Sail Scene - Mid-Atlantic

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Charleston-Bermuda winner comes out ahead

When the amazing, sometimes arduous, hours at sea finished, the Charleston to Bermuda Race ended with overall honors awarded to young Will Hanckel and his friends on board his father’s J/120 EmOcean.

The 777-mile race began on May 18 with eight tall ships and hundreds of spectators looking on, and ended with a convivial evening of awards at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club May 26, during which the final finisher — the Hylas 45 E’s Alee — was towed to the dock and met by all the other crews with rousing applause.

The Charleston-based EmOcean crew made their intentions known early in the proceedings as they were the second entry to set their kite at the start, and the first to round the race’s initial turning mark. Hanckel apparently sailed smartly and aggressively and remained in contention throughout the nearly five days it took them to reach Bermuda. Conditions ran the gamut from 25- to 30-knot northeasterly winds and confused, 10-foot seas, to light zephyrs and moderate swells.

Hanckel is no stranger to victory, but those trophies are usually associated with around-the-buoys contests, and until the last couple of years his wins were limited to events staged in one-design dinghies.

Sailing more than 95 percent of the race on port tack, Team EmOcean finished in 4 days, 21 hours, 43 minutes, 32 seconds, giving them a corrected time of 4 days, 9 hours, 25 minutes, 16 seconds.

By comparison, Scott Jones’ Peterson 44 Lung Ta took almost a full day longer — 5 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes — which equated to a corrected time of 4 days, 11 hours, 39 minutes, 29 seconds. That was good enough for second overall honors.

Third overall was awarded to Kevin Hogan and crew sailing aboard his C&C 44 Kintaro. But Kintaro’s crew deserves special recognition for sailing the entire way from the finish down the tricky channel that rims Bermuda’s western shore right up to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in HamiltonHarbor, all of that in total darkness. www.charlestontobermuda.com

U.S. sailors win duel off Annapolis

After Sally Barkow (USA) and crew dominated most of the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup regatta, held May 30 to June 2 off Annapolis, Claire Leroy (FR) came roaring back in the semis, setting up a USA vs. France event.

Liz Baylis (USA) ended up third going in with a 13-5 score against Christelle Philippe (FR) in fourth place with 11-7 going into the final four.

Barkow had an outstanding performance going into the round robin portion of the competition with 17 wins to only one loss, but that was against Leroy, who had posted a perfect score with an exciting last-minute spinnaker douse to a 360 penalty turn at the last finish ahead of Barkow.

Then in the first race of the semi-finals, Philippe beat Barkow in a fading breeze to make them rethink their performance and tactics for the final day of racing.

“We definitely got a little slack toward the end of Friday. It was a long day on the water and we were happy about winning the round robin and I think we let up a little,” Barkow said.

Barkow’s team came out the next day gunning and nailed their semi’s best-of-three with a score of 3 to 1 over Philippe and went against Leroy, who had beaten Baylis to qualify in the finals 3-1 also.

In the finals Barkow came out on top 3-1 again and cinched the win and join the ranks of Dawn Riley and Marie Bjorling as the only three to have won the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup twice.

The racing conditions were perfect each day. The predicted last-day thunderstorms held off until after the races were done and competitors were back on shore for the awards ceremony. A recap of the final results of the round robin, semi finals and the finals, plus photos and commentary can be found on the BoatU.S. Santa Maria Cup Web site at www.santamariacup.org .

Maryland school wins intercollegiate nationals

St. Mary’s College of Maryland won their second Intercollegiate Sailing Association national championship in less than a week May 29 at the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship.

Just days before, the Lady Seahawks dominated the racing to win the ICSA Women’s National Championship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., before the action relocated to Annapolis where the U.S. Naval Academy hosted the team race championship.

This is the fourth ICSA Team Race National Championship (2004, 2000, 1999) won by the Seahawks.

Skipper and crew on the water for St. Mary’s were juniors John Loe of Baton Rouge, La., with Meredith Nordhem of Chicago; freshman Jesse Kirkland of Warwick, Bermuda, with graduating senior Hilary Wiech of St. Michael’s, Md.; and graduating senior John Howell of Galesville, Md., with junior Maggie Lumkes of River Forest, Ill.

Yale, Hobart and Harvard finished out the final four in the team race national championship standings.

The College of Charleston, champions in 2006, finished second overall with 176 points — 110 points from their A-Division team of sophomore skipper Andrea Savage of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., with crew junior Danielle Neri of Newport, R.I., and freshman Rebecca Bestoso of Erie, Pa., and 66 points from B-Division freshman skipper Allie Blecher of Fullerton, Calif., and crew freshman Christina Murray of Annapolis, Md., and junior Julia Southworth of Marion, Mass.

StanfordUniversity finished third overall with 204 points, followed by the U.S. Naval Academy with 216 points.