Miami, March 20, 2016. Final results after 5 races (no discard), report by Carol Cronin and Jensen McTighe, with photos by Blake Middleton and and Elizabeth Balbin Bransgrove
1. Ernesto Rodriguez & Claudia Loiacono, 13
2. Jensen McTighe & Andre Guaragna, 19
3. Augie Diaz & Jessica Claflin, 25
4. Randy Lake & Maddy McGrath, 30
5. Peter Commette & Connie Commette, 39
Biscayne Bay in March: what could be better? 38 teams came to enjoy the hospitality of DonQ Rum, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, and Old Man/Carmen Diaz who have been in charge of this event since it started. With five races over three days in breeze that ranged from 6-20 knots, every team had a chance to shine. And all enjoyed the post-race socializing, fueled by daiquiris and Carmen’s famous Cuban dinner on Saturday night.
As you can see from the scores, Ernesto Rodriguez/Claudia Loiacono won the event (and races 2 and 4), closely pursued by Jensen McTighe and Andrew Guaragna who won the first (and lightest) race of the event. Augie Diaz/Jessica Claflin won the other two races, but an early Z flag penalty kept them a few points behind right from the start.
Friday’s building breeze gave the light air specialists a chance in the first race, before building to a steady 12 knots for race two. An early finish to the racing after two downwind finishes left plenty of time for renewing old friendships, and talking through tuning setups, back on the lawn at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.
Saturday’s conditions were epic Biscayne Bay. With an approaching front bringing 15-20 knots from the south, sailors refreshed their reaching skills for the double triangle courses. Best of all was finishing both races after the second reaching lap, with the final race (to the dock) a continuation of great wave riding and planing conditions. Daiquiris ashore tasted all the sweeter after such a constant saltwater rinse.
Following a delicious Cuban dinner, Old Man passed the microphone around and everyone shared memories of previous DonQ events. Stephanie Muto from Boston was attending her first DonQ and said it was great to be back in the Snipe again. “It’s like a family,” she said. Peter Commette remembered a 1992 capsize at the jibe mark that took him from first to not quite last (though he and Connie still won that year). And we all toasted Old Man, who was the only one present (besides Carmen, of course) who had attended all 50 events.
Sunday’s conditions consisted of shifty breeze from the south-southwest with large variations in pressure. The fleet seemed a little skeptical of a last minute course change from the Race Committee, turning the last downwind leg into a triangle course finishing downwind. Some were able to take advantage of the change of course and made large gains on the fleet, though it was a parade for most. Congratulations to Ernesto Rodriguez and Claudia Loiacono for placing first by six points!
Big thanks to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club for running this Regatta, to the Don Q Rum (Destileria Serralles, Puerto Rico) for sponsoring it and to the Race Committee including:
Jaime Ramon (PRO), Brainard Cooper (Scira Rep), Dottie Rostorfer, Liz Balbin, Joel Krieger, Jaime Ramon Jr., Catie Patton, Carolyn LaPointe, Susan Walcutt, Cathy Buller, Mike Ledwell, Ron Rostorfer, Blake Middleton, Allen Cox, Phillippe Dusser, Elena Shishkpva, Carol Cottrell, Rick Klein, Bob Welbon, Denise Schneider, Ev Hoffman, and the Stand by Judges: Rick Mallinson, Jane Ann Pincus, Mike Catalano. Also big thanks to Joe Dapena for the use of the Signal Boat.
(Photo Gallery: photos by Blake Middleton and Elizabeth Balbin Bransgrove)