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Sail Scene

San Juan, P.R., yacht heads north to dominate

Block Island Race Week wrapped up June 25 with south winds building to 18-20 knots by midday, putting plenty of muscle behind the races in all classes at the 21st biennial regatta.

Mark Ploch of New York City, skipper of M’s, the undefeated winner in the Beneteau 36.7 class, claimed his string of eight victories was relatively easy to complete by repeatedly pulling away from the fleet shortly after starting.

Ploch, a sailmaker known for his grand prix racing record, bought M’s as a family racing/cruising boat in the fall of 2004 and has won every regatta that he and his wife have entered with it since. For his performance, Ploch added the 2005 Beneteau 36.7 New England Championship title to his sailing accomplishments.

Winning the Farr 395 North American Championship title was Preben Ostberg and Bud Dailey’s Tsunami, with three victories in nine races.

In the final races, Coyote, owned by Bill Lemens, of West Redding, Conn., which finished second overall, lost a crew member overboard in a jibe in the Farr 40 class. The last race gave Steve Fred Howe’s Warpath of San Diego, Calif., the win.

Titan XII, owned and skippered by Tom Hill of San Juan, P.R., crushed the IRC Super Zero class winning seven of 10 races and finishing no worse than second.

“Because we’re bigger, we can drive under and over the fleet pretty well,” added Hill. But it was not all about size and the inherent speed in having a 75-foot size advantage. “With a 5,000-square-foot spinnaker and only mile-and-a-half legs, we had to have exceptional crew work.”

Titan XII won the Island Sailing Club of Cowes Perpetual Trophy for the first overall IRC-rated boat in the Around the Island Race and also won a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece.

Emirates Team NZ tops challenger acts

Emirates Team New Zealand emerged as the top challenger in preliminary America’s Cup racing.

The pre-regattas this year and in 2006 carry points that count forward to the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2007. The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup will challenge Alinghi for the America’s Cup.

The Italian syndicate Luna Rossa, with a third overall in Act 4 and first in Act 5, is the second challenger. As the defender of the America’s Cup, Alinghi’s results are removed from the reckoning.

Grant Dalton said after racing today that the result was very satisfying for the team.

“We came here to get some answers. And we got them. We know where we have to sharpen our act, but we are really encouraged as we develop towards 2007,” Dalton said. “It could be argued that the fleet racing is irrelevant in the America’s Cup, which is a match racing regatta. We believe the acts are important in terms of developing the team but the big game doesn’t start until 2007.”

U.S. Sailing team

wins Kiel Week

American sailors shared four top-10 finishes during the Kiel Week regatta in Germany in June.

Current U.S. Sailing Team-members Mikee Anderson-Mitterling of Coronado, Calif., and Dave Hughes of San Diego, Calif., won the 470 Men’s class at the Kiel Week Regatta in Germany, defeating 57 boats to take home the trophy.

Anderson-Mitterling, who celebrated his 21st birthday shortly after the win, was named the 2004-05 College Sailor of the Year.

“Mikee and Dave now join Olympic medalists Paul Foerster and Bob Merrick as the only American 470 Men’s teams to win Kiel Week,” said Skip Whyte, U.S. Sailing Team coach.

Kiel Week featured 586 entries from 50 nations and the American sailors put on a good show. Besides Anderson-Mitterling and Hughes, three other U.S. teams finished in the top ten of their classes.

In the 74-boat Women’s Laser Radial Class, 18-year-old Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., finished second behind Gintare Volungeviciute of Lithuania, missing the win by just one point.

George Szabo of San Diego, Calif., and Eric Monroe of Newport Harbor, Calif., finished second in the 44-boat Star fleet, only four points behind the winners, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki of Poland.

Amanda Clark of Shelter Island, N.Y., and Sarah Mergenthaler of Harvey Cedars, N.J., finished eighth out of 35 boats in the Women’s 470 class.

College sailing assoc. inducts 3 into hall

During its recent North American Championships in Austin, Texas, the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association recognized the contributions of three individuals by inducting them into the ICSA Hall of Fame. Mike Horn of Woodbridge, Conn., and Islesboro, Maine, was presented with the Lifetime Service Award; Joe Sullivan of New York was recognized for his Outstanding Service as a Volunteer; and George Yioulos of Novato, Calif., and Portland, Ore., was the recipient of the Student Leadership Award.

The ICSA Hall of Fame was established in 1969 to acknowledge the competitive achievements of undergraduates, as well as the service contributions of individuals whose efforts helped in the establishment, growth, and development of college sailing. In recognition of their significant service to the organization, their names will be added to the permanent ICSA Hall of Fame display located in the Robert Crown Sailing Center at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.