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Sail Scene Long Island Sound April 2007

Tension and comebacks at Rolex Miami OCR

American sailors won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals at 2007 Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta, held Jan. 21 to 27 on South Florida’s Biscayne Bay.

It was a tooth-and-nail day in the finals on Biscayne Bay for medals in 11 Olympic classes. The sun shone brilliantly and the winds blew 8 to 10 knots, providing a perfect wrap-up for the competition, which hosted a record number of sailors — 855 from 49 countries. After five days of fleet racing, medalists were determined in three Paralympic classes. The top 10 overall finishers in the Olympic classes advanced to the single medal race, replicating the new Olympic format that will debut in Qingdao, China, in 2008.

49er sailors Morgan Larson of Capitola, Calif., and Pete Spaulding of Lafayette, Ind., were in bronze-medal position going into the finals and still made the top step of the podium for the gold.

In the Yngling class, playing the numbers game became critical in the battle for gold. Sally Barkow of Nashotah, Wis., who with Carrie Howe of Grosse Pointe, Mich., and Debbie Capozzi of Bayport, N.Y., won gold.

Paralympic sailors in the SKUD-18 class won the U.S.’s third gold medal. The SKUD-18 will make its debut at the 2008 Paralympic Games, where winners Scott Whitman of Brick, N.J., and Julia Dorsett of Boca Raton, Fla., hope to be. Another U.S. team, Karen Mitchell of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and JP Creignou of St. Petersburg, Fla., won the bronze.

In the 470 women’s event, Amanda Clark of Shelter Island, N.Y., and Sarah Mergenthaler of Aberdeen, N.J., finished ninth in the medal race to win the bronze medal.

In Sonars, the Rick Doerr of Clifton, N.J., Tim Angle of Marblehead, Mass., and Bill Donohue of Brick, N.J., won the silver medal.

Floridian gets record in run to Key West

Stars & Stripes, the Custom 60 multihull owned by Steve and Scott Liebel of Bradenton, Fla., broke the multihull race record in the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. Reporting maximum boat speed at 32 knots during the race, Stars & Stripes crossed the finish line with an elapsed time of 8 hours, 31 minutes, 4 seconds to take line honors, smashing the old record of 10 hours, 11 minutes established in 2005 by Zephyr.

The 160-nautical mile race, which began Jan. 10, was one of the fastest, with consistent wind of 20-plus knots the entire night. The overall IRC fleet winner, on corrected time, was Decision, the Reichel Pugh 52 owned by Stephen Murray Jr. of New Orleans, which also won the seven-boat IRC A class.

The overall winner in the PHRF fleet, Dreadnought, was one of two entries from the U.S. Naval Academy and skippered by Midshipman Tim Burchett of Annapolis, Md.

“It was a sled ride in perfect conditions for our boat,” Murray says of the quick sprint. “It was close reaching for a very short time, but most of the time it was pure running with a lot, a lot of pressure. We saw 20-25 knots for the most part, some 25-30, and a fair bit of sea, probably 6-foot seas and pretty square waves.”

Four boats retired early from the race due to damage: Cheekee Monkee, a Corsair 31 owned by Ron White/Bob Larsten of South Bend, Ind., which capsized about two miles after the start; Double O Seven, a Corsair owned by Lawrence Geller and Brian Broad of Lighthouse Point, Fla., which dismasted off Key Largo; Endorphine 3, owned by John and William Laughlin of Hollywood, Fla., which broke its rudder off Key Largo; and Caraluna, a C&C 9.9 owned by Cai Svenson of Key Biscayne, Fla., which broke its rudder off ofKey Largo. No injuries were reported on any of these boats. n

STAND ALONE PHOTO (box it) / credit: Jon Nash

3) SAILORS HONORED – The crew of ABN AMRO Two was selected by the Cruising Club of America to receive the 2006 Rod Stephens Trophy for Seamanship for skillfully carrying out the nighttime recovery of an overboard crewmember during the Volvo Ocean Race. The trophy was presented at the club’s annual Awards Dinner in New York Jan. 16. The perpetual trophy recognizes “an act of seamanship which significantly contributes to the safety of a yacht or one or more individuals at sea.”

Storm Trysail Club

joins the Pacific Cup

The Pacific Cup Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club announced they would collaborate in the planning and execution of the 2008 Pacific Cup, the 15th running of this biennial ocean classic.

The Pacific Cup, dubbed “The Fun Race to Hawaii,” runs from San Francisco to Hawaii every other summer. Since its inception in 1980, thousands have experienced the pre-race seminars and preparation, the 2,190-mile spectacular course to Oahu, and the post-race festivities at Kaneohe Yacht Club, which hosts the finish. Organizers expect that the alliance will take the race to a new standard of excellence.

“We’re thrilled to join in this race,” says Storm Trysail Club Commodore Richard du Moulin. “For many years we’ve hosted East Coast events like Block Island Race Week and the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race. This will be our West Coast debut.”

The Storm Trysail Club will participate in a number of areas, including expanded safety and preparation seminars, review of equipment requirements, and recruiting entrants and sponsors.

Since the first 40-boat starting fleet in 1980, hundreds of boats and thousands of sailors have crossed the Pacific in pursuit of the Pacific Cup trophy, awarded to the fastest passage on corrected time. In 2006 it was won by Lightning, an SC 52 skippered by Thomas Akin. The 2004 race saw the shattering of Pyewacket’s 1998 course record by Robert Miller’s 140-foot Mari Cha IV, completing the course in just over five days and five hours.

The 2008 Pacific Cup will start June 30, 2008. The race is open to double-handed and fully crewed sailboats over 24 feet, with no maximum size.