Sail Scene Florida

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Heineken Regatta attracts record fleet

While worldwide regatta entries are generally static or falling, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracted a record 253 boats (269 had registered) from 26 nations.

The numbers of bareboats — charter boats — was down this year by a few, but that drop was more than made up for by the increase in serious racing boats in seven spinnaker classes. In fact, for one race in Spinnaker 1, the biggest racing boats, the margin of Tom Hill’s Titan 12 over Roger Sturgeon’s TP52, Rosebud, was one second.

Day 1’s racing went off in perfect Caribbean conditions with about 15 knots of breeze. On Day 2 the wind was much lighter, but Day 3 had no hope of the breeze checking in so the regatta wrapped up early. The spinnaker classes got in four good races while the other classes got two and three.

Some outstanding performances include a number of clean sweeps in the bareboat class: Van der Valk Hotels in Bareboat 1, Gruppo Sportivo in Bareboat 2, Allegheny Gal in Bareboat 4 and Silver in Bareboat 5. Sunshine in Non-Spinnaker 2, Selene in Non-Spinnaker 3, Affinity in Spinnaker 4 and Lazy Dog in Spinnaker 5 also did the clean sweep bit, the spinnaker classes perhaps being the toughest trick to pull off as they had to sail four races to the bareboats’ two.

In the Caribbean Big Boat Series racing division Tom Hill’s Titan 12 won with four first places, Daniel Myers’ Numbers beat Bill Alcott’s Equation with straight seconds apart from the final race when they swapped places.

The CBBS cruising division was well-populated with boats as diverse as Belle, an IY60, Team Atlantic with a Swan 60 and at the other extreme, the 115-foot Sojana. The final order was Clay Deutsch’s Swan 68, Chippewa, winning from George Gamble’s Belle, with the Wally 77, Carrera, owned by Alex Jackson, in third.

The prize for first Bareboat overall out of all the classes went to Gruppo Sportivo, Cees-Jan Baartmans in Bareboat 2. And then the big one, the Most Worthy Boat of the Regatta prize — a repeat of last year with Spinnaker 5’s Lazy Dog, Sergio Sagramoso from Puerto Rico winning every race in a hotly contested class.

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Florida sailor wins multihull championship

On the final day of racing, Robbie Daniel of Clearwater, Fla., and Hunter Stunzi of Marblehead, Mass., won the 2006 U.S. Multihull Championship for US Sailing’s Hobie Alter Cup, hosted March 19 to 23 by the Pensacola Beach Yacht Club.

Competition was close throughout the five-day event and the team fought vigorously for its win. With the top three finishers posting consistently solid results, second-place finishers Nigel Pitt of Harwell, Ga., and Alex Shafer of Eustis, Fla., had been in contention for the top spot from the beginning of the regatta. Defending champions Greg Thomas and Jacques Bernier, both from San Diego, finished third overall.

After 18 heats in varying weather conditions, new champions Daniel and Stunzi showed conclusively that consistency is the key to getting to the podium.

“We were careful not to be tricked into going for the big gains when we found ourselves behind,” says Daniel, who has been competing in the Olympic Tornado class for the over a decade. “The key was to go for the small gains to avoid the risk of big losses.”

The winners say they enjoyed sailing the Nacra 20, a powerful jib, main and spinnaker platform they felt was similar to the Tornado in many respects. Like the rest of the fleet, they also expressed an appreciation for the rotation format that has been developed to self-seed the competitors from heat to heat. This modified round-robin keeps the top sailors sailing head to head as they rotate through each one of the provided boats. www.ussailing.org

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Match-racing off St. Pete goes down to the wire

Sandy Hayes (Scituate, Mass.) won the 2006 Rolex Women’s Match hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (St. Petersburg, Fla.) held from March 30 to April 2 on Tampa Bay. Sailing with Hayes were Sandi Svoboda (Detroit), Alexis Ackman (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Phyllis Karlberg (Scituate, Mass.).

Eight teams competed in Sonar class keelboats in the International Sailing Federation Grade 3 match-racing regatta.

Hayes and second-place finisher Kathy Lindgren gained automatic invitations to the Rolex Osprey Cup, an ISAF Grade 1 match-racing event scheduled for October.

“I didn’t even realize we had won until the awards,” said a surprised Hayes. “Since we had a three-way tie after all of the round robins, it basically came down to who beat whom until one person was left standing.”

By the end of the weekend, a total of 39 matches were held and, using the ISAF rulebook for match racing, the overall winner was determined on a tie-breaker formula of “who beat whom.”

Results and photos are posted on the St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s Web site, www.spyc.org, and the Rolex Women’s Match Web site, www.rolexwomensmatch.com .

