Final results! Gibson Island, skippered by Tom Price, wins the 2023 North American Invitational!
Northeast Harbor, led Sofie Dowling, last years winner, takes second; with Manhattan, Eric Leitner at the helm, taking the final podium position.
The Gibson Island team included Tom Price, Biff Hearn, Paul van Cleve, Murray Leigh, and Saidee Price, Tom’s daughter.
Gibson Island’s two firsts in the first two of the three races sailed on the final day, popped them out of the very closely matched pack — check out the scores from 2nd-6th! But they were strong all weekend. While leading the second race started on the opening day of the event, in a dying southerly and residual chop, the first mark time limit expired with the Gibson sailors about one minute out — with just a little more oomph in that late zephyr, they might have enjoyed a third bullet….
The competing teams experienced every possible condition in three days — powerful, testing winds and big seas early on day 1; dying breeze and residual chop at the end of day 1 (race abandoned); light air and wild shifts on day 2; and a picture perfect breeze under overcast skies, then bright sun on day three. They had it all.
The Race Committee work, led by PRO Mark Toso, was fantastic. Championship length courses with 1.5 NM beats were consistently set, and the downwind legs were reoriented to the ever-shifting winds to give the competitors the squarest possible runs. Classy. Race durations averaged just over 90 minutes, and the long beats and runs afforded skippers lots of interesting strategic choices (and passing lanes). There were no wire-to-wire wins, and no horizon jobs.
Thee teams that came from farthest away: Gibson Island, from the Chesapeake, Northeast Harbor, Maine, and Bermuda, made the most of their weekend, with excellent finishes and great racing. We are so pleased that they all chose to make the trip to Marblehead.
And speaking of teams, for the first time at any IOD event there was (roughly) gender parity among the skippers — three of the seven teams at the seven teams were helmed by female sailors. As Rachel Morrison, the Marblehead skipper put it, “that’s progress!” (Worlds, next?!)
The Corinthian Yacht Club, Jim Rasides, Commodore, were amazing event hosts, and all the competitors enjoyed a grand CYC dinner on Friday night. Many thanks to CYC manager Dave Titus, and the rest of the staff, for meeting our every need.
And of course even in our VERY competitive —but well-behaved — IOD community we sometimes need to ask a panel of judges to decipher what really happened. We had a great trio of volunteer judges at our event — Chief Judge and National Judge Danielle Lawson, Regional Judge Dr. Jim Hunter, and Club Judge Charlyn Feeney. They were ready for us every day, but the competing teams stayed out the trouble. Danielle, Jim and Charlyn — thank you for your support.
The engine that makes our wonderful IOD events, including the annual World Championship, Bermuda Race Week, the Nantucket Invitational, the Bacardi Cup, and the North American Invitational, is, of course, the incredible generosity of our boat owners. It would be impossible to thank the Marblehead owners enough for again offering their prized IODs to a group of visiting sailors that they do not know well.. Those visitors proved they were deserving of that trust — there were no incidents between the boats. (The paper checks we received for the damage deposits have been torn up. Hooray.)
Of course, the Marblehead Fleet members, the skippers and the rest of us, contributed much more than their boats. They contributed time, wisdom, and talent. We spread the work around and that made the work seem easy, even enjoyable. But make no mistake, there was lots to do. I know that every one of our visitors appreciated the job the Marblehead Fleet did. We have a good thing going here.
The next IOD Event is the World Championship, hosted in a couple of weeks by the Nantucket Fleet (good luck Nantucket!) the next North Americans is likely to be in Bermuda, in the fall of 2024. Confirmation forthcoming, but mark it on your calendar!
IOD NA 2023
Host: Corinthian Yacht Club
Team 1 2 3 4 5 TOT
1 GIB Price 4 2 1 1 3 11
2 NEH Dowling 3 5 3 4 2 17
3 MAN Leitner 1 3 7 3 4 18
4 FIS Farrar 2 6 5 5 1 19
5 BER Watlington 5 1 2 7 5 20
6 MHD R. Morrison 6 4 4 2 6 22
7 LIS Miller DNF 7 6 6 7 34