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Sail Scene – October 2006

NYYC Race Week duels go down to the wire

For the more than 700 sailors who competed at New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport, held July 15-23 off Newport, R.I., the final races were an ideal ending to a perfect regatta.

A variety of boats, nationalities and sailors were represented across seven one-design classes, where North American championships were determined in the Beneteau First 36.7, Farr 40 and J/109 classes. The three winning skippers each received a Rolex Steel Submariner timepiece: Takashi Okura of Japan in the Farr 40 class; Tom D’Albora of East Greenwich, R.I., in the Beneteau 36.7 class; and Jon Halbert of Dallas, in the J/109 class.

Tom D’Albora credited his crew of many years on the Coconut team.

“Most of us have been sailing together for the past 15 years,” he said. “We had the best time this week. Clearly, when you’re winning it’s great.”

D’Albora said a third place in the last day’s first race gave him confidence to build a cushion against second-place Seaweed, owned by Don Finkle of Youngstown, N.Y.

“We had a very aggressive starting situation in the second race, but we won the start and then won every mark rounding,” he said. “Everything clicked for us and it gave us a real mental edge. Also it helped not to be sailing in the ocean. We’re used to sailing in flat water, and we were only an hour and 20 minutes from our home yacht club.”

The newly named Farr 395 North American champion, Roger Wagner of Upper Saddle River, N.J., echoed the theme of the week: consistency.

“The crew was working like a team,” he said. “The sail changes, the spinnaker jibes were all really good. Yesterday was sort of a rough day out there and our tactics were spot on, and today was a shifty day and they were spot on.”

In the J/109 class, a protest in the last race caused a delay in deciding the class’ inaugural North American champion. In the end it was John Halbert’s Vitesse of Dallas, that won. Vitesse’s victory in the final race of the series, combined with the disqualification of Gut Feeling, the previous day’s leader, added enough points to Halbert’s score to give him the win. Relentless, owned by Al Minella of Greenwich, Conn., was second and Gut Feeling, owned by Ted Herlihy of South Dartmouth, Mass., wound up third.

Another inaugural championship was the Melges 32 National Championship. Jeff Ecklund of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., won aboard Star.

“It’s great being the first Melges 32 national champion,” he said. “The class is great and it’s a growing class full of really good sailors.”

Tom Coates left few surprised by holding onto his lead in the J/105 class. With a third and a first place on the final day, he ended with 18 points over second-place Indefatigable, owned by Phil Lotz of New Canaan, Conn., with 30 points.

“It really went our way this week,” said Coates. “The scores aren’t really indicative of how tough it was out there; how rough it was sailing, and how really competitive the fleet was.”

Massimo Ferragamo of New York, N.Y., on Bellicosa won the Swan 45 class after narrowly edging out Andrew Fisher of Greenwich, Conn., on Bandit.

More than 160 boats competed in the fifth running of New York Yacht Club Race Week presented by Rolex. The biennial event hosted 66 entries in the four-day “first half,” devoted to IRC, PHRF, Classic Yacht and 12 Meter racing.

The midweek Around-the-Island Race was canceled for lack of wind.

Posting 11 points — the lowest possible score over 11 races — was Middletown, R.I.’s Tom Rich aboard his Peterson 42, Settler. He earned one point for every race he won, leaving nine others in his PHRF Class 5 behind him. That performance also earned him a Rolex watch for best overall performance in PHRF.

Nine classic 12 Meters duel again off Newport

American Eagle (US-21) and Wright on White (KZ-3) won the Museum of Yachting’s first Robert H. Tiedemann 12-Metre Regatta.

By all accounts, Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge’s inaugural U.S. event was an unparalleled success. Two days (July 29 and 30) of racing in Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay featured nine 12-meter yachts competing in typically variable New England weather conditions.

In the grand prix division, Roger Wright’s Wright on White (KZ-3) sailed to an easy victory after Ralph Isham’s USA (US-61) was forced to retire on Day 1 because of a lost rudder. Ernest Jacquet’s Freedom (US-30) edged out Gary Gregory’s Valiant (US-24) for honors in the modern division. Gleam (US-11) of the Tiedemann Collection, chartered by Carol Swift prevailed over Onawa (US-6) and Northern Light (US-14, another Tiedemann) in the vintage division.

In the traditional division, American Eagle, chartered by Jan Slee, had a perfect regatta with three bullets to win its division.

The regatta raised more than $20,000 for the Robert H. Tiedemann Restoration Fund at the Museum of Yachting.

Clipper Race wraps up with first Aussie victory

After more than 10 months of ocean racing and 35,000 miles of adventure, crossed the finish line first to win in the Clipper 2005-’06 Round the World Yacht Race. It was the first Australian boat in history to win an around-the-world yacht race.

The first-ever Australian entry in the Clipper Race, known as the Big Blue, left Holyhead, England, with a lead after finishing race 12 from Jersey in second place, they then continued at full speed and arrived across the final finish line at the mouth of the River Mersey.

