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Sail scene

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, have 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. Figueroa 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.

U.S. wins silver, gold

at youth worlds

Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., won the Laser Radial fleet, and Californians Megan Magill and Briana Provancha of San Diego finished second in the 420 Girls at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Busan, Korea.

With strong finishes for the entire U.S. Youth World Team, the team placed fourth out of 46 countries for the Volvo Trophy, a competition that recognizes the best cumulative results across a country’s top four events.

Railey, 18, will enter the record books with this year’s win, becoming the first sailor in history to win two Single-handed Girls Youth World Championship titles (she also won the event in 2003, and won bronze in 2002).

“I have been really concentrating on just staying focused this week and trying as hard as I can, and getting back on it if things were not so good,” says Railey.

With racing canceled on the final day due to heavy fog, the 420 Boys Adam Roberts and Nick Martin, both of San Diego, were not able to fight for the bronze, and stayed in fourth place. Laser sailor Royce Weber of Surf City, N.J., had a strong regatta, finishing fifth overall in a 42-boat fleet — the largest fleet in the championships. Brothers T.J. and Jerry Tullo of Staten Island, N.Y., finished seventh overall in the Hobie 16 fleet, with a first- and second-place finish in the regatta.

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.

Debevoise & Plimpton

wins Wall Street Cup

A team comprising executives from Debevoise & Plimpton of New York City, a leading international law firm, won Shake-A-Leg’s Wall Street Corporate Challenge Cup in Newport, R.I., in July.

The 14th annual event hosted nine teams of business leaders for two unforgettable days of racing aboard the legendary America’s Cup 12 Meter yachts, and raised more than $300,000 to support Shake-A-Leg-Newport’s programs for people with spinal cord injuries and nervous system dysfunction.

Racing on Narragansett Bay in weather ranging from cold, pouring rain and light northerly wind to sunny skies and strong southwesterly wind, combined with the unique feeling of crewing on a 12-Meter, contributed to what one participant called “the experience of a lifetime.”

The event is the oldest one-design sailing charity race in the United States, raising over $2.5 million since its inception 14 years ago.

Proskauer Rose of New York City took second place, and Merrill Lynch finished third.