Hamilton, Bermuda, June 21, 2012 – ‘Lilla’, the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. ‘Lilla’ also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.
‘Lilla’ led classmate ‘True’, a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. ‘True’ was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to ‘Odyssey’ a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.
And there is Icing on the cake for ‘Lilla’. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. ‘Lilla’ sailed from Newport this time— a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.
“The only problem we had,” said navigator Nancy De Pietro, “was getting water to the forward head and shower. The water tank we were using was aft, on the port side [That was the high side on the long port tack all the way down from Newport] and the pump had trouble because it was sucking air up there.”
“The one great thing about sailing on this type of boat is that we get to shower after coming off of every watch,” said Simon De Pietro with a smile.
Not having water for showers would have been a crisis for this cruiser crew… all good friends and family. It was an international crew with sailors from Ireland, the Dutch West Indies, England, Canada, South Africa and the USA. ‘Lilla’ has a comfortable 3-cabin layout and is used for charter as well as offshore racing.
In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David’s Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.
‘True’ a 53 foot J-160— also in Class 13— finished an hour behind ‘Lilla’ Her navigator Richard Casner of Dedham MA said, “The conditions were perfect for ‘True’ we had entered as a non-spinnaker boat and we think that paid off. We were right next to the Swan 60 ‘Lady B’ when she set a chute and we were able to walk away from her. The double headsail rig we used was just right for this boat in this race.”
The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda’s Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer.
Going into Monday evening, LLwyd Ecclestone’s ‘Kodiak’ crew was hopeful of winning the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, the most coveted of the three main Newport Bermuda Trophies awarded to the corrected time winner of the large amateur division. Then came ‘Carina’ to steal the show.
It looks as though, Based on provisional results, Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48-foot ‘Carina’ (Westbrook CT) won Class 3 and the silver scale model St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for first in the Division and probably more loot to boot. ‘Carina’ with Potts at the helm won the same first place trophy in the 2010 race and in 1970 ‘Carina’ won it under Richard Nye. This ties ‘Carina’ with ‘Finisterre’ as the boat with the most lighthouses on her trophy rack. ‘Finisterre’ won three in a row under Carleton Mitchel 1956, 1958 and 1960.
‘Carina’ finished at 6:16PM in Bermuda and had a corrected time of 45:08:16. The US Naval Academy’s new Navy 44 ‘Defiance’ was second in Class 3 behind ‘Carina’ and also second in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Her corrected time was 45:42:50. The US Naval Academy’s older Navy 44 Class 2 boat, ‘Swift’, was first in her class and third overall for the division with a corrected time of 46:09:04. It was a pretty tight race with just 26 corrected minutes between these top two boats in the division after a 635-mile sleigh-ride.
For Potts and crew, this is his second St. David’s Lighthouse win in a row. “We had a fantastic race,” Potts said. “ Pretty straight forward. We powered through the stream and then played two big shifts down the rhumbline further south. We gybed twice and then tacked twice for the finish when the wind got lighter and went forward. We finished under a light #1 headsail.” These gybes and tacks were more than most of the other boats in the race made and probably helped ‘Carina’ win overall.
“The boat just got back from a circumnavigation and racing in the world’s top races three weeks ago. My son and nephew did a great job of getting ‘Carina’ ready for Bermuda. In a race like this, preparation is one key to winning. Crew work is another and we had a family based crew working together.” Potts added.
The crew of ‘Carina’ is made up of four fathers and five sons. One of the fathers, Bud Sutherland, is Rives Potts’ brother-in-law and his son Rives Sutherland is the Captain of ‘Carina’ who took her on her global trek.
Change happened overnight in the Double-Handed Division, too. Perennial double-handed winner Hewitt Gaynor (Fairfield CT) slipped his J120 Mireille into first in Class 15 and first in the division. Joe Harris (South Hamilton MA) who sailed such a fast race in his Class 40 ‘Gryphon Solo2’ was alone on the leader board Monday. Harris had an elapsed time of 60:20:26 while Gaynor’s was 74:12:34. On corrected time, ‘Mireille’ beat ‘Gryphon Solo2’ by roughly 4 hours.
The provisional Gibbs Hill Division winner is ‘Shockwave’ a Reichel/Pugh 72 skippered by George Sakellaris of Farmington MA. Sakellaris will win the silver replica of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, a top prize along with the St. David’s Light. ‘Shockwave’ took double silver snatching the North Rock Beacon Trophy, the third important prize for the IRC corrected time winner, which is a silver replica of the 1960-1990 North Rock Light Tower that once warned mariners of the rocky approach to Bermuda from the North.
‘Med Spirit’ sailed by Michael D’Amelio (Boston, MA) in the Open Division is the other winner that seems clear under the provisional results for the Royal Mail trophy. Six boats started in this division that featured boats from 40 feet to 100 feet in length. Their common denominator was moveable ballast, either canting keels or water ballast. The 3 Class 40 boats all had water ballast and were fully crewed so they did not qualify to sail against the 3 Class 40’s that went double-handed in Class 15.
