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ISAF recognizes Swan 45

one-design racing class

The Swan 45 Class has been officially designated by the International Sailing Federation as an ISAF recognized class. The decision to award the Swan 45s official one-design class status was made at the ISAF annual conference held this year in Singapore at the beginning of November.

A series of select committees made up of ISAF members from around the world voted on the application, and the ruling now allows the Swan 45s’ biennial class regatta to be officially renamed the Swan 45 World Championship, at which Swan 45s will compete for the Gold Cup and world champion title. The first Swan 45 World Championship is scheduled to take place at Acura Key West 2006, Jan. 14 to 20.

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Barkow wins Match

Racing Championship

Sally Barkow of Nashotah, Wis., won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, which she sailed with crew Debbie Capozzi of Bayport, N.Y., Anna Tunnicliffe of Norfolk, Va., and Lee Icyda of Newport, R.I.

Barkow won her eighth major championship of 2005 with the event, which was raced in J/22s and hosted by the Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas.

The championship was marked by trying weather conditions: race organizers had to abandon racing on the second day of the event due to a lack of wind. On the final day, abbreviated semi-finals and only one consolation round robin were sailed under cloudy skies with a south wind at 3 to 5 knots.

In Semi-final 1, Katy Lovell of New Orleans, won the first two matches against Betsy Alison of Newport, R.I., and Barkow beat Liz Baylis of San Rafael, Calif., in three matches to move into the final round.

In the final round the wind began to shift way right, then way left before what little velocity they had completely shut off, and the race committee was forced to sit and wait for the weather patterns to settle in. A shift to the north was predicted for the day, but unfortunately there was too little time remaining for a complete final and petit-final round, and only one match in each was sailed before the race committee made the decision to abandon.

Barkow, who had won the first race in the finals, got to celebrate another major championship win. By winning, Barkow earned the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy, and has qualified for a position at the Regional Finals for the International Sailing Federation’s Nations Cup.

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Conn. boat wins

inaugural regatta

Tom Stark’s new TransPac 52, Rush, bested a fleet of 30 to win the inaugural IRC East Coast Championship in Annapolis in November.

The regatta offered everything a racing sailor could desire: 7 to 28 knots of wind, flat water, warm sunshine and scenic race courses. For the 43 boats competing in the first IRC event offered on Chesapeake Bay, the ideal conditions combined with six races in two days and an optional long-distance race added up to a successful debut for the regatta.

“It was fun and beautiful sailing,” said Stark of Greenwich, Conn. “There is nothing bad about Annapolis. We’ve been sailing on Long Island Sound for the past three weekends where it was rainy and cold; it was a lot warmer and sunny in Annapolis, and the courses were fun.”

The optional long-distance race counted toward the overall IRC championship, and for many competitors used to only doing windward/leeward racing the distance race was a chance to test crew work and boat handling in another environment.

“We never get that kind of course,” said Stark. “We had a long tour of the Bay, approximately 41 miles, and it took a good part of the day. We even got to use some sail combinations that we don’t usually use.”

Stark also took top honors in the IRC 1 class against seven other boats, including second-place Yellow Jacket, the Farr 53 entered by the Larry Bulman, Jeff Scholz and Mike Winston of Bethesda, Md., syndicate, and Trader, the other TP52 in the class, owned by Fred Detweiler of Grosse Pointe, Mich.

The IRC 2 class — the largest with 13 entries — was topped by Othmar von Blumencron of Annapolis, the past Olympian in the Finn class, with his Beneteau 40.7 Dame Blanche. The top three boats in the class were Beneteau 40.7s, but the point spread among them was significant. Dame Blanche finished with 15 points, ahead of Greg Manning’s Sarah of Warwick, R.I., with 22 points and third-place Down Time, owned by Ed & Molly Freitag of Annapolis with 29 points.

In the 14-boat Beneteau 36.7 class, which was racing for its Mid-Atlantic Championship, Garth Hichens of Annapolis and his boat Seahorse won the prestigious trophy. Although Hichens got a lot of ribbing from fellow competitors because his Annapolis Yacht Sales, a sponsor of the regatta, is also the local Beneteau 36.7 dealership and he counts many of the competitors among his customers, this was the first time that he has won a class championship. Second place went to Art Silcox of Rockville, Md., and his boat KA’IO, with Zingara, owned by Richard Reid of Toronto in third.

In the small but competitive Swan 45 class, eight entries competed with an eye toward preparation for the upcoming Swan 45 World Championship Gold Cup at Key West in January. Alex Roepers of New York City and his boat, Plenty, won the class in a “three-level countback.” Plenty and Devocean, owned by Steve DeVoe of Stamford, Conn., tied on 21 points. But the race committee looked at who-beat-whom in the last race, then the two races before that, before declaring Plenty the class champion. Third place went to William Douglass’ Goombay Smash of Stamford, Conn.

“For us, the win was a miracle,” said Roepers, who had Geoff Ewenson aboard calling tactics. “We had trouble on the first day, in light air — well, real trouble in race 2 and 3 where most boats did much better than we did. On the final day when the breeze picked up, we held our own.”

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Dramatic finish

for New York Clipper

The yacht New York took second place Nov. 5 in Race 3, Leg 2 of the Clipper 2005-’06 Round the World Yacht Race — a stunning result in what had been a very tough four days for the skipper and crew. New York crossed the finish line in the Bay of Natal in the race from Salvador, Brazil to Durban, South Africa, after 23 days.

Under stormy skies, crowds and media lined the harbor to welcome the New York Clipper to shore. The crew was greeted by the deputy mayor of Durban and a Zulu ceremony before being offered a traditionally brewed local Zulu beer, which was gratefully received by the exhausted crew.

It was a tough fight for this second-place position. In the previous four days the yacht encountered the erratic conditions of the Agulhas current. They experienced 45-knot winds and several broaches, and had a spinnaker ripped into three pieces.

“My feelings at the moment are as though I have been involved in a train wreck, and I think that goes for the rest of the crew,” said skipper Jonathan Bailey. “It felt like everything was conspiring against us over the last few days, but here we are, we have a second-place positioning and that feels fantastic.”

The next race started Nov. 27 where the crew of this 10-yacht race was to take on the formidable challenge of the Southern Ocean to arrive in Fremantle, Australia. The fleet will enter the area known as the Roaring Forties at one of the toughest times of the year, the latitudes between 40 degrees south and 50 degrees south, where the prevailing westerly winds are strong and steady.

The yachts will visit 12 international ports, including Fremantle, Qingdao (China), Victoria (Canada) and New York, before finishing in July 2006. www.clipper-ventures.com