Clearwater 2015 National Championship

Halloween weekend provided a new venue and great sailing for FD sailors at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center for the National Championship Regatta. Over 3 days on the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Clearwater Beach, the fleet had a range of weather conditions, largely based on a weather system that came out of a south  easterly direction, moving east and then back to southeast as the weekend progressed. Winds ranged from ligher 7 knots up to mid-teens over the weekend, under sunny, warm skies.

Lin Robson and AUS crew Kim MacDonald (currently living in Texas) provided the pace for the regatta, although they were challenged by a number of teams throughout the weekend. Initially Stan Hyatt and Nathanial Plant of St Petersburg got quite close in race 2. The Wrenn during day 2 were doing quite well and on day 3. Tim Sayles and Ondrej Lehecka thought they actually had USA 36 beat during day 3 until a crab trap intervened during a gybe to allow Lin and Kim a clean sweep of the series.

Derrick and Josh Hiltz spent some time still working out the intracacies of their Lindsay. Debriefing after day 2 helped to work out some of the issues, not only for them but others as the regatta demonstrated that for FDs boatspeed is not the end of the story for winning. We spend a lot of time focusing on going fast, but basic tactics never lose their relavance, as Lin demonstrated quite effectively for Tim.

Dave Ellis provided his experienced PRO skills for the regatta, assisted by Rich White, Director of CCSC, and his team. A friendly Jambalaya dinner on Saturday was very well recieved, as was the overall hospitality of the Center, which Chris mentioned more than once. The staff at CCSC were always available for assistance and information. The facilities are quite comfortable, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, just inside Clearwater Pass.

All sailors were very pleased with the new venue and we can look forward to other events there in the near future.


Flying Dutchman 2015 National Championship Results

  Sail Race    
Team # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total  
Lin Robson/Kim MacDonald 36 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 10  
Tim Sayles/Ondrej Lehecka 251 3 4 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 24  
Jeff Wrenn/Chris Wrenn 301 2 3 3 4 2 2 4 3 3 3 2 27  
Stan Hyatt/Nathanial Plant 219 4 2 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 36  
Josh Hiltz/Derrick Hiltz 306 5 5 5 5 dnf 5 5 5 dns 5 5 51  

Clearwater 2015 National Championship Announced

Clearwater Community Sailing Center will be the site of the 2015 USA Flying Dutchman National Championship. The event will be held October 29 through November 1. Registration will be held Thursday and racing will commence on Friday, October 30. The Notice of Race can be found here.

CCSC is a new Tampa area venue for the FD class. A number of Olympic classes have recently adopted it for training and major regattas. The Center is located just inside the Clearwater Pass and open Gulf of Mexico waters are a quick sail away. Two major hotels are next door to the Center and many more small and large are just across the Pass bridge in Clearwater Beach. Clearwater Beach itself is recognized as one of the best beaches in the country.

For more information on arrangements, transport opportunities and accomodations, contact

Tim Sayles: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lin Robson: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Flying Dutchman ‘Till the last man standing: 2014 Nationals

NAT2014 5652 300It was a tough start for the FD Nationals at Santa Cruz on Friday. The weather forecast for the weekend promised light winds from WSW, typical for the time of the year, however the local sailors knew better and warned participants on shore that the breeze typically fills in and sure enough – we ended with heavy air, 15-18 mph from SW, gusts to exceed 25 mph which is nothing for the enduring FD's, but requires skills and perseverance.

