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Sail Scene

Int’l Rolex Regatta dominated by Titan 12

The International Rolex Regatta shifted gears this year with some distance races figured into the event’s competition, but that did not stop Tom Hill’s Titan 12 from winning every race.

The 32nd annual regatta made Easter weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands a tropical paradise for 79 boats and hundreds of sailors. Hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club, the regatta served up warm steady breezes under skies that matched the sapphire blue of the water below. Two of the three days of racing featured distance racing to show off the islands, departing from the regatta’s previous buoy format.

For Richard Shulman of Riverside, R.I., winning skipper on the IMX 45, Temptress, in Spinnaker Racing Class 2, Good Friday lived up to its name for the regatta’s opening day. He and his all-Rhode Island crew posted victories in two of three short-course races. On the second day, he even gave up the helm at one point to take in some of the scenery from the rail of his boat.

The final day’s traditional Pillsbury Sound Race wove through and around the islands, bringing forth all the colors associated with Easter day when the boats launched their spinnakers against a relentlessly blue sky. At day’s end winners in nine classes — including Hill and Shulman — received Rolex Submariner watches as prizes, another tradition that sets this Caribbean regatta apart from the others.

Admiral’s Cup canceled for 2005

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has canceled this year’s Admiral’s Cup, which was due to take place at Cowes, England, July 9 to 17.

In order to prevent any further expenditure by teams on anything from shipping costs to new sails, a cut-off date of early April had to be made and a decision taken sooner, rather than waiting for the final entry date of May 3.

Despite initial expressions of interest from 13 countries, by early April only two countries had confirmed their entries, with another two or three teams struggling to put together competitive entries.

The RORC’s Admiral’s Cup Management Committee decided the uncertainty surrounding potential teams put in doubt the chances of staging a strong international event worthy of the Admiral’s Cup.

Initially there was good support for the new format of the event and the boats chosen for the 2005 Admiral’s Cup (a Mumm 30, Swan 45 and a big IRC boat). However, this support has ebbed away for reasons ranging from trouble securing sponsorship to owners reluctant to enter their boats in the competition, according to organizers.

“It is a great disappointment to us to have to take this decision,” said Chris Little, commodore of the RORC. “Realistically we needed a minimum of five competitive international teams to guarantee a meaningful series for all concerned. Sadly, we have not been able to attract enough teams.”

Florida sailor wins Princess Sofia Trophy

Paige Railey, the 17-year-old Laser Radial sailor from St. Petersburg, Fla., won the Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta in Spain, the first major Olympic classes regatta in Europe of the season.

Railey, who is ranked the top Laser Radial sailor on the 2005 U.S. Sailing Team, defeated 35 boats from 10 countries in Palma de Mallorca to take home the honors. Railey won US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR earlier this year.

Railey’s strong performance was consistent throughout the five-day regatta, taking the lead on the first day and keeping it. Out of a total of 13 races, Railey won six. Overall, Railey had a total of 33 points and finished 32 points ahead of British runner-up Charlotte Dobson, who inched ahead of third-place finisher Wiebke Schroder of Germany earlier in the week.