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Dinghy sailors get big boat experience on LIS

The Storm Trysail Club ran one of the largest collegiate regattas when 200 sailors on 28 teams raced big boats at Larchmont (N.Y.) Yacht Club in early October.

The regatta served as an introduction to big-boat racing for collegiate dinghy sailors. The boat owners who lend their boats as well as their time and experience as onboard coaches and safety officers, say the regatta is a chance to give something back to the sport.

The regatta is not sanctioned by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association and does not count toward a team’s ranking, but club volunteers worked hard to recruit three level-rated divisions to ensure the close, competitive racing dinghy sailors are used to.

“We nearly tripled in size over last year’s event, which had 11 boats sailing in one PHRF division,” said regatta chairman Adam Loory. “For years we have been trying to attract schools with busy schedules like Tufts, and this year we did.”

According to Tufts coach Ken Legler, “The event went great for us. It was one-design, which is pretty cool among boats that size. I need to get next year’s dates so I can get it on the schedule. I’m glad they twisted our arm.”

Schools came from all over to participate. From the Midwest came Northwestern, University of Michigan and Western Michigan. From the Mid-

Atlantic states came Duke, Georgetown, St. Mary’s, Princeton and the U.S. Naval Academy. Five schools in the New York City area participated — Columbia, Fordham, Webb Institute, N.Y. Maritime and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Queens University from Ontario also sent a team.

Class 1 was made up of five J/120s and three J/109s; Class 2 had five Express 37s and four J/35s; while Class 3 had 11 J/105s. The three class winners were Navy, sailing the J/109 Patriot in Class 1 Georgetown, defending their title from last year in Class 2 on the Express 37 Lora Ann; and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, sailing the J/105 Andiamo to win Class 3.

Coach Chuck Fontaine from Mass Maritime offered high praise, saying, “STC and Larchmont Yacht Club did an awesome job, pulling off a great triumph in collegiate sailing. Only in a place as big and grand as New York could something as enter-taining and fun as this happen.” www.stormtrysail.org

British club wins

Newport Patriot’s Cup

The racing was aggressive and the parties lively at the eighth running of the Patriot’s Cup Team Race in Newport in late September with the Hamble River Sailing Club leaving with top honors.

The event, co-hosted by Storm Trysail Club and Ida Lewis Yacht Club, challenged seven teams from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to renew their rivalries in borrowed Shields Class sloops equipped with identical mains and jibs donated by well-known sailor and friend to the regatta Russell Hoyt of Newport. Hoyt died last summer.

The Hamble River Sailing Club successfully defended the Patriot’s Cup against strong pressure from the Storm Trysail Club team. Both teams sported 9-1 records but the double round-robin could not be completed due to a fading breeze on the final day. www.stormtrysail.org

13th anniversary for

Lauderdale-Key West

A decades-old collaboration between the Storm Trysail and Lauderdale Yacht clubs continues in 2005 as the 30th anniversary running of the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race.

The annual 160-nautical-mile race begins Jan. 12 and runs south along the Florida Keys to Key West, serving as an unofficial feeder race to Key West Race Week, which begins five days later. With 40-plus teams having participated in 2004, organizers are preparing for another healthy showing of sailors in all classes.

“This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a point-to-point race while in the process of getting your boat to Key West,” says Storm Trysail Club Commodore Dick Neville of Annapolis, Md. “Our aim for 2005 is to spread the word to more sailors so we can have a bigger celebration befitting a 30th anniversary.”

Neville added that sailors are always well taken care of in the social department. A skippers’ meeting and cocktail party takes place Jan. 11 at Lauderdale Yacht Club, with the awards scheduled for Jan. 14 at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grille in Key West.

Race Week headed for record numbers

Key West Race Week is picking up the pace for a larger and more competitive fleet this year. Overall entries are ahead of the 2001 pace that saw a record 326 boats compete, forcing an expansion to four racecourses.

The climate, conditions, competition, renowned race management and shoreside attractions are among the reasons the event dominates the sailracing world’s midwinter calendar.

Even regulars from Florida are keen to return despite the losses suffered when their state was hammered by four major hurricanes in August and September. Premiere Racing management has reduced entry fees for Florida residents by $100 for both Key West 2005 and Acura Miami Race Week 2005.

“I entered well before the hurricanes hit and I’m still planning to go,” says Gary Schwarting, a Melges 24 sailor from Naples.

Dr. Jose Suarez Hoyos of Tampa, who will sail his J/109 Mariah in his eighth Key West Race Week, says he wouldn’t miss it for anything. “The restaurants are great, you meet a lot of famous sailors and boats, and the organizers are really organized, so you know that a race is going to be [fair].”

Last year weeklong ideal winds produced winners from five countries and 11 states coast to coast and allowed a Key West record number of nine races to be sailed.

This year more than 20 one-design and PHRF classes for boats from 24 to 75 feet will compete. The Transpac 52s will have a class of their own and the J/105s make a quantum jump from 29 boats to a free-for-all of 40 or more. www.premiere-racing.com