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Sailing – Mid-Atlanctic

Jobson to be nominated to lead US Sailing

US Sailing intends to nominate Gary Jobson of Annapolis, Md., as the organization’s next president. The group’s board of directors will elect the president at the annual general meeting Oct. 25 in Houston.

Gary Jobson

“US Sailing is a vital component of our sport,” says Jobson. “At this time in my life, I look forward to serving the sport that has been so good to me for so many years.”

The president serves for a one-year term and a maximum of three consecutive terms. Current US Sailing president Jim Capron, also of Annapolis, has led the organization since November 2006. Jobson, 58, is currently a member of the board of directors. He also has served on the Olympic sailing committee for 12 years.

“US Sailing needs a strong strategic thinker to be our leader and to look at our long-term goals,” says Janet C. Baxter, chairman of the nominating and governance committee. “As we see the impacts of a rough economy, Gary’s experience as a public speaker and fund-raiser could not come at a better time.”

A world-class sailor, television commentator and author, Jobson has served as an ambassador to the sport. He has authored 16 sailing books, including the first US Sailing Instructor’s Manual, and is editor-at-large of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines. Jobson was the television broadcast producer for the sailing competition at the 2008 Olympic Games on NBC. Jobson won the America’s Cup with Ted Turner in 1977, the infamous Fastnet Race, and many of the world’s ocean races. In 2003, Jobson was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. Jobson is also the national regatta chairman of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s sailing program, which has generated more than $28 million.

Jobson has been ESPN’s sailing commentator since 1985.

Disabled sailing event debuts in N.Y. in June

A new disabled sailing event, the Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta, will debut June 5-7 at American Yacht Club in Rye, N.Y.

“After running the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship last June, we learned that disabled sailors were seeking new venues to sail,” says Siobhan Reilly, Robie Pierce event chair.

The event has been named in honor of Pierce, a longtime advocate of disabled sailing. Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1985, Pierce was instrumental in creating the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, and played a key role in getting sailing as a medal event in the Paralympics. Pierce will be sailing in the inaugural regatta.

The new event will also be open to blind sailors.

All competitors will receive free use of the Ideal 18s for the regatta. The new event will provide the largest fleet of one designs sailing in the U.S. with disabled sailors and is one of very few events where the boats are supplied free of charge. The first year’s event will be capped at 25 boats and must be entered by resume. Resumes are due April 2.

The Robie Pierce One-Design Regatta will rotate among yacht clubs in western Long Island Sound, with Larchmont scheduled for 2010 and Riverside, host to this year’s U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships, hosting in 2011.

For information and entry forms, contact Siobhan Reilly at or Bill Sandberg at

Breakwater Club hosts Black Seal Regatta

The Breakwater Yacht Club of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was set to host the Black Seal Sprit Fest Regatta featuring two days of racing May 30-31 on Noyac Bay. The third annual regatta features class starts for J/80, J/105, J/109, J/120 and a PHRF Division for all other sprit boats.

For information and registration forms, see

Md. sailor wins Melges 32 class

The winners of all four classes at the Acura Miami Grand Prix went wire-to-wire at this year’s competition. Ran (IRC 1), Soozal (IRC 2), Nerone (Farr 40) and Bliksem (Melges 32) all led from start to finish despite tight competition in every class.

Pieter Taselaar, a Netherlands native who now lives in St. Inigoes, Md., won the Melges 32 class.

The fleet was made up of 42 boats from seven countries, but the Farr 40 was deemed to be the most competitive, earning Nerone the Acura Boat of the Week honor. The Italian entry won six of 10 races, an almost unheard-of achievement in the professional-laden Farr 40 class.

Pieter Taselaar and his crew aboard Bliksem drew serious consideration for Boat of the Week after putting forth an impressive performance in the tough Melges 32 class. Taselaar opened the regatta with three straight bullets and never looked back despite being pushed the whole way by Samba Pa Ti (John Kilroy, San Francisco) and Red (Joe Woods, Great Britain).

Jeremy Wilmot, a member of the intercollegiate dinghy team at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, called tactics on Bliksem. This marked the first Melges 32 class victory in seven attempts for Taselaar, a Netherlands native who now lives in St. Inigoes, Md. “We are extremely excited. We really focused on this regatta and put in a lot of effort. It is very rewarding to see all that preparation pay off,” Taselaar says.

Owner Dan Woolery and close friend Scott Easom spent a year gearing up to sail Soozal in the two winter regattas organized by Premiere Racing. The King 40, designed by Mark Mills and built by Summit Yachts, has proven a real rocket ship by capturing IRC 2 class at both Acura Key West 2009 and the Acura Miami Grand Prix.

Rolex championships end on a high note

The International Rolex Regatta, hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club for 36 years, this year saw more than 60 local and visiting teams from the United States and Europe.

Boston-based Privateer and Arethusa, racing out of New Canaan, Conn., met in the 'town race' on the second day.

In IRC class, Jim Mitchell’s RP52 Vincitore turned in two more seemingly effortless victories, adding them to three others in a six-race score line. The boat posted bullets in two “town” races that put both tourists and islanders into stop-and-watch mode as the fleet made its way from the club to the harbor of Charlotte Amalie and back. The final course played more to an audience of offshore sea birds, but Vincitore impressed the rest of the class by legging out early and never letting up.

Phil and Wendy Lotz’s Swan 42 Arethusa from New Canaan, Conn./Newport, R.I., which posted a 3-3 final day, finished second overall on a tiebreaker with Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer from Boston. That left David Aisher’s Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXII from the United Kingdom in fourth, with Jim Muldoon’s Custom 72 Donnybrook from Washington finishing fifth.

Dave West of Tortola, BVI, who steered his Melges 32 Jurakan to victory in the CSA Spinnaker Racing class, says it was great to win a Rolex watch, especially after three previous attempts to win this regatta in the same boat.

Any of four boats could have won the CSA Spinnaker Racing/Cruising class going into the final day, but it was the regatta’s early leader, James Dobbs of Antigua, sailing his J/122 Lost Horizon, that pulled the rabbit out of the hat.

“We figured we had better than a 50 percent chance of winning,” says Dobbs, who before the race reviewed everything he and his crew did wrong to let them fall into second place behind Bruce MacNeil’s Morris 48 Barra from Lincoln, Mass.

“You gotta learn from your mistakes,” he said after winning his final two races and posting a winning total of 15 points to MacNeil’s 18.

In the CSA Non-Spinnaker class, Thomas Mullen’s J/120 Shamrock V of Campton, N.H. maintained its lead by finishing third in that class’s single race. Chris Schreiber of Christiansted, USVI sailed his Hobie 16 Auto-Manic to a second place to stay at the top of his class.

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the June 2009 issue.