2004 Sunfish International Masters Championship Racing Report

by David D. Thompson

I was no threat to win and no threat to lose at the 2004 International Sunfish Masters Championships held in Melbourne, FLA this March. 71 boats (a new attendance record) raced 11 times over three days in moderate fluky winds. Racing the likes of Dick Tillman, Chris Williams, Joe Blouin (overall winner), etc. was bound to be a humbling learning experience and it was.

The racing was tight, aggressive, fast and fun. When the best in the world talk racing at the end of the day, it's wind, wind, wind. Where it was, where it wasn't and why so many of us guessed wrong. Local knowledge is a wonderful thing. I was using a rented boat and a brand new sail and never quite got things tuned to my satisfaction. Finishing 62nd out of 71 is hard on the ego, but being surrounded by champions at the back of the fleet takes the edge off. I'd give myself a C- for boat speed, a D for wind reading, and an A+ for tactics (If I could get near'em, I could pass'em!). After watching the races, my Dad put it into perspective. "You can run with them. You belonged here." I also learned that I really, really need some padded shorts!

As the only sailor from Maine (actually all of Northern New England) I presented a Lake Region Sailing Club tee shirt to Barbara Safiullin of FL as a prize for the most persistant sailor. She completed every race and had the highest score!

The race committee did a fabulous job and I think the Melbourne Yacht Club and fleet 669 deserve to host many more world class events.