The death of Richard (Dick) Oland, a man known for his dedication to community service, business savvy, skill as a world-class sailor and endless energy, leaves a gaping hole in the community, say friends and colleagues of the lifelong Saint John area resident.
At the Rothesay Yacht Club, where members had gathered for the weekly race night, Mcgregor Grant, a lifelong friend of Oland’s who grew up in the house next door, said he was “shocked” when he heard the news of his friend’s death.
“It just blows me away. I mean, I just saw him Tuesday night,” Grant said. “I said hi to him, and then 24 hours later he’s dead. I can’t believe it.”
Oland was found dead on Thursday at his uptown office, under what police are calling “suspicious” circumstances. The major crime unit of the Saint John Police Force is investigating, but no other details have been released.
Bruce Tennant, walking into the RYC clubhouse, was taken aback when he heard about Oland’s death.
“It’s just awful news,” he said. “It shakes me a little bit.”
Reminiscing about Oland, Tennant recalled fondly about how, when Oland and his wife, Connie, were first dating and in their early 20s, they would sail over to Long Island, where Tennant had property, and have picnics together, spending the afternoon on the beach.
“Years ago, I have a little property on the island, and when he was going out with Connie, dating, they’d come over and picnic and so on and visit on the island,” he said.
Besides his wife, Oland is survived by two daughters, a son and six grandchildren.
Grant, who sailed many times with Oland, said his friend was “larger than life,” a thought echoed by others who knew the man.
Clark Sancton, a frequent lunch companion of Oland’s at the Union Club on Germain Street, called the man he has known for more than 30 years “intense,” but “brilliant.”
“Always had his mind on what was good for the community and always worked for the community good,” said Sancton, president of the Sancton group of companies. “He’ll be sorely missed by the city.”
The 69-year-old Oland was the son of P.W. Oland, who owned Moosehead Breweries Ltd., the iconic New Brunswick institution that is now run by Dick’s brother, Derek.
As a boy he attended Rothesay Collegiate School before heading for the University of New Brunswick. Before graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1966, Oland spent his summers working in the family business and sailing on the Kennebecasis River, for which he developed a lifelong passion. After he finished at UNB, he joined Moosehead full-time and furthered his education in the family trade, studying brewing technology.
Putting his training to good use, Oland helped design and build one of the world’s most advanced and fastest beer-packaging lines for the Saint John brewery. He remained with Moosehead until 1981, when he left to pursue other business and community interests.
“I was just looking for opportunities, and if they weren’t present in the existing system, I had to leave. Moosehead was just a career option like any other,” Oland told the Financial Post in a 1992 interview.
In the ensuing years, Oland ran companies such as Brookville Manufacturing Company, Kingshurst Farms, Kingshurst Estates, Brookville Transport Limited, Brookville Carriers and most recently Far End Corporation. He accumulated decades of experience in manufacturing, transportation, sales, marketing, public relations, corporate development and executive management.
But it was his community work and tireless volunteerism that helped shape Saint John that will be best remembered.
“He has been a great promoter of the city of Saint John,” Mayor Ivan Court said. “He never gave up on the city.”
Court said Oland “loved” the city of Saint John and the surrounding communities and he called him a “do’er.”
As president of the 1985 Jeux Canada Games, Oland was instrumental in introducing Saint John to the rest of the country in the most successful edition of the national amateur sports competition ever.
Saint John’s moment in the sports spotlight was the first time in the history of the Games that one of these national sports festivals not only broke even but cleared a profit. A fund created with its $2-million surplus continues to support young athletes.
“He wanted to get things done,” Court said. “You need more people like Dick Oland.”
Among his other major accomplishments was his work at the New Brunswick Museum, where he became president of the board in 1991.
Under his leadership, the museum overcame credibility issues in the wake of the 1990 trashed artifacts scandal and expanded into its major gallery at Market Square.
Countless other causes were dear to Oland’s heart, including the Rothesay Pony Club, the United Way and the YMCA-YWCA.
Over the years, Oland was honoured with many awards, including Sport New Brunswick Executive of the Year and the Transportation Person of the Year. He was also an Officer of the Order of Canada and he received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, UNB.
While honours and awards were special, it was sailing glory that became his passion later in life.
Oland started sailing when he was nine years old, beginning on a smaller boats before graduating to larger keel boats and eventually ocean racing on his most recent boat, Vela Veloce.
In the new boat, built in New Zealand in 2008, Oland won his inaugural race, the annual Easter Ocean Race from Auckland to Tauranga.
Since then, Oland had raced along the East Coast of North America and in the Caribbean, winning major international competitions often as the only Canadian entry.
Gerry Hoeksema, a close friend of Oland’s, spent a great deal of time on the water with him.
“He loved sailing. Every time I talked to him, it was always about the boats and the sailing,” Hoeksema said. “To me, he was just a great guy and he was a good friend that did open up a lot of people’s eyes that sailed with us, to show us that there was so much more than what was just around here.”
