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Sail Scene Jan 2007 Long Island Sound

Collegiate sailors duel on Long Island Sound

A record 240 college sailors participated in the Storm Trysail Club’s Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta at the Larchmont Yacht Club over Columbus Day weekend.

STC organizes the regatta to introduce college dinghy sailors to the teamwork of big-boat racing and give college sailors who specialize in big-boat racing a venue at which to participate. Thirty-three boats raced in four one-design divisions, making the racing extremely close.

“The quality of the fleet was amazing,” said regatta chair Adam Loory. “The owners who loaned their boats and participated understand that donating their time and boats to the new generation of sailors is important to the sport.”

St. Mary’s College of Maryland won the six-boat J/44 division. Webb Institute won the eight-boat J/109 division and Georgetown took honors in the Level 72 division. California Maritime won the competitive 12-boat J/105 division. California Maritime also crushed the record for the school traveling the farthest to attend the regatta.

The first two races — four-leg windward-leeward races — were sailed in 20-25 knots of breeze, and the fleet was limited to No. 3 genoas and no spinnakers.

“For the most part, the college teams handled the boats well and had close finishes,” said Loory. “Crews on the sprit boats ‘winged-out’ their jibs by hand — something the dinghy teams were used to.”

The third race was sailed in a dying southeasterly that dropped from 15 knots to six by the time the last J/105 finished. After the big breeze on Saturday, Sunday dawned flat calm. The fleet drifted around for two hours, and the race committee gave up waiting for the wind and sent the fleet home for the awards ceremony.

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. They are great boats — an old design that have come through the years well and are challenging to sail. The people involved in the fleet are fantastic to be with and it’s a great atmosphere.”

Pepper is a relative newcomer to this fleet deep in talent and has only been sailing the Star since January. Williams has had a grand total of 35 days in the class, but with Australian David Giles coaching the team they’ve come a long way in a short time.