February 7, 2016
Sailing weekends in December, January, and February, the Sarasota (FL) Sailing Squadron’s Winter Circuit has become a mainstay for east coast Viper sailors…and some from the west coast and Canada. Not only are there three weekends of racing, but this series gets everyone’s boats to Florida where they will stay for the two Viper regattas in March: the EFG Winter Cup (March 6-7) and the EFG Viper Pan-American Championship sailed during Bacardi Miami Sailing Week (March 10-12).
This series is scored in two ways: individual weekend winners and series champions. Key to participation is that over the three weekends, each competitor may drop 30% of their scores so if they couldn’t compete one weekend they aren’t necessarily out of the running.
Skipper Zeke Horowitz (SSS, Larchmont Yacht Club, and CofC), sailing with long-time crew Brendan Healy and Ian Coleman, won the first and third weekends of sailing including the February 6-7 component. This weekend’s racing, however, was curtailed as 30+ knot winds blew through Sarasota Sunday keeping the boats ashore. With a score line in Saturday’s five races of 8-2-2-1-1, Horowitz nipped Peter Beardsley Larchmont YC), Jay Rhame, and Rachel Daugherty by a single point. Beardsley also finished second for the series. Danny and Megan Pletsch (Larchmont YC), sailing with Rachel Beardsley and Becca Liggins was third for the finale and fifth overall. Third place for the series went to Henry and Barb Amthor (Hampton Yacht Club) sailing with David Eberwine.
Of note this weekend was the presence of new Gulf Yachting Association club-owned boats. SSS is a GYA member, but club-owned boats competed representing Pass Christian Yacht Club (with Olympian John Dane at the helm), St. Andrews Yacht Club, and Biloxi Yacht Club.
Up next for east coast Vipers are the two Miami events followed by Charleston Race Week in April.