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Sail Scene Jan 2007 Florida & the South

Consistency pays off for Tampa sailor

With just 10 points after five races at the U.S. Offshore Championship, sailed Oct. 5 to 8 at Long Beach (Calif.) Yacht Club on Catalina 37s, Robert Hobbs of Tampa, Fla. and his team from Davis Island Yacht Club won the regatta and the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy.

The victory marks the first time in the 21-year history of the championship that a team from Florida won the event. The team consisted of James Traun and Cory Thompson of Valrico, Fla., Mike Gable of Grasonville, Md., Alan Thompson of Lithia, Fla., and Josh Wilus and Cameron Salmon of Tampa, Fla.

The lead changed several times throughout the three-day regatta. Hobbs started the event with a fourth place, but managed to pick up the pace to finish the regatta with two race wins and two second-place finishes.

Washington, D.C., sailor Erik Wulff took his team to second place overall while the team from the state of Washington led by John Buchan finished third overall. Proving that local knowledge did not pay off at this year’s event, the highest-finishing Californian team, led by Claudia Wainer, finished fourth overall.

St. Pete YC hosts Rolex Osprey Cup

Newport, R.I. sailor Betsy Alison won the 2006 Rolex Osprey Cup — one of only two ISAF Grade 1 women’s match racing events in the United States — held Oct. 18 to 22 at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Alison won the final round in three straight matches against Anna Tunnicliffe of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after an undefeated record in all of her semi-final and round-robin matches. Armed with trimmer Nancy Haberland of St. Louis, Mo., and bow crew Sarah Buckley of Chicago, and Amanda Callahan of Boston, Alison defeated Liz Baylis of San Rafael, Calif., in the semi-finals. In the other semi-final match, Tunnicliffe knocked out Claire Leroy of Nantes, France. Leroy went on to defeat Baylis 2-1 in the round to decide third and fourth place.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the team I had,” says Alison, who with Haberland has won the Rolex Osprey Cup a record four times in its 10-year history.

The four-day regatta never saw more than 10 knots of wind, the first three days each postponed slightly while the St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s race committee waited for suitable conditions. In the end only the semi-finals were shortened from “first to win three” to “first to win two” matches due to the conditions and time constraints.

Tunnicliffe has been concentrating on maintaining her world No. 1 ranking in the Olympic class Laser Radial, picking up two fourth-place finishes at the Laser Radial World Championship and the Beijing International Regatta, the pre-Olympic test event. Tunnicliffe’s crew included Liz Bower, Genoa Griffin and Ali Sharpe.

Perry wins second match racing championship

Dave Perry’s win came down the final race on the final day of the U.S. Match Racing Championship hosted Oct. 4 to 7 by the Fort Worth (Texas) Boat Club.

A face-off between the Pequot Yacht Club team led by Perry and the King Harbor Yacht Club team led by defending champion Brian Angel went to the max, as the best-of-five series went to 2-2.

In the deciding race Perry and his crew, Terry Flynn and Chris Museler, came out ahead of Angel and his crew, Michael Delanty and Payson Infelise, to take home the title. This marked Perry’s second U.S. Match Racing Championship title, after previously winning it in 1982 for the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club.

The Petit Final, the battle for third place, turned out to be just as exciting as the competitors went to the best-of-three limit. The Bayview Yacht Club team led by Nathan Hollerbach, who won the Championship just three years ago, edged out over Benz Faget’s team representing Southern Yacht Club.

Pepper and Williams win Star Worlds

In a classic nail-biting finish where one small wave would have made a difference to the points standing between those fighting to take home a gold star, New Zealand won its first Star World Championship, hosted Oct. 1 to 6 by San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club.

The trophy went to skipper Hamish Pepper and crew Carl Williams, with 19 points on the board. Brazilians Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada took second place, while defending champions Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau of France took third. Americans Andy Horton and Brad Nichol took fourth.

For a country that hasn’t won a world championship in an Olympic class since 2002, the win was a huge victory for New Zealand. Dockside, the Blue Angels buzzing the club overhead with ceremonious good timing, an ecstatic Pepper said, “We’re absolutely excited. It’s fantastic! It’s been our week and we’re fortunate that it’s the world champs.”

Olympic pre-trials boast familiar names

Race organizers and athletes were put to the test at US Sailing’s Olympic and Paralympic Pre-Trials held in Newport, R.I., and San Diego.

The events are considered test events for race organizers to prepare for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Trials at the same time next year, and for athletes to get accustomed to local conditions, race areas and facilities. The winners include some familiar as well as new faces, ranging from Athens silver medalists John Lovell and Charlie Ogletree winning the Tornado pre-trials, to Mark Lewis and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker winning the new Paralympic class SKUD-18 in the pre-trials.

From Oct. 13 to 15 The Rhode Island Sailing Foundation — supported by Sail Newport, New York Yacht Club, and Ida Lewis Yacht Club — hosted the US Sailing Pre-Trials in the Laser and Laser Radial, as well as the Paralympic classes 2.4mR, SKUD-18, and Sonar. Meanwhile, in California, San Diego Yacht Club hosted the pre-trials in the Tornado class.

Andrew Campbell of San Diego won the Laser event after narrowly finishing ahead of Brad Funk of Plantation, Fla. In the Laser Radial class, a tight battle between Anna Tunnicliffe of Plantation, Fla., and Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., ended in Tunnicliffe taking the title when Railey got disqualified in the final race. In the 2.4mR class, Athens silver medalist Tom Brown of Northeast Harbor, Maine, dominated the fleet with five wins in the seven-race series. In SKUD-18 class, despite an attempt for a comeback by Karen Mitchell of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Michael Grimm of Miami Beach, Fla., Mark Lewis of Hingham, Mass., and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker of Marblehead, Mass., managed to hold onto their lead to win the event. In the Sonar class, Rick Doerr of Clifton, N.J., sailing with Timothy Angle of Somerville, Mass., and Bill Donahue of Brick, N.J., dominated the Sonar fleet with six wins in seven races. In the Tornado fleet, Athens silver medalists John Lovell of New Orleans and Charlie Ogletree of Kemah, Texas, won five races in their seven-race series.