Erik Lidecis and Greg Smith are the 2021 Star North American Champions in Newport
The last day of the 2021 North American Championship started out with quite a long wait on the water for the 30 teams participating in it. The clouds covering the sky wouldn't allow the breeze to fill in on the racecourse, but PRO Bruce Golison believed one race could be finished on the last day of the event.
And so it was, around 2:30pm local time a light wind picked up and the starting procedures began. The provisional leaders, Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise had a five point margin this morning and had to protect it from five teams, from second to sixth, from Andy MacDonald with Brad Nichol to North American title defender Augie Diaz, racing this year with Bruno Prada (BRA).
Not a great first lap of the windward/leeward course for the San Diego duo (Doyle/Infelise) while both MacDonald/Nichol and Diaz/Prada rounded the first weather mark among the top five teams and at the gate they were respectively first and second. Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise rounded 15th at the bottom and started the second beat with lighter air. At the last top mark Erik Lidecis with Greg Smith rounded first, and with only six points between them and yesterday's leaders and the others direct competitors well behind, they started the final leg as North American Champions for 2021.
Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada took over Lidecis/Smith in the last run and won the final race putting up a great fight to defend the title. It wasn't enough though to snatch the event win from Erik Lidecis and Greg Smith, who finished second right behind them and won the 2021 North American Championship in Newport Beach, California.
"We just kept plugging away, we kept doing same thing over and over, consistent finishes, never won a race but stayed up front as much as possible and then in the last race i think the stars aligned cause we got a magical little puff and we were able to cross the fleet. It is my first silver star and I am very excited. My crew Greg did a great job, we've been sailing together for the past two years. We have to thank the Class for an amazing job, the club, and Jim Buckingham who was kind enough to lend us his fast boat and we made it happen. We couldn't ask for anything better!" said Erik Lidecis back at the Newport Harbour Yacht Club.
Eric Doyle and Payson Infelise, were 10th in the last race and finished second overall (first Master) after having lead for the entire event. Augie Diaz and Bruno Prada are third (an first Grand Master), George Szabo and Guy Avellon are fourth, while Andy MacDonald with Brad Nichol are the first Exalted Grand Master, and fifth overall, and Roberto Ayala with Hendrik Reidel finish the Championship as the best in the Junior category and 21st in the general ranking.
The limelight moves now to Europe for the so longed 2021 World Championship in Kiel, Germany, from September the 6th to the 11th, after its postponement in 2020.