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Sail Scene Mid Atlantic June 07

Soundings launches Bermuda Bound blog

Soundings has launched a new blog, Bermuda Bound, in which senior writer Doug Campbell will chronicle his first Bermuda One-Two Yacht Race.

Campbell is competing in the biennial Bermuda One-Two aboard his Westsail 32, Robin. The regular blog postings will follow his planning, preparation and ultimately his voyage. Readers can link to the blog from the magazine’s Web site, .

Campbell hopes his blog will serve two purposes: to open a window for those who have dreamed of doing the Bermuda One-Two — showing what is involved in making it to the starting line — and to invite others to share their own offshore experiences and advice. The single-handed leg from Newport, R.I., to St. George’s starts June 9. The double-handed leg back to Newport starts June 22.

Campbell is the winner of four Boating Writers International awards. Before coming to Soundings, he spent 25 years as a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, where his writing was nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes. He has been sailing for about 25 years, and is a founder and first president of the Delaware RiverSailingSchool in Edgewater Park, N.J., a charitable, non-profit, community-based sailing program.

Dramatic finish at Farr 40 North Americans

After nine grueling races over four days, the final race and final 20 feet of that race determined the winner of the Rolex Farr 40 North American Championship.

Two San Diegans, champions Steve and Fred Howe aboard Warpath, edged out French sailor Erik Maris’ Twins for the win.

Sixteen boats representing the United States and seven other countries competed March 8 to 11 on Biscayne Bay in the Acura Miami Grand Prix. With the class win, the father-and-son duo earned the Farr 40 class’ Baxter Trophy, the regatta’s overall Boat of the Week and a Rolex timepiece.

“This is a big win for us,” says Steve, who spends most of his time at the Warpath helm. “It was the culmination of our plan to keep chipping away over the past four years that we’ve been in the class. We were in the top six at the last three world championships, so we’ve always been knocking on the door, but not able to close it. With this regatta everything came together.”

After Acura Key West Race Week, Warpath needed to do something drastic. With a disappointing 14th place overall finish out of 17 boats, the team brought on a new tactician. Ian Williams, who spends most of his time on the match racing circuit maintaining his No. 2 world ranking, was an unknown for his fleet racing capabilities but quickly proved himself, according to Howe.

“Since it was our first time sailing together, there was a bit of uncertainty, but after speaking with other guys in the class, they spoke favorably of him and we decided to try him out. After our first day of practice, he was a perfect fit as far as personality and knowledge and skills.”

Twins led the fleet in points over the first three days. On the first day, Twins scored a 1-2 and was closely followed by Nerone, owned by past world champion Massimo Mezzaroma of Italy; and Norwegian Steam, owned by Eivind Astrup of Norway, both tied and gunning to the top slot. Warpath was in ninth place.

By the second day of racing Twins was still holding the lead, with Nerone a close second. However, Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi had moved into third place. Despite a 9-12 finish on Day 1, the America’s Cup holders picked up the program and collected a 4-2. Also, on the second day, Nanoq, owned by Prince Frederik of Denmark, won a race under the tactical eyes of Bouwe Bekking and jumped from eighth to fourth in the overall standings.

The third day of racing seemed to turn the tide of fortune for Warpath. Only five points separated the top five teams and Warpath was now in second place overall, finishing fourth in the day’s first race and then winning the next. By now the Californian boat had claimed two first places and looked poised to claim the championship.

Before starting the final day’s racing, the team on Warpath discussed their plan. “The last day was no different than the others,” says Howe. “Our plan was to go out and sail our races, with the objective of sailing the best race we could.”

With a second-place finish in the day’s first race, Warpath was now tied for first place with Twins. “Coming into the last race tied with Twins definitely put the pressure on us for the last race,” says Howe. “We did a good job of holding them off, but they managed to catch up on the last run. We probably beat them by only half a boat length.”