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Sail Scene Florida and the South May 2007

Floridian collects top sailing prize

Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) and Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.) took center stage during a special March luncheon in the model room of the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

The sailors were named US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, the country’s most prestigious honor in the sport. Both were recognized for outstanding on-the-water performances during the 2006 calendar year and presented with engraved Rolex timepieces.

Smith was recognized for his victories at several Etchells regattas, including the World Championship, as well as for his wins in several other classes. In addition to the Etchells Worlds, Smith won the class’ North American Championship, Lands’ End Annapolis NOOD Regatta, Florida State Championship and Acura Miami Race Week. Proving his versatility on other boats, Smith also won the Rhodes 19 National and East Coast Championships. He also crewed on the class winners at the Rolex Big Boat Series, the Lands’ End Chicago NOOD Regatta and the Verve Cup.

“Winning this award feels different than I expected,” said Smith. “I’ve always thought that the sailors who have won the award in the past had reached the pinnacle in their careers. I don’t feel I’ve reached my ultimate goal yet; I still have time before I ‘arrive.’ ”

Railey, at 19 the youngest woman ever to receive the Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award, was recognized for her accomplishments on foreign waters. Among the US Sailing Team members’ victories were the Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France; the ISAF World Sailing Games in Neusiedl, Austria; and the Good Luck Beijing-2006 Qingdao International Regatta, the first test event in China at the venue of the 2008 Olympic Regatta. At home, Railey also triumphed at the Laser Radial North American and Midwinter East Championships.

“It feels really fantastic to win this,” said Railey, who won the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award last fall and hopes to represent the USA at the 2008 Olympic Games. “It’s so nice to come home and receive this award from the U.S. sailing community, and I look forward to continuing on this path.”

A video podcast from the awards luncheon, produced by emcee Gary Jobson, is available at .

Crews tested in Montego Bay Race

The 811-mile Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race saw heavy winds and stiff competition among 20 boats competing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Bob Towse’s Reichel/Pugh 66 Blue Yankee of Stamford, Conn., won the seven-boat IRC Class A, while Michael Brennan’s Reichel/Pugh 45 Sjambok of Annapolis, Md., won the seven-boat IRC Class B and took home the Silver Seahorse Trophy as top performing IRC boat in the fleet. Frank Kern’s J/120 Carinthia of Detroit, Mich., which won the seven-boat PHRF class, also had the best overall performance for PHRF to win the Silver Pineapple Cup Perpetual.

Competitors ranged from the 81-foot Bon Bon to the 30-foot The Cone of Silence. In heavy winds, the yacht Captivity, a Langan 78 owned by Samuel Byrne of Hamilton, Mass., was dismasted in the first hours of the race. The crew reported no injuries but had to put in to GuantanamoBay.

True to its form for the past two years, the event delivered a thrilling sleigh ride through the Bahamas and the Windward Passage to Jamaica.

“It was the perfect weather for our sort of boat,” says Brennan, who debuted Sjambok — his third boat with that name — at Key West Race Week in January. “It was a windy reach out of Fort Lauderdale, and then the wind died, which was when we were working harder than any other time, going 12 to 14 hours under 10 knots. But by Saturday night, it picked up again, making for a great run down to Cuba. The eastern end of Cuba was breezy, with water over the deck: a wild sleigh ride in 40 knots.”

By 6 p.m. Feb. 19, eight boats had crossed the finish line in what was perhaps the most exciting finish the race has ever seen. In a rare sight, six spinnakers appeared over the horizon and approached the finish line in a close group. Titan 12, the course record holder from the 2005 race, took line honors — three days, 15 hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds, but behind her Bon Bon and Blue Yankee raced neck and neck in an attempt for second place. Bon Bon won the battle by a mere 26 seconds and Harrier finished across the line only three minutes behind Blue Yankee.

The Storm Trysail, Lauderdale and Montego Bay Yacht Clubs jointly host the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race.

Marion to Bermuda notice of race posted

The Notice of Race for the 30th Anniversary Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race is now available at .

Monohulls in the biennial cruising yacht race start June 15 in Buzzards Bay near Marion, Mass. The cruising multihulls will start the following day.

In 2005 68 monohulls and 13 multihulls started the race. Race organizers expect more than 100 competitors in 2007. All yachts will be scored under the Offshore Racing Rule system, formerly AMERICAP II, and a class or classes will be scored with the IRC system.

Yachts choosing to sail with celestial navigation only will receive a favorable 2-percent rating credit to their corrected time. They will then compete alongside yachts using electronic navigation for overall prizes. The 2-percent rating credit reflects the statistical difference between celestial and electronic performance in the past three Marion to Bermuda Races.