After the first day of racing, we managed 3 races, however only one FD made it to shore without capsizing, and several competitors had to retire. US-36 a brand new Mader '12 skippered by Lin Robson, of St. Petersburg, FL (SPYC) and his crew Ian Gregg out of Brisbane, Australia lead by three solid bullets – followed by local US-1453 Buzz Ballenger from Santa Cruz (SCYC) and his crew Kurt Hemmingsen in second and US-251 Tim Sayles also SPYC and his crew Ondrej Lehecka from Seattle (Czech Republic originally) in third despite having to retire after a dramatic capsize. Going into last race of the day, a massive rain storm swept across the race course to reduce visibility to less than 100 yards, which launched the boats on 6-8 ft. rolling surf at top speed of 20-25 mph. Local US-1 skipper Zhenya Kirueshkin-Stepanoff of SCYC and his local crew Evan Diola (SCYC) had to retire with a broken goose-neck.NAT2014 5751 300

Saturday turned out to be a better day with a little less breeze on the course. "The Wounded Moose Deuce" US-1445 from Seattle skippered by Peter Carr of Sloop Tavern Yacht Club and his courageous crew Eric Andersen made it through three races to finish competitively in fourth overall, followed by local sailor Gordon Dollar of SCYC onboard "Betty Boop" US-1454 and his crew, Oregon based, Duane Ehleringer, who also owns Pacific Flying Dutchman where he builds all-carbon FD's. Competing in US-88 Mike Meszaros from Inverness YC and his Austrian crew out of Sacramento, Gerhard Panuschka had a bad spill and capsize in 1st race, filled the bulkhead with water which unfortunately ended their day.
Luckily, US-251 with Tim and Ondrej made it to the starting line despite an all-night rudder and tiller repair effort. They improved their performance to finish second for the day, still in third overall after US-1453 Buzz with substitute crew, Evan Diola in second by a 3 point lead. The regatta leader, US-36 Lin and Ian remained untouchable with a straight line NAT2014 5861 300of first finishes.

Sunday, Oh Happy Day arrived and the weather Gods had mercy on the competitors. We finished up with two light wind races, but no less drama in the middle of the fleet. The Wrenn brothers in US-301, Jeff and his crew Chris of Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, MD were determined to finish in good style and mix it in the top of the fleet with a best finish in last race in third. We saw some big wind shifts on the course, positions changed frequently and it was Tim and Ondrej in US-251 who came out best of the day aside from the leader. US-1452 a classic '84 Mader skippered by local SCYC sailor, Jean Jimenez (JJ) and his crew Peter Henck made it around the course to recover from the prior races challenges.

A dominating winner of the Flying Dutchman Nationals 2014 – Congratulations to US-36 by Lin Robson and his Aussie Crew Ian Gregg who sailed a terrific regatta and good luck at the Sydney FD Worlds in December!
Overall top finishes 7 races, 1 throw-out:
1. Lin Robson, SPYC, US-36 and Crew Ian Gregg - 7 points
2. Buzz Ballenger, SCYC, US-1453 and Crew Kurt Hemmingsen and Evan Diola – 17 points
3. Tim Sayles, SPYC, US-251 and crew Ondrej Lehecka – 18 points

NAT2014 5923 300All in all, a great regatta – fantastic job of the race officers and volunteers of Santa Cruz Yacht Club, led by PRO Mr. John Buchanan.

Pictures by Krystle Quynh Pham

2014 North American Championship

The 2014 NAs proved to be three days of working through issues, arrangements and curious weather passing through the Tampa Bay area.  Veteran PRO and FD sailor Dave Ellis ran the racing out of the St Petersburg Sailing Center, setting  windward/leeward courses relatively close to the harbor entrance.  The changing conditions interacting with shore effects were challenging and put a premium not only on boathandling but also quick responses.  The last weekend in April was in a transition period on Tampa Bay.  During this time the Gulf water temperature is still low enough to allow sea breezes to develop on the Bay, but also bookend fronts that typify spring weather still influenced overall patterns.

Read more: 2014 North American Championship

2014 NA Results

Flying Dutchman

2014 North American Championship

Final Results

provided by Dave Ellis, PRO

held April 25-27, 2014

St Petersburg Sailing Center

        Friday Saturday Sunday
Place Sail# Skipper & Crew TOTAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 36 Lin Robson & Zach Marks, Tony Francis 10 1 1 1 2 2 1 -3 1 1
2 301 Jeff & Chris Wrenn 19.5 2 2 2 3 3 2.5 2 -4 3
3 219 Peter Commette & Stan Hyatt 23 3 -5 4 1 1 4 4 2 4
4 251 Tim Sayles & Scot Shuman 24.5 -5 3 5 4 4 2.5 1 3 2
5 3 Paul Hemker & Dan Elliott 36 4 4 3 5 5 5 5 5 DNF

2014 North Americans

The 2014 North Americans will be held April 25-27, at the St. Petersburg Sailing Center in downtown St.Petersburg, FL. Many know that three FD Worlds have been held at this site, 1962, 1997 and 2006.

