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Sail Scene - Florida and the South

Charleston-Bermuda winner comes out a day ahead

When the amazing, sometimes arduous, hours at sea finished, the Charleston to Bermuda Race ended with overall honors awarded to young Will Hanckel and his friends on board his father’s J/120 EmOcean.

The 777-mile race began on May 18 with eight tall ships and hundreds of spectators looking on, and ended with a convivial evening of awards at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club May 26, during which the final finisher — the Hylas 45 E’s Alee — was towed to the dock and met by all the other crews with rousing applause.

The Charleston-based EmOcean crew made their intentions known early in the proceedings as they were the second entry to set their kite at the start, and the first to round the race’s initial turning mark. Hanckel apparently sailed smartly and aggressively and remained in contention throughout the nearly five days it took them to reach Bermuda. Conditions ran the gamut from 25- to 30-knot northeasterly winds and confused, 10-foot seas, to light zephyrs and moderate swells.

Hanckel is no stranger to victory, but those trophies are usually associated with around-the-buoys contests, and until the last couple of years his wins were limited to events staged in one- design dinghies.

Sailing more than 95 percent of the race on port tack, Team EmOcean finished in 4 days, 21 hours, 43 minutes, 32 seconds, giving them a corrected time of 4 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes, 16 seconds.

By comparison, Scott Jones’ Peterson 44 Lung Ta took almost a full day longer — 5 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes — which equated to a corrected time of 4 days, 11 hours, 39 minutes, 29 seconds. That was good enough for second overall honors.

Third overall was awarded to Kevin Hogan and crew sailing aboard his C&C 44 Kintaro. But Kintaro’s crew deserves special recognition for sailing the entire way from the finish down the tricky channel that rims Bermuda’s western shore right up to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in HamiltonHarbor, all of that in total darkness.

American boat wins European regatta

Jim Richardson of Boston won the Farr 40 division of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, held off Italy May 15 to 19, with his boat Barking Mad.

Richardson and crew had been leading the seven-race series since the second of four racing days and won the series by a clear margin over both Italian skippers Massimo Stefano Leporati on Kismet and Massimo Mezzaroma on Nerone. The event was organized by the Yacht Club Capri and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and included classes for Farr 40s, Swan 45s, Mini Maxis and Comets.

A two-time Farr 40 World Champion (1998, 2004), Richardson said he was pleased with his victory.

“The week’s racing went terrific for us. We had come off of a couple of bad results back in the winter series in the United States, so to come here and do well was a bit of redemption,” he said. “After the first day we were in second, and then we got into the lead and we stayed there — so I think we sailed very well. We sailed conservatively and we didn’t take a lot of risks.”

At the closing prize-giving ceremony, the winners of each division were awarded with Rolex Trophies and a Rolex Submariner Timepiece. The Rolex Capri Sailing Week represents the first leg of the Farr 40 European circuit that will conclude at the Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt/Germany before the top event of the class, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Copenhagen at the end of August.

Rambler dominates Block Island Race

George David’s 90-foot Reichel/Pugh-designed Rambler took line honors at the Storm Trysail Club’s 62nd Block Island Race.

“Nobody could touch him,” said Block Island Race chairman Ray Redniss.

By wide margins Rambler also secured both IRC fleet and Super Zero class victories on best corrected and elapsed times. The 186-nautical mile race, which began May 25, sent Rambler and 61 other IRC- and PHRF-rated boats off on a course from Stamford, Conn., down Long Island Sound, around Block Island, R.I., and back.

The conditions, which included 8- to 14-knot breezes at the start, favored the larger boats, which exited the Sound before adverse current kicked in and returned to their starting point before the wind lightened enough to turn the last mile of the race into a one-hour slog for some smaller boats.

“The big boats got ahead early and stretched their leads based on the current and the wind,” said David, of Hartford, Conn. “Reaching in 15 knots, Rambler can move along at about 18 to 19 knots, which we saw at times.”

David explained that Rambler — the former Shock Wave, built in 2002 — had just emerged from undergoing major modifications, including a deeper draft and added bowsprit.

“We got a whole new sail plan out of that,” said David, “so we were pretty powered up. I thought we got out of the blocks pretty well.”

Rambler finished the race in 18 hours, 57 minutes, 41 seconds — a marked improvement over last year’s best time by Running Tide of over 38 hours, yet short of Boomerang’s record in 2002 of just over 16 hours.

Teri and Pete Binkley of Branford, Conn., took their Quest 33 Wildeyes to the best corrected and elapsed times for the PHRF fleet, finishing nearly 23 hours behind Rambler. Best performance by a double-handed boat went to Kevin Grainger’s J/105 Gumption 3 of Rye, N.Y.

