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Sail Scene NE Dec 06

Grueling conditions pare down Vineyard fleet

The 72nd running of the Vineyard Race, Sept. 1-4, may be in the history books but not much room is needed to detail the finishers. Three boats finished the race, the third taking almost two days to do it.

Lora Ann, one of only three boats to complete the grueling race this year, held over Labor Day weekend, was sailed by Rich du Moulin, commodore of the Storm Trysail Club. The Express 37 endured winds of 45 knots and seas up to 12 feet in Block Island Sound.

When the boat called into race headquarters on the second day of racing, du Moulin reported challenging conditions while sailing under a storm jib and double reefed main.

“We’re all pretty wet out here and working hard,” he said

The other two boats to complete the 238-mile race were Snow Lion, the Ker IRC 50 owned by Lawrence Huntington of the New York Yacht Club, and Blue Yankee, the Reichel Pugh 66 sailed by Robert Towse of Stamford.

Blue Yankee took line honors, finishing at 5:40 p.m. Sept. 2, while Snow Lion finished at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 3.

The weather was the story of the weekend. Twenty-six boats started but all but three dropped out by noon on the second day, unable to continue in the easterly breezes. Steady winds of 30 knots were reported in the Sound the night of Sept. 1 with steep 6- to 8-foot seas from the east making the leg out to Buzzards Bay a rough one.

Tornado sailor wins Hobie 16 NAs

Enrique Figueroa, with wife Carla Malatrasi, won his sixth Hobie 16 North American Championship in Narragansett, R.I. Figueroa is a professional Tornado sailor and part of a strong group of Hobie 16 sailors from Puerto Rico.

In a repeat of last year’s championship, Juan Maegli sailing with Enrique Arathoon finished the week in second. The young Guatemalan sailors are still eligible to compete in junior events. Maegli competes in high school sailing in the United States on the Portsmouth Abbey team.

Rounding out the top three was the former Olympic board sailor from Venezuela Yamil Saba sailing with Gonzalo Cendra. Americans Bob Merrick and Eliza Cleveland finished fifth.

Italian sailor Onorato breezes to Farr 40 title

Vincenzo Onorato finally won the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, Sept. 6 to 9, a title that has consistently eluded him since he first took part in 1999.

The first three days of the regatta, held in Newport, R.I., were light-wind affairs, but with the sea breeze blowing up to 18 knots on the final day, Onorato’s Mascalzone Latino team turned in a masterful performance.

“It was not easy,” admitted Onorato of Portoferrio, Italy. “The most difficult thing in this kind of racing is how we handle ourselves, because sometimes it is hard to stay confident. I have tried to win this for many years, and finally I have succeeded.”

Ichi Ban’s owner Matt Allen of Australia was delighted to have grabbed second overall. “We’re ecstatic; it’s a great result,” he said. “Vincenzo, Russell [Coutts] and the guys did a great job and never really opened the door for anyone. They sailed a great regatta and they deserved to win.”

Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad of Boston took third.

Onorato said the key to winning this week was to be cool and concentrated. He praised tactician Russell Coutts for keeping the crew calm and focused.

“Even if things went wrong, I was not upset. Before the last race, Russell told me, ‘This is the time to win [the] race.’ I said, ‘Can we?’ And he said, ‘Of course!’ And we won the race.”

The recently created Corinthian Trophy was presented to John Thomson of Port Washington, N.Y., and his team on Infinity for having the best performing team that declared itself in the Corinthian category. Basically, those teams have a maximum of two professional sailors on board and a reduced number of new sails in the calendar year. Corinthian Trophy competitors race with the rest of the fleet, and owners who register for the Corinthian Trophy are also eligible for winning overall event prizes.

The Service Academy Trophy was awarded to the top military academy crew on board Nimbus. Helmed by Pete Must, Nimbus was one of two teams representing the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.

N.A. champs crowned in 12 Meter class

A dozen 12 Meters competed off Newport, R.I., from Sept. 21 to 24 in the International 12 Metre Association’s 2006 North American Championships.

