Chairman Simon Davidson: “Opportunity is Unique for Trying Offshore Racing”
NEWPORT, RI (February 4, 2013) — The ninth edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race challenges sailors of all ages and experience levels to try offshore racing by competing in the popular overnighter that starts and finishes at Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I. Scheduled for a 1 p.m. start on Friday, August 16, 2013, the race is open to IRC, PHRF, One Design, Double-Handed and Multihull boats and features four coastal courses–between 104nm and 177nm—that incorporate such scenic waypoints as Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Bay.
Bringing a fresh perspective to the August tradition is newly appointed Race Chairman Simon Davidson (Newport, R.I.) who co-founded the inaugural event in 2004.
“We started with the intention of having a biennial event,” said Davidson, “but by our second running in 2006 it was clear that we had the enthusiasm from grand prix racers as well as double-handed and cruising sailors to make this event happen annually. It now is an August tradition, perfectly timed for the end of summer when activity on Narragansett Bay has quieted down somewhat.”
Davidson added that his committee’s goals this year are to expand the race’s reach to surrounding areas and “encourage more sailors to try offshore racing in some of the most beautiful and storied cruising grounds in the country, if not the world.” To that end, the event’s Youth Challenge, added in 2010, will be more heavily promoted to New England area yacht clubs, and an emphasis will be given to the Collegiate Challenge that was inaugurated last year at the 2012 event.
“There are sailors who have sat on a couch to eagerly watch the Volvo Ocean Race, but they’ve rarely, if ever, had the chance to actually compete in a distance race,” said Davidson. “With the Ida Lewis Distance Race, the opportunity is unique for trying offshore racing. It’s a medium-distance offshore commitment that requires a minimal amount of logistics, since the race is not point-to-point but rather begins and ends in the same place. It’s the chance for an owner to take his or her around-the-buoys crew on a new adventure or to integrate youth or college sailors into the team for a different kind of rewarding experience. Then, of course, for veteran big-boat crews, the race is ideal for practice and training before they move on to other distance races around the world. Rambler, Bella Mente and Decision are just a few of the high-profile teams that have competed here in the past.”
The race is also a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
The Youth Challenge
To qualify for the Youth Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 16, 2013. Teams may have junior crew members outside of those parameters; however, they will not count towards the youth component. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.
All youth sailors will be required to attend a brief informational meeting the evening before the race (participants of all ages welcome) and will be strongly encouraged to attend the Storm Trysail Junior Safety at Sea Seminar, which will be held in Newport, R.I. in August.
The Collegiate Challenge
For the second year, the Ida Lewis Distance Race is incorporating a Collegiate Challenge for the William Tuthill Trophy. The Trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the SUNY Maritime College, class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the school’s summer cruise in 1972. SUNY Maritime College reinstated the trophy, which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race, at the Ida Lewis Distance Race 2012, where Massachusetts Maritime Academy (on Crazy Horse) beat out SUNY (on American Girl) to win.
To qualify for the Collegiate Challenge, more than 40% of the crew must not have reached the age of 26 by August 16, 2013. Teams are encouraged to register under the burgee of a college sailing program, a US SAILING yacht club or community sailing program.
The 38th Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race official results are in! A determined Osita crossed the finish line at 7:15 am. The race started in 10+ knots of SE breeze, then lightened up and got shifty. Finally, for the second half of the fleet, a cold front rolled through with 30+ knot out of the N seen by several of the competitors. Thirty two boats started the race, while twenty six sailed to the finish. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s Mini Maxi was first across the line for an IRC class win and sailed only 160.9nm on a 160nm course, which earned them the “Best Overall Performance” Award as well. See all the final race results here.
SPOT tracking is officially part of all SORC events. It allows the friends and family to keep track of the race with real time position updates. Click here to watch the tracking replay from the start of this race.
There is one more SORC event this season: the 2013 Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race starting February 8, 2013.
Want to be a sponsor? Levels of sponsorship are available. Contact email@example.com for more info.
