Interviews with the Lead Pack- Todd Riccardi

What is (are) your name(s), and where do you sail?

Todd Riccardi, New England

How long have you been sailing F18s?

4.5 years

Did you do anything special to prepare for the 2013 F18 Americas Championship?

Basic boat prep, replacing worn lines before the event but none right before to make sure they were all stretched and working properly.
New spinnaker with a few days of practice on the new spinnaker for break in and to get used to the shape.
I also think sailing the Buzzelli Regatta on the weekend before the event helped familiarize us with the conditions at the venue (similar conditions to what we had on Tuesday).

What do you think was the biggest factor in your success in Sarasota?

Getting off on our own and making our side work by playing the pressure was our number one key to success. Being bound up by other boats is not fast in straight line or for working the pressure.
Once on our side, our goal was to connect puffs to stay in the pressure. To do so we stuck to a few firm rules: not hesitating to tack on the leading edge of pressure to stay in it, not tacking to sail towards pressure, no tacking in lulls, patience / sailing fast even in slight headers.
Local crew helped with this knowledge. It was really amazing how we could work the right side (really worked on Tuesday) and take small hitches working the pressure but make huge gains.

The Americas Championship was a 17 race event with conditions from 5-25 knots. How did you manage to have success over such a broad range of conditions?

I felt that playing the pressure was relatively the same game across the wind range in the bay, also in the Gulf, though there were obviously different trends and variables out there.
There were a few races we tried to vary from our game plan by not favoring one side or playing the middle, it never worked. In fact, it seemed when we left our side those that were patient made out huge on us.

What was the most memorable regatta moment for you?

Winning the first race with Gunnar hot on our heels. Totally above our expectations for our first time sailing together and really set the bar for our event.

Every event has difficult moments. What was yours, and how did you overcome that setback?

We found ourselves deep several times and kept repeating, there is another leg to pass boats, it’s a long race, don’t get frustrated.

If you could get a redo for one sailing mistake during the week, what would it be? what would you do differently?

On the windy day, we came flying into the last leeward mark which was to be followed by a reach to the finish, we had passed around 10 boats downwind and had jibed into fourth or fifth in front of the next 5-8 boats. In the heat of the moment, while trying to get my trapeze ring off my crew’s harness, I lost sight of the mark. He was unaware he was still hooked on but aware that we were about to hit the mark, I heard him yell too late. We ended up going to windward of the mark and snagged it with my rudder which did not kick up. We ended up losing around 8 boats. Those 8 points would have been nice but everyone has mistakes where they got extra points and we just laughed it off and kept sailing hard.

For new teams just getting into F18 sailing, what would be your biggest piece of advice?

Just come out and and sail, it doesn’t matter what type of boat or how old your equipment is. There’s a vast range of experience in this fleet, just come out and have a blast!


Seventh place overall: Todd Riccardi (right) and Dalton Tebo