“It’s going to leave a big hole. A lot of people are going to miss him.”
Topping off three days of sun-drenched racing in the International Rolex Regatta, over 700 sailors on 77 teams mixed it up today on Pillsbury Sound, completing distance courses that explored the cays and islands off St. Thomas, where the event has been hosted for 38 years by St. Thomas Yacht Club. Big guns, such as Boewe Bekking, Gavin Brady, Ed Baird, Steve Benjamin, Richard Clarke and Chris Larson were in abundance aboard the keelboats that competed, but it by no means took the calling cards of professional sailors to guarantee victory—or a good time—in the eight classes, which included two for IRC, four for CSA, and one each for IC 24s and Beach Cats.
“This has been one of the best groups of boats and sailors we’ve ever had,” said Regatta Director Bill Canfield. “Sailors came from around the globe, and each class had a good number of boats with impressive depth of competition.” Canfield explained that the largest keelboat competing was the 90-foot Genuine Risk, the recent Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race winner, with Hugo Stenbeck (SWE) steering, while the smallest were 24-footers. (Melges 24s sailed in a CSA Spinnaker class that was populated by sport boats, while IC 24s came in numbers large enough to earn their own One-Design circle.) Ages ranged from in the single digits to mid 70s, and included newcomers, returning veterans and everything in between.
With today’s two victories to add to an already perfect score line, Willem Wester’s (SUI) Grand Soleil 43 Antilope made an impressive showing in the nine-boat IRC 2 class, earning Wester a Rolex timepiece as prize. (Timepieces were also awarded to IRC 1 class, the top performer among CSA Spinnaker classes and IC 24 one-design class.)
“This was our first time to this part of the world,” said Wester, who has won Cowes Week the last two years aboard Antilope and sailed with a crew from Belgium and Holland that included veteran Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking, who called tactics, and Olympian Philippe Bergmans, who steered. “The whole atmosphere here was fantastic, with the Race Committee setting some wonderful courses; Bekking is a bit of a slave driver (laughs), but a nice one, and he raised the level of the team.”
Bekking gave credit to good starts, letting the crew do its work and keeping a cool head during the challenge of negotiating Friday’s “town races” to and from Charlotte Amalie; Saturday’s distance races skirting the south coast of St. John island; and today’s exceptionally intriguing “Pillsbury” courses set between St. Thomas and St. John. “I’d say by far, it is the best of the events I’ve sailed in the last couple of years,” said Bekking.
Antilope’s closest competitor, Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Club Swan 42 Arethusa, fell to third today with two fourth-place finishes, while James Hudleston’s (St. Petersburg, Fla.) Oceanis 44 Three Harkoms snagged second, just one point ahead, on merit of a 3-2 today.
For Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), being a seasoned professional didn’t take anything away from his experience here. The winning skipper from the 2007 America’s Cup (Alinghi) crewed aboard Richard Oland’s (New Brunswick, CAN) Southern Cross Vela Veloce while Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke steered. The team finished second in IRC 1 class, conceding to Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) TP52 Vesper/Team Moneypenny, which won all but one of six races.
“It’s the first time either Richard (Clarke) or I have raced here,” said Baird. “We’ve both sailed all over the world but never with so many islands and rocks in close proximity; it was challenging, not knowing what the wind would be doing around the next corner. “
Baird described the top-three boats in his class, all 52 footers, as “locked in battle” the whole regatta. “Vesper (with New Zealand’s America’s Cup veteran Gavin Brady replacing Jim Swartz on the helm today) had a speed advantage, especially upwind, so they could usually sneak out to a strong position and stay ahead, but we went back and fourth with Interlodge (Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s entry from Newport, R.I.)”
Vesper and Interlodge have both sailed this event before,” said Brady, “so when we’d gain a little near the shore, they’d come back at us, maybe using some local knowledge they had. We figured that by the end of the regatta, we’d be really ready for next year!”
Though their expectations in CSA Spinnaker 3 class were modest in the beginning,Timothy Molony’s (New Orleans, La.) Southern Yacht Club team aboard Wild at Heart proved unbeatable in the end. Only on day one were they not at the top of the scoreboard, but today was to still be a test with only two points separating them and Kike Gonzalez’s (San Juan, PR) J/80 Otrakosa, which wound up second overall.
“We won both of today’s races by exactly two minutes and 25 seconds, which is pretty remarkable,” said Molony, who counts this as his first time to race in the islands. “We ended up with one second and five firsts, while Otrakosa had one first and five seconds.” (Paul Davis’s St. Thomas entry Mag 7 took third overall.)
“We’ve all sailed together since we were kids, so it’s like a family quarrel when we call tactics,” joked Molony, who chartered Wild at Heart from a company in Germany “that took care of everything and perfectly prepared the boat.”