The SORC is a Florida non-profit organization driven by a select group of volunteers that bring professional event management, sailing , racing and other skills to the organization. The SORC mission is to lead the expansion of offshore competitive sailing in South Florida by providing the highest level of race organization, management and promotions for those that enjoy the sport of ocean sailing. Learn more at www.sorcsailing.org.
Place, Yacht Name, Yacht Type, Owner/Skipper, City, State, Country, Results, Total Points
Ft. Lauderdale-Key West – IRC Course
IRC (IRC – 8 Boats)
1. Bella Mente, Judel-Vrolijk Mini Maxi, Hap Fauth , Minneapolis, MN, USA, 1; 1
2. SPOOKIE, Carkeek HP 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin , Norwalk, CT, USA, 2; 2
3. Decision, HPR Carkeek 40, Stephen Murray , New Orleans, LA, USA, 3; 3
4. Rebecca, J 120, Glenn Gault , League City, TX, USA, 4; 4
5. Thin Ice, Aerodyne 38, Stuart Hebb / John Vincent , Coral Gables, FL, USA, 5; 5
6. Arethusa, Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA, 6; 6
7. Rim Shot, Beneteau First 36.7, Russell Dunn , Hollywood, FL, USA, 7; 7
8. Dragon, Class 40, Michael Hennessy , New York, NY, USA, 8; 8
Ft. Lauderdale-Key West – PHRF Course
PHRF A (PHRF – 7 Boats)
1. Different Drummer, Cape Bay Fast 40, Frank Atkinson , West Palm Beach, FL, USA, 1; 1
2. Teamwork, J 122, Robin Team , Lexington, NC, USA, 2; 2
3. Loki, J 105, David Bond , Miami, FL, USA, 3; 3
4. Main Squeeze, Tripp 33, Eamonn deLisser / James Bill , Coral Gables, FL, USA, 4; 4
5. Constellation, Nautor Swan 48-1, Greg Petrat , Sarasota, FL, USA, 5; 5
6. Batucada, Schock 35, Cornelius Sanders , Miami, FL, USA, 6; 6
7. Ace, Cutter 65, Frank Pingitore , Miami , FL, USA, 8/DNF; 8
PHRF B (PHRF – 6 Boats)
1. Mirage, Hobie 33, Christian Schaumloffel , Virginia Beach, VA, USA, 1; 1
2. Bandana, Oyster 48, David Wallace , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA, 2; 2
3. Commotion, Beneteau 461, Ross Hunton , Coral Springs, FL, USA, 3; 3
4. Walloon, C&C 35 Mark I, Com. Richard D. Grow , Palm Beach , FL, USA, 7/DNF; 7
5. Sempre Amantes, Hunter Pasage 42, Colin Whittaker , Margate, FL, USA, 7/DNF; 7
6. Soap Opera, Hobie 33, Scott Self , Rockwall, TX, USA, 7/DNS; 7
PHRF C (PHRF – 7 Boats)
1. Sunquest, Sloop, Wilfredo Paredes , Miami, FL, USA, 1; 1
2. Susimi, Sweden 370, Michael Carrington , Lighthouse Point, FL, USA, 2; 2
3. Grand Cru, Beneteau 393, Danny Escobar , Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, 3; 3
4. Vendaval, Dufour 34, Oscar Valdes , Miami Lakes, FL, USA, 4; 4
5. Osita, Tartan 40, Becky Lyons , Miami, FL, USA, 5; 5
6. Passion, Catalina 34, Brett Grover , Jesup, GA, USA, 8/DNS; 8
7. Kokomo, Swan 36, Brad Lonstein , Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, 8/DNS; 8
Ft. Lauderdale-Key West – PHRF Multihull Course
Multihull A (PHRF – 7 Boats)
1. Elvis, Gunboat, Jason Carroll , New York, NY, USA, 1; 1
2. Sundog, Seacart 30, Paul Parks , Shady Side, MD, USA, 2; 2
3. Flight Simulator, Corsair 28R, Tom Reese , Youngstown, NY, USA, 3; 3
4. Tri-Vector, Dragonfly 35, David Otto , Miami Beach, FL, USA, 4; 4
5. Double Trouble, Catana 58, Don Balthaser , Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA, 8/DNF; 8
6. Brake Aweigh, Trimaran, Richard VandeBrake , Lowell, MI, USA, 8/DNF; 8
7. CatNip, Catamaran 35, Victor Mendelsohn , Miami, FL, USA, 8/DNF; 8
Ideal sailing conditions, perfect starts and a 16-18 knot southwesterly breeze allowed the 26 boats competing in the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) to power up on Friday, August 17, and provide a great show for the spectators who turned out to see them off on their offshore adventure. The IRC, PHRF and PHRF Doublehanded fleets were sent on the 122 nautical mile Nomans course, while the two boats racing in the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker class took on the 103 nautical mile Buzzards Tower course.
