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Sail Scene Fla Feb 2007

International regattareturns to Key West

More than 250 sailboats and sailing crews from around the world are to compete in the waters off Key West during Acura Key West 2007. The racing challenge is scheduled for Jan. 15-19.

Celebrating its 20th year, Acura Key West, presented by Nautica Watches, is to feature national and international stars from the competitive sailing world. Sailors are expected to hail from more than 20 countries and 35 U.S. states.

Founded in 1988, the regatta initially featured a 59-boat fleet with just one daily race.Since then, it has evolved into a nine-race series of windward/leeward racing for boats in 18 to 20 classes.

World-class sailors David Aisher, Jim Swartz, Russell Coutts, Torbjorn Tornquist, Leonardo Ferragamo, Sir Peter Ogden and royal entry HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark are to lead the pack striving for coveted championship wins. The field also includes weekend sailors eager to test their skills against the sport’s legendary competitors.

Racing sailboats NYYC Swan 42, CrossCurrent 33, and Beneteau 10R are to make their debuts in the 2007 race.

In addition, the inaugural PHRF National Championship is to take place as part of the regatta. In recent years, the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet has represented approximately 30 percent of the boats competing in Key West. For information and a race schedule, visit

 or call (781) 639-9545.

Olympic Team Trials dates announced

US Sailing has set the dates and locations for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Sailing in the 11 events selected for the 2008 Olympic Regatta.

The sailing events selected are: Finn (Heavyweight Dinghy); Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy); Laser (Men’s One Person Dinghy); 470 Men (Men’s Two Person Dinghy); 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy); 49er (Skiff); RS:X (Men’s Windsurfer); RS:X (Women’s Windsurfer); Tornado (Multihull); Star (Men’s Keelboat); and Yngling (Women’s Keelboat).

The US Olympic Team Trials will be held Oct. 3-14 in southern California and Newport, R.I., with the exception of the Yngling class.

In the Yngling class, two separate non-Olympic Trials events have been designated to determine the sailors for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team: ISAF Combined Olympic Class World Championship, Cascais, Portugal, June 28-July 13, 2007; Yngling Women’s World Championship, Miami, Fla., Feb. 9-15, 2008.

For additional details on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, visit Details for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials are being finalized and will be announced soon.

American sailor wins Etchells Worlds

Jud Smith, of Marblehead, Mass., the three-time North American Etchells champion and four-time Worlds runner-up, took the gun in the eighth and final race to win the 2006 Audi Etchells World Championship off Fremantle, West Australia.

Smith’s crew consisted of Canadian Dirk Kneulman and New Zealanders Andrew Wills and Thomas Saunders.

Winds were climbing toward the 20s as Smith led from the first mark. He was overtaken by his countryman, Chris Busch, down the run but rounded inside the San Diego sailor. Halfway up the beat for the second time, he crossed ahead and was never overtaken again. Smith crossed ahead of Busch, American Craig Healy came in third.

Ante Razmilovic from Britain needed to beat Smith by two places on the final day, but the best he could do was fourth. New Zealander Alastair Gair led into the eighth and final race of the series. At the top mark the Kiwis were 18th, but fought back to take seventh place and had to be content to settle with second overall.

Capozzi leads team to championship

By the time the teams were lined up for the final day of the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, spectators were in for a treat, and the finalists didn’t disappoint.

The finals put the team led by Debbie Capozzi up against Katie Pilley-Lovell’s team. After a hard-fought battle, Capozzi and her crew of Lindsay Bartel of Bayport, N.Y.; Kelly Hand of Vancouver, Canada; and Chantal Legler of Montreal, Canada; took home the National Championship title. The U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship was hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club in Newport Beach, Calif., and raced on Governor Cup 21s.

Capozzi, of Bayport, N.Y., won the first race in the finals, but Pilley-Lovell — sailing with Chafee Emory of Newport, R.I.; Deb Willits of La Porte, Texas; and Tara Thomas of Severna Park, Md. — dug back in the second race to tie the series. Race three saw a great battle between the two, with Capozzi barely taking the win. After swapping boats, the two teams went back at it.

