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Virginia boat takes line honors in Caribbean 1500

Taking line honors at the finish of the 15th West Marine Caribbean 1500 was Bob and Mallika DeHaven’s Mistress Mallika, Alexandria, Va. The new Oyster 62 completed the 1,500-mile passage in 6 days, 13 hours, 30 minutes.

Handicap and Class 1 winner was Special Delivery, a Taswell 58 sailed by Bill and Diana Quinlan, Jacksonville, Fla. The fleet of 46 offshore sailboats gathered at Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, Va. for a Nov. 10 start on the rally to Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

The group included 13 veterans and 30 first-time participants in boats ranging from 38 to 62 feet, with skippers and crews hailing from the United States and Canada.

Organizers say the professional weather routers at Commanders’ Weather issued a forecast that remained extremely accurate for the entire trip. The fleet left the Chesapeake in light northerlies that diminished overnight as the boats approached the Gulf Stream. Most boats motored across the Stream, completing their crossings in the first 24 hours.

The peaceful crossing of the Stream ended abruptly for Tim Schaaf and the crew of his catamaran, Jet Stream, when they struck an unlit weather buoy the second night out. They quickly discovered a sizeable hole in the bow of one of their two hulls. Fortunately the well-constructed boat was built with crash bulkheads that limited flooding to a tiny bow compartment. Fellow rally sailors Harry Weber, Crescendo, and Jim Ripple, Mirus, came to their aid, with Crescendo standing by until Jet Stream was joined by the Coast Guard cutter Block Island and was escorted back to Chesapeake Bay.

Meanwhile, the fleet pushed on into light to moderate southeasterlies, awaiting the passage of a well-predicted cold front that reached the more northerly boats on the third day, the more southerly boats on the fourth day. Winds shifted to the north and built to 35 to 45 knots, then gradually weakened and shifted to the northeast, where they remained until all the boats were in Tortola.

A return rally is planned for May 1, and a rally to Bermuda will be held in mid-June.

Sailing vessels selected

for 2008 Olympics

The ISAF Council has voted on the equipment to be used in the 2008 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Qingdao, China. Eight classes were agreed on immediately for the 2008 Olympic Games: multihull open — Tornado; women’s keelboat — Yngling; men’s keelboat — Star; Double-handed Dinghy Open — 49er; Double-handed Dinghy Women — 470; Double-handed Dinghy Men — 470; Single-handed Dinghy Open — Finn; and Single-handed Dinghy Men — Laser.

Discussion on the boardsailing event was split between the Mistral One-design and the Neil Pryde RS:X. The Neil Pryde RS:X was the recommended board by the ISAF Windsurfing Equipment evaluation panel and was also recommended by the Events, Women’s Sailing and Executive committees earlier in the week. The council voted 26 to 12 in favor of the Neil Pryde RS:X board.

The tougher decision was choosing the woman’s single-handed dinghy. Initially discussion was all about the ostensible fact that the ideal weight range for the Laser Radial was heavier than that required for the Europe. It was highlighted that if the aim of the federation was to increase the participation of emerging nations in the Olympic Games, the availability of the Laser Radial in these nations was a huge boost to achieving that goal.

The voting — narrowed to rule out three other potential candidates and focus solely on the Europe and the Laser Radial — went 24-12 in favor of the Laser Radial, with two abstentions.

Seeking memories of early Heineken Regattas

The Heineken Regatta is hoping for some input from sailors who logged miles around Saint Martin during the first few years of the 25-year-old event.

Celebrating the silver anniversary of the regatta this year, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club is putting together a memoir of the event, and is lacking pictures and stories from the early years. Anyone who sailed from 1981 to 1985 is asked to send his or her thoughts and photos along to the regatta organizing committee, at