Sunday, March 29, 2015

Orange Peel Regatta Report

Original Report from North Sails One Design located here

The Orange Peel Regatta just wrapped up over March 19-21 in Jacksonville, FL at The Florida Yacht Club. About 20 boats participated in a Friday clinic partially led by Mike Ingham with an emphasis on properly setting up your boat, trimming in lighter conditions, and lots of short course starting and race practice. 

The Orange Peel is renowned for being an incredible all-round regatta experience and this year was no different. The food is always incredible and Friday’s welcome dinner had a variety of seafood that brought rave reviews. One of the best parts of the Orange Peel is that housing is readily available and most teams took advantage of this to decrease the cost of the event and meet some new locals. If you haven’t been to this regatta you should add it to your list.

Saturday came with no breeze to show and an expected wait for breeze later in the afternoon. Left to their own devices, Thistlers came up with many ways to pass the time from rules discussions (some would even say arguments) in the parking lot, to yoga on the front lawn, to a Big Splash contest in the pool setup with an NCAA Tournament style bracket. Tim Fitzgerald and Pete Gregory squared off in the finals with Pete using technique to overcome his lack of size to win the event.

Eventually the breeze came and the fleet was sent out on the St. Johns River. The current was starting to ebb with pretty good pace and there were unpredictable puffs and shifts across the course, making sailing extremely difficult. The conditions were difficult enough that all but 3 or 4 boats found themselves rounding marks in the 30s once or more.

Mike Ingham was confident in a speed advantage he’s enjoyed over the past two events and planned to sail conservatively early each race. Using a North Sails Fisher main and Proctor jib, he focused on starting well and going fast up the middle until he could tell which side of the course was winning. He would then work to that side and aim for a conservative top-5 windward mark rounding with little risk of being deep in the fleet.

His tactic worked very well as he ended the day with 9 points in 3 races and leading a tie breaker with Stu Grulke for the regatta lead. Other North Sails customers with great days included Tom Hubbell and Chris Klotz. The forecast was poor at best for Sunday, so hats off to the RC for getting 3 fair races in.

Saturday dinner was again a feast, although it started close to 9 PM due to the late start and late racing based on the Sunday forecast. Mike Ingham kept up his winning ways in the dinnertime raffle, winning a new spinnaker pole from Selden Spars. He later gifted the pole to the boat deemed most worthy of a new spinnaker pole, which was Laura Graham of Birmingham, AL.

Sunday’s forecast was correct and glassy conditions led to leisurely packing. Mike Ingham took the regatta win with Tom Hubbell in 4th and Chris Klotz in 6th. Full results are here:

The Orange Peel completed the Thistle Southern Circuit, which includes Midwinters East. North Sails reps Mike Ingham and Brad Russell took 1st and 4th in the circuit. Kevin Bradley placed 5th and Tom Hubbell 6th, earning North Sails 4 of the top 6 positions.

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