Weather conditions led to a prediction that the leaders in IRC would be at the finish line off the historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club sometime after sunrise on Saturday morning, where they would receive the traditional champagne welcome. That prophecy came true for the Ker 40 Catapult owned by Marc Glimcher (New York, N.Y.), which had passed the first mark of the course with about a minute lead on the rest of the IRC fleet and held on to take line honors just before 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
“This race was fantastic,” said Geoff Ewenson (Annapolis, Md.) who was the navigator on Catapult. “They made a very good decision in shortening the course to a 122 miler. It really allowed all of the IRC boats to race reasonably tightly and there was everything to the race without the extra 25 or 30 or 40 miles. In the end everybody on our team, and I’m sure on the 42s, felt like it was the perfect length race. We got all the conditions, all the angles, we had a bit of everything and we didn’t feel that the race drug on at all. For us it ended at the right time.“
Ewenson sailed the inaugural Ida Lewis Distance Race in 2004 and recalled that they finished that race in the wee hours of Sunday morning with the race taking what seemed like forever. This year after finishing the race in under 17 hours he explained that the challenge was whether to get into a watch system or tough it out and sail everybody up. “We realized there would be short bits during the race when it wouldn’t be stability conditions and so we had to steal little naps then. The most anybody slept on our boat was probably an hour.”
For their efforts, Catapult collected the Ida Lewis Distance Race Commodore’s Trophy for the IRC class win, along with the perpetual Russell L. Hoyt Memorial Trophy for best elapsed time. For Ewenson, winning the Hoyt award had special meaning.
“When I was 10 years old I sailed home from Bermuda on Russell Hoyt’s boat Destination. I grew up in Newport and knew Russell and I considered him to be a friend even though he was quite a bit older than me. It really is quite nice to be able to be on the boat that comes back and wins the trophy that’s named after him.”
The 56’ Swan White Rhino captured the glory in the 14-strong PHRF class. Owner Todd Stuart (Key West, Fla.) almost pulled out of the race when he thought he wouldn’t have enough crew. It all came together with a number of his regular crew, including sailors he has twice done the Bermuda Race with, forming the core of this race’s team. “We had a great race; it was a lot of fun,” said Stuart after collecting the Lime Rock Trophy for the class win. “We started out fast and the wind held up for us and when it’s windy our boat’s pretty quick, and I think we got lucky. When we turned around, I think the winds were changing behind us a little bit. I think some of the slower boats that could have caught us on corrected time, if the winds had held up, I think the door just closed on them. For a brief period we were down to about four knots of breeze during the thunderstorms; we barely got wet and then the winds came back to being favorable for us. We made good time the whole way. We made a decision to leave Block Island to starboard and I think that was the right choice because a boat that was pretty much neck-and-neck with us left it to port and when we both got on the back side we had definitely gained a couple miles on them.”
