TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

(Friday 16th September, Menorca) – As a team which is much more used to winning Quantum Racing had some tough moments in 2015 when they were overshadowed by Azzurra. But the TP52 class’s most successful team are back on song this season, more so than ever in Menorca, racing at their very, very best.As the 2016 52 World Championship regatta passed its theoretical mid-point today, Doug DeVos’ American-flagged crew already have the title by the scruff of the neck and look firm favourites to run away with another world championship win at Sunday’s prizegiving in Mahón.

After six races Quantum Racing have accumulated only ten points.

Their worst race finish so far is the third place that they gained in Race 6, losing second to Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing because their bow pulpit had failed and the Quantum crew could not fully hike.

With Terry Hutchinson calling tactics, Ed Baird steering, and Ian Moore as navigator Quantum took three points from Day 1, three points from Day 2 and now just four more points from today after winning the first race.

In pursuit of the seemingly untouchable Quantum, Rán Racing had one of their best days of the year so far to match Quantum’s daily score with two second places. But it is Ergin Imre’s Provezza which holds second place, separated from Rán on countback only by virtue of a gun to gun win in Race 6, today’s second windward-leeward.

Menorca delivered two great races today. The first was raced in the south-westerly breeze which has prevailed so far. But the NW’ly pushed through for the second race, requiring the course area to be changed, offering a whole new array of tactical choices on a brand new arena.

Quantum Racing and Rán Racing broke away early in the first beat of the first race of the day, Race 5 of the series. Quantum Racing started closer to the middle of the line and were able to impose themselves early, while Rán went more to the right, inshore and profited. On the first run Peter Harrison’s Sorcha made a great gain down the offshore side of the leg, jumping up to third. Unfortunately they were penalised for an infringement during a very compact group at the finish, dropping to 11th. Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec made a great recovery to steal third with Provezza fourth.

A big, heading shift on the first downwind forced the first attempt at Race 6 to be abandoned. But the delay, as the course area was moved several miles, was rewarded with an exciting second race where boatspeeds topped 20kts and the head to head drag race off the start line which went on for several minutes was one of the most exciting periods of the season so far.

Cognisant of how the new breeze would bend down the race course, Provezza executed their game plan to perfection, hooking into the left lift early to lead all the way around the course, surging away from Quantum Racing at the first kite hoist.

The hard tactical racing was a great chance for consistency for some. The young team on Paprec posted two fifth places and lie eighth overall. Bronenosec halted their miserable run of races here so far with a third and fourth today.

The plan to run a coastal on Saturday has been changed to a schedule requiring two more windward-leewards with a warning signal for the first one at 1200hrs.
52 World Championship – Mahón, Menorca
Standings after Day 3, six races sailed

1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1,1,2,1,3) 10pts
2 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7,3,6,4,1) 27pts
3 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2,2,10,2,2) 27pts
4 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10,7,1,6,7) 32pts
5 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3,5,7,12,8) 40pts
6 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4,10,4,8,11) 41pts
7 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8,9,11,3,4) 43pts
8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF/13,8,9,5,5) 43pts
9 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5,6,8,9,12) 47pts
10 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6,4,12,11,6) 51pts
11 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11,12,3,7,9) 53pts
12 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9,11,5,10,10) 55pts
Quotes:

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):

“It has been magical so far. Everything Terry has gotten us to do has worked out and so I just try to keep up with driving the boat. Unfortunately we had a bit of a breakdown on the second race, we broke the bow pulpit on one side and could not hike upwind on the second leg. Rán were able to catch up to us and get around us. But the positioning of Terry and the teamwork of the guys has been fantastic. It is working. All we ever try to do is realise that yesterday is yesterday and tomorrow is tomorrow when we can do a little better. It does not matter if you had a good day or a bad day tomorrow you just try to do that little bit better. So far it is working. We have a lot of racing to go and there are a lot of good teams putting pressure on where we are. But it is magic.”

Nacho Postigo (ESP) navigator Provezza (TUR):

“We had a good idea of what the wind would do after the big change, and so we had a plan and we stuck to it. There was a transition between the SW’ly and the NW’ly wrapping around the island. And when the NW’ly was in normally it does a left bend around the island. We are up to second overall, tied with Rán Racing and so the fight through the final two days with be interesting.

I think this is the one of the best places to race because there is no single track. And there are plenty of opportunities to gain and to lose. So it is not only boatspeed and finding the best side. It is about being awake and focused on what is happening. It is a very good place to race. Some are reading it very well, and some not so well.”

