June 12th – Narragansett Bay, RI – The NAASA 2022 F18 League kicked off last weekend with 2 days of racing at the Wickford Regatta. Each day is scored separately and counts as an individual F18 League Race.
The 10-team field was one of the most competitive fleets ever assembled. The top of the form guide had three teams who are legitimate podium contenders at any international F18 event – Team “Fly Tradewinds” with Todd Riccardi and Dalton Tebo, Team Guck, Inc. with Lars and Olin Guck as well as Team TBD1 with Mike Easton and Tripp Burd. In addition to these teams there was a guest appearance Sunday by super-sailor Ravi Parent who is the reigning F18 North American as well as A-Cat World Champion. Parent Jumped in with one of NAASA’s scholarship sailors to compete and coach.
On Saturday, the fleet had to wait an hour for the breeze to build, but the race committee was able to run 4 races in the light to moderate conditions. At the end of the day the results were right “on form” as there was a two-way tie for 1st place between Team Fly Tradewinds and Team TBD1, with Team Guck rounding out the podium.
Sunday’s forecast called for big wind and rain, both would hold off but the weather in the region created some challenging conditions. The variable breeze created some major zero-to-hero moments on the racecourse, one wrong tack could be the difference between first and last. Team Fly Tradewinds made the best out of the challenge to win all three races and the day with an impressive show of consistency. Perhaps keen odds makers might have picked the podium in order as Tebo was just back from a dominating performance in the Worrell 1000 giving Fly Tradewinds a real advantage – Team TBD were sailing a new boat but they hadn’t competed in 8 months instead focusing on population growth and Team Guck were sailing a much older boat than the 2 leaders. Look for the competition to amongst these 3 to intensify as TBD bring the game up and Guck launch a new ride later this season.
While the top 3 teams held a clear advantage – the rest of the pack was close behind and there were plenty of top athletes in the minor places with former All- Americans, Olympic campaigners, and regatta winners in the field. Included in that number where NAASA’s 2 fully-funded scholarship teams who showed great promise and both had moments where they were leading the fleet. Again, in a weekend filled with high-profile sailing events on Narragansett Bay, the best athletes were dueling in NAAS’s F18 League.
NAASA was formed to provide great high-performance racing on Narragansett Bay for top athletes and to help return Newport and the USA to the top of international competition. The season got off to a very strong start and we can expect great racing at the F18 League event on June 25th. www.sailNAASA.org.