17 May Holz and Gardner Duke It Out at Breezy Grade 3
OYSTER BAY, NEW YORK (May 15, 2016) – Eight teams competed over two very windy days of racing at Oakcliff for a chance to qualify for three of the four match race Grand Slam events this season. Skipper Peter Holz secured the victory after a thrilling final series against Canadian Landon Gardner.
The Saturday round robin included onboard coaching from Coach Dave Perry and Oakcliff staff. With breeze building steadily throughout the day, competitors finished the day with windswept hair and tired arms.
But the breeze would only continue to build. Sunday began with a manageable 8-10 knots but again built steadily throughout the day to recorded gusts of 33 knots.
Skippers Peter Holz, Sean O’Halloran, Landon Gardner, and Taylor Self advanced to the semifinal stage. Holz and Gardner went on to sweep their opponents 3-0 and advance to the finals.
Third place went to Canadian Taylor Self who jumped out to an early lead over Oakcliff Sapling Sean O’Halloran in the best of one petite final. Both skippers were competing in their first ever match racing event.
The final series between Holz and Gardner was an exhausting back and forth. Entering the matchup with an unblemished record, Holz found himself trailing early in race one and unable to recover. Race two had a similar feel until the final leg when Holz summoned an unexpected burst of speed to overtake Gardner and even the series at one apiece. Holz went on to win race three and appeared to have race four in the bag until Gardner hooked him downwind on the final leg. With extreme conditions, both teams opted not to fly their kites and instead to simply duke it out with jibs alone. Gardner was able to push Holz past the finish line, spin back up, kill a penalty, and poke his bow across the line to force the series into sudden death.
With everything on the line, both skippers opted to push their luck and fly their spinnakers downwind in the final race. Holz skillfully maneuvered himself into a powerful right-of-way position on the first downwind leg forcing Gardner to gybe and pick up a flag in the process. Gardner continued to lead Holz around the race course but was ultimately unable to kill off his penalty.
“We knew it was going to be a battle with Landon [Gardner],” said Holz. “If we didn’t win that second race it would have been a pretty big feat to come back from.”
In the end it was Holz’s downwind prowess and boat-handling that won him the regatta. “Kite work gave us a huge advantage. All props to the team, they won us a bunch of races and I lost us the only two.”
Holz will receive invitations to the Chicago Match Cup, the Detroit Cup, and the Oakcliff International.
Oakcliff Sailing is a non-profit coaching and training center for sailors who have progressed beyond traditional coaching methods. The center can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (516) 802-0368.
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