Stuart raced the 2011 ILDR in the IRC class, and because he expected to have fewer crew kept White Rhino in PHRF for this year’s race. “This was perfect as we had a bunch of new people on the boat so we thought we’d play it safe and make the boat a little less dramatic. Until the storms came through it was a perfect starlit night with little meteorites here and there. Nobody complained this year about the distance. It was a fast race and we finished in 17 hours. Seems perfect to me. We had an awesome time. This is actually our first win in a real race so my wife Lisa [the cook on all of White Rhino’s distance races] and I, we’re very excited about it.”
The win in the PHRF Doublehanded class was taken by Paul Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) and Jim Anderson on the Quest 30 Kincora, with the PHRF Cruising Spinnaker prize going to the Nautor Swan 55 Haerlemowned by Hendrikus Wisker (Round Hill, Va.). Four boats had met the requirement that more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 17, to compete for the Youth Challenge, and Chris Bjerregaard’s (Bristol, R.I.) Bashford Howlson 36 Shearwater earned that honor.
Spearheading a new challenge for college teams to compete in this late-summer distance race, SUNY Maritime College (Throggs Neck, N.Y.) reinstated the William E. Tuthill Trophy which was last presented in 1978 to the winner of the Eastern Inter-Collegiate Overnight Race. The trophy honors Tuthill, an avid sailor and member of the class of 1973, who met with accidental death at sea on the summer cruise in 1972. Massachusetts Maritime College (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) bested SUNY Maritime to receive the trophy in what is planned to be a continuing challenge.
The Ida Lewis Distance Race is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF); the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC); and the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series.
Starting Line sponsors for the 2012 Ida Lewis Distance Race are the City of Newport, New England Boatworks, Newport Shipyard and North Sails. Contributing sponsors are Blue Water Technologies,Dockwise Yacht Transport, Flint Audio Video, Goslings Rum, Mac Designs, Sea Gear Uniforms, Stella Artois, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Zblok.
Find more information online at www.ildistancerace.org – including the ability to relive the race viaKattack LIVE ; or “Like” ILDR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ILYCDistanceRace
Ida Lewis Distance Race – Top-three Results
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown
Class 1 – IRC (6 Boats)
1. Catapult, Ker 40, Mark Glimcher, New York, N.Y.
2. Barleycorn, Swan 42, Brendan Brownyard, Bay Shore, N.Y.
3. Blazer, Swan 42, Christopher Culver, Stamford, Conn.
Class 2 – PHRF (14 Boats)
1. White Rhino, Swan, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla.
2. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Newport, R.I.
3. Wazimo, Aerodyne 37.66, Bob Manchester, Barrington, R.I.
Class 3 – PHRF Double-Handed (4 Boats)
1. Kincora, Quest 30, Paul Cronin, Jamestown, R.I.
2. Oronoco, Sabre 426, Adrian Ravenscroft, Cohasset, Mass.
3. Breakaway, J/35, Paul Grimes, Portsmouth, R.I.
Class 4 – PHRF Cruising Spinnaker (2 Boats)
1. Haerlem, Nautor Swan 55, Hendrikus Wisker, Round Hill, Va.
2. Gigi, Gulfstar 50, Joe Cleverdon, Newport, R.I.
“All-Inside” Course Option Added
Some new faces are expected at this year’s Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race with the announcement of a short course addition — the Plum Island Course (126 nautical miles all in Long Island Sound) – as a PHRF-class option to the event’s traditional 186 nautical mile course for both IRC and PHRF. The change for the Memorial Weekend event means starting at The Cows off Stamford, Conn. and rounding Red and White Whistle “PI” northwest of Plum Island before heading back while the rest of the Block Island Race fleet continues farther afield to circumnavigate Block Island.
“In 2007, we had created an option to shorten the race to the Plum Island Whistle and back in case the weather was bad,” said Storm Trysail Club Rear Commodore Lee Reichart. “This year, we thought that there just might be a significant number of new-to-ocean-racing boats and crews who might like to sail that course anyway, because it keeps them from having to go out in the ocean and consequently eliminates the need to carry a life raft, which is a safety requirement for all others in this race.”
