This was a fine Winter Series: seven regattas, six boats,four of which (Bruce Breiding, Andy Dize, Mike Waters and Stu Walker) qualified (by sailing in more than 50% of the events). (Henry Thomas (out with knee surgery and Joe Van Gieson (out with shoulder surgery) and Mike Minton missed the cut, but are ready for the SSA Spring Bowl/US Nationals on April 13-14-15.
Racing was as close as has been typical of past Winter Series; Stu Walker´s victory and fifteen wins imply a dominance that was rarely evident on the water; many of his wins were by a hair´s breadth. Andy Dize won four of the races and Mike Minton, one.
The weather gods provided their usual variety - everything from blow-outs to dead calms - but included a large number of fine races in 10-15 knots when tactical infighting, the charm of the Soling, is at its best. The most remarkable aspect of the series was the camaraderie - the winners regularly explaining their success to insure that those whom they had beaten had profited by the experience and would be more capable in the races ahead.
Andy Dize served well in the grand tradition of Sam Merrick and Peter Gleitz as the man to beat - and has never previously looked as good as he now does with Mary Sophia Smith and Joe Hidalgo as crew. Stu continues to depend on Bruce Empey in the tactical middle and, this winter, in Doug Loup´s place, 5-0-5 sailor Mike Renda. Adding Mike Waters to the fleet was brilliant; he lent an air of stature to the whole affair and provided a standard of equanimity that the fleet has long needed! Bruce Breiding was his usual dependable presence - never missing a regatta and achieving one of his best races on the final day.
Final Results (after 7 regattas):
Dec11 Jan29 Feb19 Feb26 Mar11 Mar18 Mar25
1.USA839- 2-2 1-1-1-1 1-1-1 1-1-1 2-2-1 1-1 1-2-1 25/20=1.25
Stu Walker, Bruce Empey, Mike Renda
2.USA798- 4-1 2-2-2-3 2-3-2 2-2-2 1-1-2 3-4 2-1-2 43/20=2.15
Andy Dize, Joe Hidalgo, Mary-Sophia Smith
3.USA788- - - -4-3-4 - - - 3-3-2 3-3-2 2-3 3-3-4 42/14=3.0
Mike Waters, Josh Paper, Art Wilcox
4.USA852- 3-4 4-3-4 - 3-2-3 4 - - 4-4 - 5-4 4-4-3 58/16=3.6
Bruce Breiding, Lloyd Sirci
USA680?- 1-3 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4/2 =2.0
Mike Minton, - , -
USA799- - - 3-5-5-2 - - - - - - - - - 4-2 5-5 - 32/8=4.0
Henry Thomas, Kate Boaz, Tristan Thomas
(Scored without throwouts as they would have made no difference)