Road To The Cup – Week 18

What You Need To Know

  • The 2023 Nationals will be held October 4-8 in New Orleans, hosted by Fleet 7 and the Southern Yacht Club.  Register here.
  • The next fleet publication will be the November newsletter, which should go out around November 1st.
  • MRA’s awards party will be Friday November 3rd at 6:30pm at the BYC.  Mark your calendars.
  • Fleet 5’s 2023 Awards banquet will be Saturday November 4th at the home of Christina & Kim Pandapas.  Attendance is mandatory .

Last Week’s Racing

Out on the MRA line, crickets – again.  MRA sent this out at 5:37pm on Friday.  “Due to a lack of participation, and also the worsening weather forecast, we are canceling the MRA races tomorrow, 2023 Sep 23.  Thank you.”  The weather forecast piece of that refers to the approach of tropical storm Ophelia, which while not a direct threat to the area, promised cruddy, unpleasant conditions, including a building, chilly northeasterly in the low teens, and rain.  Decidedly not festive for sailors or race committee.  The lack of participation refers to just three boats announcing their intention to sail through the MRA weekly attendance tracker.  That’s three boats across all classes, including one Etchells and two R19s.  Of course, the forecast probably had a little something to do with that, as I can envision a different outcome with a forecast of sunny skies, 75 degrees and a sea breeze.  But the unfortunate washouts of the first two days of the series probably dampened enthusiasm and robbed it of any series momentum, leaving few motivated to make the effort. 

The two hearty R19s teams that signed up included Teams Regnault and Frisch / Hourihan.  Tip of the cap to both for carrying the flag, and hopefully they’ll be a little something extra in their Christmas stockings this year.  I would guess that neither team was particularly disappointed by the outcome. 

Anyway, with that, we limp across the finish, as our 2023 season draws to a damp and unceremonious close.  The fleet voted last spring to include Fall Series in our season scoring, but as it turns out, there were no scores to include.  We’ll certainly consider that this spring when we debate the question again, assuming Fall Series remains on the 2024 schedule.

So, in Cup competition, you’ll recall that we went into this final weekend with Team Uhl / Lane and Team Pandapas tied for 1st, both with 157 points, and Team Frisch / Hourihan nipping at their heals just five points back.  With both Teams Uhl & Pandapas offline Saturday, the tantalizing opportunity to grab 1st was there-for-the-taking for Team Frisch / Hourihan, served up on the proverbial silver platter.  Hypothetically, had they raced three races with two boats, that would have yielded 9 points to DNCs, while three bullets would have yielded Team Frisch / Hourihan 3 points.  That 6-point differential is one more than their 5-point deficit, and would have earned them the Cup.  Lots of ifs there, for sure, not to mention infinite permutations of number of boats and number of races, and I’d be shocked if everyone involved wasn’t working through that math. 

But, it was not to be, leaving Teams Uhl & Pandapas locked in a tie for 1st to end the season.  Of course, this tie should never have happened.  It resulted from Steve’s unfortunate prestart collision on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, forcing him to the sidelines for the duration.  Prior to that, he carried a hard-earned and easily defensible 17-point lead going into the final two days of MRA.  Day 4 of MRA wiped out that 17-point lead, Day 5 was a washout, and each of the three days of Fall Series were also washouts, leaving us where are today.  The probability of all those things happening has to be miniscule, something similar to the probability of Bill Belichick giving a responsive, fully transparent post-game interview.  Though interestingly, this is the second straight year, after months of racing, that our season championship ended in a tie.  Last year it was Team Uhl / Lane and Team Lane / Heffernan

Anyway, the first tiebreaker we applied was number of bullets across all races that comprise Cup scoring, including twilights, Race Week and MRA.  Turns out, that was the only tiebreaker needed.

Tight, right?  Or as Steve put in an email, “Ouch!”  So, a muted congratulations to Christina & Kim Pandapas, who finished the season with 157 points to take home the 2023 Cup on the thinnest of tiebreakers.  While that demonstrates the value of hanging around the hoop, honestly, if ever there was an asterisked outcome, this would be it.  Taking 2nd, of course, was Team Uhl / Lane, also with 157 points.  And finishing 3rd was Team Frisch / Hourihan with 162 points.  Honorable mentions go to Team Lane in 4th with 200 points, and to Team Hooks / Pascal a distant 5th with 260 points, earning a spot in the top five on the strength of their exceptional Race Week.  Congratulations to all.  The top 10 are listed below, and detailed season results are below that.

And with that, our 2023 season draws to a close.  Though this is the final edition of RTTC for the season, we’ll send out our traditional Holiday Edition in December, and of course be back in the spring to do it all over again. 

Before I go, a few shout-outs.  First, thanks to the EYC, BYC and CYC who make all this possible.  Whether you’re a club member or not, the three clubs and their memberships provide the assets and resources to enable sailboat racing, without which it could not happen.  Thanks particularly to the fine folks of MRA, a collaboration of volunteers from each of the three clubs, without whose hard work building and executing the harbor sailing calendar, there would be no regular summer one design racing.  I’d particularly single out MRA chair Mark Toso, who has been simply outstanding, not just in his MRA leadership role, but also in his CYC RC chair role, which he has held for the past half decade.  A well-deserved tip of the cap to him.  And thanks to the legions of RC volunteers from all three clubs who continue to give up their days so we can play, with a special shoutout to Twilight PRO David Graham.  All these volunteers deserve our appreciation. 