It was a young William Bailey (St. Thomas), skippering Team INTAC JV, who won the Rolex timepiece in the 16-boat IC 24 class. The high school senior, age 18, endured 17 around-the-buoys races that were reserved especially for this hotly contested one-design class and counted among his crew 2010 College Sailor of the Year (from Yale) Thomas Barrows, a fellow St. Thomian.
Before racing the last six races today, Bailey knew he had to stay in the top three as much as he could. A bad start in the first race buried him, but he calmly scratched back to win handily, then continued with a string of finishes that were fourth or better.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” said Bailey, who was duly impressed when he was told he’d be awarded the newest model of the Rolex Explorer, which accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on his famous ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953.
Second-place finisher, a full 24 points behind, was Fraito Lugo’s (Ponce, PR) Orion, followed by Chris Cuerreri’s (St. Thomas) Soggy Dollar BVI in third.
From day one, Mark Plaxton’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Team INTAC/CROWLEY established his lead in the six-boat CSA Spinnaker 1 class. After posting two victories today, he showed nothing higher than a second-place finish in his six-race score line, which also kept Andrea Scarabelli’s (St. Maarten, AHO) Melges 24 Budget Marine and David West’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Jurakan in second and third, respectively, for the entire event.
Plaxton was awarded the Rolex watch as the top performer among the CSA spinnaker classes and was philosophical about it. “I was a Junior A hockey player from Canada where I learned ‘stick on ice, head up and pass the puck.’ Basically, that means it’s not about the watch or winning, it’s about peace, love and boat speed and helping out the next generation.” (It is no coincidence that William Bailey’s winning IC 24 team of young sailors shared the same boat name.)
Things sorted out just fine today for Calvin Reed’s (Tampa, Fla.) Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra of Hamble, yesterday’s leader in CSA Spinnaker 2 class. With finish positions of 2-2 they fended off who they considered their #1 competition, Richard Wesslund’s (Miami, Fla.) J/120 El Ocaso, which slipped to third place overall after posting a 5-4 today. Rising from fourth place yesterday to second place, with a 1-3 today, was Jaimie Torres’s (San Juan, PR) Beneteau First 40 Smile and Wave.
In the 10-boat CSA Non-Spinnaker class, James Dobbs’ (Antigua) Lost Horizon turned in a 1-2 today to tie on point score (10) with Tony Sanpere’s (St. Croix, USVI) J/36 Cayennita Grande but win the class after tie-breaking rules were applied.
Lost Horizon was definitely the sleeper of the regatta, arriving with an incomplete crew and adding to it to finish third overall after the first day of racing. On the second day, the team managed to rise through the ranks to second overall behind Cayennita Grande then top them in the finale. Bernardo Gonzalez’s (Dorado, PR) Beneteau First 35s5 Bonne Chance, maintained its third from yesterday.
In Beach Cats, with nine boats competing, Jorge Ramos’s (San Juan, PR) Hobie 16 Universal had only to finish today’s two races to win his class’s five-race series. He not only finished the races but also won them both, just as he had won his two previous races—by huge margins. “We are happy that the fleet was bigger this year,” said Ramos, considered to be one of the top five cat sailors from his country. “There was some attention lost for a few years, but now we are hoping that the class will build again and this regatta will become a primary focus for us.” Giving Ramos a run for his money with a 2-2 today was last year’s winner John Holmberg (St. Thomas), also sailing a Hobie 16, Time Out, with his 12-year-old son Kai. In third was Teri McKenna’s (St. Thomas) Hobie 16 Island Girl.
The International Rolex Regatta, considered the “Crown Jewel” of the traditional spring Caribbean regattas, is the third of the four-part Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which also includes major regattas in St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Tortola. Sailors are treated to a mix of short-course and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae party at Yacht Haven Grande marina, which adds exotic flair to the activities.
The International Rolex Regatta has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.
A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the International Rolex Regatta. The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie.