The Wally 100 ‘Indio’ under Mark Fliegner (Monaco) came second. ‘Donnybrook’, in her maiden race skippered by Jim Muldoon (Washington DC) had to retire with damage to her daggerboard and daggerboard trunk. Under corrected time only about 5 hours separated the winning 100-footer and the bottom Class 40.
‘Spirit of Bermuda’, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation sail-training vessel, was the sole entry in the new Spirit of Tradition Division. She finished Monday night at 11:20 ADT.
By John Rousmaniere
As of 1800 Sunday, six boats have finished the race, each of them breaking an elapsed time course record. In finishing order, they are Rambler (Class 10), Bella Mente (Class 10), Shockwave (Class 10), Team Tiburon (Class 10), Med Spirit (Class 16), and Kodiak (Class 8). Shockwave and Kodiak are the current corrected time leaders in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division and St. David’s Lighthouse Division, respectively. Med Spirit is the current corrected time leader in the Open Division.
First to finish Rambler, a 90-foot Reichel/Pugh sloop owned by George David (Hartford, Conn.), broke the course record decisively, averaging 16.06 knots down the 635-mle course in a time of 39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds. She clipped 9 hours off the previous course record set in 2004 by Morning Glory, which averaged 13.06 knots for Open Division boats and 14 hours from the ‘Official’ Record. Med Spirit set the new Open Division record of 45 hours, 26 minutes, 28 minutes… three hours faster than the previous record.
Sailors had vivid descriptions of high-speed, extremely rough conditions on the long, fast reach that prevailed from start to finish. Scott King, Team Tiburon, reported that after starting under a spinnaker, once the boat cleared the Narragansett Bay entrance buoys the crew set a double-headsail rig with a topsail over a jib. They then took in and shook out reefs in the mainsail as the conditions warranted, with one or two sailors always working the mainsheet.
Team Tiburon sailed Wizard a 74-foot sloop designed by Reichel/Pugh and chartered by Mark E. Watson III, a Bermuda business CEO. They covered 385 miles in her first 24 hours in the race, averaging almost 17 knots. “She felt slow when the speed dropped to 11,” King said. “I’ve been in boats where 11 knots was not even part of the plan.”
King said the water was always rough, with some waves 8 feet or higher and water constantly on deck, pushing sailors around. The Gulf Stream crossing was not as rough as he expected, he said, but it was spectacularly beautiful.
“Just before we entered the Stream we saw a long streak of phosphorescence in the water, as though a full moon was out and shining right down on it.” The phosphorescence disappeared when the boat charged into the main body of the Gulf Stream, but reappeared. “Dolphins were torpedoing through all this, right in front of us,” King said.
As they neared Bermuda on Sunday morning, Team Tiburon sailed into a series of rain-squalls with stronger winds that pushed the boat to over 20 knots as she crossed the finish line off St. David’s Head.
Dateline: 07:09:18 ADT Bermuda: George David’s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) – an average speed of 16knots.
A delighted George David said. “These were perfect conditions. The most exciting moment was when we hit 26 knots. I’m so pleased with our performance. We have reduced the record by 25% – Not bad for a boat that is now 10 years old. This Rambler is the best boat I have ever owned!”
Rambler not only slashed the race record, her crew also spanked their rivals, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crossing the lighthouse line 1 hour 43 minutes behind, followed 3 minutes later by Shockwave skippered by George Sakellaris.
On corrected time however, Shockwave beat Rambler by 33 minutes, followed by Belle Mente in 3rd and Team Tiburon 4th. Two yachts in class 10 are still racing.
There are 166 entries competing in the race, including four Bermuda boats.American entry, Ragana, withdrew from the race at the weekend after experiencing mechanical breakdown en route to Newport.Mr Osmond, a veteran of 15 Newport Bermuda Races, said preparations for this year’s race have so far gone as planned.
“Everything is going along quite smoothly fortunately for the committee which consists of 46 people who have been working for two years on this event,” he said. “All the pieces have come together and everybody has been working very hard.”
Bermuda Race vice-chairman and past RBYC Commodore Les Crane added: “I think registration is going very smoothly and John Osmond who is the race chairman has done a fabulous job putting all this together.“We’re registering the boats ensuring all the paperwork is complete and that everyone is in compliance with the rules that allow them to race.“The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club work closely with the Cruising Club of America who are partners in this race and we’re up here to ensure everyone understand what to expect when they get to Bermuda.”There are a number of social events that will take place in the final lead up to the start of the race, not the least of which is the ever popular Gosling’s Rum Newport Shipyard Crew Party.“We will have a great Bermudian party sponsored by Gosling’s at Newport Shipyard on Wednesday night,” Mr Crane said. “There will be Dark & Stormies and music and it will be a lot of fun.”The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race commences June 15 and concludes several days later in St David’s. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta presented by Butterfield Group will be sailed in the Great Sound on Friday, June 22nd.