With over 50 entries to date, the Block Island Race is easily on target to top last year’s fleet of 59 (in six IRC and two PHRF classes), and with the race preceding the biennial Newport Bermuda Race, organizers are expecting to host many of that distance race’s entrants who are preparing.
The Block Island Race, which has been held annually for 67 years, is a staple on the calendar of many New England competitors and starts on Friday May 25 at 1400. It is notorious for the “fork in the road” decision that Plum Island forces after 60 miles of sailing: competitors must decide to take either Plum Gut, “The Race” or even Fishers Island Sound while leaving Long Island Sound. This decision often determines the outcome of the race.
The Block Island Race was first held in 1946 and is a qualifier for the North Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), and the Gulf Stream Series (IRC). The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola, and Windigo trophies awarded by the YRA of Long Island Sound and the ‘Tuna” Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).
For more information on the Storm Trysail Club Block Island Race or the Plum Island Course (Notice of Race Amendment #1), visit www.stormtrysail.org or contact The Storm Trysail Club (914) 834-8857.
About the Storm Trysail Club
The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail to which sailors must shorten when facing severe adverse conditions, is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs, with its membership comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors. In addition to hosting Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex in odd-numbered years, the club holds various prestigious offshore racing events (among them the annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race); annual junior safety-at-sea seminars; and Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta for college sailors using big boats.
For more information on the Storm Trysail Club and its events, including the Block Island Race, visit the official website www.stormtrysail.org.
The three-day International Rolex Regatta kicked off today with “town races” that took sailors from the east end of St. Thomas, where host St. Thomas Yacht Club is located, to Charlotte Amalie, the island’s capital city. Once there, the fleet of 68 boats, split into six classes, turned around and headed back, but only after sharing some colorful action with tourists on the downtown waterfront and on two cruise ships in port as well as fans perched at different vantage points along the route. Gray clouds mingled with white all day, giving tacticians as much cause to look upward to anticipate wind shifts as they did downward to read the play of the sapphire blue Caribbean Sea beneath them.
“Both of the races today were very different from each other,” said Tony Rey (Newport, R.I.), tactician aboard Peter Cunningham’s (George Town, CAY) PowerPlay, which finished 1-2 today to edge out Willem Wester’s (Breskens, Zeeland, NED) Antilope, which posted a 3-1. “We owe 11 ½ minutes to Antilope in an hour of racing, so it’s not easy to beat them, but we love planing, and 8-10 minutes into the first leg of the first race, a storm cloud came and we were off and running. That’s how we got ahead — it was 16-18 knots for a while, and Peter did a fantastic job of driving.”
Rey explained that in the second race the wind laid down. It was then that Antilope, the heavier displacement boat, had the advantage. Bill Alcott’s (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) 65-footer Equation took line honors in both races and corrected out to third overall. Equation’s navigator Chris Clark (Detroit) was happy with the outcome, saying that the crew had been sailing together a long time but not on this particular boat, which Alcott only recently bought. “We are gaining confidence,” said Clark, “but the hard thing really is the boat draws 16 ½ feet, which is a lot. Today around one of the islands, we were about 500 feet away from it; even in Charlotte Amalie Harbour we had to be careful — it’s hard to find the sweet spot for us on the course.”
A disappointment to all in this class was the dismasting of Lord Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s (MON) IRC 52 Highland Fling XII after a port spreader apparently failed. “It happened about five miles into the race after the first turning mark,” said Michael Giles (SA), the boat’s trimmer. “We had made some modifications after racing in Key West, and we were very happy because we knew they were the right changes. We were 100% sure we were winning, so it was unfortunate that it did come down.” With no way to repair the rig before the end of the regatta, the boat is out for the count.
“It’s absolutely a shame for a lot of reasons,” said PowerPlay’s Rey. “We were having a great race with them at the time when we heard a loud bang. She was a benchmark for us, and we were keen to see how we compared.”
CSA racing boats (three classes), one-design IC 24s, and Beach Cats also joined in today’s town races, with the IC 24s adding a third race afterwards.