Winning the Harvey Conover Memorial Trophy for the best overall performance among all entrants at the regatta was Ron O’Hanley’s Farr 50 Privateer of Ipswich, Mass. The Flag Officers and Race Committee awarded the prize after Privateer won its IRC Zero class and posted the greatest margin of time over the second- and third-place yachts to win the Commodore’s Trophy.

Other trophy winners were Daniel Galyon’s X-Yacht 37 American Girl of Binghamton, N.Y., for best corrected time in IRC below 1.08 rating; Steve and Simon Frank’s Concordia 70 Gracie of Rowayton, Conn., for best performance by a vintage yacht; the New York Yacht Club for best team race performance; and Andrew Berdon’s J/109 Strider of Hartsdale, N.Y., for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu and Block Island Races, awarded as The Tuna Trophy.

The Block Island Race is a qualifier for the Gulf Stream Series (IRC), the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF) and the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC).

U.S. sailors win duel off Annapolis

After Sally Barkow (USA) and crew dominated most of the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup regatta, held May 30 to June 2 off Annapolis, Claire Leroy (FR) came roaring back in the semis, setting up a USA vs. France event.

Liz Baylis (USA) ended up third going in with a 13-5 score against Christelle Philippe (FR) in fourth place with 11-7 going into the final four.

Barkow had an outstanding performance going into the round robin portion of the competition with 17 wins to only one loss, but that was against Leroy, who had posted a perfect score with an exciting last-minute spinnaker douse to a 360 penalty turn at the last finish ahead of Barkow.

Then in the first race of the semi-finals, Philippe beat Barkow in a fading breeze to make them rethink their performance and tactics for the final day of racing.

“We definitely got a little slack toward the end of Friday. It was a long day on the water and we were happy about winning the round robin and I think we let up a little,” Barkow said.

Barkow’s team came out the next day gunning and nailed their semi’s best-of-three with a score of 3 to 1 over Philippe and went against Leroy, who had beaten Baylis to qualify in the finals 3-1 also.

In the finals Barkow came out on top 3-1 again and cinched the win and join the ranks of Dawn Riley and Marie Bjorling as the only three to have won the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup twice.

The racing conditions were perfect each day. The predicted last-day thunderstorms held off until after the races were done and competitors were back on shore for the awards ceremony. A recap of the final results of the round robin, semi finals and the finals, plus photos and commentary can be found on the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup Web site at .

College of Charleston retains crown

It was a nail-biter of a finale as the 2007 ICSA/Gill Coed National Championship was decided at the U.S. Naval Academy after sailors from 18 colleges wrapped up three days of competition on the Severn River.

The College of Charleston Cougars were leading the standings after the first two days of racing and, as defending champions, were in position to repeat history. Following in hot pursuit were Dartmouth College, second with 172 points, and Day 1 leader UC-Irvine who was third with 184 points.

From there it appeared that the stars were perfectly aligned for Charleston. Their senior skipper Russ O’Reilly of Charleston, S.C., and junior crew Megan Riddle of Vermillion, Ohio, racked up finishes of 2-9-1-2 over the four final races to win A-Division on 75 points for the series — a whopping 36-point margin over Hobart & William Smith Colleges with 111 points.

This year the Cougar’s B-Division team of senior skipper Brendan Healy of Arnold, Md., and sophomore crew Britney Haas of San Diego had a rougher go of it, posting double-digit finishes in three of their final four races. Still, their total 150 points in B-Division was enough for the Cougar’s to win with 225 combined points — nine points over Dartmouth who ended with 234. The College of Charleston becomes the first school in 12 years to win this championship in back-to-back years.

Louisiana sailor wins intercollegiate nationals

St. Mary’s College of Maryland won their second Intercollegiate Sailing Association national championship in less than a week May 29 at the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship.

Just days before, the Lady Seahawks dominated the racing to win the ICSA Women’s National Championship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., before the action relocated to Annapolis where the U.S. Naval Academy hosted the team race championship.

This is the fourth ICSA Team Race National Championship (2004, 2000, 1999) won by the Seahawks.

Skipper and crew on the water for St. Mary’s were juniors John Loe of Baton Rouge, La., with Meredith Nordhem of Chicago; freshman Jesse Kirkland of Warwick, Bermuda, with graduating senior Hilary Wiech of St. Michael’s, Md.; and graduating senior John Howell of Galesville, Md., with junior Maggie Lumkes of River Forest, Ill.

Yale, Hobart and Harvard finished out the final four in the team race national championship standings.

The College of Charleston, champions in 2006, finished second overall with 176 points — 110 points from their A-Division team of sophomore skipper Andrea Savage of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., with crew junior Danielle Neri of Newport, R.I., and freshman Rebecca Bestoso of Erie, Pa., and 66 points from B-Division freshman skipper Allie Blecher of Fullerton, Calif., and crew freshman Christina Murray of Annapolis, Md., and junior Julia Southworth of Marion, Mass.

Stanford University finished third overall with 204 points, followed by the U.S. Naval Academy with 216 points.