Entry List for Newport to Bermuda 2012
|ANGEL||Ctm 84||CD||Edward T. Anderson|
|ATTITUDE||Beneteau 423||CD||Shawn Dahlen|
|BLUE||C&C 51xl||CD||Daniel Epstein|
|CALUSA||Sabre 386||CD||Peter H. Holmes|
|CAPELLA||Sabre 452||CD||David Millet|
|CETACEA||Hinckley SW 59||CD||Christopher J. Culver|
|CHASSEUR||Little Harbor 54||CD||Gregory G. Smith|
|CHECKMATE||Alden 44||CD||Frank J. Flores, Jr.|
|CONTINGENCY||Oyster 53||CD||Christopher C. Darby|
|CRACKERJACK||Cambria 40||CD||Alan H. Krulisch|
|DEFIANCE||Swan 56||CD||Peter B. Noonan|
|FEO||Joshua Ketch||CD||Eric P. Best|
|GLORY||Tartan 4700||CD||William Slattery|
|GRACE||First 40.7||CD||Jack Ives|
|HAERLEM||Swan 55||CD||Hendrikus PLM Wisker|
|INISHARON||F&C 44||CD||James D’A. Murphy|
|ISOLA||Baltic 52||CD||Howard Eisenberg|
|KANGAROO IV||Sabre 425||CD||Harvey E. Cohen|
|LADY B||Swan 60||CD||John P. Madden Jr.|
|LIBERTY CALL||Hallberg Rassy 43||CD||Matthew G, Pilon|
|LILLA||CNB Briand76||CD||Simon De Pietro|
|MOONDANCE||Swan 56||CD||Michael V, Johnson|
|OCEAN WANDERER 1||Montevideo 43||CD||Erwin Wanderer|
|ODYSSEY||Swan 55/57||CD||Glen V Dexter|
|PILGRIM||Alden 44||CD||Mark Rice|
|POESKE||Beneteau First42||CD||Richard Donn|
|SHINDIG||Pea39||CD||Kevin G, Flannery|
|SKY||Swan 53||CD||Barrett Raymond|
|TRUE||J/160||CD||Howard B. Hodgson, Jr.|
|WISCHBONE||Oyster 53||CD||Jeffrey S. Wisch|
|ALIBI||J120||DH||Gardner L. Grant, Jr.|
|AMHAS||Class 40||DH||MacKenzie Davis|
|AVATAR||Ranger 37||DH||John Kedzierski|
|CHOUCAS||Sunfast 36||DH||Frederic Cosandey|
|DRAGON||Class 40||DH||Michael Hennessy|
|GRYPHONSOLO2||Akilaria RC2||DH||Joseph S. Harris|
|KIVA||Hinckley SW 51CB||DH||Mark Stevens|
|MIREILLE||J120||DH||E. Hewitt Gaynor|
|NEXT BOAT||Morris 45||DH||Mark Ellman|
|OAKCLIFF RACING||Ker 11.3||DH||Jeffrey A. MacFarlane|
|PENGUIN||Pearson 35||DH||Steven H. Dane|
|RESOLUTE||J122||DH||D. Scott Miller|
|RUSE||Swan 44mkII||DH||William Marsh|
|SAILOR BANDIDO||Quest 33||DH||Christopher A. Palabrica|
|SEABISCUIT||J46||DH||Nathan C, Owen|
|VALOUR||Peterson 37||DH||Ernie Messer|
|WHISPER||Hinckley 48||DH||Thomas J. Vander Salm|
|AVRA||Ctm 40||GHL||George Petrides|
|BELLA MENTE||72′ Mini Maxi||GHL||Hap Fauth|
|CLEM||Swan 56||GHL||Jaime Olazabal|
|DEFIANCE||Marten 49||GHL||Hamnett P. Hill|
|DRAGONFLY||J/130||GHL||Colin A. McGranahan|
|MEANIE||R/P 52||GHL||Thomas Akin|
|PANDORA||C&C 115||GHL||Peter J. Bromley|
|PTARMIGAN||Ker 43||GHL||Lawrence F, Dickie|
|RAMBLER||Ctm 90||GHL||George David|
|RIMA2||RP 55||GHL||John G. Brim|
|SHOCKWAVE||Mini Maxi||GHL||George Sakellaris|
|SNOW LION||Ker 50||GHL||Lawrence S, Huntington|
|STARK RAVING MAD||Swan 601||GHL||James C. Madden|
|TEAM TIBURON||R/P 74||GHL||Mark E. Watson III (USMMA)|
|TEMPTATION-OAKCLIFF||Ker 50||GHL||Oakcliff Sailing Santry Arthur|
|UXORIOUS IV||Swan 62||GHL||Colin J. Buffin|
|DONNYBROOK||Andrews 80||Open||James P. Muldoon|
|ICARUS||Class 40||Open||Amanda Mochrie|
|INDIO||Wally 100||Open||Mark Fliegner|
|MED SPIRIT||Welbourn 92||Open||Michael DAmelio|
|TOOTHFACE||Akilaria Class40||Open||Mike Dreese|
|TRANSPORT COHÉRENCE||Class40||Open||Benoit Jouandet|
|ACTAEA||Hinckley B40||SDL||Michael M, Cone|
|AIRBORNE IV||Beneteau 50||SDL||William B. Greenwood III|
|AKELA III||Swan 43||SDL||Djoerd Hoekstra|
|AURELIUS||Bestevaer 76||SDL||Daniel van Starrenburg|
|AURORA||Tartan 41||SDL||Andrew F. Kallfelz|
