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Augie Diaz Wins 2022 International Masters Regatta

In October the San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC) hosted the International Masters Regatta, an international event sailed by invited talented skippers over 60, and five-person crews over 45 in J/105s. This year, 11 teams participated, with eight of them from ICOYC Member Clubs!

Augie Diaz, racing for CRYC/BBYC was named the 2022 International Masters Regatta Champion. It’s only every so often that a regatta stays this unpredictable down to the last leg of the last race, with all four of the top players going into the final race of the day with the chance to come out on top. Diaz, however, was just talented enough to take home the coveted blue blazer. Some say a sprinkle of luck, too, can go a long way.

The final standings had Diaz with 46 points in first, Terry McLaughlin (Royal Canadian YC) with 50 points in second, and Tad Lacey (San Francisco Yacht Club) with 51 points in third.

“It was all about our team. We had a great team. Mark Reynolds did a great job, Benny Mitchell, Craig Leweck, Chuck Sinks, and Al Pleskus kept us going. It was very exciting, and it was really tough. I feel very fortunate to be able to prevail,” explained Diaz.

“[The secret was] to stay out of my own way,” he joked.

The morning started a little slow. An hour-long postponement due to winds averaging only four knots gave each boat a little more time to recover from the previous night’s “famous” Masters banquet. Once Race Committee felt confident enough in the wind, race nine commenced. Phil Lotz (New York Yacht Club) came to sail with the same momentum as the prior day’s races. Nigel Cochrane (Royal Vancouver Yacht Club) gave Lotz a run for his money in the first race of the day, ultimately beating him to the finish line. Diaz kept a few boats of distance…perhaps trying to keep everybody on their toes until the last possible race. Good one, Diaz…it worked!

Bill Abbott  (Sarnia YC) came forward in race ten and lead the fleet the entire race. McLaughlin and Lotz trailed closely behind. It was clear McLaughlin came to compete.

The final race of the day is when it really got interesting. Augie Diaz, Alan Field (California YC), Terry McLaughlin, and Tad Lacey all lined up on the start with the chance to win. Spectators and committee boats alike held onto their seats as they calculated potential scores in their heads at each rounding. Lacey was the first to the weather mark. His lead on each leg only increased and he won the final race, earning his first and only bullet of the weekend. Behind him trailed in second place McLaughlin and third place Diaz. It was such a close call! Diaz won the regatta by a mere four points over McLaughlin. In fact, the top four finishers were all within five points on the scoresheet.

Diaz and his team crossed through the finish line as spectators cheered them on. Champagne was popped and the fleet made their way back to SDYC for celebratory cocktails and high-fives from friends.

This is Augie Diaz’s second time as Masters Regatta champion. Diaz is an extremely active member of the sailing community. Just recently, he came in 13th out of 84 at the Star World Championship in Marblehead, MA. Diaz has been named US Sailor of the Year, was inducted in National Sailing Hall of Fame, is a two-time Snipe and four-time Snipe Masters World Champion, and has too many World Championship and National Championship titles to mention. Diaz won the Silver at the Pan-Am Games in Snipes in 1971 and 2022 and won Bronze in 2015. The success in his sailing career has not gone unrecognized and the International Masters Regatta is thrilled to invite skippers of his caliber to sail against the best at SDYC.

Diaz is spending the next couple of weeks taking a short break before the Star season starts back up in Miami in early November.

IMR Chair JR Young wrapped up the weekend by saying, “I couldn’t be happier with the way this year’s Masters Regatta turned out. We had some great competitors who were very excited to be here. And the racing across the field has been very competitive. At last night’s banquet, we saw lots of camaraderie and everyone seemed to have a really good time.”

Young continued, “putting this regatta on takes over 60 volunteers, whether it’s preparing the eleven chartered J/105s, maintaining the boats, moving and manning the changing docks, or managing registration. And of course, our great Race Committee of 18 volunteers these past 3 days. Thanks to each and every one of you for putting another amazing International Masters Regatta weekend on the books.”

After the racing, skippers and their crews were invited to SDYC’s Main Deck for the Awards Ceremony before heading back to their homes around the country.