Rolex championships end on a high note
The International Rolex Regatta, hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club for 36 years, this year saw more than 60 local and visiting teams from the United States and Europe.
In IRC class, Jim Mitchell’s RP52 Vincitore turned in two more seemingly effortless victories, adding them to three others in a six-race score line. The boat posted bullets in two “town” races that put both tourists and islanders into stop-and-watch mode as the fleet made its way from the club to the harbor of Charlotte Amalie and back. The final course played more to an audience of offshore sea birds, but Vincitore impressed the rest of the class by legging out early and never letting up.
Phil and Wendy Lotz’s Swan 42 Arethusa from New Canaan, Conn./
Newport, R.I., which posted a 3-3 final day, finished second overall on a tiebreaker with Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer from Boston. That left David Aisher’s Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXII from the United Kingdom in fourth, with Jim Muldoon’s Custom 72 Donnybrook from Washington finishing fifth.
Dave West of Tortola, BVI, who steered his Melges 32 Jurakan to victory in the CSA Spinnaker Racing class, says it was great to win a Rolex watch, especially after three previous attempts to win this regatta in the same boat.
Any of four boats could have won the CSA Spinnaker Racing/Cruising class going into the final day, but it was the regatta’s early leader, James Dobbs of Antigua, sailing his J/122 Lost Horizon, that pulled the rabbit out of the hat.
“We figured we had better than a 50 percent chance of winning,” says Dobbs, who before the race reviewed everything he and his crew did wrong to let them fall into second place behind Bruce MacNeil’s Morris 48 Barra from Lincoln, Mass.
“You gotta learn from your mistakes,” he said after winning his final two races and posting a winning total of 15 points to MacNeil’s 18.
In the CSA Non-Spinnaker class, Thomas Mullen’s J/120 Shamrock V of Campton, N.H. maintained its lead by finishing third in that class’s single race. Chris Schreiber of Christiansted, USVI sailed his Hobie 16 Auto-Manic to a second place to stay at the top of his class.
Race week returns to Block Island
The Storm Trysail Club’s biennial Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex, is set for its 23rd running from June 21-26. The regatta, which traditionally features five days of racing in both handicap and one-design classes, will also serve as the inaugural North American championship for the J/122 class and the East Coast championship for the J/109 class.
The Notice of Race and online registration and information are available on the official event site at www.blockislandraceweek.com.
The Storm Trysail Club expects to field more 180 boats this year in IRC, PHRF and one-design classes. New this year will be a class start for sportboats.
As the first major championship for the J/122 class, expectations from the fleet are high and eight of the 40-foot performance cruisers have indicated they will be there for the one-design start.
“I expect the competition to be intense,” says David Askew of Annapolis, Md., owner of Flying Jenny VI. Askew is no stranger to Block Island Race Week. He won his class in 2007 in a J/120 of the same name.
Ida Lewis race set for August
The 2009 edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race will feature a 177-nautical mile and a 150-nautical mile race course.
With a spectacular start off Newport, R.I., the race includes turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower on its way to a signature champagne finish off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport Harbor.
The race’s fifth edition is scheduled to begin Aug. 21, with classes for IRC, PHRF, one-design and double-handed sailors. It is a qualifier for the 2009 New England Lighthouse Series, the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
At last year’s race, Hap Fauth’s Newport, R.I. 69-footer Bella Mente won the IRC division of the Ida Lewis, finishing the race in a little more than 24 hours. Bill Jurgensen’s 50-foot Falcon of Stamford, Conn., won the PHRF division, while Jason Richter’s 35-foot Paladin of Port Jefferson, N.Y. won the Double-Handed crown.
The 2009 race will accommodate one-design divisions for classes such as the Club Swan 42, which will be gearing up in September for a first-time world event — the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup.
Jobson to be nominated to lead US Sailing
US Sailing intends to nominate Gary Jobson of Annapolis, Md., as the organization’s next president. The group’s board of directors will elect the president at the annual general meeting Oct. 25 in Houston.
