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Ben Hall and Ravi Parent show the way in the Houston Armadillo Cup.

Armadillo Regatta was held on the same Houston Yacht Club waters that will be in serious action later this month, giving some great training to all envolved. The Warm-Up for the Warm-up report by “The Admiral” Ben Hall

As a dress rehearsal for the Admirals Cup and World Championship, Houston Yacht Club hosted the Armadillo Regatta. Thirteen sailors from six states and Canada arrived to get a feel for the conditions, facilities and the great Texas hospitality. Worlds PRO Billy Richnow and his team ran the races.

Saturday brought light winds which was welcomed by the Classics and dreaded by the foilers. Two races were sailed with Bruce Mahoney winning both races in the foiling group and Ben Hall scoring two firsts in the Classics. Ben (sailing 12 year old Black Beauty) won the first race overall with Bruce a close second. Ravi Parent and Kiwi Burdett were second for the day. The foilers sported the acrobatic downwind technique with one foot on the boom and sitting almost to the headstay...did not look comfortable.

Sunday the forecast was much more favorable with predictions of 10-15 knots. The first race started in 11 knots and held for 2 of the 3 laps. On the third lap the breeze dropped to around 5 knots. The race was abandoned when the time limit ran out with Bruce about 15 seconds from the finish line. The race committee then moved the course to adjust to the filling Southeasterly sea breeze. Race "two" saw the building breeze of 10-12 knots. The foilers started really liking the conditions with great practice in the Houston chop. Bruce and Ravi had "rock fight" of a race with several lead changes. Ravi won followed by Bruce and Bailey White. Ben won this race in the Classics with Axel Issel second.

For the final race of the day the breeze built to 12-16 knots with the chop getting bigger all the race. These are the conditions we are told to expect for the Worlds. Again Ravi and Bruce were duking it out at the front end of the foilers until Bruce broke his mainsheet and rotation control which prevented him from challenging for the regatta win. Cam Farrah, with great downwind speed, just nipped John Tomko for third overall. Ben and Kiwi had good battle in bumpy conditions to finish 1,2 in the Classics.

All races were three laps so everyone got a good dose of gauging lay lines and mark roundings. On the organizational and social side of the regatta, Houston Yacht Club showed that they will be an awesome host for the Admiral’s Cup and Worlds. The highlight was Saturday evening’s amazing crawfish boil with the local guys teaching the Canadian boys how to eat those teeny "lobsters".

All the club members are eagerly awaiting sailors from around the world to descend on HYC...guarantee this is shaping up to be an epic event both on and off the water.

Photos by Jeannie Mahoney