North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Austin Powers, Jackson Benvenutti, Mike Marshall


Bennet and Beardsley Dominate Weekend Regatta

Congratulations to Hayden Bennett and Mike Marshall, 2020 VX One Midwinter Champions! 📸 VX One Class/Sarah Wilkinson

The VX One and Viper fleets enjoyed two days of great sailing on Sarasota Bay last weekend. Saturday started off with a nice 12-15 knot breeze that slowly died, while Sunday brought a steady 9-16 knot breeze. The Vipers completed 8 races and after a tie was broken, Rachel and Peter Beardsley came away with the win over Jackson Benvenutti sailing with Jan Majer and Jesse Fielding. Hayden Bennett and Mike Marshall won the seven-race VX One Midwinter championship.

What We Learned

VIPER 640 CLASS (Jackson Benvenutti)

📸 Sarah Wilkinson

Puffy conditions create possibilities for huge gains (or losses) downwind due to the boat-speed and angle differences between puffs and lulls. The tactician should spend most of the time looking backwards, studying the wind to see where the next puff is coming from, and figuring out how to take advantage of it. Questions include

  • Is that next puff within reach?
  • If so, how do we get to it as quickly as possible?

Figure out which jibe keeps the boat in the puff for as long as possible.

Having an in-between race routine is just as important as the routine at the start of each race day. Develop a checklist that allows for a quick mental rest and then quickly reenages both skipper and the crew. Here is what we do, in order:

  • Water and food
  • Debrief from previous race (What worked? Were we fast or slow? Did one side of the course pay off?)
  • Adjust rig (Check rig on both tacks)
  • Ping line

VX ONE CLASS (Mike Marshall)

  • A flat boat and flat sails are very fast. Anytime you are hiking, get the sails as flat as you can so that you can trim them hard without heeling. A combination of vang, cunningham, and rig tension all combine to make flat sails. Don’t be afraid to pull the lines harder.
  • Sport boats have two modes: searching for power, and depowering. In light air, the goal is to get the crew hiking. Trimming the sails extra hard can help add power, as long as they are not stalling. As soon as you are consistently hiking, you are looking to flatten the sails to reduce drag.
A flat boat is key in the breeze, VX One Midwinter Champions! 📸 VX One Class/Sarah Wilkinson


North Sails post racing debrief


📸 VX One Class/Sarah Wilkinson

Story Contributors

Sarasota Winter Series #2: Speedy Tips headshot
Austin Powers

Sail Expert — Annapolis, Maryland

Austin started his sailing career at Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville, VA, racing Optis and Laser Radials in the FBYC junior race program and sailing with his parents on their cruising boat. The sailmaking industry was always on his...

Sarasota Winter Series #2: Speedy Tips headshot
Jackson Benvenutti

One Design Expert — Annapolis, Maryland

Jackson actively races in the J/70, Viper, Flying Scot, J/22, Melges 24, amongst many One Design classes. In 2018 Jackson won the J/22 World Championship with team Uncle Fluffy, and in 2019 he won the Viper Worlds and North American...

Sarasota Winter Series #2: Speedy Tips headshot
Mike Marshall

One Design Expert, Sail Designer — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Mike won the 2016 J/22 Worlds, which led to a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year nomination. He has also won the J/22 North Americans and finished top ten at multiple J/24 Worlds, North Americans, and Nationals. He graduated with a degree in Geophysics from Connecticut...

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