Sail Scene Jan 2007 New England

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Alison sweeps to Rolex Osprey Cup win

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 semifinal 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 semifinals. In the other semifinal 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 semifinals 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.

Collegiate sailors duel on LIS

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.

N.E. weather keeps Frostbiters on their toes

The Mystic River Yacht Club’s Frostbite racing series had to be cancelled the weekend before Halloween due to gale-force winds, but the following week proved to be a fine fall day for sailing. The breeze clocked out of the southwest right on cue at 1 p.m. for a perfect start in 10 knots of breeze. Mild temperatures made for ideal conditions for the 10 boats that competed Nov. 5.

Claiming the top spots and the trophies, in third place, Woody and Ann Bergendahl from Ram Island Yacht Club in Noank, Conn. In second place, traveling from East Greenwich, R.I., was Ted Corning sailing with his son, Andrew, hailing from the Conanicut Yacht Club. In first place for the first time were Michael and Kim Payne, also from Ram Island YC, with three firsts.

The Fall Series wraps up Dec. 10. www.mysticriveryachtclub.com

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.