International Rolex Regatta 2011
IC 24 (One Design – 16 Boats)
1. Team INTAC JV, IC 24, William Bailey , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 6, 3, 3, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 6, 2, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 51
2. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo , Ponce, PR, USA – 5, 2, 7, 2, 11, 8, 1, 2, 5, 3, 7, 3, 9, 4, 2, 3, 1, ; 75
3. Soggy Dollar BVI, IC 24, Chris Cuerreri , St. Thomas , USVI – 2, 8, 2, 12, 3, 4, 4, 7, 1, 12, 9, 4, 2, 1, 3, 2, 6, ; 82
CSA Spinnaker 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Team INTAC/CROWLEY, Melges 32, Mark Plaxton , Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, ; 9
2. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 3, 1, 4, 1, 2, 4, ; 15
3. Jurakan, Melges 32, David West , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, 1, 4, 4, 3, ; 17
CSA Spinnaker 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. Elandra of Hamble, Beneteau First 40.7, Calvin Reed , Tampa, FL, USA – 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, ; 12
2. Smile and Wave, Beneteau First 40, Jaime Torres , San Juan, PR, USA – 6, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, ; 17
3. El Ocaso, J 120, Richard Wesslund , Miami, FL, USA – 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 4, ; 19
CSA Spinnaker 3 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Wild At Heart, JOD 35, Timothy Molony , New Orleans, LA, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Otrakosa, J 80, Kike Gonzalez , San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, ; 11
3. Mag 7, J 27, Paul Davis , Charlotte amalie, VI, USA – 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 21
CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 10 Boats)
1. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs , Falmouth, ANT – 5, 1, 1, 1, 2, ; 10
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 2, 2, 2, 3, 1, ; 10
3. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35s5, Bernardo Gonzalez , Dorado, PR, USA – 1, 3, 3, 2, 3, ; 12
IRC 1 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, James Swartz , Park City, Utah, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross 52, Richard Oland , Saint John, NB, CAN – 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, ; 14
3. Interlodge, JV 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, ; 17
IRC 2 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Antilope, Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Three Harkoms, Oceanis 44, James Hudleston , St. petersburg, FL, USA – 2, 4, 2, 4, 3, 2, ; 17
3. Arethusa, Club Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 4, 4, ; 18
Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge L Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, ; 12
3. Island Girl, Hobie 16, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 5, 3, 5, 3, 3, ; 19
George David’s maxi yacht, Rambler 100, crossed the finish line in Antigua in the early hours of Wednesday morning in an elapsed time of 1 day 16 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.
Subject to official confirmation, Rambler 100 has broken the monohull race record set by race rival, Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard by nearly four hours.
Two of the world’s most impressive racing yachts have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The Rambler crew contained the entire compliment of the Puma Ocean Racing team which will be competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, tired but elated, Puma skipper, Kenny Read commented dockside in Antigua:
“That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while, you do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this, because there is no time to take any sleep, you’re taking so many corners and turns but it is also a gorgeous course, it’s a dream come true type of event. I am glad we came and that George invited me. Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St. Maarten, big breeze and massive breaking waves, it was huge fun and really cool, we came out of their doing 26 knots, it has been a real adventure and a this course and Rambler 100 is a whole new dimension for sailing.”
Rambler 100′s George David, an avid sailor and member of the New York Yacht Club, has been sailing with Kenny Read for 17 years.
“Rambler 100 is quite a handful, it’s like a Volvo 70 on steroids and this is a big fast race, which favours us,” commented David. “It is part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been a great race as part of that series. We never took this win for granted, we have carried out some optimisation towards the IRC rating and we really didn’t know how we would perform, as this is the first time that the boat has been raced to be IRC competitive. Leopard is a powerful boat and they are a good team that has been sailing together for a number of years.
Thank you to the RORC and the Antigua Yacht Club, a lot of people have put a great deal of effort into making this a great race, I think this race is going to attract a lot of competitors, we have a record fleet this year and I can only seeing it growing, I think we will be back next year.”
IRC Overall Provisional Results
1. USA25555 Rambler 100 JK 100 George David
2. CAN84248 Vela Veloce Southern Cross 52 Richard Oland
3. GBR115L Sojana Farr 115 Peter Harrison
4. AUS5299 Jazz Cookson 50 Chris Bull
5. GBR1R ICAP Leopard Farr 100 Mike Slade Mike Slade/Clarke Murphy
6. IRL5005 Lee Overlay Partners Cookson 50 Adrian Lee
7. GBR22N Aegir Carbon Ocean 82 Brian Benjamin
8. GBR4321R Oystercatcher XXVIII Humphreys 54 Richard Matthews
9. NED46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Ker 46 Piet Vroon
10. LTU1000 Ambersail VO 60 Simonas Steponavicius
11. US60006 Venomous Carroll Marine 60 Derek Saunders
12. USA60271 Ocean’s Seven² Fauroux 104′ OSML Ltd JP Chomette
13. NED001 Windrose Of Amsterdam Dijkstra 40m Schooner Andrew McIrvine
Follow the rest of the fleet as they complete the race on the Carribbean 600 race tracker brought to you by Yellowbrick
As it has proven for 38 years, the International Rolex Regatta is a racing getaway that is as much about serious competition as it is about the relaxed Caribbean experience that host St. Thomas Yacht Club has created around it. The three-day event is scheduled this year for Friday, March 25, through Sunday, March 27, and features race courses that accentuate the coastal beauty of the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as shore-side gatherings that remind visitors why “tropical” and “paradise” go so well together.
Last year, standing on the awards platform – which had been built on Sunday at morning’s low tide and seemed to have risen from the waves by day’s end – was Canada’s Richard Oland (St. John, New Brunswick) and his crew from the Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce, who were experiencing the event for the first time and had just edged out Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I., USA) IRC 52 Interlodge (which returns this year) for first place. “We had such a good time, but most of all we are coming back this year to defend our IRC class victory,” said Oland, who added that Vela Veloce started its 2011 racing season with class victories in the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race and Key West Race Week. “Our performance at the International Rolex Regatta also counts toward our results in the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series, which we won last year — we want to defend that, too.”