April is a great time to sail in St.Pete, and the Center is an easy place to stage a regatta. There will be three days of great racing in the Bay east of the city, a evening at Chez Robson and plenty of things going on for those staying near the Center.

Early registration is appreciated, looking forward to seeing as many as possible in April.  Notice of Race can be found here.

All the best, Lin

Meet the President

BuzzKurt-300For those who have not heard, after a long and successful tenure as President of the U.S. class, Tim Sayles has handed the reins to Buzz Ballenger of Santa Cruz, CA. Buzz is known worldwide as an expert sparbuilder, boat builder and competitor in dinghies and keel boats.

Thank you Tim for all your years of unselfish service, and congratulations Buzz, it's great that you are able to help us write the next chapter in U.S. FD sailing.

Pictured is Buzz with crew Kurt Hemmingsen on home waters at Monterey Bay.

2013 Nationals Wrapup

Florida's Gulfport Yacht Club hosted the Flying Dutchman Nationals on lower Boca Ciega Bay in their usual style of minimal on-shore amenities and great on the water racing. The fleet was smaller than some Nationals because of a scheduling conflict for the West Coast fleet. The quality, however, was very good.

Read more: 2013 Nationals Wrapup

Day 2 of Nationals

A front moved into the Tampa Bay area early Sayurday morning and brought rain and plenty of wind - too much in fact and that brought on a postponement.  Gusts well over 30 knots were reported on the Gulf and so plans to set of to race there were abandoned.  At 1300 racing resumed in the light air that remained after the front passed through.  Buzz and Kurt were the big winners in two of the three races, pulling in two firstplaces.  The breeze showed much variability across the course so those teams that were practiced in boathandling and paid attention to conditions did well. 

Read more: Day 2 of Nationals

2013 Nationals Results

2013 USA Flying Dutchman National Championship

Gulfport Yacht Club, Florida

Boat Race 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Overall Place
36 Lin Robson/Arthur Anasov 1 1 1 1 3 1 -3 2 1 1 1 1 14 1
1453 Buzz Ballenger/Kurt Hemmingsen 3 5 2 3 2 2 1 1 3 7 -7 5 34 2
301 Jeff & Chris Wrenn 6 2 5 2 1 5 2 3 4 5 3 -6 38 3
3 Paul Hempker/Andreaj Leheca 2 3 4 5 5 3 4 -6 2 2 5 4 39 4
251 Tim Sayles/Gerhard Panuschka 4 4 3 4 4 4 5 4 5 -6 4 2 43 5

Peter Carr/Albert Smalls

5 6 6 (DNF) 6 6 6 5 7 4 6 7 64 6
219 Stan Hyatt/Peter Commette/Jim Pardee DNF DNS DNS DNS DNS (DNS) 7 7 6 3 2 3 72 7

Derrick & Josh Hiltz (Junior sailor)

7 7 7 6 (DNS) DNS 8 8 DNS DNS DNS DNS 88 8

News from Nationals

After six races on Boca Ciaga Bay Lin and Arthur have a commanding lead with 5 bullets. The rest of the fleet had good close and tight racing during which time winds were up to 14 knors gusting to perhaps 18 with the wind getting particularly shifty and gusty reaching the top mark. PRO Dave Ellis had planned to set the course to sail on the Gulf Saturday however with a front moving through and winds up to 30 knots racing was postponed and will probably sail on the bay again.

While waiting the class had the annual meeting where Tim turned over US Class President position to Buzz Ballenger.

