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Sail scene

Swans race off Newport

The Rolex Swan American Regatta wrapped up the last week of July in Newport, R.I., with 39 yachts participating in the biennial regatta.

In Class A, the Swan 601, Moneypenny, owned by Jim Swartz of Edgartown, Mass., sailed to a comfortable victory winning every race of the week except the last two.

“It was a great week. We had a great start and we’ve had some fantastic sailing,” said Swartz. “The crew has been fantastic; they just executed faultlessly all week.”

Victory in Class B remained in the balance until the final race, with Swan 44s Vixen and Crescendo dueling to the very end. John Wayt of Jamestown, R.I., had the momentum to string together four consecutive victories for his Vixen. After winning the first race of the day over Crescendo by 30 seconds, Vixen topped the leader board by a single point until Crescendo sailed to an easy victory and the class win well ahead of Vixen in the final race.

“Today was a day of very competitive sailing,” said Martin Jacobson of Greenwich, Conn., co-owner of Crescendo. “In the first race we finished second to Vixen, so we knew we had to really do well in the final race. We were able to sail to our plan, which is important, and we didn’t make any mistakes.”

In Class C, the nine-boat Swan 45 one-design division was a battle of New Yorkers. William Douglass and his Goombay Smash went into the day ahead of Massimo Ferragamo’s Bellicosa and managed to clinch the win despite Ferragamo’s win in the first race.

“Today we had a bit of trouble going upwind,” said Douglass. “I think we had the wrong jib up on the first race and Bellicosa sailed a fantastic race. They were really trying to put the pressure on us. All of a sudden we realized that they just cut our lead in half so we still had our work cut out.”

Joe Huber of Wynnewood, Pa., dominated the non-spinnaker division, Class D, from start to finish. His Swan 44, Reef Points, scored seven first places and discarded a fourth to win by 19 points over second-place Roland Bathory of Weston, Mass., and his Swan 53, Amanda.

New regatta series

covers the East Coast

Sailors have been talking about a series of world class racing events, both inshore and offshore, to bring sailors up the East Coast from Florida and the Caribbean to New England regattas and the Bermuda Race with great racing along the way.

The new US-IRC Gulf Stream Series invites the best yachts racing in the world to compete for two new trophies. The series will feature racing on the East Coast of America, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, New England, plus Bermuda and in the Caribbean. Racing will be scored under the IRC rating system either in specific classes, or dual-scored along with other systems.Organizers anticipate participation from an international IRC fleet and hope the new series will bring a return to the days of big series racing like the SORC, but offer sailors the choice between events best suited for their sailing programs.

The Onion Patch Series, including Newport-Bermuda, is required, as is one of the two medium-distance races — Fort Lauderdale to Key West or the Block Island Race. Two other events, Key West Race Week, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, Acura Miami Race Week, International Rolex Regatta St. Thomas or the Annapolis Yacht Club Spring IRC regatta must be sailed at the owner’s choice to complete the series.

Racing will be by individual entry and by teams representing nations, yacht clubs, or other sailing associations for both the Gulf Stream Trophy and the Gulf Stream Team Trophy. All yachts entering the series must qualify for entry in the Newport-Bermuda Race, a Category 1 offshore race for monohull yachts as defined by their Notice of Race. Professional or amateur programs are welcome.

Transpac turns 100

with some surprises

From the Barn Door to Bubala and B’Quest, this year’s Transpacific Yacht Race presented a wide span of sailing technology and talent in its 100 years.

Bubala, a Cal 40 sailed by six men ages 66 to 72 and B’Quest, Challenged America’s team of sailors with disabilities from San Diego, shared the stage with crewmembers of Morning Glory, Hasso Plattner’s maxZ86 that broke Roy Disney’s monohull race record.

Plattner’s crew collected the Barn Door trophy as the monohull with the fastest elapsed time: 6 days. 16 hours. 4 minutes. 11 seconds. and an average of 13.9 knots for the 2,225 nautical miles.