Just confirming intent to enter and sure to offer up some fine competition for Vela Veloce is Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah, USA) IRC 52 Vesper/Team Moneypenny, with a crack crew that includes such recognizable racing names as Gavin Brady, Jamie Gale, Brett Jones, Ken Keefe, and Chris Larson. “This is a shake-down regatta for the IRC modifications we have made to the boat over the winter,” said Swartz. “We are looking forward to some ‘fun in the sun time’ and learning how to sail the boat fast.”
In a different IRC class will be the larger, Warwick-designed Aiyana, which has been described as a “superyacht squeezed into 80 feet” and was launched last May. It is the brainchild of its owner Peter Corr (St. Thomas), who had been shopping for a boat through brokers, but when he couldn’t find one that met his requirements decided to build his own. “I did not want a 150’ monster,” said Corr, “I wanted something I could really enjoy, so Aiyana is built in part as an IRC race boat (with a composite hull and carbon fiber rig), but it has more volume (and a lifting keel) for cruising.”
That does not mean Corr has anything but hard-core racing on his mind while at the International Rolex Regatta. Nearly half of his 15-person crew will be professional sailing notables from around the world, including tactician Steve Benjamin (USA), bow man Mark “Becks” Bartlett (GBR), mast man David Sampson (AUS), crew chief and project manager Silas Noland (AUS), Mal Parker (AUS), and captain and navigator Rosco Monson (GBR).
My approach is to have professionals in key areas, especially for foredeck and in the strategy department,” said Corr. “It generally saves losing a sail or a piece of expensive equipment, so it’s worth it to me, and I can focus on driving.”
According to Captain Monson, Aiyana will “warm up” at the Boat International Caribbean Superyacht Regatta a week prior, “but the International Rolex Regatta is really our racing regatta; there will be some quick race boats coming to the party here, that’s for sure.”
Vela Veloce, Interlodge and Vesper/Team Moneypenny are among the various yachts that will berth at Yacht Haven Grande in downtown Charlotte Amalie, which becomes the center of activity on Friday when the fleet finishes and starts its famous “town races” there and again Saturday night when the event’s centerpiece reggae music concert lights up the waterfront. Aiyana will prepare at the marina for several days and then re-locate to an anchorage off St. Thomas Yacht Club once racing begins.
“The variety of boats and courses is what’s interesting about the International Rolex Regatta,” said Corr. “It’s not just chasing each other around; it’s good off-the-line racing with strategy. As we sail two of the days on courses through the islands there are huge changes in wind direction and speed…a lot of anticipation is needed.”
The International Rolex Regatta hosts classes for IRC, CSA (Spinnaker Racing, Spinnaker Racing/Cruising and Non-Spinnaker Racing), One-Design and Beach Cats. It has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events.
After four days of racing in a variety of conditions across a mix of around-the-buoys and distance, New York Yacht Club’s seventh biennial Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex came to an end this afternoon. Light winds threatened to cancel the last day of racing for the 35 competing boats, but by 2pm Newport’s classic southerly sea breeze filled in against a stubborn northerly and offered suitable conditions for racing. All classes raced on a four-leg windward/leeward course, and at the end of the day the Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce was determined the best performing boat and was named the 2010 Rolex US-IRC National Champion. Its owner and skipper, Richard Oland (St. John, New Brunswick, CAN), was presented with a specially engraved Rolex Yacht-Master at this evening’s Rolex Gala and Awards Party held at Harbour Court.
“This is a tremendous thrill for us,” said Oland, who won his IRC class in March’s International Rolex Regatta. He pointed out that competing against all of the boats in the fleet is exciting. “That’s the secret of IRC. The reason it’s become so good is because it allows for innovation. If you look at the results, and you look at boats you see how close they are. Like in our class, class 2, we were all within 50 feet.”
The overall winner was calculated by comparing all entries based on a formula of average seconds per nautical mile. In determining the overall winner, the NYYC Sailing Office noted that the time separating winner Vela Veloce from the second-place overall was 13/100s of a second.
Winning the class wasn’t enough; it was the overall performance that counted. Not much of a consolation to Steve Benjamin (South Norwalk, Conn.) and his team onboard his Tripp 41 Robotic Oncology, which won IRC Class 3 and finished in second place overall.
“We knew we won our class quite easily,” said Benjamin. “We knew we had a good shot at the overall title. Today was great, but we were nervous because there was so much on the line. We have been trying to win with this boat for the past five years, and although we have had some success there was all this added pressure.”
