The first traveling regatta of 2021 was the Florida Traveler’s Trophy Regatta hosted by the Space Coast Model Sailing Club in Melbourne on January 9 and 10. The Traveler’s Trophy is a series of one day regattas for two classes of boat at rotating venues around the state; the Dragon Flite 95 and the Dragon Force 65. On Saturday, the DF 65 Sails and Sunday the DF 95 sails. The models are inexpensive and fun to race. They have very strict one design rules which make good thumbs, sailing strategy, tactics and tuning key to being competing well.
Three PBGMYS members drove up masked to the Saturday DF65 in one car. The drive took about 90 minutes, but passed quickly because Jon Luscomb, George Balaschak and David Zahn talked and reminisced about sailing, life and cars.
When we arrived the sky was cloudless, the breeze was up and it was very cold; about 47 degrees. Fellow PBGMYS members Chuck Milican and Lynne Holmes were there and invited us to make camp with them behind a large palmetto bush and out of the wind. Lynn was hard to recognize because she had on everything she owned.
The forecast was for a North West breeze of 8-10 and fading as the day went on with a high temperature of 65. As we readied our boats, masked volunteers worked through the area making sure everyone was feeling healthy and to sign waivers. At the Skipper’s meeting everyone was masked and COVID protocols were explained and would be enforced as they day went on.
The DF 65 is a 65 cm (26”) boat and ready to sail costs about $250 including a decent radio and receiver. The only one of the 3 of us who had any stick time was George. Dave had just bought his boat from Joe Ruschak and Jon bought his in March and had sailed it twice before this regatta.
The DF 65 is a challenging boat to sail as one needs to continually tend to it with sheeting and gentle steering; notwithstanding going the right way! Some don’t like the boat because of that, but that is why I think it is great after competing with it.
There were a total of eighteen sailors in one fleet and the racing was tight and fun. All marks were hot! Dave Zahn placed 6th, Jon Luscomb Placed 9th and George placed 11th. Not a bad showing for DF 65 green horns!
Sunday the three of us raced DF 95’s. It was colder than Saturday and a little less breeze. Again the forecast was for highs in the mid 60’s with a 2 to 5 knot North West breeze. The breeze was forecasted to shift to the right and fade as the day went on. There were 24 DF 95’s in this regatta, so it was sailed under the Promotion Relegation heat system; two fleets A&B. Current National Champion Peter Feldman was sailing along with IOM National Champion Steve Landau. This was David’s first DF95 regatta and my second. I think George has sailed a few more, but not many. The completion was deep, but Jon won the first race….WHAT! He thinks it jinxed him. Again all marks were hot and the racing was tight. In the end, Jon ended up 4th and very surprised to be in the money, David finished 15th and George finished 18th.
It was a great time and well managed under the COVID protocols. All of the sailors were very courteous did their best to sail fairly and self-policed on penalty turns. We can all learn from sailors like them. What a difference and what a pleasure to be sailing in a regatta like that.