In two days of moderate to brisk breezes, six races were held. Racing on the third day was not to be, when the wind roared at 30 knots and the fleet — after a hopeful trip to the race course — was sent in by the Race Committee. A final stormy day mellowed enough for completion of another three races, which determined North American champions in four classes: Grand Prix, Modern, Classic Traditional and Classic Vintage.

Newport’s Clay Deutsch, the defending North American champion in Classic Traditional class, sailing Weatherly, said he could not have prevailed over American Eagle, steered by Tony Chiurco of Princeton, N.J., if only two races had been held on the final day.

“They would have beat us on a tiebreaker, if that had been the case,” said Deutsch. “In the third race we were basically match racing. We were nose to nose at the start and we poked out on them a little, then we squatted on them the rest of the race. They were very even with us in speed during the entire regatta, so we knew that the last race would be a true America’s Cup experience for us either way: we would go home the champs or the chumps.”

Weatherly edged out American Eagle by a single point.

In the Modern division, 2005 North American champion Courageous, owned by Craig Millard of Newport, R.I./Palm Beach, Fla., defended its title with Newport helmsman Jamie Hilton. Though the boat posted victories in all but one race, the competition was still close with the three other 12 Meters in its class.

“The way these 12s are,” said Courageous crewmember Jimmy Gubelmann of Newport, “certain ones thrive in different conditions. For this regatta, we actually thrived in heavy air, a little bit of light air and everything in between.”

The 12 Metre Class’s 2005 World Champion, and North American Champion in Grand Prix class, Edgar Cato of Charlotte, N.C., won the Grand Prix division aboard Hissar KZ 5, with Brad Read of Newport at the helm. The team won six of its nine races.

A host of America’s Cup veterans competed, including Bill Koch of Osterville, Mass./Palm Beach, Fla., who drove Kiwi Magic KZ 7 to third place in Grand Prix division behind Roger Wright’s Brazilian entry Wright on White KZ 3, steered by Lars Grael of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In addition to the North American titles at stake, The Museum of Yachting’s Ted Hood Perpetual Trophy was presented to the yachts with the best records for the 2006 season as determined by six American qualifying regattas. The winners were Onawa US 6, owned by Earl McMillen of Beaufort, S.C., and Chuck Parrish of Vineyard Haven, Mass., in Classic Vintage class; American Eagle in Classic Traditional; Freedom US 30, owned by Ernest Jacquet of Boston in Modern; and USA US 61, owned by Ralph Isham of New York in Grand Prix.

In other news, the International 12 Metre Association launched its 12 Metre Yacht Club with the commissioning of the club’s first station in Newport, R.I. The commissioning took place Sept. 20, to coincide with the start of 2006 North American Championships.

The Newport Station for the 12YC will be officially located at the Clarke Cooke House, on one of Newport’s most famous wharves: Bannister’s. Named as the Station’s “Steward” is America’s Cup legend Gary Jobson of Annapolis, Md.

Sailors tested during lumpy Larchmont NOOD

With a marginal northerly drifting across Western Long Island Sound for the second day of the Lands’ End Larchmont NOOD Regatta, Sept. 8 and 9, it was impossible to predict what would happen on either of the two racecourses set up by the Larchmont Yacht Club race committee.

Complicating conditions was a strong southbound current tearing down the Sound, which created one entertaining starting sequence after another — boats port-tacking entire fleets while others struggled to get upwind to the line.

In the Express 37 class, the first to start the day, Mort Weintraub’s Troubador, claimed the pin, tacked immediately to port, and crossed the fleet with ease. Troubador appeared to be running away with the race halfway up the first beat, but Adam Loory’s Soulmate, from the Bronx, N.Y., the series leader going into the race, took a few sterns to get to the right side of the racecourse and put his team right back in the race.

Soulmate managed to claw back to third, Afterglow finished sixth, giving the Bronx-based Express 37 a six-point margin and ultimately the Express 37 East Coast Championship title. Proof of the tricky conditions, Troubador could only muster a fourth from its brilliant start.

