The 2016 Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta was held at Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, FL. Over the course of the five days that my crew Annabelle and I were there, Florida’s quick-changing weather showed through. With each day came different weather and with that, unique and challenging racing conditions.
The first day was a time to tune up the charter boat, hit the water for an hour or two, and get used to the time change. When we arrived the weather was sunny, very hot, and blowing 20 knots. However, the forecast called for less breeze in the days following. Annabelle and I showed up for the first day of the regatta to find exactly what the forecast had predicted. The breeze filled in from the normal direction and a long day of intense racing had begun. We were stoked to win the first race of the regatta, a great way to start off the event. The rest of the day went well and we ended day 1 with a 1, 4, 2 scoreline and in second overall. We headed out to the race course on the second day with confidence, and managed to win the first race of day 2 as well. We sailed a solid 4 races, scoring 1, 4, 2, 11, ending the day still in 2nd place overall. Unfortunately there was no wind on day 3 and we never left the dock, but it gave us a day to rest and show up to the final day ready to go. The last day of the regatta was fun, with the breeze ranging from the high teens to the low twenties, and even a puff into the high twenties. Annabelle and I had a good final day and we ended the regatta in 2nd place overall.
We learned a ton at this event, and we both have grown tremendously from this experience. Thank you so much to the San Diego Yacht Club Competition Fund for supporting us. We could not be more grateful or proud to have the opportunity to represent the best yacht club in the world at a national regatta like the Orange Bowl.
By Cole Harris
Over December 27-30, my skipper, Jack Egan and I competed in the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta in Miami. We were excited for this opportunity to compete in our second “big” C420 regatta together and to see how we would stack up against 88 other boats from around the country.
Over the course of the regatta, we experienced a wide variety of breeze ranges. The first two days had somewhere around 5-8 knots of wind. Big shifts and little chop that made it difficult to get the boat moving combined to make the conditions decently tricky, but we did what we could and stayed close to the top of the fleet. On the third day, the wind was light and shifty in the morning, and we waited in onshore postponement for hours before the race committee decided there would be no racing that day. We had been looking at the forecast in anticipation of the final day, and it had been calling for breeze somewhere around 20 knots. We knew we weren’t going to have our ideal conditions, seeing as we don’t have the most experience in heavy wind and are a relatively light team, but we tried to keep up in the breeze. We were able to hang in there and hoped to stay somewhere around 5th place overall. Upon reaching the dock, we were disappointed to find we had gotten a black flag disqualification in the last race, and that we had ended up in 11th place.
Nevertheless, this regatta was a great experience for us, and we were excited to see our friends and training partners from SDYC Cole Harris and Annabelle Huyard finish 2nd overall. We were grateful for having such great teammates from SDYC to help each other out, especially in a new venue for Jack and me without a coach for this regatta. We are also very thankful for the competition fund allowing us to sail this regatta, and even through some ups and downs, we managed to have a fun time. We hope to be able to enjoy many more experiences like this one!
By Jack Plavan
The Orange Bowl Regatta this year was held in Miami Florida and was sailed out of Coral Reef Yacht Club. I sailed Laser Radials for five days, with four days of racing and one practice day. It was a long week of racing in the hot Florida weather even during the winter but, it was a lot of fun sailing against people I could not usually race against in California. The sailing venue was unique to that location because of how the sailing location was in a very big bay that was protected from the ocean by a big Island called the Key of Biscayne. The venue had a lot of chop that got bigger, and bigger as the wind came up. The launching location was at the US Sailing Center which is right next to the Yacht Club in a fenced area. It was separate from the launching location of the C420s and the Optis. It was hard to launch because it was usually an Easterly breeze so launching was a downwind launch.
The first day of the regatta was only 10 knots compared to the 16-knot practice day. I got there early for the 9:30 am skippers meeting and 11:00 first warning. It was an incredibly long line for launching with about 90 boats waiting in line to launch and the people in the back of the line would barely make the first start. I got out and sailed upwind with my coach and other sailors and got ready for the first start. The first race I had a bad start and sailed the whole race trying to catch up and made a lot of gains on the downwind by going right looking downwind. The next race was basically the same thing only that I passed boats by going far left upwind. The very last race I had another bad start and passed a lot of boats by playing the right and passing one boat at a time. I was not happy with my starts and how I was playing catch up in most of the races that day.
The second day was a lot lighter and was only about 6 to 8 knots all day. Unfortunately, my racing was about the same as the first day as in that I could not get a very good start and I had to play catch up the whole race. The first race I had a bad start and recovered but the second race I had a bad start and did not recover. That made me have a very bad race of a 33rd. The last race was about the same only that it was getting later and lighter. By the end of the day we got in at 4:30 pm and it was a long 6 hours of sailing. After they had a college night that was a cool experience seeing many colleges and learning about their background as a school and a sailing team.
The third day was probably the most boring day as in there was just about no wind and we didn’t sail even one race. I had qualified for Gold Fleet, and was very excited to sail, but sadly we were postponed for a while on land and had to wait for the breeze. Eventually we went sailing very late. When we got out the wind died again so we went back in and ended the day. It was very hot and it was a lot of waiting that day. It was good when waiting to stay out of the sun and to drink a lot of water.
The final day was the windiest and the most anticipated. Everyone knew it would be windy and was prepared to sail in windy conditions. We went out and at first it was about 18 puff of 20 knots. The first race I had a good start and slipped behind because I couldn’t keep the boat flat in the heavy winds. At the windward mark, I wasn’t doing very well but the second upwind I passed a lot of boats by going to the right side upwind. I ended that race in a not great place because of poor reaches and downwind. The second race I had a good start too and passed a lot of boats on the upwind by hiking very hard. But, when the second upwind came around I went left because, we were in a right shift and I assumed it would shift left. Sadly, I was wrong and it shifted right even harder and I lost a tremendous number of boats. I did very poorly in that race because of that one upwind. The last race the wind died down a lot to only about 12 to 15 knots. It was a very weird race because it was the only race with extremely drastic wind shifts that could sometimes make you auto tack. It was an amazing experience because of how you could feel that the puffs coming from the left were cold and the ones from the right were much warmer. I passed a lot of boats by staying in phase and I ended up with my best race of the day as my last race. That day was probably my favorite because I had fun sailing in high winds in Gold Fleet.
This regatta was really an eye-opening experience for me and I would like to thank the San Diego Yacht Club competition fund for funding me so I could learn a lot about laser sailing.
By Taisei Hatter