|AVENIR||C&C 41||SDL||Joseph Murray|
|BACCI||Swan 53||SDL||Lorenzo Vascotto|
|BANDANA||Swan 47||SDL||Charles F. Benson|
|BARLEYCORN||NYYC Swan 42||SDL||Brendan J Brownyard|
|BARRA||Morris 486||SDL||Bruce M. MacNeil|
|BEAGLE||J/44||SDL||Philip H. Gutin|
|BELLE AURORE||Cal 40||SDL||Doug Jurrius|
|BLACK WATCH||Ctm 68 Yawl||SDL||Joseph C. Robillard|
|BOMBARDINO||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||James and Macrae Sykes|
|BRETWALDA 3||Rogers 46||SDL||Bob Pethick|
|BRIGAND||Ctm 50||SDL||Sean D. Saslo|
|CANNONBALL||Swan 68||SDL||Charles A. Robertson|
|CARINA||Ctm 48||SDL||A. Rives Potts, Jr.|
|CHARLIE V||J/44||SDL||Norman H. Schulman, MD|
|CHRISTOPHER DRAGON||J/122||SDL||Andrew Weiss|
|CONVICTUS MAXIMUS||Farr IRC 42||SDL||Donald W. Nicholson|
|CRAZY HORSE||Frers Comp 45||SDL||Patrick T. Walker|
|CYGNETTE||Swan 441||SDL||William J. Mayer|
|DAWN STAR||Baltic 46||SDL||William N. Hubbard III|
|DECISION||Carkeek HP 40||SDL||Stephen Murray|
|DEFIANCE||NAVY 44||SDL||Bryan Weisberg|
|DOGSLED||Kaufman 47||SDL||Todd Forrest Barnard|
|DORADE||S&S Custom||SDL||James A. Hilton|
|DREAMCATCHER||Swan 48 S&S||SDL||Stephen Kylander|
|FEARLESS||Farr 395||SDL||Shaun J. Ensor|
|FINESSE||J42||SDL||Newton P.S. Merrill|
|FLYING LADY||Swan 46||SDL||Phillip S. Dickey MD|
|GLIDE||J42||SDL||C.Tanner Rose, Jr|
|GOLD DIGGER||J/44||SDL||James D. Bishop|
|GRACIE||McCurdy & Rhodes||SDL||Stephan A & Simon W Frank|
|GREAT SCOT||J35||SDL||Darren Garnier|
|GREY GHOST||Zaal 38||SDL||Philip P. Parish|
|GRUNDOON||Columbia 50||SDL||James A. Grundy|
|HAKUNA MATATA||Cal 39 TM 1-147||SDL||Christopher J. Andrews|
|HIRO MARU||Swan 43 Classic||SDL||Hiroshi Nakajima|
|HOT TICKET||King 40||SDL||James E. Hightower|
|ILLUSION||Grand Soleil 45||SDL||Ralph F. Racca|
|ISLA||New York 32||SDL||Henry S. May, Jr.|
|JACQUELINE IV||Hinckley SW 42||SDL||Robert Forman|
|KODIAK||Ctm 65||SDL||Edwin Llwyd Ecclestone|
|LAPIN||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Christopher J. Clark|
|LINDY||Peterson 38||SDL||David G. Dickerson|
|LIR||Swan 45||SDL||John A. McNamara|
|LORA ANN||Express 37||SDL||Richard T. du Moulin|
|MAGIC||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||Kenneth Laudon|
|MATADOR||J133||SDL||Dale E. McIvor|
|MISCHIEVOUS||Ctm 65||SDL||Albert J. Fitzgibbons III|
|MISTY||J40 WK||SDL||Fred Allardyce|
|MOLTO BENE||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Richard Ewing|
|MOONSHINE||Tartan 4100||SDL||Dennis J. Ziemba|
|MORGAN OF MARIETTA||Centurion 42||SDL||Colin G. Golder|
|MORPHEUS||Schumacher 50||SDL||James D. Gregory|
|MUSICA||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Cliff T. Haddox|
|NASTY MEDICINE||Corby 41.5||SDL||Dr Stephen J. Sherwin|
|NICOLE||Cal 40||SDL||Thomas C. duPont|
|OLD SCHOOL||Farr 395||SDL||J Ganson Evans|
|PASSION4C||Bill Tripp 56||SDL||Stefan Lehnert|
|PATRIOT||Nautor Swan||SDL||Richard J. Isted|
|QUEST||Cambria 40||SDL||Dennis W. Powers|
|RAGANA||Cape Fear 38R||SDL||Darius Peleda|
|REGATTA||Carter 41||SDL||Constantine G. Koste|
|RELATIVITY||First 50||SDL||Hall Palmer|
|ROCKET J. SQUIRREL||Swan 39||SDL||L, Otorowski|
|ROCKET SCIENCE||J120||SDL||Rick F. Oricchio|
|RUNAWAY||J/44||SDL||Lawrence R. Glenn|
|SELKIE||McCurdy & Rhodes 38||SDL||Sheila McCurdy|
|SHAZAAM||J42||SDL||Roger B. Gatewood|
