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Sail Scene – Florida and the South

U.S. qualifies for 10 Olympic classes

After two weeks of competitive racing and challenging conditions in Cascais, Portugal, the 2007 U.S. Sailing Team wrapped up a successful ISAF Sailing World Championships with 10 Olympic berths, a silver medal and six top-10 finishes.

Top performances by the team qualified the United States for spots at the 2008 Olympic Games in the following 10 classes: Finn, 470 Men and Women, 49er, Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X Men, Star, Tornado and Yngling.

“We’re very pleased to have qualified the USA in 10 events,” said U.S. Sailing’s high performance director Gary Bodie of Hampton, Va. “We’re confident we’ll qualify the RS:X Women at the 2008 World Championship.”

Sally Barkow of Chenequa, Wis., Carrie Howe of Grosse Pointe, Mich., and Debbie Capozzi of Bayview, N.Y., also known as “Team 7,” won a silver medal in the 25-boat Yngling fleet. Team 7 has stood on the podium at the last three Yngling World Championships, confirming their position among the most competitive teams in their class.

“Sally’s team has been on the podium in nearly every event this year,” said Bodie. “Undoubtedly, Sally’s team and Great Britain’s Sarah Ayton’s team are the favorites for 2008.”

Barkow and Ayton continue to battle for top scores at every major regatta.

Other team members who achieved top-ten finishes are: 49er team Morgan Larson of Capitola, Calif., and Pete Spaulding of Santa Cruz, Calif., finished fifth in an 81-boat fleet; Laser Radial sailor Anna Tunnicliffe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., finished fifth in a 112-boat fleet; 470 Men’s team Stuart McNay of Boston, and Graham Biehl of San Diego, finished 10th in a 114-boat fleet; 470 Women’s team of Erin Maxwell of Stonington, Conn., and Isabelle Kinsolving of New York, finished 10th in a 67-boat fleet; and Tornado team of Johnny Lovell of New Orleans, and Charlie Ogletree of Kemah, Texas, finished 10th in a 49-boat fleet.

McNish Classic Yacht Race ends its run

It was Ventura, Calif., sailor Don Greene, skippering his 40-foot sloop, Elusive II, who won the Strathmore Cup in the 30th — and final — running of the McNish Classic Yacht Race [MCYR] Aug. 4.

C.F. Koehler, of San Diego, earned Best Elapsed Time honors for his deft handling of 59-foot Sally, a 1928 10-meter sloop completing the 17-mile course in 3 hours, 5 minutes, 56 seconds with an average speed of 5.48 knots.

“Last year our steering failed at the start, we rigged a foot-operated emergency tiller, passed the winner Silvan twice, but still lost the race by seconds,” remarked Greene, who also won his weight in Mumm’s Champagne. “This year, we really worked hard and the light winds were ... perfect for Kettenburgs; we’re so proud of our old girl.”

Retiring founder Dick McNish said wind made for a challenging race.

“We had to work harder than usual, but it was good to see old friends and it’s wonderful that our old boat race lasted this long,” McNish said.

Wind conditions were the opposite of years past. Traditionally the winds come out of the south, then clock around by the last leg allowing a colorful, tight spinnaker finish. This year, the wind stayed south to southwest, started very light at 5-8 knots withering to 3 by the finish. Of the 30 boats entered, 29 started and 23 finished the 17-mile course.

One of four gingerly contested regattas on the western seaboard, for three decades the McNish Classic Yacht Race attracted a notable mix of veteran and novice sailors for more than a quarter of a century. All the boats are designed before 1952 and range in size from a diminutive 17 feet to 82 feet. McNish retired and shuttered the race this year.