throw at them over the course of the final two days.
The closest boat currently chasing after the French team is the venerable Italian team Vittorio Bisssaro and Silvia Sicouri. The former World Cup champions haven't had the most impressive scores on the board, but they have kept a consistency needed to take control of second place. Interestingly though, Vittorio and Silvia found they may have had a collision with an unidentified object while out on the race course. No marker or mammal was seen by either of the sailors, but they went from about 20 knots to a dead stop, costing them a 2nd, dropping back 6 places to 8th for the second race of the day.
"I don't know what happened, we just hit something under the water. We asked around and they suggested it might have been a turtle, or something like that," a shocked Vittorio said while meticulously checking over his hulls.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, who recently took second on the podium during the 2015 Worlds in Arhus, Denmark, are tentatively sitting in third, but very likely will jump ahead of Bissaro/Sicouri due to a scoring error by the Race Committee. The OCS they bare on results is being protested by Waterhouse/Darmanin with video footage of their boat going back to amend their early intentions. Really consistent top ten finishes during the first three races, with two of their scores being back to back bullets. They did, however, feel a bit of pain on the final race of the day falling way back into 22nd after a layline error pushed by Waterhouse.
"We just sort of got a bit complacent, and we prioritized the left lane as it was really important for the whole day up until the last race. We had a good start, but I just made an error on the layline and it was really expensive obviously. Like yeah, not a good way to end the day but it will probably be our throw out, for sure," said Jason with upbeat demeanor, and even laughed when he heard his finish was a 22nd. "Wasn't as bad as I thought, I guess! We were lookin' really bad there for awhile."
Jason's upbeat attitude even applies to the regatta as a whole, where some might be in opposition regarding conditions, Jason feels Clearwater is a wonderful place due to its ability to challenge sailors with all conditions. "Big waves, big chop, lots of different sea state, it's been a really good regatta to find out who the best sailor is."
Just six points behind the young Australian team is former Tornado veteran Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank of Austria. Zajac noted how much of a drag race the first leg always felt like and kept this in mind when preparing to start. Getting off the line cleanly and making gains downwind in the slight swell we saw today was how Zajac and Frank managed to stay more times than not with the top pack. The former Tornado sailor is looking forward to his debut in the Nacra 17 with his female counterpart Tanja. Two years ago this team was hardly ever seen far from the top five, yet with mounting double digit finishes, they are trying to get their groove back.
This past 2016 World Cup, the pair took home a 7th, and now sitting comfortably in fourth, they may have found the secret sauce.
"For us its important to find out the good material to stay competitive with the good guys, and yeah, we are happy where we are and hope to get a little bit better so we can be on/near the podium come August." Thomas is looking forward to competing with a female counterpart in the Rio 2016 games, in which this will be the maiden voyage for the Nacra class. "It's a more modern class, new vs. old school comparing the tornado and Nacra. And, the biggest difference would probably be - you sail with a girl!"
Rounding out the top five is Allan Norregaard and Annette Viborg Andreasen of Denmark. The long, sun filled day didn't seem to bother either these stable minded sailors as they sailed their own races, and were able to keep top ten after their initial eleventh to begin the day's set.
This 2016 World Championship for the Nacra class is operating on all cylinders and the sailors couldn't be keener to take on the varying conditions that come their way. Three races scheduled for tomorrow to end the qualifying round, and before we know it, Sunday's medal race will be upon us.
For more information, high resolution photos and interviews please contact Gunnar Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +31 (0)6 533 55 806
Photo credits: Laurens Morel
Exciting conditions bring out the best in top sailors at the Nacra 17 Worlds.
Allan Norregaard and Anette Viborg Andreasen rocketed up to second place overall in the Nacra 17 World Championships, the Danish duo showing a rare mastery of the demanding conditions on the turbulent waters of Clearwater Beach, Florida.
The top two French teams managed to put the stress of a measurement protest behind them last night when the French were accused of having illegally adjusted the daggerboard cases that hold the curved foils that help lift the boat out of the water at high speed. Small changes in the angle of attack of these foils can make a big difference to performance, so this part of the boat is millimetre-critical. To the relief of the two French teams, the International Jury found in their favour and they bounced back with an impressive performance on the water.
Vaireaux seemed unfazed by the protest, speaking after racing today. "It was OK, it can happen, we do a mechanical sport. It is part of the game and we know we did nothing wrong, so it was good to come back [with a good performance today]. Billy and Marie are three-time World Champions, so everyone is looking at them, and we train together with them. People are asking questions, but we didn't do anything wrong. It's the game, it's sailing, we have to go through that."
Even in the bright Florida sunshine, sailors were shivering as they came ashore. "I only brought my summer wetsuit," smiled Vaireaux, trying to warm up in the afternoon sunshine. "But today's conditions were good for us, we like the big waves and big wind. It was really shifty during the races but we made good decisions. Upwind it was about choosing your moment to tack in the wind shifts."
Other sailors that showed bursts of pace in the big breeze included the Italians, Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri, who won the last race of the day, and Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface from Great Britain who won the second race of the day, even if they didn't know it at the time. "It was very close at the finish, and we thought the Argentineans crossed the line before us," said Boniface, grinning after her first ever race win in a World Championship. "Always good to win a race, makes you smile!" The winning strategy was simple enough. "We went fast in the right direction and protected on the other boats. Today was quite a lot about boatspeed, if you went fast and got around the course safely you were going to do pretty well."
The Argentineans they just pipped to the post were Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli. Lange, sitting in 15th overall, was not happy with his day, although at least the 54-year-old Olympic medallist has secured his place at Rio 2016 where he will represent Argentina for the sixth time at an Olympic Games. "Today's conditions were very difficult for us, we are not well practised and we suffered with lack of speed and a couple of mistakes. But it's good to be here, and with my sons here as well." His sons, Yago and Klaus Lange, are racing at the 49er World Championship also taking place in Clearwater, and they too have qualified to represent Argentina at Rio 2016.
After four big races, the fleet is looking forward to some recuperation time this evening, to warm up and to refuel. "We've burned more calories than we can consume," said Germany's top Nacra 17 sailor, Paul Kohlhoff. "Today was really challenging, very big waves, but tomorrow looks like it's going to be much lighter winds."
For more information, high resolution photos and interviews please contact Gunnar Larsen at email@example.com or at +31 (0)6 533 55 806
Photo credits: Laurens Morel
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Craig Van Eaton at 561.881.1226.
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.