|SHINNECOCK||J120||SDL||James C. Praley|
|SINN FEIN||Cal 40||SDL||Peter S. Rebovich, Sr.|
|SLIDE RULE||First 44.7||SDL||Scott Bearse|
|STORMY PETREL||Leadership 44||SDL||Jack Neades|
|SWIFT||NAVY 44||SDL||Steve Jaenke|
|TEMPTRESS||IMX-45||SDL||Robert W. Kits Heyningen|
|TRIPLE LINDY||Swan 44 MKll||SDL||Joseph Mele|
|VAMP||J/44||SDL||Leonard J. Sitar|
|WANDRIAN||Taylor 41||SDL||D. William Tucker|
|WAZIMO||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Barrett Holby|
|WHITE RHINO||Swan 56||SDL||Collin J. Marshall|
|WIDOW MAKER||C&C 44||SDL||George Bauer|
|WINDBORN||J120||SDL||Richard W. Born|
|ZEST||Hinckley SW42||SDL||Brian E. Swiggett|
|ZION||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Timothy P. Maney|
|ZOE II||First 40||SDL||Francois Brassard|
|SPIRIT OF BERMUDA||Ctm 86||SPIRIT||Scott Jackson|
“This is a very emotional win for me,” said Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI), owner of the Custom 52 Vincitore, upon winning the 2009 Rolex Big Boat Series. “At the end of racing, when I looked at my Dad, who was out on the chase boat, we both had a tear in our eyes. The speech I gave on the first day was that we have a passion for sailing, a passion for friends and family, and we will let the results speak for themselves.” At the Rolex Trophy Ceremony this evening, winning skippers in six of the 11 classes competing were awarded one of six St. Francis Yacht Club Perpetual Trophies. In front of the owners, crew, family and friends of the 97 competing boats, those six skippers also were presented with a Rolex Submariner timepiece in recognition of their accomplishments.
As winner of IRC A class, Mitchell was awarded the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy. “I didn’t know it was the original trophy,” said Mitchell, clearly taken aback by the priceless silver piece dedicated in 1964, and deeded to the premier handicap division. “That’s a pleasant surprise. It brings a tear to my eyes. That’s so awesome.”
As the top performing IRC rated boat, Vincitore – with tactician Norman Davant and helmsman Chris Dickson – was named the overall Rolex US-IRC National Champion, and Mitchell was presented with a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece to mark the occasion. “We are bringing Vincitore back again next year,” he promised. Tom Akin & Mark Jones’ (San Francisco) chartered TP52 Flash finished in second with John Kilroy (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Samba Pa Ti in third.
The St. Francis Yacht Club race committee planned the day’s final Bay Tour, but with light and inconsistent wind direction, racing was abandoned for the four IRC classes, along with the 1D35 and J/120 classes. The six races completed through yesterday (Saturday) stood as the final results.
The City of San Francisco Trophy, one of the two golden spades used to break ground for the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, was awarded to Kjeld Hestehave’s (Richmond, Calif.) 73-foot Velos. Since the very first race, the largest boat entered in this regatta dominated his opponents in IRC B class with six straight race wins. Dale Williams’s (San Francisco) Kernan 44 Wasabi finished in second place, with Sy Kleinman’s (Saratoga, Calif.) Schumacher 54 Swiftsure II in third place, tied on 16 points with Wasabi.