Following the Express 37s were the J/109s, and only half the fleet got away when the starting gun went off, and here too was a bit of stern ducking among the leaders to get to the right. Adrien Begley’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, from Atlantic Highlands, N.J., got away clean to finish the race with a third, beating Steve Furnary’s Patriot across the line and holding onto its overall lead.

The division win earned Begley and his New Jersey-based crew the Lands’ End Larchmont NOOD Overall Trophy, which entitles them a slot at the Caribbean NOOD Regatta Championship in the British Virgin Islands in November, which will be sailed in Beneteau 393s.

In the Farr 395 division, John Aras’ Tsunami, from Rockville Md., won the day’s only race, but Roger Wagner’s Endurance, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., wasn’t far behind; second was enough for Wagner to retain his lead. Roy Halverson’s Crossbow, from Tenafly, N.J., chalked up another win, to complete its sweep in the Beneteau 36.7 division before the wind shut down.

On the regatta’s other circle, the race committee managed to knock off two races, and there was just enough wind to tempt them into a third. But John McArthur, the skipper of the J/30 Smile who’d been battling with Stephen Buzbee’s Blue Meanie in every race of the series, wanted no such thing.

“I was nervous that there was going to be another race,” says McArthur, from Stratford, Conn., whose team won the first and finished second in the next, leaving only one point to spare with Blue Meanie. “I was perfectly happy when I saw the Melges 24s starting to motor in. It was a big lumpy day where you had to keep the bow down; I’m lucky to have a lot of crew that doesn’t mind sitting below all day.”

Arthur Kelley, the skipper of the Frers 33 Brilliant, was also happy to see the race committee pull the plug after two races. With a 2-2 on the day, they’d slipped into first when the morning’s leader, David Nebaur’s Wolverine was called over early and had to restart the second race, managing only a fifth.

There were upsets in the 14-boat Shields and 17-boat J/105 divisions. In the Shields Vincent Monte-Sano and Rob Dailey, from Larchmont, won both races to bump Fred Werblow from the top of the standings. The two teams had been trading firsts and seconds throughout the weekend, but Monte-Sano and Daily owned the day. And in the 105s, Kevin Granger’s Cyan, From New York snatched the overall lead in the final race with a second, capitalizing on the mistakes of the morning’s class leader, Damien Emery’s Eclipse, which coughed up its lead with a 13th in the final race.

Simon Strauss’s Team Gill, from New York was one of two teams to win all of its races — the other was Halverson’s Crossbow — and in doing so, Strauss won the Melges 24 Northeast District Championship.

Sailor makes history atU.S. championship

Scott Young of Austin, Texas, knows a thing or two about competing in and winning a U.S. Sailing National Championship; he has done it many times before.

Young won his fifth U.S. Men’s Championship title, a feat no other sailor has accomplished before in the event’s 54-year history. This is the third time Young won the event as a skipper and he also won it twice as crew.

“I’m so excited,” said Young after getting off the water. “I’m not sure yet where I’m going to put the [Mallory Cup] trophy this time.”

With several past winners in the fleet, this wasn’t an easy regatta win for Young and his crew John Morran and Douglas Kern, all from Austin, Texas. What made it even more difficult for Young and his crew was that the team had never sailed in Sonars before. Going into the final races, Young’s team was just three points ahead of the Louisiana team of David Bolyard Jr., Kurt Adler, and David Bolyard Sr. — a previous Mallory Cup winner — all from Mandeville, La. Just another four points behind was another past champion, Charles Quigley of host club Boston Yacht Club.

“We had a good start and managed to stay ahead,” said Young. “We tried to stay clean, out of trouble and sail consistently this regatta and that’s what we did.”

With 3-2 finishes in the final two races, Young managed to stay ahead of Bolyard, an 18-year-old sailor whose crew included his father, by six points overall. Behind Bolyard, Charles Quigley finished in third place overall with 44 points.

In addition to winning the U.S. Men’s Championship five times, Young won the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship in 1975 and the U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship in 1976.