Read more: News from Nationals

2013 U.S. Nationals

The 2013 U.S. Nationals will be held November 1-3 at the Gulfport Yach Club, Gulfport, FL. We're expecting some great fall sailing, and social events. Measurement and registration will be held Thursday, Oct. 31 at GYC.  Gulfport was the location of the successful Midwinters Championship earlier this. Dave Ellis will again serve as PRO.  It is located on Boca Ciega and racing will be held there and also on the Gulf of Mexico, just off Pass-a-Grille Pass. 

Notice of Race can be found here.

Please print and send your entry to Lin soon to assist in planning. 

Read more: 2013 U.S. Nationals

The Mug Race, an FD Milestone

When Kathy and I returned to the United States late 2004 after living in Italy for nearly four years, we had to relocate to the east coast due to Kathy’s work commitments. We chose Orange Park, Jacksonville from five options, for various reasons, one being that water was close by and I could return to sailing once again.

I investigated what type sailing existed in or close to Jacksonville and the primary result from my search was some race called the “Mug Race”. It was too vague for me to understand but once settled in Jacksonville I found that the logistics of this race weren’t suited to my sailing plans, although each year I would read the newspaper results and see again a photograph and report of the Bill Roberts designed and owned 32’ Supercat with the three crewmen on trapeze wires and giant masthead asymmetrical gennaker, once again leading the fleet home for line honors.

Read more: The Mug Race, an FD Milestone

2013 Midwinters

For many years we have held the FD Midwinters at SPYC in downtown St. Petersburg. Due to some scheduling and other reasons we moved the regatta site this year, to a place I had not sailed out of since a teenager.

Gulfport Yacht Club is one of the old Florida clubs that is small on buildings and ceremony, but big on friendly atmosphere and the real reason we got to these things, the sailing. We easily beach and ramp launched, with a short sail to the course site, which was Boca Ciega Bay. The bay is protected, yet close to the coast, so getting some breeze is always more likely than at other local sites.

Read more: 2013 Midwinters

US Nationals 2012

When Paul and I arrived at the SC yacht club most of the participants were already there working on their boats. The Wrenn brothers were hectically finishing rigging their recently refurbished boat. Everybody was questioning if they can make it by the first race the next day. They did, and good for them.

Lin and his crew Paul Von Grey were the only boat out on the water practicing. There was a reason for it, the weather was not exactly ideal. There was a front coming through from the North, bringing fresh breeze over the land to the SC bay resulting very shifty and gusty conditions.

Read more: US Nationals 2012

FD North American Championship

sailing301-300Santa Cruz Yacht Club has posted the Notice of Race for the 2012 Flying Dutchman North American Championship.  Online registration is available on the same site.  Key dates:  The event will be August 2-5, 2012.  After July 10 a Late Entry Fee will apply.   The organizers wants everyone to know that all entries must be paid online in order for your registration to be completed. Check the NOR for the specific schedule.

This is our last major regatta before the 2012 World Championship in September.  Beau Vrolyk will again be PRO for the event, getting his team all prepped for that big event. 

Site for the event is:

FD Nationals NOR

The 2012 USA National Championship Notice of Race has been published and the signup period is open.  The event is hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club, May 25-27.  The NOR is available at the above link and also on the Santa Cruz Yacht Club website:

Key date to keep in mind: May 2, 2012  after which a late fee will apply

Registration is online, see the NOR for details.  CharlieRoskosz is the Regatta Chairman and Beau Vrolyk is Principle Race Officer, as they will be for the World Championship in September.  Of course, Santa Cruz will be hosting that event and we all get a chance to get some Flying time at Nataionals. 

HPDO / North Americans

Every year over Columbus Day weekend in October, the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, hosts the HPDO. HPDO is the acronym for High Performance Dinghy Open. It is a regatta that has become a big fixture in the Fall on the East Coast, with many dinghy classes in attendance. In fact several classes held their North American championships at the regatta this year. They throw a nice dinner and gathering afterward. We had the pleasure of seeing a few FD sailors from years past, it was good catching up with Guido Bertocci and others.

