North Sails NEWS


Coach Chris Larson and Tactician Victor Diaz de Leon Break Down the Win

📸 Matias Capizzano

After a two-year World Championship hiatus, Peter Duncan’s Raza Mixta team proudly hoisted the Melges Performance Sailboats Trophy at the 2022 Melges 24 Class Championship this May in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

And while Duncan and his crew of Erik Shampain, Morgan Trubovich, Victor Diaz De Leon and Matt Pistay were coming in hot from a successful winter season, winning the Worlds was no easy feat. Getting to the top of the podium required the team to claw back points from deep within the fleet.

North Sails had a chance to check in after their win and get the inside scoop on what went on. Raza Mixta’s tactician Victor Diaz De Leon and team coach,  North Sails Expert Chris Larson were happy to walk us through their experience; how it felt and what it took to come from behind.

The Road to Worlds:

Winning a World Championship is never as easy as just showing up and racing hard. Typically there is a long road and hard work that leads a team to the top and Raza Mixta is no exception, with various lead up events and multiple players contributing to reaching the top. Raza Mixta is a young team in terms of sailing together, but the collective experience of all the players is what made the difference.  

Pulling veteran talent from the Melges 24 fleet with Shampain and Pistay, mixing in the talented J/70 team of Duncan, Diaz de Leon and Trubovich and rounding out the team with deep coaching experience paid off. Raza Mixta won the class at the Southernmost Regatta and was named first overall in the Bacardi Series before winning the Worlds. The team sailed hard and coach Chris Larson took charge of organizing schedules, training sessions, sail inventory, and boat preparation. According to Diaz de Leon, “Larson was definitely instrumental in us being able to pull it off.”

📸 Sharon Green

Raza Mixta’s Rebound:

A come from behind story. After two thirteenth place finishes on day one, team Raza Mixta found they barely made the top ten, ninth place at the end of the day. Duncan remained optimistic and kept team morale high, but at the same time the team knew they had work to do to get to the finish.  

After-dinner debriefs, powerpoint presentations on sail trim and competitors, Larson left nothing to chance.  There was ground to make up and still time to come out ahead. “Each day I would be on the water with the team photographing and videoing all of their movements. Later, as I presented I would include details such as sail twist, sheet tension, jib car position, traveler position, forestay sag, rig tension and sail scanning. We would then review video from each maneuver enabling the team to perfect their boat handling.” It worked.

As the event progressed, with Duncan doing a great job getting the boat off the line, constant communication from Shampain, and Trubovich and Pistay hiking, De Leon did what he does best, working his way through the fleet, and rounding the first weather mark in the front pack. From there, the team let their speed and boat handling take over by gaining at every corner of the race track. Having used their throw-out on day one, they could not afford another double-digit finish. By day four they turned an insurmountable deficit to a six point lead and never looked back.  

Sails That Deliver Results

Raza Mixta used the class MNi-2 mainsail, Ji-4 Jib and P1 Spinnaker for the entirety of the event. Speed was a strength for them, and they had confidence in their set-up and sails  throughout the vast range of conditions seen throughout the event. 

The Ji-4’s round entry helped with steering and gave the boat enough power to get through the chop. And Larson thinks that the MNi-2 mainsail is a great all around sail, “It flattens out nicely, but still has shape in the back-end of the sail. This was ideal when the conditions warranted sailing with more twist than normal.”

According to Diaz de Leon “We felt very comfortable with our sail set up and our rig tune set up. We were going well in the light air, medium air and heavy air so we felt confident in our speed. Chris Larson was again a very helpful coach that worked really hard on the rig tune and sail selection.” 

Clearly the right choices were made and the hard work paid off.  Congratulations Team Raza Mixta.

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📸 Matias Capizzano
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