The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Tomorrow, racing will start at 12:00 CEST every day, with live coverage for the remainder of the regatta. You can catch all the action atwww.52SUPERSERIES.com or via the app.

 

TP52 World Championship Race Days 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race Days 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

TP52 World Championship Race 5 and 6 (Photo by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

(Wednesday 14th September, Menorca) – Quantum Racing did what they do best today to earn the early lead at the 52 World Championship in Menorca. They kept cool heads, sailed smooth and clean, and worked through the fleet to finish second in the championship after the first race (behind Azzurra), and then won the second race, pipping Rán Racing on the finish line to lead by five points.

Conditions improved across the two races culminating in a fast, enjoyable tussle through the Second heat in building seas and 18-22kts of breeze and sunshine. In the brisk conditions it was as important to stay out of trouble – to avoid mechanical breakdowns – as it was to sail fast, smart and consistent.

Quantum Racing came back from a positively lacklustre start to the championship, flatfooted off the start line, and worked hard to get second behind Azzurra. The defending champions Azzurra led from the first run and consolidated on the final run to keep Quantum Racing under wraps to the finish line. But Azzurra suffered in the second race, losing contact with Quantum Racing early on, they had a winch pedestal problem and then tore a kite to pair a weighty 10th to their first.

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-2

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

In the windy, wavy conditions Provezza shredded a kite near the leeward mark after leading round the first circuit and Paprec had to retire from the second heat after breaking their backstay. This was especially tough for the French crew which had just finished third in the first race.

Tony Langley’s Gladiator led the first race which started in 11-13kts of SW’ly breeze, and a difficult, leftover, sloppy sea. The confused, steep waves and chop were out of proportion to the modest early breeze and made it especially hard for helms and trimmers to work to their best. Gladiator did not manage to gybe early enough at the top mark, being held to the right of the downwind by the French. With a big shift to the right Azzurra profited from their early gybe set at the top mark and took the lead. Quantum Racing took places on each leg and were attacking hard at Azzurra by the finish. Paprec took third and Gladiator fourth.

The breeze had built for the second race. Ergin Imré’s Provezza and Niklas Zennström’s Rán Racing were well placed to the right of the first upwind with the Turkish boat just leading Rán at the first turn. Rán stayed right (looking downwind) on the final run leaving Quantum Racing to the left, closer to the shore and the geographical header which allowed them to get passed the black hulled Rán just on the finish line.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-3

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

Quantum Racing’s skipper Baird confessed:

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew sailed a consistent day with their 5,3 to lie second on countback against Langley’s Gladiator and their 4,4.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-5

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

Quantum Racing’s skipper Baird confessed:

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon crew sailed a consistent day with their 5,3 to lie second on countback against Langley’s Gladiator and their 4,4.

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-6

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

52 World Championship – Mahon, Menorca
Standings after Day 1, Two Races
1 Quantum Racing, USA (Doug DeVos USA) (2,1) 3pts
2 Platoon, GER (Harm Müller-Spreer GER) (5,3) 8pts
3 Gladiator, GBR (Tony Langley GBR) (4,4) 8pts
4 Azzurra, ITA (Pablo/Alberto Roemmers ARG) (1,10) 11pts
5 Rán Racing, SWE (Niklas Zennström SWE) (9,2) 11pts
6 Alegre, GBR (Andy Soriano USA) (7,5) 12pts
7 Provezza, TUR (Ergin Imre TUR) (6,7) 13pts
8 Paprec FRA (Jean-Luc Petithuguenin FRA) (3,DNF13) 16pts
9 Bronenosec, RUS (Vladimir Liubomirov RUS) (8,8) 16pts
10 Sorcha GBR (Peter Harrison GBR) (12,6) 18pts
11 Phoenix, USA (Richard Cohen USA) (10,9) 19pts
12 Sled, USA (Takashi Okura USA) (11,11)  22pts
Quotes:
Ian Walker (GBR) tactician Gladiator (GBR):

“The first race we should really have done better than that. We lead around the top mark and did not have a good enough spinnaker set and then could not gybe because of Paprec. So that was disappointing but we did well to hang on to fourth. Second race we did well in the end because we had an absolutely shocking start. We picked boats off. We were in phase the whole race. One or two boats did not tack on us which was a first, making a world of difference. And the boat goes better when there is some wind. I think the wheels – it becomes an advantage, or less of a disadvantage when the wind is up, the Vrolijk hull shape I think is better uprange than downrange. And I think we sail it better in the breeze, maybe we have more learn to in the light. There are a number of reasons but at least we can compete when there is more breeze.