Vela Veloce won IRC Class 2 with an impressive score line of four first places and two seconds. In second place was Captivity, George Sakellaris’s (Framingham, Mass.) Farr 60, 10 points back. Although Blair Brown’s (Padanaram, Mass.) 55-foot Sforzando won today’s final race, it wasn’t enough to move up in the standings, and it finished in third.Robotic Oncology finished the regatta with five wins and one fifth-place finish in six races. After racing, Benjamin’s oncologist Dr. Samadi of Mount Sinai Hospital, who was on the water watching today’s race was clearly impressed with his patient’s racing skills. “The way that he worked with his team is the same as when you do robotic surgery. You have to work together with your team in the same way. Steve did an amazing job.”
John Cooper’s (Springfield, Mo.) Mills 43 Cool Breeze placed second in IRC Class 3, while Philip Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) NYYC Swan 42 Arethusa finished in third.
Daniel Meyers’s (Boston, Mass.) J/V66 Numbers took a second in today’s only race and held onto the lead in IRC Class 1. George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) Rambler finished in second place, while Ray Roberts’s (Sydney, Australia) STP65 Evolution Racing is in third.
IRC Class 5 winner was Storm, Rick Lyall’s (Wilton, Conn.) J/109 that moved up to win the overall class by placing third in today’s race. “We only started racing in IRC, and this is our fourth or fifth IRC event. It’s a very good measurement and rating system. We seem to have a competitive boat. We worked really hard at making sure we had a good configuration in the sail plan, and we sailed really well. To have beat Carina, the winner of Newport Bermuda Race, in the Annual Regatta and now here. Well, that’s top-notch competition. You know, Rush beat us earlier this year, and it’s been back and forth with them. They put in a really good effort.”
Bill Sweetser’s (Annapolis, Md.) J/109 Rush finished in second, while Nordlys, Robert Schwartz’s (Port Washington, N.Y.) J/109, finished in third by winning the last race.
Lyall went on to give credit to the split-format of Race Week. “The first half of the week was our J/109 North American championship,” he said. “And that was very tough and competitive racing. Coming into it I was the defending champion. I was disappointed we didn’t’ defend, but Gut Feeling is a bunch of great sailors and we take no shame in losing to them. In the IRC event, we had a really terrific distance race. You can’t ever beat a race like that with 25 knots of wind. We were going 14 knots; it was fantastic racing!”
Christopher Dragon held onto its IRC Class 4 lead going into today’s final race, finished second and held on to win overall. “To tell you the truth, we were hoping for no race,” joked owner and skipper Andrew Weiss (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) “It turned out pretty well. The breeze filled in, and the wind wound up being steadier than yesterday.”
The J/122 won by one point over Craig Albrecht’s (Sea Cliff, N.J.) Farr 395 Avalanche. “All we did for today was cover Avalanche and the other J/122, Partnership,” said Weiss. “We sailed more conservatively, after being over the line early yesterday. To win the series was our goal.”
About the Rolex US-IRC National Championship
With the concept of moving the Rolex US-IRC National Championship around the country to encourage growth in IRC fleets, the 2009 championship was run in conjunction with St. Francis Yacht Club’s Rolex Big Boat Series, in San Francisco, Calif. and crowned a winner in Vincitore, the Custom 52 owned by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI/Chicago, Ill.). In 2008, the championship was sailed in conjunction with the 48th Little Traverse Yacht Club Regatta and One Design Series, in Harbor Springs, Mich. and won by Stripes, the Great Lakes 70 owned by Bill Martin, (Ann Arbor, Mich.), and in 2007, the inaugural championship was held as part of the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex and won by Blue Yankee the Reichel/Pugh 66 owned by Bob and Farley Towse (Stamford, Conn.).
The event is part of the 2010 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series http://www.us-irc.org.
New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex
Rolex US-IRC National Championship| July 21-24, 2010
Final Results, July 24 – Day 4 of racing
One race completed (six in the series)
Overall Rolex US-IRC National Championship
1. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross, Richard Oland, Saint John, Maine