“We actually had to take our spinnaker down in the first race,” said Latitude 38’s 18-year-old Nikki Barnes, who, with one of her all-girl crewmembers here (Augustina Barbuto, age 16) won a bronze medal for the Virgin Islands at last summer’s ISAF Youth Championships (in international 420s). “There were a lot of boats broaching in our (IC 24) class.” Though currently in 12th, Barnes says her experience in dinghy racing will serve her well over the next two days of racing, when the class will sail up to 14 more races. “We made so many mistakes in the long races; we are well practiced in short-course racing, and we will be so much better at that.” Currently leading the IC 24s is Carlos Sierra’s (Guaynabo, PR) Banana Boat/Fuataka.
Another young team of West Indian high school and sailing students is competing in CSA non-spinnaker class and currently sitting in second overall. They are led by Central High School (St. Croix) teacher Stan Jones aboard Tony Sanpere’s (St. Croix) J/36 Cayennita Grande, which has won this class several times. Jack Desmond’s (Marion, Mass.) Swan 48 Affinity posted a 1-2 today to Cayennita Grande’s 3-1 to take the lead in the seven-boat class.
Jorge Ramos’s Hobie 16 Universal leads the Beach Cats, while Andrea Scarabelli’s (Cole Bay, St. Maarten) Melges 24 Budget Marine/GILL and Jaime Torres’s (San Juan, PR) Beneteau First 40 Smile and Wave are leading CSA 1 and CSA 2, respectively.
Racing continues tomorrow with all classes but the IC 24s racing within viewing distance of St. John’s south shore.
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
IC 24 (One Design – 14 Boats)
1. Banana Boat/Fuataka, IC 24, Carlos R. Sierra , Guaynabo, PR, USA – 3, 1, 5, ; 9
2. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo , Ponce, PR, USA – 1, 4, 4, ; 9
3. Cachondo, IC 24, Marco Teixidor , San Juan, PUR – 5, 2, 2, ; 9
CSA 1 (CSA – 9 Boats)
1. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 1, 1, ; 2
2. Fire Water, Melges 24, Henry Leonnig , Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, ; 5
3. Magnitude 400, Farr 400, Doug Baker , Long Beach, CA, USA – 5, 2, ; 7
CSA 2 (CSA – 13 Boats)
1. Smile and Wave, Beneteau First 40, Jaime Torres , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Lazy Dog, J 122, Sergio Sagramoso , San Juan, PR, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Dark Star, J 105, Jonathan Lipuscek , San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA – 1, 6, ; 7
CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 7 Boats)
1. Affinity, Swan 48, Jack Desmond , Marion, MA, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 3, 1, ; 4
3. Hotel California too, Cruising SC70, Stephen Schmidt , St Thomas, USVI, USA – 2, 5, ; 7
IRC 1 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. PowerPlay, TP 52, Peter Cunningham , George Town, CAY – 1, 2, ; 3
2. Antilope, Grand Soleil 46, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 3, 1, ; 4
3. Equation, STP 65, W.Alcott / E.Palm / T.Anderson , St Clair Shores, MI, USA – 2, 3, ; 5
Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 10 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
3. Zhik, Nacra 20, Trey Brown , Taylors, SC, USA – 4, 3, ; 7
U.S. and Caribbean Media Contact
Overcast skies and light showers cooled things down today at St. Thomas Yacht Club in the USVI where hundreds of sailors on 68 teams are preparing for the 39th International Rolex Regatta. The conditions, however, came with plenty of wind for practicing and did nothing to dampen the excitement building for the next three days of racing.
Right out of the box will be Stephen Murray, Jr.’s Carkeek 40 Decision, which has been designed to the newly developed HPR (High Performance Rule) and will headline in one of two CSA classes here that has no less than six other 40-footers “raring to compare.”
