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Sail Scene Florida and the South - December 2006

Extreme conditions greet Swan Cup fleet

Ninety-nine yachts representing 17 nations and ranging from 36 to 112 feet competed at the 14th Rolex Swan Cup organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

Racing saw winds ranging from 7 to 30 knots, smooth water and heavy swell, sunshine and torrential rain.

Moneypenny, James R. Swartz’s Swan 601 from the United States, won on a tie-break in the competitive four-boat fleet, while Italy’s DSK Comifin was able to fend off a strong U.S. contingent among the 30-boat Swan 45 fleet. Aqua Equinox of Belgium took overall honors on handicap among the Grand Prix division’s 21 boats and Jacobite of Great Britain bested 45 boats to win the Classic division.

The regatta included five days of racing with a variety of race courses around the northeastern coast of Sardinia and through the Archipelago de La Maddalena just to the north of Porto Cervo, with its rocky outcrops, narrow straits and shifting winds. All fleets completed a distance race in testing weather conditions that, in some cases, kept crews at sea for up to 12 hours.

The final outcome among the Swan 601s came down to the last race between Moneypenny and Torbjorn Tornquist’s Artemis of Sweden. The two yachts had been locked together all week and with the discard in play after five races only one place separated them in the standings. The pressure was greatest on Moneypenny. She had to win in the final race; anything less would have been insufficient to unseat Artemis. Moneypenny did win, but Artemis finished second leaving the yachts tied at nine points. With both holding three bullets and three second places they were inseparable on countback. The tie-break rules came into effect and the last race result was critical. Moneypenny won the last race and with it the title. Leonardo Ferragamo’s Cuor di Leone of Italy, with Paul Cayard calling the tactics, ended the series in third.

James Swartz had had his sights set on winning the Rolex Swan Cup for a long time: “Ever since I took delivery of the yacht last year, I have been aiming to win this regatta and this is a dream come true — a truly magical day.”

Texas sailor’s 5th title makes history

Scott Young of Austin, Texas, knows a thing or two about competing in and winning a U.S. Sailing National Championship; he has done it several times before.

Young won his fifth U.S. Men’s Championship title, a feat no other sailor has accomplished before in the event’s 54-year history. This is the third time Young won the event as a skipper and he also won it twice as crew.

“I’m so excited,” said Young after getting off the water. “I’m not sure yet where I’m going to put the [Mallory Cup] trophy this time.”

With several past winners in the fleet, this wasn’t an easy regatta win for Young and his crew John Morran and Douglas Kern, all from Austin, Texas. What made it even more difficult for Young and his crew was that the team had never sailed in Sonars before. Going into the final races, Young’s team was just three points ahead of the Louisiana team of David Bolyard Jr., Kurt Adler, and David Bolyard Sr. — a previous Mallory Cup winner — all from Mandeville, La. Just another four points behind was another past champion, Charles Quigley of host club Boston Yacht Club.

“We had a good start and managed to stay ahead,” said Young. “We tried to stay clean, out of trouble and sail consistently this regatta and that’s what we did.”

With 3-2 finishes in the final two races, Young managed to stay ahead of Bolyard, an 18-year-old sailor whose crew included his father, by six points overall. Behind Bolyard, Charles Quigley finished in third place overall with 44 points.

In addition to winning the U.S. Men’s Championship five times, Young won the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship in 1975 and the U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship in 1976.

Tornado sailor wins Hobie 16 NAs

Enrique Figueroa, with wife Carla Malatrasi, won his sixth Hobie 16 North American Championship in Narragansett, R.I. Figueroa is a professional Tornado sailor and part of a strong group of Hobie 16 sailors from Puerto Rico.

In a repeat of last year’s championship, Juan Maegli sailing with Enrique Arathoon finished the week in second. The young Guatemalan sailors are still eligible to compete in junior events. Maegli competes in high school sailing in the United States on the Portsmouth Abbey team.

Rounding out the top three was the former Olympic board sailor from Venezuela Yamil Saba sailing with Gonzalo Cendra. Americans Bob Merrick and Eliza Cleveland finished fifth.

Schedule set for U.S. Youth World qualifiers

US Sailing announced the qualifying events for the 2007 U.S. Youth World Team, which will represent the United States at the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing International Sailing Federation World Championships.

Open to sailors who will not turn 19 in 2007, the Youth World Championships feature competition in five events: Hobie 16 (open multihull), Laser (boys single-handed), Laser Radial (girls single-handed), Neil Pryde RS:X (boys and girls boardsailing), and 29er (boys and girls double-handed). The 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships will take place July 12 to 21 in Kingston, Ontario.

The qualifying events for the 2007 US Youth World Team are: Open Multihull (Hobie 16): 2006 U.S. Youth Multihull Championship, already completed; Boys Singlehanded (Laser): 2007 Laser Midwinters East, Feb. 22 to 25 at Clearwater Yacht Club, Clearwater, Fla.; Girls Singlehanded (Laser Radial): 2006 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, already completed; Boys and Girls Boardsailing (Neil Pryde RS:X): 2007 RS:X North American Championship, Jan. 12 to 15, Miami; Boys and Girls Doublehanded (29er): 2007 U.S. Youth Championship, dates to be determined, Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans.

Yacht sponsor to build new bluewater boat

Pindar, a British print and electronic media company, will team up with Volvo Ocean Race winner Mike Sanderson and designer Juan Kouyoumdjian to build a new Open 60. The boat will be one of the first of a new breed of Open 60s.

A prominent supporter of international sailing, Pindar has sponsored Emma Richards, Sanderson’s wife, for the past eight years. Juan Kouyoumdjian, otherwise known as Juan K, designed the ABN AMRO Volvo 70 that Sanderson skippered to victory in the recent Volvo Ocean Race. Pindar will also be looking for co-sponsors to work with their ocean racing team on the new Open 60 project.