Capozzi was able to control off the line, then used great boat speed to stay out in front, even with Pilley-Lovell and her team finding some great pressure and advantageous lifts. Capozzi cruised across the line to take the fourth match and win the title. Capozzi, who was on the winning boat last year, and her crew took home U.S. Sailing’s Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy as the 2006 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Champions.

Capozzi qualified for a position on the starting line at the 2007 Mayor’s Cup, an ISAF Grade two event. For Pilley-Lovell, this was the second consecutive year she has won the Mrs. Charles Adams Trophy.

In the Petit Finals, Liz Baylis of San Rafael, Calif., defeated the team led by Sandy Hayes of Scituate, Mass.

Race Week joins US-IRC Gulf Stream

Charleston Race Week, to be held April 12-15, accepted an invitation from the US-IRC to be part of the second annual Gulf Stream Series. Organizers called the event an excellent transition regatta as boats make their way north for spring and summer racing, after winter racing in Florida and the Caribbean.

Finding an additional Group Three event for the Gulf Stream Series became a priority when the Acura Miami Grand Prix added a minimum size cut-off at the Swan 45 OD IRC rating. The cut-off was implemented because of limited available berths due to recent hurricane damage at many marinas.

Each Gulf Stream Series competitor must complete a certain number of events in each of the four groups: Medium Distance, Long distance, Southern and East Coast Around the Buoy Races. Group Three events require each competitor to complete one of the following: the Acura Key West, Acura Miami Grand Prix, Charleston Race Week, International Rolex Regatta, BVI Spring Regatta, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta or the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week.

“Last year US-IRC introduced the Gulf Stream Series,” said US-IRC executive director Barry Carroll. “It follows the path of the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean and Florida northward to the Carolinas, Chesapeake Bay, and into New England and Halifax NS. It is a mix of the best inshore and offshore events in the western Atlantic and unique in the world of big boat sailing.”

For details about the series, entry, eligibility and events go to or .

New England boat wins IRC championship

The second-ever IRC East Coast Championship, hosted Nov. 3-5 by the Storm Trysail Club Chesapeake Station, yielded a familiar victor from the big-boat racing arena.

Dan Meyers of Boston, Mass., and his Farr 60, Numbers, rallied to win both a distance race held on Friday in 15- to 20-knot winds and the second of two short windward/leeward races that were squeezed into the final afternoon in barely-there breezes of 5 to 7 knots. Up to seven races had been planned, but day two’s weather did not cooperate. Meyers and his team became the overall IRC East Coast Champions when the Race Committee deemed them to have the best cumulative average corrected time over the three races completed.

A total of 33 boats, divided into four classes, competed in the regatta.

A first-time event for Meyers, the IRC East Coast Championship succeeded in helping the Numbers crew shake off cobwebs from a 2-1/2-month competition hiatus.

Meyers also took top honors in the IRC 1 class followed by Wahoo, a Corby 41.5, owned by Augustus Fretz of Stevensville, Md.

Peter and Debbie Gibbons-Neff of Rosemont, Pa., topped IRC 2 class with their Farr 395, Upgrade, with Dame Blanche, a Beneteau 40.7, owned by Othmar von Blumencrom, Great Falls, Va., taking second in class.

Curt Schwab of Washington, D.C., aboard his Beneteau 36.7, Volition, won the IRC 3 class besting 11 other entries.

One-design trophies also were awarded in this class, with Volition topping the fleet again even after the distance race had been omitted from scoring. Taking second and third, respectively, were Chip Devine of North Potomac, Md., with Dreamboat Annie; and Garth Hichens of Annapolis on Seahorse. The two teams switched positions, however, when scored for the IRC championship. Winning IRC 4 class was Bill Sweetser of McLean, Va., aboard his J/109, Rush, followed by Bobby Oberg’s Horseweed, a Beneteau First 10R from Annapolis.

“Next year this event becomes the last race in the U.S.-IRC Gulf Stream series, which starts in Key West and ends in Annapolis,” says race chairperson Bill Kardash. “We are trying to gain traction on the Chesapeake for IRC racing, and there is growing interest as IRC gets a foothold in this country.”

The 2006 IRC East Coast Championship was sailed on Chesapeake Bay with shore-side activities at Annapolis Yacht Club. It also served as a warm-up to the Rolex U.S. IRC Nationals, which will be sailed as part of the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week XXII, scheduled for June 17-22.