“This win is 12 years in the making,” said Hestehave. “We were here in ’97 and ’98, and we got two second places that year. We were here two years ago and got killed by everyone.” Hestehave explained that he prepared Velos, the Greek word for velocity, for the Pacific Cup, fairing the bottom and getting it tuned. Originally, he planned to participate in StFYC’s annual Stag Cruise, which historically follows the Rolex Big Boat Series, but when he realized there wouldn’t be enough berths at the club’s Tinsley Island location, he brought Velos up from San Diego for the occasion. “We were here so we thought we might as well race the boat,” he recalled. “With 22 crew onboard, that’s a lot of drink tickets and a lot of sandwiches, and tonight is going to be very expensive.”
Dan Woolery’s King 40 Soozal (Alamo, Calif.) won the IRC C class and the Richard Rheem Perpetual Trophy, which was established in 1972 in memory of Richard Rheem whose famous yacht Morning Star was the elapsed time winner in the 1949 and 1955 Transpac races to Honolulu. Gold Phoenix, the J/44 chartered by James Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.), finished in second, while Tim Fuller (Marietta, Calif.) and the J/122 Resolute finished third.
Only two entries had straight wins in all races: Velos, in IRC B, and Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey in IRC D class. “I’m feeling great, we really wanted it this year,” said Sheridan, who lives in San Francisco, but grew up in County Galway, Ireland. “We trained for it and the crew is outstanding. Every single one deserved to be on the crew, I’m delighted for myself and for my crew.” This is Tupelo Honey’s fifth Rolex Big Boat Series. It won its class in 2005 and finished second in the other years. Clearly happy to have won an IRC class at this year’s regatta, the 45th annual, he said, “I think IRC is saving big boat racing around the world. It’s giving a new sense of purpose to racing and serious big boat campaigns. Handicap racing is never perfect, but this is close to perfect.” Sheridan was awarded the Keefe-Kilborn Trophy, which was established in 1976 to honor Harold Keefe and Ray Kilborn.
On the North course racing started late, but with a short-lived band of wind, the race committee was able to shorten the course and finish the Melges 32, Express 37, J/105, Beneteau 36.7 and Cal 40 classes.
The Melges 32 class was racing for its national championship. Philippe Kahn’s (Belvedere Cove, Calif.) Pegasus had to retire yesterday due to an equipment malfunction, but they were back on form today, winning the seventh and final race, putting them into fourth overall. Andy Lovell & Burt Benrud’s New Orleans-based Rougarou won the six-boat class and the title. Local sailor Don Jesberg and his Viva was second overall, with Stephen Pugh and Taboo in third.
Although Bartz Schneider won today’s final race in the Express 37 class, it wasn’t enough points to topple Kame Richards (Alameda. Calif.) and Golden Moon from the number one spot. Schneider’s Expeditious finished in fourth overall behind Mick Shlens and Blade Runner in second, and Michael Maloney’s Bullet in third. Richards also won the Atlantic Trophy. Established in 1978, the trophy features the ship’s bell of the yacht Atlantic, long-time Transatlantic Ocean record holder (1905). The bell was donated by John C. “Jack” Morris, and the trophy by Jack H. Feller Jr.
The Commodore’s Cup, which was established in 2004 to be awarded to the largest one-design fleet, was awarded to the winner of the J/105 class, Chris Perkins’ Good Timin’. “Honestly, Bruce Stone sailed a great series,” said Perkins of the fleet. “He only had one bad race and won three out of seven sailed. His Arbitrage is clearly one of the quickest boats. Everyone would agree he is quicker than us.” So what would Perkins credit his team’s win to? “The challenge in a 25-boat fleet is consistency,” he continued. “We didn’t have any big mistakes and that is what made the difference for us.”
While they may not have taken the overall 1D35 class win, Japanese entry Ebb Tide was clearly a crowd favorite and stepped onto the prizegiving stage to massive cheers and chants. Owner Masakazu Toyama has sailed the Rolex Big Boat Series for the past three years, each time in a different class, and this time the team’s efforts paid off with a trophy for 2nd in 1D 35. Toyama says he’d love to live in San Francisco one day, “It’s fun, and we will be back” he said with a big smile. Gary Boell and Diablita won the 1D35 class, Barry Lewis’ Chance won the J/120 fleet and Bill LeRoy and Gone with the Wind won the Cal 40 class.
After a large area of thunderstorms moved through this morning, the over 1,000 sailors competing in day three of the Rolex Big Boat Series were given a new challenge: light wind and minimum visibility through the dense fog hanging low on the water. As locals are apt to exclaim – ‘It’s never like this in San Francisco’ – a theory confirmed by spectators lined along the sea wall and second-story viewing bleachers at St. Francis Yacht Club.
An on-time racing start by the StFYC volunteer race committee, lead by PROs Kevin Reeds (Annapolis, Md.) and Hank Stuart (Rochester, N.Y.), gave the 97 competing boats two races for a total of six races. Tomorrow’s final race – known fondly as the Bay Tour – will cap off a solid four days on the water.