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Rolex Regatta draws fleet to Carribean

Hundreds of sailors on 92 boats competed in the 33rd International Rolex Regatta that kicked off March 24. The three-day event, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, was held on the blue waters of the Caribbean under color-matched skies, with winds cooperating perfectly.

From the first day, Martin Jacobson of Greenwich, Conn., led the Spinnaker Racing Cruising class in his Swan 44, Crescendo.

“It was just paradise,” says Jacobson. After the first day’s racing, his team aced three windward-leeward races in 12- to 16-knot breezes.

The next day’s races, held in even brisker breezes, gave the team a 4-1 to add to its score line. After a finish and restart just inside the harbor — in the shadows of large cruise ships and visiting super yachts — a reverse-direction race brought the fleet back home to the St. Thomas Yacht Club. On the last day, a distance race among the islands in Pillsbury Sound handed a fifth victory to Crescendo, which became the only entrant among 22 registered from the U.S. mainland to claim a class crown.

Danilo Salsi of Milan, Italy, also led right out of the gate. He steered his Swan 45 DSK, Comifin, to victory in Spinnaker Racing Class 1 and, like Jacobson, won all but one of his six races. Though Salsi had not expected it, his Caribbean Sailing Association rating served him well, leaving the class’s larger boats such as Donnybrook, a Santa Cruz 70 owned by Jim Muldoon of Washington, and Equation, an Andrews 68 owned by Bill Alcott of St. Clair Shores, Mich., in his wake. Two other Swans, a 48-footer named Privateer, owned by Ron O’Hanley of Ipswich, Mass., and a 45-footer named Devocean, owned by Steve Devoe of Stamford, Conn., took second and third, respectively, in the class.

Before the third day’s distance race was scored, Gilberto Rivera of San Juan, Puerto Rico, sailing his J/24 Urayo, had sewn up the series for the CSA 24 Spinnaker Class. Another Puerto Rican winner was Enrique Figueroa, a multiple world and national catamaran champion who has represented his country in the Olympics four times. He defended his title aboard the Hobie 16 Suzuki Red Bull in the Beach Cats Class.

St. Croix’s Robert Armstrong, sailing the J/100, Expensive Habit, took the Spinnaker Racing Class 2 by storm. With the help of 2004 J/24 World Champion Jens Hookansen, who grew up in St. Croix but now resides in Middletown, R.I., Armstrong posted all first-place finishes except one in his six-race lineup. A fellow St. Croix sailor, Tony Sanpere, likewise steered his Soverel 27, Cayennita, to victory in Non-Spinnaker Racing Class 2 to defend his title there.

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US Sailing announces championship schedule

The 2006 schedule for Adult and Youth National Championships consists of 17 events that begin in March and continue through November. It will be hosted by different sailing organizations across the country and raced in a wide range of classes of boats. Continuing the event series’ tradition, many of the events are being raced in different classes of boats each year. Most of the events also provide advanced racing clinics for the competitors.

While some participants are selected by their sailing resume, the course to the majority of championships is either open or based on a ladder structure that begins at the local club level and progresses to regional finals before reaching the national championship. For information about US Sailing’s U.S. National Championships, visit www.ussailing.org/championships or contact Liz Walker at (401) 683-0800 or by e-mail at champion ships@ussailing.org .

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Velux 5 Oceans Race attracts talent

Acclaimed solo sailors Mike Golding and Bernard Stamm recently confirmed their entry in the 2006-’07 Velux 5 Oceans Race, formerly known as Around Alone.

Golding and Stamm join British sailors Alex Thomson, Conrad Humphreys, Kiwi sailor Graham Dalton and eight other international skippers.

The only American entry, Tim Troy of Crownsville Md., announced at the Miami International Boat Show in February his entry in the Velux 5 Oceans. The 46-year-old managing director of Delmarva Company and Pan Florida Land Development is a two-time winner of the Bermuda 1-2 race, a single-handed competition between Newport, R.I., and Bermuda.

Troy will sail a French-designed Open 60 for his Sail America One challenge, www.sailamericaone.org.

Golding, the 2005 IMOCA and FICO World Champion, will enter the race aboard his current Open 60 sponsored by Belgian-based Ecover.

“The Velux 5 Oceans appeals for two reasons. This race … remains unfinished business for me,” Golding says. “It is the only event I have not completed in my professional sailing career and provides me with an immediate opportunity to go for a bullet in a major solo around-the-world race.”

The event is a solo around-the-world event with two stopovers. Stamm, the defending champion as winner of the previous incarnation of this historic event, the Around Alone race in 2002-’03, will again enter the race with his Open 60 boat sponsored by Cheminées Poujoulat of France.

The 30,000 mile three-leg race is scheduled to begin in Bilbao, Spain, on Oct. 22 and will stop in Australia and the United States (Florida, mid-February 2007) before returning to Bilbao approximately six months later. www.velux5oceans.com