Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bitter End YC Pro-Am Sailing Was Awesome!

(Bitter End YC, British Virgin Islands)- Back to Work on North Sound?  “The 11th Annual Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship, sponsored by GILL at the Bitter End Yacht Club, was just about as good as it gets in this sport we all love so much. Immodest? Of course, but methinks few (if any) would disagree,” said Scuttlebutt founder Tom Leweck (long-time J/Boats sailor).

After enjoying a layday on Wednesday, it was ”back to work” today on the North Sound. Five double sausage races were sailed in rock-solid Caribbean trade-wind conditions in five perfectly matched IC-24s (modified J/24s) – the same boats used for the BEYC’s Pro Am Regatta. The five skippers were BEYC resort guests who came to the BVI to crew for the rock star skippers in the Pro Am Regatta. This was their turn to shine. Each had qualified earlier in the week by racing Hobie Waves, Hobie Escapes, and Lasers.

The competition could not have been closer. After five races, the championship was decided by less than half a boat length. Defending Champion, I-14 sailor Ron Boehm from the Santa Barbara Yacht Club in California, nicked former Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Champion George Huntington, from New York’s Manhasset Bay Yacht Club, by a single point. Both Ryan Raber and John Paul Bilodeau from Maine’s Portland Yacht Club had qualified for the championship, but elected to team up and race an IC24 together. They finished in third place.

Earlier in the day the pros completed their final four Pro Am fleet races with the BEYC guests rotating through the crew spots on their boats. Match racing for the championship, based on the fleet racing standings, that began on Friday.

Standings after 12 races:
1. Zach Railey, 40
2. Alec Anderson, 46
3. Dave Ullman, 48
4. Dave Perry, 53
5. Paul Cayard, 58
6. Brad Dellenbaugh, 59
7. Stephanie Roble, 63
8. Taylor Canfield, 64 (World #1 in match race rankings!)

In spite of the fact that Alec Anderson had been named as a collegiate All-American in 2011, in 2012, and in 2013, many of the resort guests arriving at the Bitter End Yacht Club for the Pro Am Regatta were not familiar with his name. Well – they all know him now. Anderson has just become the BEYC’s 2013 Pro Am Champion.

Racing in a matched fleet of IC24s with guests of the BEYC rotating in and out of the crews of the eight invited pro skippers, Anderson took second place in the 12-race fleet racing qualifier – just four points behind former Olympic Silver Medallist Zach Railey. That was more than good enough to move him into the four-boat Semi Finals, where the format switched to match racing.

The recent graduate of sailing powerhouse Roger Williams University from Rhode Island had not done a lot of match racing in college, but was a quick study. In two very close races against Dave Ullman, he went 2-0, and advanced to the Finals. Now, the only thing standing between him and the championship was match race expert Dave Perry, who had just dispatched the fleet race winner Zach Riley, 2-1.

Once again, Anderson was flawless – defeating Perry 2-0 to become the youngest-ever Pro Am Champion. Perry had to settle for second place with Zach Railey capturing third by defeating Dave Ullman 2-0 in the Petit Finals. In the consultation round of match racing, Paul Cayard was 2-0 against Stephanie Roble to finish fifth overall.

What’s next for Anderson? He recently teamed with Chris Brockbank to campaign a 49er with hopes of representing the BVI in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  Remember the name Alec Anderson. No doubt you’ll hear it again.

The elite skippers (and Scuttlebutt founder Tom Leweck) at the 2013 ‘Fantasy Camp’:
- Alec Anderson, native BVI islander- 3-time College All American
- Taylor Canfield- World #1 ranked match racing, College All-American
- Paul Cayard- America’s Cup fame, Star World Champion
- Dave Perry- match racing and rules guru- Congressional Cup winner
- Zach Railey- Olympic medalist in the Finn
- Stephanie Roble- US #1 ranked match racing, College All-American
- Dave Ullman- too many accomplishments to list- National, European, World Champion 470s/ J/24s/ Melges 24s
Pro Am Facebook group.   Bitter End YC sailing website.