Back to Buzzelli

This annual regatta, aptly named after the late Bob Buzzelli whose life was cut way too short is one of the largest annual east coast events hosting various multihull classes. Bob had a tremendous impact on the Sarasota Youth Sailing Program and invested time, energy and resources to develop this group of young sailors. Bob’s spirit was all about getting people out on the water to experience this incredible sport. His spirit lives on through other sailors sharing his passion.

Flashback to October 15-16, 2016

Buzzelli Multihull Rendezvous in Sarasota, Florida started out with its usual cast of characters along with the edition of new Weta owner Deborah Wilusz who tested out her skills at WetaFest earlier in April. John “Toothless” Adams was back for more along with sidekick Knox Rodgers. Cliff Peshek and Stephanie, the “Thelma and Louise” dynamic duo (or should we say “Louise and Thelma”) were pairing up the second year in a row for some FUN and frolicking on the water. While rigging, this duo had to clear out the swarm of hornets that made “Back 2 Back’s” mast their home along with chopping down the forest that grew around the boat.

When racing finally began on day 1 after an 80 minute on the water postponement, winds were out of the north ranging from 12.5-15 knots. The fleet of eight Weta’s got in three races on the course with the Hobie 16’s and F16’s. It was tight racing as usual between the lifelong BFF’s of “Toothless” and Knox. Unbeknownst to them, Weta newcomer Deborah Wilusz was right there in the mix with them. Girl power! While all this was going on, Cliff and Stephanie were having a blast on the water, sailing the course to the best of their ability, over maximum weight for the Weta as the only double handed team competing with the singletons.

“Thelma and Louise” trail mix was a hit with the fleet after sailing causing Weta dealer, Dick Hitchcock to grow a chocolate mustache. He was stylin’! (Sorry, all documentation went into the cloud never to be seen again). Since Fall is such a great time of year to enjoy the comfortable 80 degrees in Florida, some Weta cruisers joined the fleet for the evening festivities at Sarasota Sailing Squadron.

Day 2 half the dynamic duo of “Back to Back” literally was out of commission with a bad back. Poor Cliff! So Stephanie picked up crew, Hoyt, a youth sailor from Venice Youth Boating Association. Hoyt had never been on a multihull before and was excited about the opportunity. Sailing off the beach through the mooring field of keel boats, Stephanie began teaching young Hoyt everything she could about the Weta during the 40 minute sail out to the course. They discussed team work and strategy which was to sail the course and once again, just have FUN! It was “game on” for Toothless, Knox and Deborah to see who would top the podium.

Once again, very shifty winds out of the north at 13-16 knots provided for great sailing during the three races of the day. The puffs caused some interesting capsizes one of which was Toothless as he rounded the last gate headed towards the finish line. As the winds huffed and puffed, they blew him over with mast stuck sideways in the soft marshy bottom. After having to get assistance to unbury the mast and feeling very chilled from being in the water, Toothless took his DNF in race 5 of the regatta and headed back to shore along with a DNC for race 6. All this activity was unbeknownst to Stephanie and Hoyt. After completing race 5, they too decided to call it a day and headed in taking a DNC for race 6 as well.

Surprises on the podium…Knox was sandwiched in between the only two female skippers in the fleet, Deborah and Stephanie. 1st Knox, 2nd Deborah, 3rd Stephanie and crew. It just goes to show it’s all about consistency and in this case the “FUN” factor and not caring about the rankings which rewarded the 3rd place team.

Since several sailors were not making their trek back home until Monday, “Thelma and Louise” ventured out in the vintage “Smurfmobile” to meet Knox, Toothless and crew for dinner and some fabulous Key Lime Pie at Salty Dogs. Toothless had an interesting sunburn with all the time he spent in the water. What’s next for Toothless at Buzzelli in 2017?!?

Buzzelli – October 19-22, 2017

This year started out with festivities on Thursday, October 19 at the infamous Lake Banyan Tree, the site of the Weta World Intergalactic Tango 10 Match Racing Championship. After the remainder of the fleet of eight Wetas arrived and rigged on Friday, October 20, some took their boats out for a quick sail while others decided to wait until racing the next day hoping the winds would die down a bit.

On Saturday, day 1 of racing, three courses were set: one for the Corsairs and Stilettos, one for the Windrider, and one for the Wetas, Nacras and F18’s. Due to the wind conditions, the Weta course got moved. It took awhile to find the location with the wind and the waves making the RC flags difficult to see in the open bay. Westerly winds of 18-25 knots provided great racing conditions. Tim Wieringa from Michigan was in town for work and managed to hop a ride for the day with newcomer Eric Frank who attended his first Weta Class event. Stormin’ Norman was in full stride willing to sail in any hurricane like conditions. It was tight racing at the end of day one (4 races) with the Stephanie and Alan Taylor duo taking 1st with a tie breaker and Stormin’ Norman right there with them. Tied for 3rd was the duo of Eric Frank and Tim Wieringa along with single hander Rick Sylvester from Gulfport Yacht Club. Congrats to Cliff Peshek aka “Louise” on his 3rd place finish in race one. Anything can happen tomorrow…

Later in the afternoon, Weta Dealer, Dick Hitchcock provided beverages and snacks for the fleet under the pavilion as they listened to the very talented Neil playing guitar and singing some ditties. Great entertainment and food!

On day 2, the winds were much lighter making it difficult for the only double handed team of Stephanie and Alan Taylor to keep up with the rest of the fleet. Highlights of the day were a bullet by newcomer Eric Frank. There was an OCS, the committee boat got hit at one of the starts along with sailors missing the windward offset after one of the kids on the F18’s dragged the weather mark to leeward of the offset. After five races and the fleet on shore, the winds started picking up to perfect Weta sailing conditions. Wished we were still out there!

Congrats to Stormin’ Norman Hansen in 1st place, Stephanie and Alan Taylor 2nd and Eric Frank in 3rd. After the Weta awards were announced, Weta Ambassador, Stephanie Taylor praised Sarasota Sailing Squadron and Regatta Chair Donna Hillmyer for all her efforts that she put into this event. Following in Bob’s spirit, Stephanie talked for a few moments about getting more women and youth out on the water with agreement being shown by applause from all the multihull classes. Finally, an announcement was made about big things coming for the US Weta Fleet next year, the chosen one-design class for the US Multihull Championship and the Hobie Alter Trophy. There are a lot of exciting things in the planning stages which include returning to Sarasota Sailing Squadron, home of our 2018 Weta Nationals! Until then….

Hurricane Irma remains

Eric, Dick, Cliff and Norm

Knox brings a treat

Saturday dinner

Cliff and Alan

Alan and Stephanie 2nd, Norm 1st, Tim and Eric 3rd

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