2023 IOM North American Championship on 12/16/2023
Region: 7
Class: IOM
Chevrons: Green Recurring
Date: 12/11/2023 - 12/16/2023
Location: Hobe Sound Farmers Market  Hobe Sound,  FL

IOM Inaugural North American Intercontinental Championships
by Jon Luscomb, Regatta Chair Hobe Sound Radio Sailing Club

The first International One Meter (IOM) North American Continental Championships was sailed from December 12 through December 16, 2023 and hosted by the Hobe Sound Radio Sailing Club in Hobe Sound Florida. This was the first Intercontinental IOM event to be held in North America. The event had top and widely acclaimed competitors from six continents representing 13 countries. A total of 80 entries signed up, but by race day, the number of competitors dropped to 66. PLENTY!
The regatta's hype promised sunny South Florida weather, but it turned out differently. On average, December winds in Hobe Sound are easterly to south easterly with an average velocity of 14mph, high temperatures in the mid to upper 70's (F) and average rainfall for the entire month of December is 2.8". December is one of the two driest months of the year in Hobe Sound. Not this year.
The event Committee began measuring on a sunny breezy Sunday beginning midday and completed over 30 boats by the days end. Many of the sailors' sail numbers were not legal and had to be removed and reapplied. By the end of day on Monday all boats were measured in except a couple of stragglers and late arrivals.
Tuesday's opening ceremonies were held at the water's edge and the first of 5 seeding fleets began at around 12pm. The HMY/HMS (Heat Management System) scoring program would be used. Weather conditions were solid a-rig conditions with winds Northeasterly at 10-15mph, partly cloudy with widely scattered showers. Northeast is a very difficult direction to sail in Hobe Sound as it is away from the North/South shoreline. Race committee did their best to set a fair course with a beat of about 175 meters. After 1 seeding and 1 race the top 7 of 66 sailors were all Americans with the top five coming in at: Ken Read (K2, 4 pts), Sean Fidler, (K2, 6 pts), Peter Feldman (K2, 9 pts), George Pedrick (K2, 9 pts), Will Van Cleef (Venti, 10 pts).

Day 1 Results: https://www.2023iomnacr.org/_files/ugd/6111bf_c8519d135db84927b83c422dd4ef9709.pdf
Wednesday, the breeze had stiffened to mid to upper B-rig conditions and remained Northeasterly. Downwind legs were exciting. The course was tweaked a little but essentially remained the same except the top mark became an outside-in gate. For some who had never had the chance to sail an outside-in gate, it brought some confusion at first and a new and fun challenge. The Race Committee managed to get in 3 more races and the leader board began to bubble with lead changes throughout the day as the first throw-out came into play as the heats progressed. After a total of 5 races and one throw-out, the leaderboard changed to: Zvonko Jelecic (K2, 9 pts), Ian Vickers (V12, 14 pts), Ken Read (k2 16 pts), George Pederick (K2, 17 pts), and Sean Fidler (K2, 20 pts). Zvonko moved up to first from 12th from Tuesday and Ian Vickers moved from 19th to second place.

Day 2 Results: https://www.2023iomnacr.org/_files/ugd/6111bf_7db94225e5d94fe095de7e0f46a547a1.pdf
Thursday, the breeze persisted from the northeast and remained at the top of the B-rig range. Downwind was again, a sleigh ride. The puffs were intense and there were several wipeouts. Sailors discussed sailing with C-rigs with each other, and as this writer heard from one competitor, "the fleet is really pushing hard". A couple of C-rigs sailed, but only one race each. The Cs were slow downwind in the lulls and B-rigs screamed by. The breeze was increasing and was hinting for a persistent shift to the right which brought into play a stand of tall cypress trees on the far side of the lake. The lake is shaped like the letter "E" laying on its side. Each finger of the letter is water and the space between the fingers are two dense cypress tree stands. As the breeze shifted right, the right-hand side of the course became very light. And when it shifted left, the breeze would fill in on the right again. The race committee moved the course further to the north. That made the windward mark more perpendicular to the shoreline and made crossing situations and judging the distance to the mark more difficult. Place changes continued as the day progressed, but the cream had risen to the top with great sailing and great consistency. After 9 races scored and a second throw-out, the Top 5 were: Zvonko Jelecic (K2, 17 pts), Peter Feldman (K2, 23 pts), Ian Vickers (V12, 28 pts), Ken Read (K2, 30 pts), Barr Batzer (K2, 35 pts).

Day 3 Results: https://www.2023iomnacr.org/_files/ugd/6111bf_899e40e9a1f14241be2249c97cb1ce62.pdf
Friday, at the lake, the breeze had again increased slightly to a very fresh 20-22mph with much higher gusts. The wind direction was now east northeast and hinting of a further right hand shift. The Cypress tree stands now were in full control of the lake and setting a fair course was impossible. Hobe Sound is about 6 miles inshore from the Atlantic Ocean. Full gale (35mph and higher) warnings in effect and the onshore breeze at the Atlantic Ocean were 30-40mph. As the wind crept to the right, race committee finally decided to move the fleet to the south shore of the pond. This allowed sailors to sail and walk on a sandy beach parallel with their boats along the shoreline. It wasn't perfect, but it was getting there. After 12 races completed the top five were: Zvonko Jelecic (K2, 25 pts), Ian Vickers (V12, 34 pts), Ken Read (K2, 37 pts), Peter Feldman (K2, 47 pts) and Sean Fidler (K2, 66 pts).

Day 4 Results: https://www.2023iomnacr.org/_files/ugd/6111bf_3a446d47f7a045ea9627053be99fdcdc.pdf
The forecast for Saturday was for stronger winds and heavy rain. A huge, moisture-rich, and very strong frontal system was heading east northeast toward the venue from the Gulf of Mexico with an expected arrival of 1pm. The decision was made Thursday night to end racing at noon because of the horrible weather prediction. Winds at the lake had finally shifted to east northeast and funneled parallel to the south shore of the lake (a palm tree lined beach). Winds were in the mid 20's with higher and very intense puffs into the upper 20's. Conditions were epic and everyone was watching each race to see who could make it downwind. Some C-Rigs came out and worked well allowing for good boat speed up wind and control down wind. Competitors were sailing "better" because they could see their boats and marks easily. Because of the shortened day, only 2 races were completed. The final top 5 were as follows: Zvonko Jelecic (K2 33 pts), Ian Vickers (V12, 47 pts), Ken Read (K2, 48 pts), Barr Batzer (K2, 73 pts), Peter Feldman (K2, 75 pts).

Final Results: https://www.2023iomnacr.org/_files/ugd/6111bf_1b0f98c333ad45f38e1682862d481ff5.pdf
The fleet packed up and gathered at the closing ceremony venue. It was a barn and plenty of room for discussing the regatta among friends. At around 1pm as predicted, the skies opened and the high winds and heavy rain began. Competitors were glad to be out of the weather. Trophies were handed out; speeches were given, and the champagne sprayed. A lot of smiles, joking and reliving the downwind legs were seen and heard. Thank you to all the local volunteers who helped pond side with race committee, scoring, mark sets and boat rescues. Thanks to: Fred Rocha, Event Manager; Steve Landeau, Technical Committee; Ken Weeks, Technical Committee; Karen Luscomb, Sandy Winton, and Cheryl Bremer; Scoring, Chris Watts, Protest Committee; and many others who helped when asked. Without that kind of help, regattas like this can't happen. Thank you to all the competitors. Congratulations to Zvonko, Ian and Kenny - well done and great to watch! Fair Winds.