The Fort Worth Boat Club hosted the 2016 Southwest Regional Championship World Qualifier in conjunction with our annual Cowtown Stampede Circuit Stop on April 16th and 17th. Fort Worth has held this Circuit Regatta since 1980 with a long tradition of it being a heavy air regatta, and this year was no exception. Twelve boats made the starting line in conditions ranging from 15 to 25+ mph winds, overcast, and fortunately warm enough to wear shorts. The fleet was very competitive on Saturday with both sides of the course able to find new breeze and with surprises coming out of both corners both upwind and downwind. The first race started off with a mix of genoas and jibs with both making it to the front of the fleet. In the first race, GIGGLES was OCS as was After Midnight – GIGGLES went on to win the race and After Midnight well..not so much! In Race 2, After Midnight rounded the weather mark in first followed by Juan Mauri and Mauri Pro, GIGGLES, Miss Conduct and in a distant somewhere was Kelly Holmes on BadMoon. As After Midnight had retaken the lead heading to the second weather mark and most competitors rolling up the left side of the course – out of nowhere on the right side came BadMoon to jump into a lead she never relinquished! Corner Banging Kelly Holmes!
Race 3 on jibs only, Juan Mauri on Mauri Pro jumped out to a nice lead and took the bullet at the finish line. Later in the protest hearing Mauri Pro was DSQ’d thus giving the bullet to Bow 01 James Freedman and Miss Conduct and everybody moved up one. In the 4th race, there was a course change going on for the J/105 class with a major wind shift from 135 to 115 and the RC, in an effort to get our race off, went ahead and sent us to the newly dropped J/105 Change of Course mark. We knew the course had changed, but up against a shoreline and in an effort to get in the fourth race we were sent to the orange tet which caught many of us by surprise. The race turned into a shortened yet competitive one in which GIGGLES took the bullet followed by BadMoon, Mauri Pro, Superman, and After Midnight. Mauri Pro was DSQ’d again for a foul at the starting line with Gray Wolf and everybody moved up yet another point.
Juan and Mauri Pro sailed very well at the top of the fleet but ended up having a rough day!
Saturday night the party was slow moving after a full day on the water in good, big breeze leaving most of us fried to a crackly crunch! Great to see so many friends up at the bar and the party, but everyone quickly went off to bed after dinner.
Sunday the lake was hit with huge lightning storms, torrential rains which continued into the week in Texas, and our lake is closed as I write this. The lightning knocked out power to the crane and I suggested we come back the following Saturday to finish the regatta.
At the trophy presentation Sunday we had two boats tied in first with 8 points. Congratulations go to Natalie and Team GIGGLES who won the tie breaker over Kelly Holmes and BadMoon. Bob lamented that perhaps we shouldn’t have tie breakers – sometimes boats are just tied and should be left as tied for first. This is one of those times for sure as neither boat had the benefit of completing the 6 races this weekend. In second was Kelly Holmes and BadMoon, third was James Freedman and Miss Conduct and fourth place was yours truly on After Midnight! The trophy presentation was an awesome fleet bonding session and a reminder that we have the best racing fleet of any kind going on in the State of Texas!
If you’re reading this and you have a J/24 come race with us. If you don’t have a J/24 but want to join a super competitive fleet full of the best sailors and best people then get a J/24 and come join the Texas Fleet – which has always been one of the best in the country and still is! You will be met with people who share their knowledge and are eager to help the back of our fleet get to the front of our fleet!
I would like to thank everyone for coming to Fort Worth! The Austin Yacht Club Fleet with John Parker working hard is giving us a big shot in the arm and of course Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club with Kelly and Tonja Holmes-Moon and Tim Johnson and their fleet has something very special going on! The party moves to DCYC May 21 and 22nd and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Going to be a big time – for those of you who love to camp – my tent will be there and I’ll see you on the starting line!
Mark W. Smith