The new yacht will be built at TP Cookson’s yard in New Zealand, where Richards and Sanderson will be based throughout the winter.

The new Pindar Open 60 is due out of the shed during summer 2007 in time for the Fastnet Race. It is intended to enter into various record attempts before competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre.

N.A. champs crowned in 12 Meter class

A dozen 12 Meters competed off Newport, R.I., from Sept. 21 to 24 in the International 12 Metre Association’s 2006 North American Championships.

In two days of moderate to brisk breezes, six races were held. Racing on the third day was not to be, when the wind roared at 30 knots and the fleet — after a hopeful trip to the race course — was sent in by the Race Committee. A final stormy day mellowed enough for completion of another three races, which determined North American champions in four classes: Grand Prix, Modern, Classic Traditional and Classic Vintage.

Newport’s Clay Deutsch, the defending North American champion in Classic Traditional class sailing Weatherly, said he could not have prevailed over American Eagle, steered by Tony Chiurco of Princeton, N.J., if only two races had been held on the final day.

“They would have beat us on a tie breaker, if that had been the case,” said Deutsch. “In the third race we were basically match racing. We were nose to nose at the start and we poked out on them a little, then we squatted on them the rest of the race. They were very even with us in speed during the entire regatta, so we knew that the last race would be a true America’s Cup experience for us either way: we would go home the champs or the chumps.”

Weatherly edged out American Eagle by a single point.

In the Modern division, 2005 North American champion Courageous, owned by Craig Millard of Newport, R.I./Palm Beach, Fla., defended its title with Newport helmsman Jamie Hilton. Though the boat posted victories in all but one race, the competition was still close with the three other 12 Meters in its class.

“The way these 12s are,” said Courageous crewmember Jimmy Gubelmann of Newport, “certain ones thrive in different conditions. For this regatta, we actually thrived in heavy air, a little bit of light air and everything in between.”

The 12 Metre Class’s 2005 World Champion, and North American Champion in Grand Prix class, Edgar Cato of Charlotte, N.C., won the Grand Prix division aboard Hissar KZ 5, with Brad Read of Newport at the helm. The team won six of its nine races.

A host of America’s Cup veterans competed, including Bill Koch of Osterville, Mass./Palm Beach, Fla., who drove Kiwi Magic KZ 7 to third place in Grand Prix division behind Roger Wright’s Brazilian entry Wright on White KZ 3, steered by Lars Grael of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In addition to the North American titles at stake, The Museum of Yachting’s Ted Hood Perpetual Trophy was presented to the yachts with the best records for the 2006 season as determined by six American qualifying regattas. The winners were Onawa US 6, owned by Earl McMillen of Beaufort, S.C., and Chuck Parrish of Vineyard Haven, Mass., in Classic Vintage class; American Eagle in Classic Traditional; Freedom US 30, owned by Ernest Jacquet of Boston in Modern; and USA US 61, owned by Ralph Isham of New York in Grand Prix.

In other news, the International 12 Metre Association launched its 12 Metre Yacht Club with the commissioning of the club’s first station in Newport, R.I. The commissioning took place Sept. 20, to coincide with the start of 2006 North American Championships.

The Newport Station for the 12YC will be officially located at the Clarke Cooke House, on one of Newport’s most famous wharves: Bannister’s. Named as the Station’s “Steward” is America’s Cup legend Gary Jobson of Annapolis, Md.

Big boats duel off San Francisco

California yachts dominated the winner’s circle at the Big Boat Series at the St. Francis Yacht Club in September. The event’s six Perpetual Trophies, earned for success in each of six racing classes during the Rolex Big Boat Series, were awarded at the 42nd annual regatta.

The oldest trophy, the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy, was awarded to IRC A class winner Jim Gregory of Danville, Calif., on Morpheus.

“This is the first first in the boat’s history,” said Gregory of his 2001-built Schumacher 50, which narrowly defeated the defending champion Robert Youngjohn of Woodside, Calif., on his DK46, Zephyra.

John Siegel accomplished a rare feat when he won the IRC B class and the City of San Francisco Perpetual Trophy. He earned the distinction of being one of very few four-time Perpetual Trophy winners in the club’s history. His Wylie 42, Scorpio, also won its class in 2005, 2004 and 2003.

‘Grueling’ conditions pare down Vineyard fleet

The 72nd running of the Vineyard Race may be in the history books but not much room is needed to detail the finishers. Three boats finished the race, the third taking almost two days to do it.

Lora Ann, one of only three boats to complete the grueling race this year, held over Labor Day weekend, was sailed by Rich du Moulin, commodore of the Storm Trysail Club. The Express 37 endured winds of 45 knots and seas up to 12 feet in Block Island Sound.

When the boat called into race headquarters Saturday, du Moulin reported challenging conditions while sailing under a storm jib and double reefed main.

“We’re all pretty wet out here and working hard,” he said

The other two boats to complete the 238-mile race were Snow Lion, the Ker IRC 50 owned by Lawrence Huntington of the New York Yacht Club, and Blue Yankee, the Reichel/Pugh 66 sailed by Robert Towse of Stamford.

Blue Yankee took line honors, finishing at 5:40 p.m. Sept. 2, while Snow Lion finished at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 3.

The weather was the story of the weekend. Twenty-six boats started but all but three dropped out by noon on the second day, unable to continue in the easterly breezes. Steady winds of 30 knots were reported in the Sound the night of Sept. 1 with steep 6- to 8-foot seas from the east making the leg out to Buzzards Bay a rough one.