“There is no rating rule promoting the light (displacement) grand prix racing boats as a continuum between 30 and 70 feet,” said Sean Carkeek, the South African designer who has been working for a year on the rule as part of a technical committee developed specifically to fill this void. According to Carkeek, the HPR will change all that when regattas eventually adopt dual scoring under the widely used IRC rule and HPR in classes where it needs to apply. At the International Rolex Regatta, the likes of Michael Shlens’ (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.,) Blade and Doug Baker’s (Long Beach, Calif.) Magnitude 400, both Farr 400s, are sure to spice up the competition among the 40 footers. In addition, two Class 40 boats, which typically are outfitted for short-handed offshore sailing, are competing with accomplished skippers aboard. Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Conn.) will take the helm of Icarus, while Berry Lewis (Mill Valley, Calif.) will steer 40 Degrees.
In IRC, it will be a trio of 52 footers– Lord Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay’s (MON) Highland Fling XII, Ashley Wolfe’s (Calgary, AB, CAN) Mayhem, and Peter Cunningham’s (Georgetown, Cay) PowerPlay — and a Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley’s (Newport, R.I.) Privateer, that are likely to stand out, while the reborn 65-foot Rosebud, now called Equation, will be out for a first showing since bought by Bill Alcott (St. Clair Shores, Mich.). Among the power names onboard these boats are America’s Cup notables Peter Holmberg, Mike Toppa, Tony Rey, and George Skuodas. As well, Great Britain’s Brian Thompson, who layed to waste previous around-the-world speed records with his recent circumnavigation aboard the 130-foot trimaran Banque Populaire V, will be skippering the Safe Passage company’s Andrews 72 Safara, which is the largest boat competing here.
Willem Wester (Zeeland, The Netherlands), with Volvo Ocean Race veteran Boewe Bekking (NED) calling tactics, will attempt to repeat his IRC class victory from last year, sailing the Grand Soleil 46 Antilope. With tomorrow’s winds expected to be between 15 and 20 knots, Bekking says this may be hard to recreate, however. “When it’s windy the lighter displacement boats in our class this time should be going better,” said Bekking, “but if it’s light we can have a pretty fair race.”
For the USA’s Olympic medalist Charlie McKee (Seattle, Wash.), who is serving as tactician aboard Mayhem, it is mostly about the experience of being here for the first time that has him “expecting crazy, wild, mixed up racing that’s super fun!”
The International Rolex Regatta is a cornerstone of the spring Caribbean racing schedule, and as such attracts top programs from around the world for its mix of buoy and point-to-point races. It also distinguishes itself by having multiple races a day for all classes. “It’s all part of a unique mix of island-style fun and hard-core IRC, CSA and one design racing,” said Regatta Co-chair Bill Canfield, pointing out a massive, specially-constructed stage rising out of the water on the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s own beach. It is where a band will play on Friday and Saturday nights and where the Rolex Awards will wrap up the event on Sunday, when winners in select classes win coveted Rolex watches.
Spectators will get a treat tomorrow when all classes sail to Charlotte Amalie Harbor for their first race, then return to St. Thomas Yacht Club for their second (and some classes may have a third race). On Saturday, spectators can watch IC 24s and Beach Cats sail as many as eight buoy races in Great Bay, while other classes sail longer courses on the south side of St. John. On Sunday, while the IC 24s sail up to six races in Jersey Bay, all other classes will sail two “Pillsbury Sound” races.
With the New Year in full swing, racing sailors are finalizing plans to compete in the St. Thomas Yacht Club’s 39th annual International Rolex Regatta, the oldest regatta in Rolex’s yachting portfolio and most venerable of Caribbean spring events. A quick look at the roster of entries shows several hot new boats and first-time entries signed up for the three-day event, which begins Friday, March 23, and mixes island-style fun with hard-core IRC, CSA and one-design racing on courses that showcase the breathtaking coastlines of St. Thomas and nearby St. John.Stephen Murray, Jr.’s New Orleans entry, the recently launched Carkeek 40 Decision, will be one of the many intriguing boats competing. It is one of the first designed to the High Performance Rule (HPR). Decision’s Program Manager William Gammell (Newport, R.I.) describes the rule as a “purely race-driven rating platform” that promotes building the fastest boats possible for owners who want an all out racer. He further explained that the HPR, as a pure measurement rule, allows owners and designers to determine their ratings as they design the boats, without the variability of subjective “black box” components of other rules.