“US Sailing is a vital component of our sport,” says Jobson. “At this time in my life, I look forward to serving the sport that has been so good to me for so many years.”
The president serves for a one-year term and a maximum of three consecutive terms. Current US Sailing president Jim Capron, also of Annapolis, has led the organization since November 2006. Jobson, 58, is currently a member of the board of directors. He also has served on the Olympic sailing committee for 12 years.
“US Sailing needs a strong strategic thinker to be our leader and to look at our long-term goals,” says Janet C. Baxter, chairman of the nominating and governance committee. “As we see the impacts of a rough economy, Gary’s experience as a public speaker and fund-raiser could not come at a better time.”
A world-class sailor, television commentator and author, Jobson has served as an ambassador to the sport. He has authored 16 sailing books, including the first US Sailing Instructor’s Manual, and is editor-at-large of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines. Jobson was the television broadcast producer for the sailing competition at the 2008 Olympic Games on NBC. Jobson won the America’s Cup with Ted Turner in 1977, the infamous Fastnet Race, and many of the world’s ocean races. In 2003, Jobson was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. Jobson is also the national regatta chairman of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s sailing program, which has generated more than $28 million.
Jobson has been ESPN’s sailing commentator since 1985.
Disabled sailing event debuts in N.Y. in June
A new disabled sailing event, the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta, will debut June 5-7 at American Yacht Club in Rye, N.Y.
“After running the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship last June, we learned that disabled sailors were seeking new venues to sail,” says Siobhan Reilly, Robie Pierce event chair.
The event has been named in honor of Pierce, a longtime advocate of disabled sailing. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1985, Pierce was instrumental in creating the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, and played a key role in getting sailing as a medal event in the Paralympics. Pierce will be sailing in the inaugural regatta.
The new event will also be open to blind sailors.
All competitors will receive free use of the Ideal 18s for the regatta. The new event will provide the largest fleet of one designs sailing in the U.S. with disabled sailors and is one of very few events where the boats are supplied free of charge. The first year’s event will be capped at 25 boats and must be entered by resume. Resumes are due April 2.
The Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta will rotate among yacht clubs in western Long Island Sound, with Larchmont scheduled for 2010 and Riverside, host to this year’s U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships, hosting in 2011.
Velux 5 Oceans race plans for 2010-’11
Five ocean sprints will be part of the 2010-’11 marathon solo circumnavigation of the planet in the Velux 5 Oceans race, organizers announced.
The eighth edition of the classic solo yacht race, first established in 1982, will start and finish in the city of La Rochelle, France. The ocean sprints will be the 7,500-mile run from the start to Cape Town, South Africa, starting Oct. 17, 2010. The next 7,000-mile leg is to Wellington, New Zealand, and then 7,400 miles to Salvador, Brazil. The last two sprints are shorter ones to Charleston, S.C., and then back to La Rochelle, 4,000- and 3,600-mile legs each.
The race has been billed as “The Ultimate Solo Challenge” since 1982 because of the stop-start nature of the high speed racing over the sprints, covering the greatest distance and time alone at sea of any race around the world.
Velux and Clipper Ventures also announced a 500,000 euro Skipper Prize Fund and a further 700,000 euro to be invested in accommodation, logistics and communication for skippers, designed to reduce budgets and encourage skippers to enter the race.
Sperry partners with New York Yacht Club
Sperry Top-Sider and the New York Yacht Club have announced a multiyear partnership.
Sperry Top-Sider will serve as the exclusive footwear sponsor of the inaugural and much-anticipated New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, to be held Sept. 15-19 in Newport, R.I., as well as be involved in additional New York Yacht Club events.
The New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup will feature competitive, world-class, Corinthian sailing among 21 teams representing premier yacht clubs from around the globe, and will be sailed on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.
For information, visit www.nyyc.org/worldinvitationalcup.
This article originally appeared in the New England Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.