I am absolutely loving Menorca. I think everyone is friendly. The pace of life is a little slower. It is beautiful. The sailing is good. And gimme anywhere we don’t have to just smash a corner!”

Ed Baird (USA) skipper-helm Quantum Racing (USA):

“I did not do a good job of getting us off the starting line. But the team really rallied up and made some good manoeuvres and some good tactical calls to get us around. Terry [Hutchinson] picked us some really strong positions around the track and got us back in the game. There are a lot of good teams and you just don’t get a good start every race. And today was my day for that.”

Tony Rey (USA) tactician Provezza (TUR):

“We broke the kite in the second race in the worst possible place, approaching the leeward gate. It was a windy, wavy day and we quickly went from hero to zero. The good news is that we saved a few points. We were second to last at the leeward gate but got up to seventh and that is good in this fleet.”

Paul Cayard (USA) skipper-helm Phoenix (USA):

“We had a good day. I love how close the competition is. We made a big mistake at the leeward mark in the second race which was a shame because it was going well up until then. But we learn from it and we will be better tomorrow. We have a great team with sailors from big programmes – America’s Cup and so on. Most of us have some experience in this class but not for some years. And so we are just coming into the group which has been sailing against each other for a while, at least all this season. It is matter of inches, metres, seconds. We dealt with the pile up and the weather mark quite well, for example. There is a lot of opportunity out there but Quantum Racing just show us how to do it. They sail smooth and clean and stay out of trouble and just chip away.”

The 52 World Championship will take place in Mahón, Menorca from 14th-18th September. Racing starts at 12:30 CEST every day, with live coverage on the final three days. You can catch all the action at www.52SUPERSERIES.com or via the app.

 

tp52-worlds-races-1-2-ph-m-ranchi-7

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com  )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com)

TP 52 Worlds Races 1 and 2 (Photos by Max Ranchi www.MaxRanchi.com )

 

 

 

 

Trophy Conde de Godó TP52 Winners Quantum Racing (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

The last day of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy has been crammed full with nervousness. The prevailing light wind indicated the worst but finally the fleet was able to race in appropriate conditions. The 40th Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy already has its winners: QUANTUM RACING (TP52), EARLY BIRD (Soto 40), ZHIK / NOVASAIL (J-80), OPEN SEASON (Wally), XSPAIN (ORC 2) FANYTAS (ORC 3) and RATS ON FIRE (ORC 1)

 

Bowman at start of Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

Doug de Vos’ QUANTUM RACING, with Ed Baird as skipper, started today’s races knowing that only two points separated him from the leader, Alberto Roemmers’ AZZURA. The American team sailed a smart race which took him to win the regatta, while the Italian-Argentinean team (until then leader) ended in last place in the race, as he was falling to third place overall. Niklas’ Zennstrom’s RAN climbed to the second place of the podium in the Conde de Godo’s Sailing Trophy.

Ran (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

In the Soto 40 Class, Pedro Mendoça’s BIGAMIST and Herrik and Christian Najel’s EARLY BIRD started the last day tied up in points. The start was controlled by the German team, while the Portuguese got cornered in an unsuccessful start. This way EARLY BIRD won a comfortable overall victory.

The large J-80 fleet, with 14 boats in the water, proved the tough fight there was within the favorites, which were lots. Spaniard Carlos Martinez’s ZHIK / NOVASAIL, leader since day one, confirmed its great form winning by a margin of 16 points. Following Martinez’s team there was Javier Chacartegui’s HM HOTELS, José María Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGÍA and Pablo Benjumeda’s PUERTO SHERRY, who fought until the end. Van der Ploeg’s FACTOR ENERGIA, who broke a rudder on the first day and was forced to retire, made an incredible comeback which led him to the second place overall, followed by Javier Chacartegui ‘s HM Hotels in the podium.

Conde de Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

In the ORC category two units stood out: Javier Banderas’ XP38 X-SPAIN, who has won all the races sailed in ORC2 (5 out of 5) and Miquel Banus’ Dufour 34 FANYTAS in ORC3, which has also won all his races.

In ORC 1, the overall standings had a turn over after Christian Plump’s ELENA NOVA was disqualified from all races sailed. Once on shore and with the result from the protest that the Race Committee raised against ELENA NOVA, the victory of the Conde de Godo Sailing Trophy in ORC 1 went to Rafael Carbonell’s RATS ON FIRE. In the Wally class victory went clearly to British Mike Atkinson’s OPEN SEASON.

