Sail Scene Long Island Sound March 2007

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Connecticut boat takes honors in Caribbean 1500

The 17th annual Caribbean 1500 drew a record of 74 boats from the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Taking line honors was Gill Smith’s Joy for All of Glastonbury, Conn. The Farr 50 sloop completed the 1,500-mile passage in 7 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes. Overall Handicap and Class 5 winner was Hi Yo Silver, a Pacific Seacraft 40 sailed by Ray Dionne, Baltimore, Md.

The record-size fleet of offshore sailboats gathered in Hampton, Va., for the rally to Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The fleet was headquartered at BluewaterYachtingCenter, where inspections, briefings and nightly parties preceded the departure. The group included 19 veterans and 55 first-time participants in boats ranging from 28 to 62 feet. Following a two-day weather delay, the boats set sail for Tortola in the British Virgin Islands on Nov. 7.

A foggy, light-air start turned to brisk winds following the Gulf Stream crossing, and was then followed by nearly two weeks of light shifty winds with more than its share of southeasterlies. Fuel management was an issue for nearly everyone and the radio chats often revealed the fickle nature of the winds with boats near each other reporting winds of widely differing strength and directions.

The professional weather routers at Commanders’ Weather issued a forecast each morning throughout the trip and daily positions were reported on the events Web site. All received a warm welcome at Village Cay Marina in Road Town, Tortola, where Mount Gay Rum hosted nightly awards parties for the sailors.

A return rally, the Atlantic Cup is planned for May 3 and a rally to Bermuda will take place June 20. For information on future rallies and seminars, visit www.carib1500.com.

Northeast sailors among Athletes of the Year

US Sailing selected five athletes as sailing’s 2006 U.S. Olympic Committee Athletes of the Year for outstanding performance and achievement.

Star sailor Mark Mendelblatt of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey of Clearwater, Fla., were named SportsMan and SportsWoman of the Year, respectively. The Star team of Andy Horton of Newport, R.I., and Brad Nichol of Lake Sunapee, N.H., is the Team of the Year; and Sonar sailor Rick Doerr of Clifton, N.J., is the Paralympic of the Year.

US Sailing also nominated these sailors to the USOC for consideration for the overall USOC Athletes of the Year Awards. The USOC will select the award winners from the Athletes of the Year recognized by each Olympic sport’s national governing body.

Mendelblatt burst into Olympic contention this year after winning a gold medal with crew Mark Strube in a 93-boat fleet at the 2006 Star European Championship, part of Rolex Baltic Week in Neustadt, Germany. They scored three consecutive bullets in the first three races and finished with only 10 points. Mendelblatt and Strube won another gold medal in a fleet of 49 Star boats at Kiel Week in Kiel, Germany and finished second in a 70-boat fleet at the Star Eastern Hemisphere Championships in Naples, Italy.

At age 19, Railey has celebrated an impressive string of victories this year, including a gold medal in a fleet of 34 boats at the Qingdao International Regatta, the first of two Olympic test events in China. Railey also won gold medals at the Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyères, France, and at the ISAF World Sailing Games in Austria. At the Laser Radial North American Championship in Florida, Railey won the 18-boat fleet by 33 points after finishing with a perfect 9-point score. Railey also won the gold medal in a fleet of 94 boats at the Laser Midwinters East Regatta in Florida. In addition, Railey won silver medals at U.S. Sailing’s Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and Olympic Pre-Trials in Newport, R.I.

Ranked number one on the U.S. Sailing Team in the Star class, Horton and Nichol have consistently achieved podium finishes in 2006. They dominated the Star class and won a gold medal at the Qingdao International Regatta. They also won a silver medal in a fleet of 67 Star boats at US Sailing’s Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and a bronze in a 93-boat fleet at the 2006 Star European Championship. The team came in fourth place in a fleet of 66 boats at the Star World Championship in San Francisco, Calif., and fourth place in a fleet of 14 boats at the Holland Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands. They also came in eighth place in an aggressive 80-boat fleet at the Star North American Championship in Miami.

Ranked No. 1 in the Sonar class on the U.S. Disabled Sailing Team, skipper Rick Doerr has had strong results in both Disabled and Open events with a variety of crew in 2006. At US Sailing’s Paralympic Pre-Trials in Newport, R.I., Doerr, along with crew Timothy Angle and Bill Donahue, dominated the four-boat Sonar fleet with six wins in seven races. Doerr, with crew Angle and Donahue, again secured the gold medal among strong international Paralympic contenders at the Clagett Regatta in Newport, R.I., after winning four bullets in five races among an eight-boat fleet. At the America’s Disabled-Open Midwinter Regatta in St. Petersburg, Fla., Doerr dominated the seven-boat Sonar fleet and won the gold with Angle and Brian Tabler. Doerr continued his gold medal streak when he won — with crew Peter Wilson, Angle and Britt Hall — the Sonar Long Island Sound Championship, an Open regatta in Noroton, Conn., which attracted 21 boats.