“I feel sheer excitement and relief,” said watch leader Jamie Wheedon. “We set a goal early on to win this and it is a dream come true — not only to complete a circumnavigation but also to win the race.”

Celebrations seem to have started early on board the Clipper 68 with a traditional Aussie beer followed by champagne.

Durban Clipper, skippered by Craig Millar, finished Race 13 in third place, securing it second place overall, reflecting a consistently strong performance throughout the race. The only American entry, New York, finished a close third overall after a second-place finish in the final leg.

Each of the 10 new yachts competing in Clipper ’05-’06 was sponsored by a different international city. Other yachts represented Victoria (Canada), Liverpool, Glasgow, Jersey, Singapore, Cardiff and Qingdao (China).

Fine weather greets Regatta fleet

The 34th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta attracted 420 boats and 1200 sailors to the Beverly Yacht Club of Marion, Mass. August 4-6. The largest multi-class regatta is co-hosted by the Beverly Yacht Club and the Community Boating Center of New Bedford, Mass. The three-day competition began with a flat calm. With north winds at 5-10 knots by early afternoon every class got only one race in before the looming threat of a storm cell. The second day ran as scheduled and the third day allowed most classes at least one race.

Taylor Canfield, 17, of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, led the Club 420 class, the largest fleet of 119 boats with 11 points.

Other performances included: in the Orange Circle, Thomas Barrows winning the Division Laser Full with eight points, Scott Ferguson winning the Subdivision Masters with 13 points, and Brendan Faria winning Division Laser Radial with 21 points.

The winners of the Blue Circle included Joan Tiffany skippering her boat Cove Girl to win the Division Bull’s Eye with 10 points and Craig Thompson of URI, winner of Division: Vanguard 15 with 29 points.

Within the Red Circle, Michael Sudofsky skippering his boat Griz took first in the Div. J/24, while Ronald Noonan took first of the Division PHRF Cruising aboard his boat Wildflower. R. Baer aboard Grace won the Division Shields with four points.

The Yellow Circle’s winners included the boat Raptor of the Division J/109 with four points, Indefatigable of Division J/105 with six points, J. Woodhouse skippering Rumours of Division PHRFA with six points, Thomas Rich aboard Settler of Division PHRFB with four points, Dan Boyd skippering Wild Thing of Division PHRFC with six points, and the boat Triceraptops of Division PHRF Multihull with seven points.

Mark your calendar for next year’s 35th annual Buzzards Bay Regatta at the Community Boating Center of New Bedford, Mass., Aug. 3-5.

Trio from R.I. college captures Yngling gold

The U.S. crew of Salve Regina University sailing coach John Ingalls of Little Compton, R.I., and two of his collegiate sailing team members, won the gold medal at the 2006 Yngling World Championships in La Rochelle, France, held June 30-July 8.

Joining their coach were Salve Regina senior James Randall of Excelsior, Minn., and junior Michael Komar of Plymouth, Mass.

The crew claimed the world championship by besting a field of 41 teams in a series of 10 races during the week. A team from the Netherlands won the silver medal; a team from Denmark won the bronze.

Randall and Komar are co-captains of the Salve Regina sailing team. Ingalls, who lives in Little Compton, R.I., credits their victory to a team cohesion that developed during training before the world championship, and working together to finish building the boat they raced.

“Salve Regina should be a powerhouse in collegiate sailing, and here we are on top at the world level in this class,” Ingalls said.

Red Jacket regatta draws 40 young sailors to Maine

Atlantic Challenge’s Community Sailing Program hosted the third annual Rockland Red Jacket Youth Regatta July 23 on Maine’s Rockland Harbor.

Nearly 40 young sailors from five local sailing programs enjoyed an afternoon of light winds and friendly competition. Representatives of Atlantic Challenge, St. George Community Sailing, North Haven Casino Sailing, Camden Yacht Club, and Vinalhaven Island Sail participated.

“Despite grey skies, we had decent wind and spirits were high out on the water,” said Cullen Teel, AC’s waterfront program coordinator.

Competitors from the five clubs sailed four races in 8-foot dinghies called JY Club Trainers, and two-person 420s. The top three finishers in each fleet received trophies.

In JYs, Westy Ford, 16, of Newburyport, Mass., and St. George Sailing won, with Devon Gordon, 12, of Rockport, Maine, and Parker Lawson, 10, of Camden, Maine, both from Atlantic Challenge, taking second. Jack McGuire, 11, of Camden Yacht Club, finished third.

In 420s, Briggs Hupper, 11, of Groton, Conn., and Will Gibney, 15, of New York City, both representing St. George, won. The St. George team of Blair Southworth, 15, of Andover, N.H., and Alison Fritz, 12, of Washington D.C., and the Atlantic Challenge team of Mike Root, 15, of Rockland, Maine, and Christian Kirchner, 14, of Owls Head, Maine, finished second and third.

The Sportsmanship Award, selected by the racers, went to Sumner Fischer, 15, of Charlotte, Vt., representing North Haven Casino.

