Victory for match race newbie

Guy Mossman claims the Key West Match Race Invitational

Sunday January 24th 2010, Author: Dobbs Davis, Location: United Kingdom
In his first-ever attempt at match race sailing, Charleston-based Guy Mossman has won the second annual Key West Match Race Invitational, organized by the Chicago Match Race Center. On the strength of superior boathandling of his Melges 24 in the fresh 15-20 knot breezes and short 15-minute race courses, Mossman and his team of Mike Buckley, Skip Baxter, Ben Allen, and Danielle Soriano dominated both the five round robin series and win the first-to-two point Final convincingly on a 2-0 score.

"This was an absolute blast," said Mossman, "and I think a really great form of the sport. Next year I hope maybe we can have this prior to Key West Race Week rather than afterwards because it would be a fantastic tune-up event."

Runner-up Don Wilson and his Convexity team echoed Mossman’s enthusiasm, but with a slight twist: "We had more fun in two days of match racing than we did in a whole week of fleet racing in Race Week." Wilson’s comments are understandable, given his position as the Founder of the CMRC.

Besides locking horns five times in the Round Robins, Wilson and Mossman’s appearance in the Finals was never dull, starting in the very first match. Entering from the right side in the pre-start, Mossman had the initial advantage in the entry, but in the dial up to head-to-wind in the breezy conditions he could not control his bow from blowing off to leeward to contact Wilson and thus earn his first penalty from the umpires.

"ith just a minute to go to the start and Wilson in control, Mossman earned a second penalty while attempting to tack to go back towards the line. With two yellow flags up in the umpire boat, it looked as though Wilson was well on his way to his first win in the Finals since Mossman would have to take his first penalty turn right after the start.
But the breezy conditions took their toll: Wilson’s team could not get their spinnaker under control on the first run, giving Mossman the opportunity he needed to even the score when they lined up Wilson on starboard tack while Wilson lingered on port with spinnaker problems. The match umpires, however, felt Wilson could not have done anything more to keep clear, so the incident was green flagged.

Mossman’s crew, unhappy with the decision, were a little too vocal about the incident, so the match umpires gave Mossman yet another yellow flag penalty. By this time Wilson’s team was well off to leeward of the leeward mark struggling to get their spinnaker down, so Mossman was able to do not just one but their second penalty turn as well and still get to the finish line ahead by several lengths.

And in the second match, now in a must-win situation, Wilson was once again unable to match the boathandling skill of their opponents, so Mossman and his team went on to win their second point and earn victory in their first-ever match race event.

For their efforts, Mossman and his crew each won a complementary one-year subscription to Seahorse Magazine, and a framed original painting by a local artist in Key West. Mossman has also earned an automatic invitation of his choice to any one of the numerous Grade 3 events planned monthly from May to September this season at CMRC.

"This second year has been outstanding at getting everyone excited about the coming season," said Bill Hardesty, Director of CMRC, "and we’ve helped spread the word about the excitement and fun of open-level match race sailing. We look forward to having these teams and more join us in the Spring in Chicago."

Results after Round Robin 5:
1. Guy Mossman Charleston, SC 10 points
2. Don Wilson Chicago, IL 8
3. Mark Johnson Appleton, WI 6
4. Kevin Dooley St Petersburg, FL 1

Final Round Results:
Mossman (2) – Wilson (0)

Final Results:
1. Guy Mossman Charleston, SC
2. Don Wilson Chicago, IL
3. Mark Johnson Appleton, WI
4. Kevin Dooley St Petersburg, FL

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