2. Robotic Oncology, Tripp 41, Stephen Benjamin, South Norwalk, Conn.
3. Numbers, JV 66, Daniel M. Meyers, Boston, Mass.
4. Christopher Dragon, J122, Andrew Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
5. Storm, J/109, Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn.
Position, Boat Name, Boat Type, Skipper, Hometown, Race 1-R2-R3-R4-R5-6, Total points
Class – IRC 1
1. Numbers, JV 66, Daniel M. Meyers, Boston, Mass, 2-2-1-1-1-2, 9
2. Rambler, Custom 90, George David, Hartford, Conn., 1-1-2-3-3-1, 11
3. Evolution Racing, STP65, Ray Roberts, Alexandria, AUS, 3-3-3-2-2-3, 16
Class – IRC 2
1. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross, Richard Oland, Saint John, Maine, 1-1-1-1-2-2, 8
3. Captivity, Farr, George Sakellaris, Framingham, Mass., 2-2-8(DNF)-2-1-3, 18
2. Sforzando, Kerr 55, Blair, Brown, Padanaram, Mass., 4-3-4-3-4-1, 19
5. Snow Lion, Ker 50, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., 3-4-6-5-3-7, 28
4. Privateer, Cookson 50, Ronald O’Hanley, Boston, Mass., 5-6-2-7-5-6, 31
6. Rima2, R/P 55, John Brim, New York, N.Y., 6-7-3-4-6-5, 31
7. Anema&Core, JV52, Ennio Staffini, Annapolis, Md., 7-5-5-6-7-4, 34
Class – IRC 3
1. Robotic Oncology, Tripp 41, Stephen Benjamin, South Norwalk , Conn., 1-1-5-1-1-1, 10
2. Cool Breeze, Mills 43 Custom, John Cooper, Springfield, Mo., 2-2-4-3-2-2, 15
3. Arethusa, NYYC 42, Philip Lotz, Newport, R.I., 3-4-1-2-3-3, 16
4. The Cat Came Back, NYYC Swan 42, Lincoln Mossop, Bristol, R.I., 7-7-2-4-4-4, 28
5. Devocean, Swan 45, Stephen DeVoe, Jamestown, R.I., 4-3-3-6-6-6, 28
6. Big Booty, Lutra 42, Pat Eudy, Charlotte, N.C., 5-5-7-5-5-5, 32
7. Temptation, Taylor 45, Arthur Santry, Arlington, Va., 6-6-6-7-7-8(DNF), 40
Class – IRC 4
1. Christopher Dragon, J/122, Andrew Weiss, Mamaroneck, N.Y., 1-1-1-3-4-2, 12
2. Avalanche, Farr 395, Craig Albrecht, Sea Cliff, N.Y., 2-2-4-2-2-1, 13
3. Partnership, J/122, David & MaryEllen Tortorello, Fairfield, Conn., 5-4-2-1-3-3, 18
4. Act One, Sloop, Charlie Milligan /Tom Roche, Newport, R.I., 3-7-3-4-7-5, 29
5. Alliance, Summit 35, Dominick Porco, New York, N.Y., 7-3-8-5-1-7, 31
6. Indra, Beneteau First 44.7, Thomas Linkas, South Hamilton, Mass., 8-8-6-6-5, 33
7. Settler, Cust. Peterson 42, Thomas Rich, Middletown, R.I., 4-6-7-8-6-6, 37
8. White Gold, J/44, James D. Bishop, New York, N.Y., 8-5-5-7-8-DNS, 42
Class – IRC 5
1. Storm, J/109, Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn., 1-4-3(RDG)-2-4-3, 17
2. Rush, J/109, Bill, Sweetser, Annapolis, Md., 3-2-4-1-3-4, 17
3. Nordlys, J/109, Robert Schwartz, Port Washington, N.Y., 4-7-6-3-1-1, 22
4. Carina, Cstm Sloop, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., 7-1-1-6-7-2, 24
5. Cowboy, N/M 46, Isdale/Cochran, Greenwich, Conn., 2-5-8-4-2-6, 27
6. Good Girl, J/100, Robert W. Armstrong, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI, 5-6-2-5-5-10(DNS), 33
7. Eclipse, Corby 33, Dave Kellogg, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 6-3-9-8-8-5, 39
8. Out of Reach III, X-35, Louis Nees, New York, N.Y., 8-8-5-7-6-10 (DNS), 44
9. Blue Rider, J/109, Eric Kamisher, Norwalk, Conn., 9-9-3-9-9-10 (DNC), 49
Bermuda executive Mark Watson made his first race to Bermuda memorable with a corrected time win in Genuine Risk in the Open Division for cant-keel boats. Speedboat, owned by Alex Jackson, took line honors for the race, finishing just before dawn at 3:47:56 with an elapsed time of 59:17:56, well off the course record. Rán, the Fastnet and Sydney Hobart race winner, finished first in Class 10 and is a strong contender for the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse trophy.
Il Mostro (Puma) skippered by Ken Read, crossed the line second and corrected just behind Genuine Risk. “We were ahead of Il Mostro and Speedboat after we all came out of the Gulf Stream west of the rhumb line,” Watson said. “We decided to take a more easterly angle to avoid a cold eddy with negative current, but that let Speedboat separate from us.” Ralph Steitz, Sailing Director for the US Merchant Marine Academy (owner of Genuine Risk, which Watson sponsored), was one of many sailors who said how much they had enjoyed the race. “This was the easiest Bermuda Race I’ve ever done and I’ve done a few.”
Photos of Bermuda Race Start By George Bekris HERE
Rán, Niklas Zennstrom’s JV 72, is the provisional winner in Class 10 for big professional boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division after being pushed hard by Tom Hill’s Titan XV for more than 600 miles. George David’s Rambler matched up with Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste and took line honors for these fixed-keel boats. “I’ve never sailed a Bermuda Race when you’re head to head with another boat for so long,” said Rambler’s tactician, Jerry Kirby. “It came down to the last tack to St. David’s Light.”
