2017 RC Laser North American Championship

Marsh Harbour, Bahamas

The RC Laser North American Championship ventured out of the continental United States for the first time.  The dates were set for January 28-29, 2017, so it gave those traveling from the north a few days to escape from the cold.  One sailor came from Sweden and one arrived by sailboat.  8 sailors from the U.S. flew in early to see the sites around Abaco.  The rest were local Abaco sailors.  Wynsome Ferguson at the Department of Tourism assisted the competitors with a smooth entry through customs and immigration.  The sailors visited Hope Town, Man-O-War, and Guana Cay.  On Friday a couple carloads ventured to Pete’s Pub on Little Harbour and managed to make it back for the practice racing.  We gathered at Jim Kaighin’s house for heavy hors d’oeuvres and then we all went to the art show at Abaco Beach Resort.

Racing started at 10:00 am sharp with Tim Sands running the show.  It was a beautiful sunny day with NW winds and everyone sailing B-rigs.  We scored 6 races and split the fleets into gold and silver during lunch.  Jim Kaighin led the gold fleet by one point over Dave Ramos and he was one point ahead of Dwayne Wallas.  The points were 6, 7 and 8 respectively.  The odd-even format with split fleets kept the scoring close after 6 races and one drop.  Brandon Sands, having boat problems, lost a tie breaker and ended up in Silver fleet.

Racing resumed after lunch with Silver fleet starting first with 2 back-to-back 2-lap races.  Jeff Gale won the first race and Branden won the second race.  Dave Ramos won the first gold fleet race, Jim Kaighin won the second race, and Dwayne Wallas won 2 of the next 3.  Everyone agreed to sail a little past the advertised ending time to get 6 races for a drop.  We all looked forward to dinner at the Jib Room for steaks, chicken, and fish.  Lisa, Beth, and Mary Beth showed off their dance and limbo moves.

The forecast for Sunday was for heavier winds and then rain around lunch time.  Silver fleet hit the water first with C-rigs.  Jeff Gale finished the day with a 1-1-2 and winning the Silver fleet.  Branden Sands, from Cherokee Sound, finished the day 2-2-1, and taking 2nd overall in the Silver fleet.  Nick Mortgu finished 3rd in the Silver fleet.

The gold fleet only managed to get 2 races in Sunday morning.  As the rain approached, the northwest wind shifted to the north/northeast and moving the marks caused a delay.  A large catamaran near the windward mark gave the sailors trouble with its wind shadow.  Dwayne Wallas unfortunately tapped the rudder of Rocky Cale.  Rocky was not able to sail on and Dwayne had to withdraw taking him out of the running, but finished 3rd overall in Gold fleet. We broke for lunch at Snappas hoping the rain would pass, but this was going to be an all-day rain and the afternoon races were cancelled.  Dave Ramos finished second in gold fleet and Jim Kaighin was the overall winner.

There are many people to thank.  Tim Sands stepped up as race director running his first ever remote control sailboat regatta and did a fantastic job.  Rachel Sands gave up her weekend to set the race marks and retrieve and untangle boats.  Ylva Ljungholm came all the way from Sweden, with husband and competitor Anders, to countdown our starts.  Lenore Mulock recorded the finishes and Marylee Cale, from Marco Island, totaled the races on the scoreboard.  The top 3 competitors in silver fleet received handmade dovetail boxes and the top 3 in gold fleet received half-hull Abaco dinghy models.  We also have to thank the Sawyer family for the use of their dock on the harbour.  The Jib Room also stood by as a back-up venue.  Thanks also to Bill Albury and Snappas for accommodating us for lunch and the trophy ceremony.

Place Skipper Country Points
1 Jim Kaighin Bahamas 26
2 Dave Ramos USA 34
3 Dwayne Wallas Bahamas 38
4 Dave Branning USA 43
5 Dave Brawner USA 46
6 Rocky Cale USA 62
7 Fred DeSantis USA 68
8 Roger Baldwin USA 77
Place Skipper Country Points
1 Jeff Gale Bahamas 41
2 Branden Sands Bahamas 51
3 Nick Mortgu USA 55
4 Andres Ljungholm Sweden 69
5 Ken Shaw USA 69
6 Dave Mulock Bahamas 77
7 Randy Key Bahamas 88
8 Charlie Cooke Bahamas 110