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​2015 Sid Doren Etchells Regatta - Jaguar Series Event #2 - Miami, Florida

Posted by on January 14, 2015

Team Aretas was looking to capitalize on the first Jag event by expanding their notes and knowledge of the new rig and sails. The first event produced a 10th, which in the Etchells Class and for the Jag Series, is a good finish against so many top teams. We felt good, but knew we left points out on the course…so it was a time to refocus and get organized.

John Payne PhotographyThe Jag Series is a series of 4 regattas…one per month for four months. Each are Sat/Sun, except for the last event, which is Fri/Sat/Sun. Easy schedule and, given a good forecast, 5 great races each event (7-8 in the last). We typically try to get into Miami a day or two ahead of time to go through the boat and practice a little. About 80% of the fleet does this too….some arrive sooner.

The 2nd event is the Sid Doren. Our team has had curiously good results at this event. In ’13, we were 2nd; ’14 we were 5th. I’m not really sure the correlation between this event and our results, but it has become my favorite for that reason! This year, we’d attain similarly good scores….really no reason, other than coincidence, I guess.

Jon and Jeff arrived ready for action. We arrived Thursday, prepped the boat and went out with our training partners on The Martian for some happy hour and dinner at Monty’s, next door to BBYC. Our plan was to launch the boat when the tide came back in around 9-10pm. For those that have been to Monty’s, sitting there that long doesn't lend itself to being “on your game” if you need to do something thereafter! We had a few laughs as we launched the boat…fortunately it all came together as planned.

Friday’s practice was, in a word, light. We hit the water around 10, did some line-ups with Marvin’s team and found our way out toward Stiltsville, which is quite a ways from Coconut Grove! A long sail in with a dying breeze had us ready for lunch around 1. The wind really shut down, so we packed it in for the day after doing a little work to the boat. The word in the boat park was that the wind was forecasted to be strong, so the light air practice wasn't necessarily to get sharp for the weekend. We used it to gain more knowledge of our rig/sails/setup. Photos were sent to Rick and he had scans back right away that evening. It was great to compare against different rig set ups (mast bend, forestay sag, etc.).

John Payne Photography

The racing on Saturday and Sunday was great. The breeze was up, which we never really spend enough time training in. We had mixed results with a few “teens” between a race win. It always feels good to get a bullet in any fleet, but to win a Jag Series race is particularly satisfying as it doesn't happen every day (at least for us….KGB made it a daily occurrence this weekend!).

Sunday was equally good, except there were some passing rain storms/squalls that made the wind puffy and shifty. Jeff, Jon and I made some gutsy strategic plans and Jeff implemented the tactical decisions to near perfection….all weekend really. We finished the event with a strong 3rd in the last race, which got us a 4th for the weekend. Really a great event all the way around.

We did leave some valuable points on the course. For example in the 1st race on Sunday, we worked hard to get to the top 5 at the 1st mark. We were balancing the boats in front vs. the thin lanes downwind and as a result of trying to break free from the pack behind and not screw wit the boats in front, I plowed into the transom of a boat in front….all in the spirit of trying to race nicely. Lesson learned….we are fast. Really fast. We simply cannot take these situations for granted anymore and have to have our heads continually outside the boat.

Looking forward to the next one (Jag #3, Florida States)… to Key West now.

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