Finally, please know that while I sign the RTTC, it takes a village to put it out.  Huge thanks to Steve UhlWalter Colsman and his eminence John Casler for keeping us informed about Twilights.  Thanks also to photographer extraordinaire Bruce Durkee for sharing his excellent photos with us, as well as to all of you who contribute pictures and emails.  Thanks to Nat Taylor, who posts them to Fleet 5’s web site and Facebook page.  And finally, thanks to my better half, Christina Pandapas, who despite her predictable annoyed eye roll every time I interrupt her Sunday morning coffee to take an edit pass, does the all-important job of keeping me out of trouble.  I ask that they all accept an appreciative tip of my cap, and I urge you to thank them when you see them.

Week 1 racing is expected to include the first two days of MRA Series 1 on Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th, 2024.  Have a great offseason.

Other News, Notices & Miscellaneous Scuttlebutt

2023 Nationals in New Orleans – The 2023 Nationals will be held October 4-8 in New Orleans, hosted by Fleet 7 and the Southern Yacht Club.  Register here.

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2024 Nationals Bid – Fleet 46 is preparing to present at the annual meeting a bid to host the 2024 Nationals in Hingham.  How awesome is that?  No dates yet, but we hear they are targeting late August.

Fleet 5 to Host the 2024 East Coasts – The class has asked Fleet 5 to host the East Coast Championship in 2024, and of course, we said yes.  We took it to MRA and they said tentatively yes.  And we took it to CYC Commodore Brother Jim Raisides, who also said yes.  But it’s not a done deal yet as there are many details left to work out.  The date is tentatively scheduled for June 8-9.  We’ll keep you posted.

Nominations for Outstanding Crew – The Richie Santos Outstanding Crew trophy is awarded annually to that crew who has demonstrated excellence over the season in a crewing capacity.  Nominations for this award must be in writing to the Fleet Captain, usually, but not necessarily, by their skipper.  Award candidates will be carefully considered by a super-secret jury, who will weigh the evidence and select the winner based on merit, a bit of subjectivity and the quality, humor and persuasiveness of the nomination letter(s), which will almost certainly be read aloud at the awards banquet.  Email your nomination to with the subject line Outstanding Crew Nomination by October 15th

We Need Your MRA Feedback – The fleet will be providing feedback to MRA on the 2023 season.  In addition to saying thank you, we intend to introduce a few themes that have emerged as hot button issues over the past few seasons – specifically commute time to and from the racecourse, reaching time, leg length and overall length of day.  Racing is evolving, and so too are the needs and preferences of our racers, and we should work to evolve with it.  Our aim is to sail more races with less overall time commitment. 

Specifically, we intend to propose that a portion of our MRA season – say two race days per series (could be more), be held in the vicinity (possibly on the other side) of Children’s Island, which is a short sail out and back, allowing people to leave later and get in earlier.  The proposed racing format would be 3-minute starts, multiple races of short legs (i.e. 0.3-0.5 miles), with a target of 6-7 races for the day.  The thinking is that, for those days, we’d spend far less time commuting, more time racing (more starts, more mark roundings and generally more compressed action) and the short sail in would leave more time for post-race socializing.  From the race management perspective, this format would require fewer resources, fewer RC volunteers and generally could be run from a patrol boat.  If you have thoughts on this, or alternative suggestions, please send them to and

MRA Awards Party on Friday November 3rd – MRA has rescheduled its awards party to Friday evening November 3rd.  The event will start at 6:30pm at BYC, and include food, cash bar, live music, door prizes and more!  Skippers, please share this with your crews.  Admission is free but they request you sign up by 10/27 as capacity is limited.  This will be both a great time as well as an opportunity to reconnect with sailing friends across the fleets. 

Fleet 5 Awards Banquet on Saturday November 4th – Fleet 5’s 2023 Awards Banquet will be Saturday November 4th at the home of Christina & Kim Pandapas.  The event will be potluck and feature a fully stocked fleet bar.  You won’t want to miss this festive final fleet event of our 2023 season.  Show your fleet spirit while supporting this year’s awards winners.  The evite will go out in mid-October.

2023 Hacker Award – Don’t forget that attendees of the Fleet 5 awards banquet will select the most deserving winner of the 2023 Hacker Award.  The selection process is never without humor and usually a highlight.  There are at least two standout candidates currently vying for the honor, but there are surely others we don’t know about, so think about it come prepared to propose your nominee.

If You Spin, Send It In (aka Road to the Pie) – Here is the final 2023 spin tally.  Congratulations to Team Lane for keeping it real.  They, of course will be appropriately recognized at the fleet awards banquet.

Doyle Fall Discount – As they do every year, Doyle One Design will be offering discounts for getting your 2024 sail order in early – the earlier the order, the bigger the discount.  The price sheet will go out in early October, and we’ll make sure you get as soon as it’s available.

Mail Bag

Just one email this week, from Twilight PRO David Graham.  “My good wishes are extended to Fleet 5 for the best-of-luck with participating in the New Orleans Nationals this November!  It has been a true pleasure working with the fleet this summer during our booth-race program!!!  Best to all.”  Thank you David!

Complaints Department

Got Gripes?Don’t be shy.  Unload at  The buck stops here.

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