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Sail Scene

International 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 cutoff 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.”

Fresh breeze for

BVI Spring Regatta

No rest for the weary at the British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta, held April 1 to 3 this year. After getting used to a no-show day for breeze, competitors were able to get their money’s worth from this regatta.

Three full days of fresh winds kept everyone from heading to the floating bar across the channel from the Nanny Cay Marina. Two quick races on the third day wrapped up the tight competition.

Titan 12 racked up two more bullets to take six of the nine races. Tom Hill of Puerto Rico finished with 13 points to Richard Shulman’s 20 on Temptress. Edgar Cato and his Hissar crew finished in third with 30 points.

In Racing C, Martin Jacobsen’s Crescendo topped off his five-point lead going into the final day and got the better of Mick Schlens’ Cosmic Warlord. With races won by fractions of seconds, they both placed first and second in the final two races but Crescendo’s two-day advantage gave them the win. Peter Newlands’ Beneteau 40.7 Anticipation was third.

While Jamie Dobbs on Lost Horizon II got three bullets and John Foster’s Magnificent 7 only two, Foster’s consistency earned him the win in the D Division.

The BVI’s Sirena 38, Pipe Dream, skippered by Peter Haycraft dropped only one race for the class win and Jose Sanchez and his Myett’s Balaju II crew from Puerto Rico finished second.

Tom Mullen on the J/120, Shamrock V, topped the five-race Performance Cruising Class with four first places and a second. The BVI’s sailing surgeon Robin Tattersall was second with Diva, and Julian Sincock’s Northern Child in third.

Paige Railey 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.