The Charlotte Harbor Regatta is a three day optional scoring regatta scheduled the first weekend of February, the first weekend of February can and is often is cool and windy but this year we got three days off warm temperatures and light wind. The regatta attracts sailors from as far away as Oregon and Michigan. My skipper Laura Muma and I were not able to make the Friday racing because her boat sustained some damage at Bluster on the Bay two weeks before and it wasn’t ready for pickup until the Friday of the regatta. Due to light morning breezes the fleet was not able to start on time but after about an hour the wind filled in enough to get racing started. Laura and I did a slow build checking in on the fleet from time to time, Dan Borg, Robbie Daniel and Jeff Rehm fought it out at the top off the fleet in the moderate Friday breeze. When we finished putting the boat together we went for a quick shakedown cruise in winds ranging between 10 – 12 knots only getting back to the beach shortly before sundown.
Saturday the youth teams from Sarasota along with Charles Tomeo and Dalton Tebo joined us. The second day of racing started in breeze in the 5 knot range and fading. On our way to the first mark it was becoming painfully clear that it was going to be a difficult and slow race. When we got to the last gate there was big right shift turning the last two legs into a slow motion drag race. Laura and I had a good start and solid upwind putting us first to A mark and we managed to hang onto the lead followed closely by Charles and Dalton. After finishing the first race we went into postponement and we waited for the sea breeze to show itself. Once the sea breeze arrived we had one more race the in winds ranging between 5 and 8 knots, the wind shifts were plenty and patches and holes were many. The fleet would accordion several times before we would finish. As the fleet turned onto the last leg setting up for a downwind finished the wind filled and shifted, if you were on the left you got a favorable shift, if you were on the right you got better pressure and if you were in the middle you got both but less of it making the last part of the race a full on brawl to the finish. Dalton and Charles got the better of it followed by Laura and me and then pretty much everyone else at the same time. With that the day was done and we had a very pleasant sail into the fading late afternoon sun. Per usual the fleet was fed and provided the traditional Pussers Rum party the dark and stormy’s were yummy and plentiful.
We started Sunday in a clearing flog and a solid 8 – 10 knot breeze but by the time we got to the starting area the wind began to shift and the cloud cover began to clear and the breeze immediately began to drop. We sat in postponement while the wind shifted as predicted and once things settled in we got started. As we headed up the first upwind it was painfully clear we were running out breeze fast. For the rest of the race we sailed in very soft and patchy breezes creating opportunity and heartache. Laura and I had a bit of a misstep with our start and slowly clawed our way to the front where we were constantly being engaged by Dan Borg who covered us like a rug. Only because the conditions were so inconsistent and patchy we were able to escape Dan’s control and just when we thought we were out of the woods and on our way to another bullet and the win for the regatta, here comes Charles and Dalton from the opposite side of the course only to steal our bullet and the regatta. The sailing was challenging, the company and organization was top drawer and we will be back next year for sure. If you haven’t done this regatta please try to join us next year!
Photo Credit to Charlotte Harbor Regatta Facebook page