The regatta is named in honor of the Rockland-built clipper ship Red Jacket, launched in 1853 near the current location of Atlantic Challenge. Red Jacket set sailing records that stand to this day, and was widely known for her beautiful lines and craftsmanship.

Atlantic Challenge is an educational nonprofit organization that has been in existence for more than 30 years. It uses boatbuilding and seamanship as tools that “allow youth and adults to challenge themselves and explore their maritime history.”

Sisters make history with multihull victory

Two sisters from Biscayne Park, Fla., became the first all-female team to win the U.S. Youth Multihull Championship, held the weekend of July 15-16 at the Miami Yacht Club.

Sarah and Elizabeth Newberry established their position early with three wins on the first day of racing and never looked back. Skipper Sarah and her younger sibling had been practicing together for two weeks leading up to the event because they usually do not sail together.

After the Newberry sisters were presented with US Sailing’s Arthur J. Stevens Trophy at the award ceremony, the other competitors dunked the two champions in the yacht club pool.

The U.S. Youth Multihull Championship was a qualifier for the 2007 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Sailing Championship in Kingston, Canada, an event open to athletes who do not turn 19 in the year of the world championship. Because Sarah Newberry will be too old next year to compete in that event, Eric Raybon and Jason Bilow, both from Shrewsbury, N.J., qualify on the basis of their second-place finish in Miami.

Sam Ingham, who won last year and finished fourth this year, captured the Darline Hobock Sportsmanship Award. Last year, the Sportsmanship Award was presented to Sarah Newberry.

Pennsylvania-N.J. team wins double-handed title

Amanda Johnson of Berwyn, Pa., and Ellie O’Brien of Westfield, N.J., have won the U.S. Junior Women’s Double-handed Championship.

The two young sailors, who compete out of New Jersey, took the lead on the first day of racing and never gave it up. The competition, sailed in Club 420s, was hosted by Milwaukee Yacht Club, which was filling in for the Lake Pontchartrain Yacht Club in New Orleans, which is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

Johnson and O’Brien defeated 41 other teams. They finished 17 points ahead of the second-place team of Ann Haeger of Lake Forest, Ill., and Lindsey Kent of Thiensville, Wis. Emily Lambert of Cumberland Foreside, Maine, and Liv Gunnarsson of River Vale, N.J., finished third overall with 57 points.

Reversal of fortune favors France Bleu

Géry Trentesaux’s France Bleu came from behind to win the Rolex Commodores’ Cup 2006, held June 25-July 2 off England’s Isle of Wight, beating 12 other national teams in the process.

The Irish, led by Ireland Green, had been on top since the beginning of the week and appeared to have the event all but sewn up at the start of the final offshore race. But ultimately, Ireland was beaten at the post for the second consecutive time.

Ironically, France Bleu had been out of the running for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup after the event’s coastal race when all three of its boats were disqualified for sailing the wrong course. Following a hearing, the boats were reinstated and a strong showing in Friday’s inshore race had moved them up to fourth place, within 17.5 points of Ireland Green.

At the final points tally, France Bleu finished with an emphatic victory on 76 points to second-place Ireland Green’s 98.5. France Blanc pulled up to third on 115, following its two class wins in the offshore race. The top British team was GBR Red at 117.25.

Youth sailing champions determined in final race

At the 2006 U.S. Youth Sailing Championship, hosted June 22-29 by the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Michigan, it came down to the final race to determine a winner in three of the four classes raced.

Royce Weber of Surf City, N.J., won the Laser competition and earned himself a spot on the U.S. Youth World Team that will compete in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Weymouth, England, site of the 2012 Olympic Regatta.

Going into the final race, Weber was locked in a tie with Zeke Horowitz of Sarasota, Fla. When weather forced the final race to be abandoned, Weber won the tiebreaker to take home the Robert L. Johnstone III trophy.

Before the final race in the Laser Radial class, Teddy Himler of Manhasset, N.Y., and Colin Smith of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., were tied for first place, but it was settled with a tie-breaker because the final race had to be abandoned. Himler’s two first-place finishes in the series gave him top honors.

Meanwhile, in the highly competitive Club 420 fleet, 2005 U.S. Junior Women’s Double-handed champions Rebecca Dellenbaugh of Easton, Conn., and Leigh Hammel of Warren, Vt., had only one point separating them from Taylor Canfield and Nathan Rosenberg, both from St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

In a thrilling final race, it was Dellenbaugh and Hammel who finished a consistent second and won the entire regatta and the Manton Scott Trophy. ForHammel, it was a second consecutive claim to that trophy. She won it last year with Rebecca Dellenbaugh’s younger sister Emily.

In the 29er class’ inaugural appearance, Chris Vetter and Kelsee Connon, both of St. Petersburg, Fla., took the initial lead and never let it go. With five wins out of eight races, the two demonstrated that their experience in the Club 420 allowed them to do well in the 29er, a boat they just recently started to sail