“We are very excited about this new rating concept and the idea of a small, fast, seaworthy boat that can compete at the highest echelons of the sport and is relatively easy to transport to premier events around the world,” said Gammell, adding that the team will be sailing in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta before arriving in St. Thomas for the International Rolex Regatta and then capping off the season with the Les Voiles de Saint Barth.
“The Murrays have decided to make the most of their time in the Caribbean by choosing the premier regattas in the region,” said Gammell. “The International Rolex Regatta was chosen due to the gorgeous surroundings on sea and land as well as the perfect wind conditions. And of course there is the possibility of winning a Rolex, which provides its own incentive!”
Calling tactics for the Decision team will be Steve Benjamin (Norwalk, Conn.), the chairman of the HPR Handicap Rules Committee who owns one of Decision’s two sister ships currently being built in China. The team will round out with many of the same sailors—including father Stephen Murray, Sr.; the USA’s 2012 Olympic (Laser class) representative Rob Crane; and Olympic Silver Medalist (Tornado class) Johnny Lovell– who have been regulars on Murray’s previously owned TP52, also named Decision.
“The crew has changed over the years as the program has developed, but we always strive to keep the New Orleans roots,” said Gammell. “The crew has become more nationally and internationally diverse, yet we proudly maintain our Corinthian roots and spirit.”
Across the board, IRC competition will remain strong this year with the return of last year’s respective winners of class 1 and 2: Jim Swartz (Park City, Utah) and Willem Wester (Zeeland, The Netherlands). Swartz will sail his famously fast IRC 52 Vesper with a seasoned crew that includes past America’s Cup helmsman and tactician Gavin Brady (Annapolis, Md./New Zealand), while Wester has traded up on his Grand Soleil 43 Antilope to a 46 footer of the same make and name.
“It’s a stock standard design, with lots of emphasis on the appendages and rig,” said Antilope’s tactician and veteran Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking (The Netherlands), adding that the team has also entered Quantum Key West 2012, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and the BVI Regatta. “Last year, we had a good year in all the events we did, always finishing on the podium. We made some changes in the autumn and we think we have made another good step performance-wise, but only time will tell. We’re coming back to the International Rolex Regatta because we thought it was, by far, the best-organized event in the Caribbean. On top of that, it has fantastic race courses and a great race committee that provides superb racing.”
Entering his newly acquired Farr STP 65 Equation (formerly Rosebud, the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner) into the IRC competition will be International Rolex Regatta veteran Bill Alcott (St. Clair Shores, Mich.), who last year chartered a Swan for the event but for many years prior steered his Andrews 68 “sled”–brought down from the Great Lakes—in the competition. Highland Fling XII, an IRC 52 owned by Lord Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay (Monaco) and launched late last year, is another of the high profile new entries that all eyes will be watching. Designed by Reichel/Pugh and built using advanced carbon pre-preg sandwich construction, it is expected to live up to legendary Highland Fling performances most recently perpetuated by Lord Laidlaw’s 82-foot Wally Highland Fling XI.
The St. Thomas Yacht Club is the Storm Trysail Club’s Caribbean station, and the International Rolex Regatta has a stellar reputation for race management, offering a variety of courses ideally configured to test a sailor’s skills while showcasing the stunning shoreline. Included are the first day’s “harbor races” from the club to Charlotte Amalie Harbor and back, testing everyone’s focus; the second day’s “island race,” testing navigational nerve by sending competitors short tacking the length of St. John’s south shore; and the final day’s “sound race,” testing one’s determination on complex courses around the cays of Pillsbury Sound. Or for testing one’s mettle, there are up to 18 windward/leeward races on the one-design circle. Like the IC-24s, a one-design class can be established with a minimum of six boats.
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