We had perfect sailing conditions on Nov. 21 and 22 for the 2020 O’pen Skiff Midwinters hosted by the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston, South Carolina.
Our team had to race upwind and survive the “Bridge of Doom,” heeling their Skiffs to duck the top of the mast beneath the bridge’s arch without getting caught or stuck against another boat. The Bridge of Doom had several victims this weekend, but none of them from the Beaufort Team!
On the first day of racing, Lachlan Duer didn’t just survive the MC’s crazy racecourse and wild demands but thrived, coming in first place overall. Some of the race twists and turns included tipping the boats, performing a trick, capsize recovery mid-race, standing up while sailing upwind, calling out a joke to the Race Committee before entering the Bridge of Doom, and more!
We call Midwinters the “Un-Regatta” because the rules bend and twist — hitting marks doesn’t deserve a penalty, and what fun marks they were! Orange and green marks with a yellow pin end for the start/finish line remind the spectators of being inside a bounce castle on the water.
Smiles were ear to ear as one of the youngest sailors from Augusta took off his hat and did a rodeo wave at the Race Committee while standing on the edge of his Skiff.
Breezes were 8 to 12 mph on Saturday with sunny skies and incoming tides, picking up to a blustery 18 to 20 mph on Sunday morning with a fair bit of wavy chop for our sailors to navigate due to winds, boat traffic, and tidal direction. Our Beaufort Sailors, several of whom are new to the Beaufort Race Team and traveling out of town for sailing, competed against top youth sailors from the Southeast and placed well among them.
Lachlan Duer finished 1st in the Under 13 class and 3rd Overall. Arabella Duer finished 1st Female and 5th Overall. Our oldest competitor James Fabian placed 10th overall in his final O’Pen Skiff event, and younger brother Bradley, 16th. In a close race, Saylor Waldorf placed 12th above Bopha Shook in 13th, both girls on our team in a friendly competition to outsmart the other.
Our team had fun derigging and enjoying Shirley Temples onshore Saturday and Sunday afternoon. With a friendly bunch of competitors and spirited sailors, the weekend proved to be a fun break away from the traditional sailing rules while still encouraging high-level strategy and competition to beat upwind, master the Bridge of Doom, and slalom course downwind to the finish.