Sail Scene June 2006

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Connecticut boat wins big off St. Thomas

Giovanni Soldini won Around Alone’s second leg, while Mike Golding — the race leader leaving Cape Town, South Africa — pulled up short with hull and keel damage. Isabelle Autissier sorted out her own problems with broken gear to catch up to third and take the overall lead in the race.

Hundreds of sailors on 92 boats competed in the 33rd International Rolex Regatta that kicked off March 24. The three-day event, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club, was held on the blue waters of the Caribbean under color-matched skies, with winds cooperating perfectly.

From the first day, Martin Jacobson of Greenwich, Conn., led the Spinnaker Racing Cruising class in his Swan 44, Crescendo.

“It was just paradise,” says Jacobson. After the first day’s racing, his team aced three windward-leeward races in 12- to 16-knot breezes.

The next day’s races, held in even brisker breezes, gave the team a 4-1 to add to its score line. After a finish and restart just inside the harbor — in the shadows of large cruise ships and visiting super yachts — a reverse-direction race brought the fleet back home to the St. Thomas Yacht Club. On the last day, a distance race among the islands in Pillsbury Sound handed a fifth victory to Crescendo, which became the only entrant among 22 registered from the U.S. mainland to claim a class crown.

Danilo Salsi of Milan, Italy, also led right out of the gate. He steered his Swan 45 DSK, Comifin, to victory in Spinnaker Racing Class 1 and, like Jacobson, won all but one of his six races. Two other Swans, a 48-footer named Privateer, owned by Ron O’Hanley of Ipswich, Mass., and a 45-footer named Devocean, owned by Steve Devoe of Stamford, Conn., took second and third, respectively, in the class.

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Heineken Regatta attracts record fleet

While worldwide regatta entries are generally static or falling, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracted a record 253 boats (269 had registered) from 26 nations.

The numbers of bareboats — charter boats — was down this year by a few, but that drop was more than made up for by the increase in serious racing boats in seven spinnaker classes. In fact, for one race in Spinnaker 1, the biggest racing boats, the margin of Tom Hill’s Titan 12 over Roger Sturgeons, TP52, Rosebud, was one second.

Some outstanding performances include a number of clean sweeps in the bareboat class: Van der Valk Hotels in Bareboat 1, Gruppo Sportivo in Bareboat 2, Allegheny Gal in Bareboat 4 and Silver in Bareboat 5. Sunshine in Non-Spinnaker 2, Selene in Non-Spinnaker 3, Affinity in Spinnaker 4 and Lazy Dog in Spinnaker 5 also did the clean sweep bit, the spinnaker classes perhaps being the toughest trick to pull off as they had to sail four races to the bareboats’ two.

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US Sailing announces championship schedule

The 2006 schedule for Adult and Youth National Championships consists of 17 events that begin in March and continue through November. They will be hosted by different sailing organizations across the country and raced in a wide range of classes of boats. Continuing the event series’ tradition, many of the events are being raced in different classes of boats each year. Most of the events also provide advanced racing clinics for the competitors.

While some participants are selected by their sailing resume, the course for the majority of championships is either open or based on a ladder structure that begins at the local club level and progresses to regional finals before reaching the national championship. For information about US Sailing’s U.S. National Championships, visit www.ussailing.org/championships or contact Liz Walker at (401) 683-0800 or by e-mail at champion ships@ussailing.org .