Bowwave (Photo by Max Ranchi) www.maxranchi.com

 

For results for all classes see http://www.trofeocondegodo.com/resultados2013/resultados_en_2013.php

Photos Courtesy of Max Ranchi  www.maxranchi.com

 

TP52 fleet Conde do Godo (Photo by Max Ranchi)

 

Team Azzurra Win Valencia Cup  (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

Team Azzurra Win Valencia Cup (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Superseries)

 

At the end Audi Azzurra Sailing Team glided serenely across the finish line of the one final race of the season in a gentle sea breeze and perfect September sunshine off Valencia to secure the overall 52 Super Series title.

When they started Race 8 of the Audi Valencia Cup, all that the team which races under the flag of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda had to do was simply cross that last finish line in any place to ensure the season-long title was theirs.

In so doing they also won the Audi Valencia Cup, counting five first places, a second, third and fifth. Their only regatta win of the four this season, Barcelona, Sardinia, Palma and Valencia, was achieved by a margin of seven points ahead of Jochen Schuemann’s Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One.

Niklas Zennström, the newly elected president of the TP52 class, steered Rán to a win this final contest of the season. With Quantum Racing finishing third, that was enough to give Zennström’s crew third step on the Audi Valencia Cup podium, and also third overall for the season.

The celebrations may have started early for the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, having virtually wrapped up the title yesterday, but after seven years of trying the emotions and jubilation overflowed on the dock in front of the emblematic Veles e Vents building.

 

“We are very proud.” Grinned tactician Vasco Vascotto, “ It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family (boat owners), for everybody involved it is such an important result.”

“But we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past.”

 

Simon Fry, the British trimmer on board the winning Audi Azzurra Sailing team summarised:

“I think the team has really endorsed the ‘leave nothing to chance’ philosophy. I think we have just been a little more diligent. I think the boat preparation has been excellent. And I think that on top of that we had the human element of a really, really steely focus. It was ‘the time has come, we have to deliver’. We have had the hardware in the past and failed to deliver. So there was a bit of personal pressure on, and a bit of peer pressure, this was the year we had to deliver.”

Day 2 Valencia 52 Superseries (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

Day 2 Valencia 52 Superseries Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, (Photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

For Quantum Racing, the American flagged team which won the class title in 2008 and 20011, letting the 52 Super Series slip from their grasp at the last regatta is a bitter pill to swallow, but skipper Ed Baird stated they will learn from the experience:

“ Every race is a practice race for the next one. You have to learn from every mistake you have made and add it to your bank of knowledge for the next. And we certainly have learned a lot this week.”

The 52 Super Series concluded its inaugural season with three different boats winning regattas, Quantum Racing, Rán and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team. The programme for next season’s 52 Super Series is already in place, starting in January in Key West.

Audi Valencia Cup

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team 15pts

2 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One 22pts

3 Rán 25pts

4 Quantum Racing 26pts

5 Gladiator 32pts

52 Super Series final results

1 Audi Azzurra Sailing Team ITA 74.5pts

2 Quantum Racing  USA 79.5pts

3 Rán Racing  SWE 94.5pts

4 Gladiator GBR 125pts

5 Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One GER 132.5 pts

2013 Calendar

US 52 Super Series

Quantum Key West Race Week: January 20-25th

52 World Championships, Miami, March 5-9th

52 Super Series

Trofeo Conde de Godo, Barcelona, May 23-26th

Royal Cup, Ibiza, July 2-6th

Copa del Rey, Palma Mallorca, July 29th – Aug 3rd

Audi Week of the Straits, Porto Cervo, Sardinia September 10-14th

Quotes:

Vasco Vascotto, Audi Azzurra Sailing Team
“We are very proud. It was a huge challenge, the standard is so high and so we are happy for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, for the Roemmers family, for everybody it is an important result. And we need to start working tomorrow again, because I am sure that next year it will be harder and the teams will be ready to beat us. This is still a sport and so we have to always think not only how we won this year, but also how we lost in the past. It means a lot to me. This is part of my heart. We are still a young team in the sailing circles and we want to win more together. I have won other things but this is important to win because the team have been trying so hard for so long.”

Ed Baird, Quantum Racing: 
“Obviously we are disappointed. We never want to drop boats, we never want to do that. We are still learning and trying our hardest and I have full faith in the group here. One of the things that has gone on all week, is that despite how frustrating it has been to make decisions that seemed like they were the ones, and then have them go wrong, the group was always very positive and always fighting. I appreciate that from a team.