The audience saw videos of race highlights and tributes to Disney, who delivered his formal farewell to the event he promoted and helped to reshape in 15 races over 30 years.

“Did I say I was quitting?” he deadpanned in opening remarks. “This race is not about the big boats. It’s about the Cal 40s; it’s about B’Quest’s disabled sailors; it’s about Bubala and the old geezers. Keep doing this. I’ve brought all four of our kids up on it. Thank you, all of you.”

Later, with Morning Glory boat captain Peter Pendleton, Disney did the honors of updating the hands on the 18th century-style trophy clock he commissioned six years earlier to mark the current record.

Pendleton also received the Don Vaughn Trophy as the outstanding crewmember on the fastest boat, chosen by his crewmates. A total of 75 boats from eight countries on four continents started the Centennial Transpac.

Still, after all the traditional dockside welcome parties were exhausted and all the awards distributed, one remained more than 500 miles at sea. James and Ann Read of San Francisco, sailing their 42-foot boat, Camille, double-handed with their dog, Sweetie Pie, and eventually finished after 23 days. As the Reads have seen it wasn’t the windiest Transpac, but at the front it was by far the fastest with five boats — including Disney’s own maxZ86, Pyewacket — eclipsing his 1999 record, alongside the anomaly of a 68-year-old yawl, Odyssey, finishing just ahead of them with its six-day head start in the Aloha division.

Morning Glory blew away the race’s 24-hour distance record when it logged 393 miles on its first full day at sea, stretching the mark of 356 miles set by Philippe Kahn’s Pegasus 77 maxi sled on its second Barn Door romp in 2003.

12 Meters race

in Narragansett Bay

Another day of light winds preceded by heavy fog greeted the Oxbow 12 Metre Regatta Fleet sailing inside Narragansett Bay on the final day (July 31) of racing.

The Gran Prix Division was won by Edgar Cato’s Hissar (KZ-5) with 6 points, followed by Bill Koch’s Kiwi Magic (KZ-7) in second with 10 points. Third place went to USA (US-61) sailed by Jan Slee and Andy MacGowan, with newcomer Wright on White (BRA-1, formerly KZ-3) finishing fourth with 19 points.

In the Modern Division, Craig Millard’s Courageous (US-26) prevailed with 7 points; Jack Curtain’s Intrepid (US-22) finished second with 11 points; Ernest Jacquet’s Freedom took third with 16 points, followed closely Harry Grave’s Lionheart finishing fourth with 17 points.

Alain Hanover’s Columbia (US-16) took first-place honors in the Classic Division.

America’s Cup-winning tactician Gary Jobson, who sailed on Courageous for this regatta, said: “There is no better sailing than 12 Metre Racing in Newport. We had six America’s Cup winning yachts competing in Narragansett Bay; the owners and crews recognize the special significance of these events and it shows in their participation and care for these great yachts.”

The regatta was sponsored by Bill Koch’s The Oxbow Corporation, and organized by the Museum of Yachting.

Puerto Rican couple

wins Hobie 16 NAs

After a week of intense racing off Ventura, Calif., the husband-and-wife team of Enrique and Carla Figueroa, from Puerto Rico, has taken another Hobie 16 class North American title.

This is Enrique’s fifth North American title in the 16 class and Carla’s second. Enrique was also this year’s Hobie Tiger Class World Champion. He grew up in the Hobie class, winning his first championships in the smaller Hobie 14 and moving on to win his first Hobie 16 championship in 1984. Enrique attended his first Olympics in the Tornado class. He has continued in the Tornado and competed in the Tornado Europeans this summer.

Juan Maegli and Cristina Guirola, an outstanding pair of youth sailors from Guatemala, finished second. Armando Noriega and Rodrigo Achach, last year’s champions from Mexico, finished in third.

This year the American teams were left thinking that there must be a new tuning guide out there that hasn’t been translated from Spanish. The top Americans finished in eighth place.