Read more: HPDO / North Americans


Hurricane Irene had several effects on the regatta held in Kingston, Ontario this past weekend.

After racing Friday night, NED 308, the team of Willem and Maarten, had to return to Connecticut to prepare for the storm. Their home is in Darien,CT, right in the expected track area .

We did have two good days of racing, with beautiful, but on the light side breeze conditions. Saturday morning all of the weather data was pointing to a rainy and very breezy day Sunday, so the decision was made to break down and not sail the last day of the weekend. All the data I saw the next day indicated that was a good call, winds with gusts in the thirties.


Read more: CORK

Whidbey Island: Blessing & Curse

The first edition of DWI- Dinghies Whidbey Island, was a blessing and a curse... the blessing of wind, the curse of it going away.

This is the second year of dinghy racing as part of Race Week, the premier week of keelboat racing in the Pacific Northwest, and the first year of having the FD as a class. With the expected boats not showing, we still reached the minimum of 4 for a class start: Duane Elhringer and Mike Mezaros in "Henry", their green carbon fiber machine, les frers Jones, Andrew and Josh in the "Chelan Flyer", an old school Plastrend, Derrick Hiltz and his son Jason on the "Mexican Boat", an early 80's Mader,

Read more: Whidbey Island: Blessing & Curse

Noroton FD Nationals

Lin Robson along with GBR crew Richard Philips showed he would not be denied a return to leader of the pack at Flying Dutchman National Championships, hosted by Noroton Yacht Club.  Long Island Sound delivered a three day event that had pretty much every condition, although without the 20 plus conditions of the last Noroton event.  Strategy, cool heads and perseverence paid off as generally lighter conditions with local breezes but also persistent shifts combined with a variety of current conditions to challenge the competitors the entire regatta.

Read more: Noroton FD Nationals

2011 North Americans

The NOR has been posted on the CORK Kingston web site for the Classes regatta. As part of that group of classes we will be using that regatta as our North American Championship, August 26-28. The site address is:

For those who have attended CORK before, you know about the excellent regatta management and sea breeze in fresh water.

Accomodation is cost effective at the college dorms near the dinghy park, let's get a big turnout for a nice event, important in advance preparation of 2012 Worlds.

Best Regards,

Lin Robson

2011 Midwinter Championship


The hot team at Midwinter Championship: Lin & Maarten

FD teams from as far away as California, the Northeast and Ohio converged on the St. Petersburg Yacht Club for a three day weekend of sailing and get togethers. We shared the bay Saturday and Sunday with the Snipe fleet.

Conditions ranged from 2nd grommet for a lighter team on Friday, to lighter the rest of the series, but in the end seven races had been ably run by the SPYC race commitee. There were the usual current and particulars of a north breeze that St. Pete is famous for, with dividends being paid to those selecting the correct (usually left) orientation to the strong flood current upwind.

Read more: 2011 Midwinter Championship

NY400 Recap

With challenging winds, current and local traffic, part 1 of the NY400 FD Championship completed after two days of racing.  The third day of racing for the first regatta was canceled on Thursday due to 30+kt winds on New York Harbor. This resulted in first place for the van der Pol brothers,  Bas and Marc of the Netherlands.

Read more: NY400 Recap

2011 FD Nationals Announced

Noroton Yacht Club has announced sponsorship of the 2011 Flying Dutchman National Championship, to be held over Memorial Day weekend.  NYC, home club to Job Sandberg, former North American Commodore, was also the site of the 2006 Nationals that provided great Long Island Sound conditions and was immortalized in some of the great photography by Kevin McCabe.  Notice of Race and associated information to be published soon.

New FD Website

The Flying Dutchman Class organization announced the launching of a new website that will help local fleet developers with the tedious tasks of organizing sailing events and present a new face for the Class. After many years of a web design that has been used since its first publish date, the site will now feature not only the expected class information, news and schedules, but also a section that allows FD sailors and friends to sign on and participate in local events and discussion. 

Read more: New FD Website