Thanks to Rick Jarchow for this report: On the weekend of September 18-19, the J/24 Florida State Championship was hosted by Fleet 10 Biscayne Bay and the US Sailing Center (Miami) with nine boats participating. Since COVID-19 and many different things going on in the state of Florida with COVID scares, we were very lucky to get one boat to travel to Miami and one boat that the owner lives in New York but commutes to sail on Biscayne Bay (which we had not seen in over a year due to COVID-19 restrictions). Saturday brought deep blue skies with zero cloud cover and zero wind. By the time of the skippers meeting at 11:30, the seabreeze was slowly starting to build. By the 1:00pm warning signal, a nice 5-8 knots had set in over the top of Southern Biscayne Bay, which allowed for three excellent races run by PRO Carol Ewing and team. By 4pm, ominous thunderstorms were building over the mainland, and Carol set up the start line and course for a fourth race. About 1:30 before the gun was supposed to go off for that fourth race, the wind shifted 90-130 degrees to the left, setting up a tight light wind reach from the starting pin. Carol, being the ever-professional race officer, immediately abandoned and sent the fleet in due to the instability of the wind. Fleet 10 immediately sailed to the US Sailing Center for some good camaraderie about the three races that we completed over hotdogs and burgers and beers. The group cooked burgers and dogs on their grill while doing their best to make the Orion team feel appreciated for their effort in traveling from Sandford, FL. The evening broke up about 8:30, and everyone left with hopes of wind and three races on Sunday. On Sunday, the sun rose over South Florida with high pressure sitting over the southern part of the peninsula. There were a lot of question as to whether there would be any racing. Biscayne Bay was like glass as the competitors showed up to the US Sailing Center. At 9:30, Carol hoisted the AP flag due to the lack of wind. Zia (Patrick Firsch) was sitting in first place content not to sail as they were discovering all the issues with Zia for not having sailed in nearly two years due to COVID Restrictions in New York. Tightly following Zia was Orion owned by Ricardo Martinez and driven by Lugo Efrain, and in third just itching for a fight was Victoria owned by Val Shestopalov and Alex “Sahsa” Birukoff tied on points with Orion. Just before 10:30, Carol lowered the AP and sent the fleet out for race number four in a slowly freshening breeze. By the 11:30 warning signal, the breeze had built to 5 knots and was slowly starting to give our guests the famous Biscayne Bay seabreeze. With it all on the money, Carol ran three spectacular races, and there were four boats that could have won the regatta starting the last race. Team Zia put up a consistent fight with three third-place finishes to come away with fourth place with a total of 13 points. Orion, with a very consistent 2,4,4 tied with Eamonn deLisser, came out guns blazing to protect his home waters with a 1,2,2 but that was just not enough to protect against Victoria driven by Alex “Sasha” Birukoff with a 4,1,1. With all six races completed, the fleet returned to the US Sailing Center for awards and beers to find out that first place and third place was separated by one point. Thank you to Carol and Jon Ewing for their support of J/24 Fleet 10 and the use of their boat Great Scot as the signal boat. Carol’s excellent race team was Jon Ewing, Sue Nichols, Sharon Bourke and Gary Sprague, driving his boat Commander as the mark boat. Thanks to all the members of Fleet 10 who did an outstanding job organizing this regatta and providing everyone with a great two days of sailing, and to the crews who continue to show up for the tight racing in the J/24 Class.

Final Results:
Victoria 11pts
Main Squeeze 11 pts
Orion 12pts
Zia 13Pts
Scouts Honor 26 pts
Exit Strategy 29 pts
Ericka II 30 pts
Shadow Play 40 pts

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