Regatta Recap - Oakcliff Halloween

There are those who like to sail. Then there are those to who live to sail. 

At 1D Sailing, we are firmly situated in the latter. That is why this passed weekend, instead of taking a few days off to catch up on sleep and clean the house, I decided to drive 11 hours south to Oyster Bay, New York for the Oakcliff Halloween Invitational Match Racing Regatta.

Sailing with team Lance Fraser of Bermuda, an incredible match-racer with several Argo Gold Cup’s and World Match Race Tour events under his belt, this regatta meant more to our crew than most. For starters, Lance has placed 2ndat this event an impressive 5 years in a row. Secondly, with the Oakcliff team coming off of a week of tryouts with New York Yacht Club’s 35thAmerica’s Cup Challenge team American Magic, the sailing was set to be fierce. 

Unfortunately, the weather was less cooperative than expected. After a narrow weigh-in Friday, the team geared up to for the training day, only to find glassy water with no breeze in sight. An onshore virtual tactics session commenced, and the team was amped for a full on weekend of racing. 

However, the wind-gods seemed to have other plans. The glassy water transformed into raging whitecaps as gusts of 40-50 knots rolled through Long Island Sound. The team sat on pins and needles, waiting for the penultimate call from the race-committee. Yet, at 1 on Saturday, the breeze had not subsided even a hair, and racing was called off for the day.

This meant one thing…. The regatta would be won and lost on the Sunday!

Out of bed before first light, Team Fraser was chomping at the bit to get out sailing. 

On the water at 8 AM sharp, we were keyed in and ready to race.

The racing started a touch sloppy (at least on the bow, my domain). After a few tight races though, we found our groove. Pre-start after pre-start, we sailed flawlessly, gaining penalties on other teams and finishing with impressive margins. It was only a mistake (again, on the bow) against Bryce Kopp that we took our first penalty and trailed on the upwind leg. After fighting hard, we could not seem to catch Kopp and ended up taking our first loss of the day.

Considering that the fate of our regatta rested on the day, the team was deflated. Lance kept the team focused forward, and our regatta came down to one final race.

Chris Poole of Riptide Racing, our arch-rival, also sat with one loss on the day, tied with our team for the lead. After some tricky maneuvering, we came out ahead and stretched our lead. On the final downwind, the race became “sporty”. Poole took us into a luffing match with our kite up, and after a questionable call by the umpires, we sailed towards the finish with a penalty and with Poole close behind. As we approached a few lengths of the finish line, we doused, spun our 360 shedding our penalty, and bore away towards the line. Poole rumbled down with speed and aimed directly for our transom. A quick gybe on our boat put Poole in a tough spot, and he copped a penalty as we crossed the line to victory. 

5 consecutive second’s and we finally took a Halloween victory!

A massive thanks to Lance Fraser (helm), Clifton Kartner (main trim), Peter Dixon (foresail trim), and Drew Sutherland (pit) for an unbeatable weekend of racing. Look out for Lance and co. coaching on the Tiger’s down south this winter!

-Connor MacKenzie

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