2023 Marco Island RC Laser Midwinter Championship on 3/4/2023

Gold Fleet Winners
Gold Fleet Winners
l to r: Rocky Cale, Regatta Chairman; Scott Rice, 5th; Larry Lefczik, 4th; Bill Bentz, 3rd; Jim Kaighin, 2nd; Barr Batzer, 1st; Dave Branning, Race Director.
2023 Marco Island RC Laser Midwinter Championship, March 4-5
by Dave Branning, Race Director

The 19th Annual Marco Island RC Laser Midwinter Championship lived up to its reputation as the premier RC Laser regatta in the USA. Why is that? First, it is the venue! The lake at Mackle Park is spectacular for RC racing and has the best launching and retrieval dock in the country. It has a sizable pavilion and even a viewing grandstand. If Hobe Sound is the new shiny venue in Florida, Marco Island's Mackle Park is the best kept secret as a spectacular regatta venue. Ask the skippers who have raced at both venues.

Due to the initiative of local Marco Island MYC skippers, Terry Naylon and Don Armstrong, the City of Marco Island named the entire RC facility the Cale Model Yacht Sailing Center. A handsome naming plaque was presented to Rocky and Mary Lee Cale, for their years of dedication and undying efforts in making RC sailing and the RC Laser Midwinter Championship successful for all these 19 years. The Cale's are the second reason why this regatta is so successful.

This easily could be called the Mid-Summer Regatta as the temperatures were in the high eighties both days. Day one, with ten to fifteen knots of wind from the SE, we were able to hold four two-fleet seeding heats and then divide the results into a gold and silver fleet grouping. At the end of the seeding heats, Jim Kaighin from Marsh Harbour, Abacos, led Barr Batzer, from Lighthouse Point, FL, by one point. Kaighin is a ten-time winner of this regatta and Batzer is the defending champion. Larry Lefczik, Bill Bentz and Scott Rice, all Floridians, were in contending position to challenge the leaders.

In the afternoon, with the fleets now separated into Gold and Silver, racing now became a bit tighter. The Kaighin/Batzer show stood out as the skippers-in-control. After day one, the gold fleet completed ten full races and Barr Batzer, with 16 points, had the lead and a line score of seven firsts and three thirds. Jim Kaighin, now in second place, five points back, had races of three firsts, three seconds, two thirds and a fourth in a 13-boat fleet. Larry Lefczik, from New Port Richey, FL, was in third with 38 points and Ft. Lauderdale's Bill Bentz, in fourth with 45 points. Scott Rice, from Boca Raton, FL, with 52 points in fifth and Charlie Sumner, from Delray Beach, nine back from Scott.

The silver fleet started Sunday morning sailing two heats to catch up to the gold fleet's ten previous day's races. The wind forecast for the day was two to four knots and it took a little time to get there. With a tough westerly direction, the RC created a reaching leg then a downwind leg with a long windward leg followed by another run and a beat to the finish. It worked! The wind did freshen to five to seven knots but the day was all A-sail. After silver's ten races, Palm City, Florida's, Henry DeWolf took over first place leading Bob Tallman by six points and Harry Henkel by eleven. Richard Phelps and Glen Chalder were not far off the pace in fourth and fifth.

The Sunday gold fleet contest was a treat to watch. Seven races were completed and Barr Batzer held off Jim Kaighin by winning four of the seven with two seconds. Jim Kaighin hung tough and kept it close but Barr had two throw-outs totaling 15 points and Jim had throw-outs totaling 12 points. Barr took the championship for the second year in a row by an 11-point score.

The silver fleet contest was won by Henry DeWolf who led this fleet from start to finish. Myles Loesel finished second by eight points with Bob Tallman in third, three points behind Loesel.

One of the prized awards at this annual regatta is the "Sail like 53" award given in memory of past AMYA president, and long-time Midwinter Race Director David Brawner, for outstanding sportsmanship. This year's winner is Jim Kaighin, who has competed in the Midwinters 18 of the 19 years, winning 10 of those years. Jim is the epitome of the Corithian spirit of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct both on, and off, the race course and the announcement of his name as this year's winner was greeted with a standing ovation.

One of the most unique initiatives this regatta did was create a leader board much like golf has done to let the spectators know what is going on with the passing groups. Since Marco Island's venue has a large spectator following, Don Armstrong created a leader board showing the top six skippers currently in the standings of both fleets and paraded the board past the crowd. It was quite the rave and was appreciated by all.

Kudos, of course, goes to Rocky and Mary Lee Cale, the MIMYC team and the City of Marco Island. Thanks to Rocky for all the buoy manipulation to keep the course right and to Mary Lee Cale and Don Armstrong for the scoring. Thanks as well to the finish line team of Class Secretary, Nick Mortgu, Jane Ritter, Mary Beth DeSantis, and Elaine Hepkin.

Race Results for 2023 Marco Island RC Laser Midwinter Championship
Type  Place  Skipper Sail#  Points  City  St  Home Club 
Gold 1 Barr Batzer  175 21 Lighthouse Point FL SABAL PINES MYC
Gold 2 Howard Kaighin  757 32 Palm Beach Gardens FL  
Gold 3 Bill  Bentz  94 51 Fort Lauderdale FL SABAL PINES MYC
Gold 4 Larry Lefczik  3 54 New Port Richey FL TAMPA BAY RC LASER FLEET
Gold 5 Scott Rice  60 69 Boca Raton FL SABAL PINES MYC
Gold 6 Charles Weaver  34 94 Cumming GA NAPLES MODEL YACHT CLUB
Gold 7 Robert Shapiro  (Bob) 17 100 Wilmington MA BOW LAKE SAILING MYC
Gold 8 Tony Corkell  65 110 Cary NC SABAL PINES MYC
Gold 9 Joel Krissoff  52 111 Macatawa MI  
Gold 10 Henry Fox  (Happy) 17 115 Grand Haven MI  
Gold 11 Roger Walker  60 120 Honey Harbour ON  
Gold 12 Terry Naylon  65 128 Marco Island FL MARCO ISLAND MODEL YACHT CLUB
Gold 13 Fred DeSantis  12 130 Ocean City NJ MID-ATLANTIC MODEL YACHT CLUB
Silver 1 Henry De Wolf  49 57 Palm City FL SABAL PINES MYC
Silver 2 Myles Loesel  570 65 Deerfield Beach FL SABAL PINES MYC
Silver 3 Robert Tallman  87 68 Margate FL SABAL PINES MYC
Silver 4 Charles Sumner  (Charlie) 90 73 Delray Beach FL SABAL PINES MYC
Silver 5 Glenn Chalder  42 78 Simsbury CT  
Silver 6 Harry Henkel  79 79 Everglades City FL MARCO ISLAND MODEL YACHT CLUB
Silver 7 Richard Phelps  95 86 Victor NY ROCHESTER AREA MODEL YACHT ASSN
Silver 8 Hal Steward  97 92 Lighthouse Point FL SABAL PINES MYC
Silver 9 John Parker  91 104 Ocean City NJ SOUTH JERSEY MODEL YC
Silver 10 Lefczik Joan 2 119 New Port Richey FL TAMPA BAY RC LASER FLEET
Silver 11 Wheat Harrison  70 134 Orillia ON  
Silver 12 Jacques Rioux  11 140 Cary NC TRIANGLE MODEL YACHT CLUB
Silver 13 Bruce Brenner  100 196 Marco Island FL