Flash, the TP52 skippered by Tom Akin & Mark Jones, won the day’s first race, finished third in the second, and now stands in second overall in IRC A class, one point behind class leader Vincitore, the custom 52 owned by Jim Mitchell (Zurich, SUI) and driven by Chris Dickson. John Kilroy’s TP52 Samba Pa Ti finished 3-1 and is now in third overall.
The fastest boat around the IRC B racecourse today was Kjeld Hestehave’s (Richmond, Calif.) 73-foot Velos. Since the very first race, the largest boat entered in this regatta continues to dominate the class. It now looks untouchable with six total points. Sy Kleinman’s (Saratoga, Calif.) Schumacher 54 Swiftsure is tied on 16 points with Dale Williams’s (San Francisco) Kernan 44 Wasabi. “We are more than thrilled to be there,” said Williams, who figures he has competed in at least 20 Big Boat Series in his career, winning in 1999 with a previous boat named Wasabi. However, this Wasabi is brand new, designed by the same group who created Williams’ last boat the 70-foot Peligroso. “It’s really easy to sail,” he said. “We’re surprised how fast it goes. There’s a retractable sprit, but no spreaders, no runners, no reaching struts and no after guys. It’s fast at 12,900 lbs. with 6,700 lbs of ballast. It’s everything we thought it was and more.”
Willims set up a StFYC duel for second place tomorrow between his Wasabi and Swiftsure, giving the overall nod toward Velos. “That is a very well-sailed boat,” said Woolery. “They deserve to be out front. It’s been a lot of fun and really nice to sail against them and Swiftsure.”
Soozal, the King 40 owned by Daniel Woolery (Alamo, Calif.), continues to lead the IRC C class, with James Bishop (Jamestown, R.I.) and the J/44 Gold Phoenix moving into second overall ahead of Tim Fuller (Marietta, Calif.) and the J/122 Resolute.
“Today’s first race was a pivotal race for us. We didn’t know what to expect,” said Woolery. After corrected time, the relatively new boat took first place and then a second in the day’s second race. “The second one was a little more difficult,” continued Woolery. “Our jib goes up on a jib lock and it didn’t stay up on the lock. So, as we went to the bottom mark, our plan was to go into Alcatraz and through the Cone. We were behind Gold Phoenix and we thought ‘Let’s go into the cone.’ We were right behind them and immediately the jib fell down, and that forced us to tack over to clear it. We tacked back and as soon as we did, we realized we weren’t going to make the Cone, so we tacked over to the beach first. Phoenix did as well. When all was said and done we were seven seconds corrected in front of them. At that point the race became between us and TNT.
“If TNT had gotten second and not us, then that would have brought Phoenix a little closer in the gap” said Woolery. “We were in great tacking duels, and managed to tack our way up to Phoenix. We were a minute and a half behind when that whole engagement started, and we put almost a minute and a half on them. Overall we’re feeling really good.” Soozal has a four-point lead over Gold Phoenix going into tomorrow’s final race. “We’re going to win tomorrow,” he predicted.
Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey continues to dominate IRC D class with two more bullets. The San Francisco-based boat won both of today’s races on corrected time and, barring any mishaps tomorrow, stands to take the overall win. “Tomorrow we will go out and race like we like to race, which is fairly conservatively,” said Sheridan. “We don’t want to take any major risks.” This is Tupelo Honey’s fifth Rolex Big Boat Series. It won its class in 2005 and finished second in the other years. “At the start of the year I decided I wanted to win Big Boat this year,” he continued. “It’s the premier regatta on the West Coast, and here at the St. Francis, the race management is impeccable.”
In the grand-prix Melges 32 class, vying for its National Championship this weekend, New Orleans-based Rougarou looked unstoppable blazing downwind. With two more wins today – to add to a series scoreline of 1-2-1-5 – the team lead by co-owners Bert Benrud and Andy Lowell needs to finish fourth or better to win the title. Philippe Kahn’s (Belvedere Cove, Calif.) Pegasus encountered trouble in the first race and dropped out to expedite repairs. The team plans to be back in the race tomorrow. Local sailor Don Jesberg and his Viva is in second overall, with Stephen Pugh and Taboo in third.
Class leaders from yesterday that held onto the lead in other one-design classes include Pat Patterson (Angwin, Calif.) and Summer and Smoke in the Beneteau 36.7; William LeRoy (Tiburon, Calif.) and Gone with the Wind in the Cal 40; Kame Richards (Alameda. Calif.) and Golden Moon in the Express 37; and Chris Perkins (San Francisco) and Good Timin’ in the J/105 class.
The other two one-design classes saw a change in leadership with Barry Lewis’ Chance gaining a slight edge over John Wimer’s Desdemona, now in second place, in the J/120 fleet, and Gary Boell and Diablita taking over from Alex Farrell (Mountain View, Calif.) and Alpha Puppy in the 1D35 class. Alpha Puppy fell to third place, while Ebb Tide, chartered by Masakazu Toyama (Tokyo, JPN), moved into second.
