Florida, the “Sunshine State”? Not always …
The 2012 edition of the U.S. Nationals was held in Miami, well-organized and hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club. Miami and Biscayne Bay in June are very different from how they appear in March. When it is sunny, even rigging the boat is hard work in the heat; when it rains, the heat does not diminish, but simply increases the humidity.
Local experts had predicted that light winds would prevail at this time of year. Instead, as often happens when there is a big regatta, the statistics were denied. The average wind conditions were medium to strong, for both the Juniors and the Seniors Nationals. It was a shame that on Wednesday and Friday we were not able to race, because of storms that did not guarantee safety. Apart from that, it was a great regatta.
Bruno Bethlem & Daniel Seixas (photo by Marco Oquendo)
Before the Senior Nationals, on Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th June the Juniors Nationals were sailed by 22 teams. SCIRA US, Miami Fleet, Kathleen Tocke and Augie Diaz did a terrific job of recruiting so many teams, coaching them, and providing boats and sails.
In the United States to foster participation a particular category is also provided at the Nationals. That is the Special Juniors category, i.e. teams consisting of one junior (skipper) and an adult (usually the boat’s owner).
During the regatta the wind was quite strong, favoring the more experienced teams. The victory went to Raul Rios & Manuel Inserni of Puerto Rico. Nevin Snow & Claire Reidman from San Diego finished second, and third went to Addison Hackstaff & Doris Natalya from St. Petersburg FL. The first female team was Taylor Schuermann & Jessica Claflin. Winners in the Special Junior category were Ivan Shestopalov & Nick Voss. (The video)
US (senior) Nationals. This year for the first time, the U.S. Nationals were open to non-US teams. 46 boats on the starting line came mostly from the United States, but also from Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Italy. Three World Champions competed (Augie Diaz in 2003 and 2005, Enrique Quintero in 2007, Bruno Bethlem 2009).
On Monday, June 18, two races were sailed with medium wind. A victory in both went to Ernesto Rodriguez & Cate Gundlach, who played well with the wind shifts. (Day One – Interviews)
On Tuesday the wind reached 20 knots and we completed two more races (both double triangles). In these conditions Bruno Bethlem & Daniel Seixas scored two bullets, followed by Augie Diaz & Justine O’Conner. A slight difficulty for Ernesto Rodriguez, who lost the top of the leaderboard. (Day Two – Interviews)
On Wednesday continuous thunderstorms and showers prevented the boats from going out. (Day Three – Interviews)
To retrieve the program on Thursday, the Race Committee, chaired by Jaime Ramon, succeeded in completing three races. This time the wind was much lighter and very unstable. To complicate things there was also current. The winners of these three races were all different: Nick Voss & Michael Popp, Brian Kamillar & Enrique Quintero and Augie Diaz & Justine O’Conner. (Day Four – Interview)
Going into the last day , we found Bruno Bethlem & Daniel Seixas leading with 11 points. Behind them Ernesto Rodriguez & Cate Gundlach had 18, and just one point back were Augie Diaz & Justine O’Conner. The preconditions for a good battle on the water!
Unfortunately, a series of squalls made it clear that it would be difficult to complete any more races. The radar (on the weather sites) lets you know when a storm is approaching, and Friday mornings we watched many fronts and storms that came very close (monitored closely on the displays of many smart phones). So in the early afternoon, the race committee was forced to hoist the AP over A. The winners of the U.S. Open are the Brazilians Bruno Bethlem and Daniel Seixas. In second place, winning the American title (Heinzerling Trophy) are Ernesto Rodriguez and Cate Gundlach. Third was the top master Augie Diaz & Justine O’Conner. First female crew was Kathleen Tocke and Jessica Claflin. (Interview with Bruno)
Throughout the regatta competitors were able to appreciate the hospitality of the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the fleet of Miami, with David Mulhausen and the Diaz family as gracious hosts. Almost every evening a dinner or a social event was planned, and the final prize giving party was memorable! We can’t wait for the 2013 US Nationals at the Buffalo Canoe Club on Lake Erie.