Adrian Stead, Rán Racing:
“We sailed the boat really well, we changed gears really well in the conditions. I think it was shifty enough and puffy enough that as long as you could be under the right breeze at the right time for longest, that gave you the speed and the advantage. We have come a long way. We have improved. We were weak in the light stuff an have improved there.”

Stephane Kandler, Audi Sailing Team powered by All4One:
“We are very happy with our season, we started late and with only little means. So we are quite happy to get two podiums over the season and won the Copa del Rey. So we are pleased to have done the season. Congratulations for the season to Azzurra who did a great job.”

Tony Langley, owner-driver Gladiator:
“It has been a good season for us. I am quite happy with the way things have gone and with the progress we have made. We had better results in Porto Cervo but we have been sailing the boat quite well. The other guys are coming after us now. We were tacked on three times today. We are doing things fairly right now.” 

“Today we had good start, a bad shift, and then we were back in it again. And in the end we finish by taking a scalp off a team with a few gold medals between them and that’s great, that’s quite something.” “We are packing everything up now and heading to the US for the first events of next season. We are already really looking forwards to Key West and Miami.”

VALENCIA, SPAIN. 2012. Day four of Audi Valencia Cup of 52 Superseries on September 22, 2012 at Marina Real Juan Carlos I, Puerto de Valencia, in Valencia, Spain (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries)

 

Ran and Shockwave Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

Ran and Shockwave Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

 

With three races conducted in strong winds, there was opportunity for boats to make a significant move in the standings on the second day of Quantum Key West 2012. Or in some cases it was a chance to further increase leads taken on Day 1. Pisces fit into the former category, moving into the overall lead in Melges 32 class by winning two of three races on Tuesday. Skipper Benjamin Schwartz and company showed superb boat speed and made some sound tactical decisions and now lead the 19-boat fleet by tiebreaker over John Kilroy and the Samba Pa Ti team. “We are a new program so it is a tremendous feeling to be doing well in a big-time regatta like Key West. Hopefully, we can keep it going,” said Schwartz, who joined the class last summer and promptly placed fourth at U.S. Nationals. Schwartz has America’s Cup veteran Ed Baird calling tactics and Quantum professional Scott Nixon trimming the jib and spinnaker. “You have to give Ed and Scott a lot of credit for getting our boat up to speed,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have a great crew. Today was very challenging because the wind velocity was up and down and the sea state was not very forgiving, but the guys never stopped working and we were able to change gears pretty well.” Race committees on all three courses completed three races in 8-14 knot easterly winds.

With five races in the bag, organizers with Premiere Racing are already halfway to the stated goal of holding 10 races during the five-day regatta. There was a lead change in the Farr 40 class as well with Charisma (Nico Poons, Monaco) and Struntje Light (Wolfgang Schaefer, Germany) overtaking Groovederci (John Demourkas, Santa Barbara, Cal.). Struntje Light has posted a pair of seconds and finished no lower than fourth in the seven-boat fleet, but Charisma holds the overall lead via tiebreaker by virtue of winning Race 5. “We had a very good day on the water and are happy with where we stand at the moment,” Schaefer said. “We have nice boat speed upwind and our crew work has been excellent. We have a very good tactician and he’s made some fantastic calls that have kept me in phase.” Renowned Italian professional and America’s Cup veteran Vasco Vascotta is calling tactics aboard Struntje Light, which has competed in Farr 40 class at Key West ever since 2002 with a top finish of third. “Wolfgang is doing a good job of driving and is getting better every day. The guys onboard have a great attitude and are ready to fight to the end. The good news is that we can still improve our performance.” PowerPlay lived up to its name by making a strong move in IRC 2 class with a strong line of 1-3-4 on Tuesday. Owner Peter Cunningham, a resident of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, has a nice mix of amateur and professional crew with tactician Tony Rey, trimmer Dave Scott and bowman Geordie Shaver among the superstars aboard. “We’ve only had the boat for six months and we’ve made a lot of modifications during that time,” Cunningham said. “We’re pretty happy with our performance so far. We’re sailing fairly well and having a lot of fun.” Quantum Racing, skippered by Doug DeVos, continues to set the pace in the 52-foot class and leads PowerPlay by six points. Terry Hutchinson, helmsman for the Swedish syndicate Artemis Racing that is Challenge of Record for the America’s Cup, has made strong tactical calls in leading Quantum to victory in three races and second in the two others. “Today was far from straightforward. The wind was very shifty and there are some tricky current patches to deal with,” Hutchinson said. In other classes, the three-race day merely served as an opportunity for the early leaders to extend on the competition.