Vanquish, co-skippered by Bermudian Buddy Rego and Americans Russell Lucas and Jamie Hilton, crossed the line first in Class 8 for the big boats in the amateur St. David’s Lighthouse Division, but Gus Carlson’s Aurora is the provisional class winner. Some smaller boats have a good shot at winning the division. Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, has a 60-mile lead over her Class 3 competition. In the highly competitive Class 1, Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich’s Cal 40 and the two-time defending St. David’s winner, has sailed farther west than anybody and is fighting for the lead with David Dickerson’s Lindy.
In the Double-Handed Division, iBoattrack showed Michael Hennessy’s Dragon at the head of the pack, 160 miles from the finish, with the four-time winner Lora Ann not far behind. The Cruising Division’s leader, Clover III, was about 70 miles out on Saturday afternoon with a healthy lead on the 80-footer Nirvana.
It was a slow race, with Speedboat making the 635-mile course in just over 59 hours after the start at Newport on Friday. The crew of 25 never reefed the boat. In the light to moderate conditions that prevailed through most of the race, Speedboat was hard pressed by Il Mostro, Rambler, and several boats in the mini-maxi 70-80 foot range over the first third of the course. “We really didn’t get away from them until we were in the Stream,” navigator Stan Honey said after Speedboat tied up at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s marina early Monday morning. “Then they gained a lot in the light stuff as we came into the finish.”
At 5 AM EDT the mini-maxi Rán on its blog reported less than 10 knots as she beat to windward toward the buoys guarding Bermuda’s reef. “Titan is downwind from us and is not a threat. Rambler and Beau Geste are upwind and in front as we thought they would. We are still in a strong position although it now looks like Beau Geste is the biggest threat. Just a few more hours to go.”
At 6:30 the blog reported, “As we are approaching the finish slowly but surely, we are all on deck, no more watches, all are on duty for the final stretch. Coffee and tea served on the rail – black only as no more milk powder onboard. Very calm water. Wind speed of 9 knots –
just over – and land in sight.”
The lead boats entered the Gulf Stream at around sunset Saturday, heading upwind into a moderate southwesterly wind with as much as 4 knots of favorable current in the long, hot meander that they have been steering for since the race start on Friday afternoon. Speedboat, at 100ft the largest yacht in the fleet, was making more than 12 knots over the bottom. The earlier “champagne conditions” were behind them as they pounded into big, square, confused seas.
iBoattrack positions at 11 AM EDT Sunday showed Speedboat averaging almost 11 knots with 175 miles to the finish. At this rate she is behind the 48-hour elapsed time race record for cant-keel, Open Division boats – She has to average 13knots for the whole race to beat this time.
Rán was 38 miles back. Following close on the heels of this English boat in the Gibbs Hill Division were Titan XV, Beau Geste, Bella Mente, Rambler, Il Mostro, Vanquish, and Genuine Risk. This tightly bunched pack of eight has been separated by only a few miles since the start.
By this morning the ‘big boat’ leaders were clear of the Stream and entering the 250-mile stretch of often confused wind and currents between the Gulf Stream and Bermuda. Race veterans wryly call this “Happy Valley,” for it is where the race is often won and lost.
Chris Museler, on Titan XV, filed this report just before midnight:
“Now this is what we came for! The boat is literally crashing into waves close reaching onto the Gulf Stream and the water temperature has leapt into the 80s. It’s getting darker and the Aramid rigging has been humming and groaning, and the deck bounces from each loud crack when a sheet or the traveler is eased. This wild ride comes from being in a positive eddy heading south, straight into it! (Wind and current collide to stack up the seas that the boats are crashing into.) This is getting to be fun after losing a bit to competitors this afternoon. The bright sun and the flat water sailing are gone. Can’t write anymore, quite hot and uncomfortable down here. So I’m on watch and will be seeing you in the morning. Knew I wouldn’t want to sail a Bermuda Race without a proper ‘thrash,’ as Mr. Rousmaniere calls it!”
The Smaller Boats
By dawn today, Rán was out of the Stream, and the team was speculating in their blog whether the smaller boats – a hundred miles astern, and just entering this zone – have had consistently more wind than the big ones.
In Class 1, the St. David’s Lighthouse Division class for boats of about 40 feet, Sinn Fein, the two-time defending St. David’s champion, has chosen a course well to the right of the fleet leaders, and her close class rivals sistership Gone with the Wind and the Tartan 41 Aurora, and charting a route 50 miles west of the rhumb line.
In the Double-Handed Division, two of the light-displacement Class 40s, Dragon and KamoaE, have a healthy lead on elapsed time, but Richard du Moulin’s Lora Ann remains in contention.
The Cruiser Division leader is the 56-foot Clover III, well ahead of the bigger boats in this Division.