North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Eric Doyle
Images © John Payne


Congratulations Jim Cunningham and team Lifted! North Sails 9 of top 10!

The Louis Piana Cup, first stop of the 2017-18 Biscayne Bay Etchells Series, started out with a bang for Jim Cunningham and his team of Jeff Madrigali, Mark Ivey and Serena Vilage who took the regatta by one point over visiting Brit Lawrie Smith and his 3 amigo team of Richard Parslow, Goncalo Ribeiro and Graham Sutherland.

Tight rigs and warm clothes were the call as five races were expertly run by former world Champion Stuart Childerly and his great team from Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. A very strong cold front delayed racing on Saturday by a couple of hours as the race committee wisely held the fleet on shore as dangerous thunderstorms with 50 knot gusts and tornadoes were moving down the state. Two races were completed with Jim and Lawrie atop the standings after the first day.

Sunday brought an early start, unseasonably cool temperatures, and blustery strong winds. Steve Benjamin and his team showed some of his World Champion form to take the first race in 18-22 knot winds while the rest of the day was owned by Jose Fuentes with his crew of Luke Lawrence and Ian Liberty. In a dying and very shifty north westerly breeze they took control and won both of the final two races and pulled themselves into 3rd place overall—very impressive. Equally impressive was the fourth place all Corinthian team of Peter Vessella, Tracy Usher and Mark Callahan.

The North Sails PC-Fm Radial Head mainsail used by the top teams continues delivering impressive performance. Most teams opted for either the GM 6.5 heavy air jib or the LM-2H radial head jib for the strong winds of the weekend. It wasn’t until the final run of the last race that teams choose to put up the VMG spinnaker instead of the Full Runner.


2017-18 Luis Piana Cup
1 Lifted / Jim Cunningham
2 Alfie / Lawrie Smith
3 Caramba / Jose Fuentes
4 Peter Vessella / Mahalaga
5 Lion Heart / Adrian Owles
6 SCIMITAR / Steve Benjamin
8 Blackadder II / Andrew Cumming
9 Freedom / Craig Mense
10 America Jane II / Scott Kaufman

Full results

Story Contributors

North Clients Dominate 2017-18 Etchells Biscayne Bay Series Opener headshot
Eric Doyle

One Design Expert — San Diego, California

Eric was raised in Pass Christian along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where he learned at a ripe young that he was hooked on sailing. After attending Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, he was scooped up by Hall of Famer...