In Italian, the word Vincitore means ‘the winner’ so Jim Mitchell and his multi-national crew took the theme to heart by winning both races in IRC A class on the opening day of the Rolex Big Boat Series. Over 1,000 sailors on 97 boats in 11 classes are competing through Sunday, September 13. “I wouldn’t miss this regatta for anything,” said Mitchell, who grew up in Chicago but now calls Zurich (SUI) his home. “It was one of our crew’s birthdays yesterday, Dallas Kilponen, and I think our two bullets are the best present we can give him.” All of the IRC class leaders – Kjeld Hestehave’s Velos (Richmond, Calif.), Daniel Woolery’s King 40 Soozal (Alamo, Calif.) and Gerard Sheridan’s Elan 40 Tupelo Honey – joined the two-bullet club today, in the IRC B, IRC C and IRC D classes, respectively. All four divisions of IRC handicap-rated boats also are competing for the Rolex US-IRC National Championship.
The other two groups vying for national championships are the Express 37 and Melges 32 classes. For Burt Benrud, this is not only his first Rolex Big Boat Series but also his first season in the Grand-Prix one-design class. “This is our first big outing and we could have not picked a better location,” he said. Benrud, with co-owner Andy Lovell (New Orleans, La.) and crew on the Melges 32 Rougarou, won the day’s first race, took a second in the second and now sit in first overall in the six-boat class. “We are sailing under the Southern Yacht Club flag, and we are very proud to be able to represent our hometown.” Don Jesberg (Mill Valley, Calif.), the recent winner of the class’s North American championship, is in second place overall on his Viva, followed by Stephen Pugh’s Taboo (Sausalito, Calif.).
“We actually had our first Express 37 National Championship regatta in 1986,” said Bartz Schneider, the class fleet captain and president, and skipper of Expeditious, currently in fourth place overall. “This is our 20th national championship at the St. Francis. In 1990 we had our first National Championship as part of the Big Boat Series, and except for 2001, we have had it as part of the regatta every year.” Leading the nine-boat class is Kame Richards’ (Alameda, Calif.) Golden Moon, with Elan, owned by Bill Reiss (Oakland, Calif.), in third. Schneider summed up the fleet leaders: “Golden Moon will be tough, with Bay tide guru Kame Richards at the helm. Elan will be very competitive. And Blade Runner (Mick Schlens, Los Angeles, Calif.), with their name already on the trophy several times, is always a possible threat.”
The largest one-design fleet is the J/105 class with 25 boats. Returning champion Donkey Jack, owned by Robert Conrads (San Francisco), took 13-6 in two races and is now eighth overall. Bruce Stone’s Arbitrage won the day’s first race, while Adam & Guillemette Spiegel’s Jam Session won the second, putting them into second overall behind class leader, Jeff Litfin & John Case’s Mojo.
While many of the competing boats are from the Bay Area and California, some hail from ports across the US and abroad. Lorenzo Berho and his J/145 Raincloud hail from Mexico City, Mexico and are in sixth overall in IRC B. “Raincloud is a Mexican family and friends boat that has changed our lives, and also has helped us fulfill several dreams,” said Berho, who only started sailing five years ago. “We had a great experience in last year’s Rolex Big Boat Series that we decided to come back in spite of the difficult economic times, and for most of us that means traveling from Mexico City. The organizers are great and the competing boats are really friendly. Last year we got fourth place in our fleet so we would love to get a third place this year. We know that most of the fleet is very competitive and there are many experienced sailors with local knowledge. I am turning 50 years old on September 15, so I chose this regatta as my birthday present. There is nothing better than sailing with my family and best friends in the most outstanding Bay of the world.”
Jim Mitchell is another perfect example of the international aspect present here in San Francisco for racing. Now living in Switzerland, he launched Vincitore a year and half ago in New Zealand and when asked about his international crew – New Zealand’s Chris Dickson and Simon Minoprio among them – considering that many of the other entries in the race are locals, he quickly said, “Not us, we’re like the United Nations!”
When asked what makes him come back each year to San Francisco for the Rolex Big Boat Series, Jim said, “It’s just so much fun, the competition is great, you have the city, the weather- it’s always windy, constant wind. I really wanted to bring my boat to Europe and sail some races over there,” he continued, “but I want to sail with family and the guys from New Zealand like sailing in Chicago, San Francisco and the Caribbean. Bringing the boat here is just so fantastic and I’m glad to be here.”
This evening competitors celebrated the first day of racing at the Rolex Party where the first daily video was shown. The regatta ends with Sunday’s final Rolex Trophy Ceremony where specially engraved Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the St. Francis Yacht Club’s six Perpetual Trophy winners.
About St. Francis Yacht Club
Founded in 1927, St. Francis Yacht Club, within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a year-round host of over 40 regattas on San Francisco Bay. The club is renowned for its expertise in running world and national championships.