Red  (Copyright 2012 Ingrid Abery)

Red (Copyright 2012 Ingrid Abery)

Ran, a Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer, continues to sail impressively in the Mini Maxi class (IRC 1), winning all five races so far. Red, skippered by Joe Woods of Great Britain with Paul Goodison aboard as tactician, has accomplished the same feat in the inaugural Farr 400 class. “I guess we’ve just figured the boat out a little faster than the other teams,” said Woods, who has previously sailed a Melges 32 at Key West. “We’re winning, but not by much. The racing has been awfully close.” West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes has posted straight bullets in Melges 24 class and built a commanding 10-point lead over Alan Field and the WTF team. Detroit resident Bora Gulari is steering and getting tactical advice from Australian native and North Sails pro Jeremy Wilmot as West Marine Rigging/New England Ropes seeks to follow up on its 2011 national championship. Groovederci, skippered by Deneen Demourkas of Santa Barbara, Cal., has won all five races in Farr 30 class. Teamwork, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, N.C., has posted two bullets and a pair of seconds in grabbing a narrow one-point lead over the 1D35 Tres Hombres in PHRF 1. “We’re having a great time because the conditions have been terrific and the competition has been spectacular,” said Team, who has his brother and two sons in the crew. “We’ve been mixing it up with Tres Hombres and finished overlapped with them in the first two races today. Rush is also tough so I think it will be a dogfight the whole way.” Rush, a J/109 skippered by Bill Sweetser of Annapolis, was named Lewmar / Navtec Boat of the Day after posting a superb score line of 3-2-1. Tom Babel is calling tactics while Quantum pro Tad Hutchins is calling tactics on Rush, which is currently third in PHRF 1 and second in the J/Boats Subclass. “The conditions were very good for us today. When the wind is 14 knots or less we can fly our big jib, which is kind of like our secret weapon,” Sweetser said. “We pay for that jib in our rating so it’s good whenever we can use it.” It’s been close but no cigar for Rush at Key West as Sweetser’s boat has finished first or second in class several times, but never come away as overall winner at week’s end. “One of these years we’re going to finally break through and it’s going to be wonderful,” he said. Regatta dates are January 15 – 20, 2012.

Melges 32 Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

Melges 32 Copyright 2012 Tim Wilkes

 

For more Key West Race Week photos by  Tim Wilkes check out Tim Wilkes Photography

GENUINE RISK, Sail No: USA 8390, Owner: Hugo Stenbeck, Home Port: Kings Point, NY, USA, Design: Canting Keel Maxi, Division: IRC 1 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

GENUINE RISK, Sail No: USA 8390, Owner: Hugo Stenbeck, Home Port: Kings Point, NY, USA, Design: Canting Keel Maxi, Division: IRC 1 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

    

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.

Prizegiving at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, and the winners are Left to right: Mark Plaxton, Ben Beer, William Bailey, Jeff Price, Willem Wester and Lionel Schürch, Rolex Geneva (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Prizegiving at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, and the winners are Left to right: Mark Plaxton, Ben Beer, William Bailey, Jeff Price, Willem Wester and Lionel Schürch, Rolex Geneva (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

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.

Team Intac TEAM INTAC, Sail No: IVB 39, Owner: William Bailey, Home Port: St. Thomas, VI, USA, Design: IC 24, Division: One Design (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Team Intac TEAM INTAC, Sail No: IVB 39, Owner: William Bailey, Home Port: St. Thomas, VI, USA, Design: IC 24, Division: One Design (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

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.

FINAL RESULTS

International Rolex Regatta 2011

Day 3

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

 

Fleet (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

Fleet (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

(Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

KIALOA V / SPS and PIPE DREAM (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

An excursion to downtown Charlotte Amalie is a high point of any proper vacation in St. Thomas. Duty free shops, a colorful outdoor “Vendor’s Plaza” and a working waterfront, complete with cruise ships, ferries and freight boats, unite locals and tourists and create a harmonious blend of sights and sounds. Today, sailors on 77 teams at the International Rolex Regatta made the obligatory trip downtown not by Safari taxi but by boat–actually, their own race boats. The first of today’s two “town races” went from the eastern end of St. Thomas, where the regatta’s host St. Thomas Yacht Club is located, to Charlotte Amalie Harbour, giving spectators an eyeful as they watched from scenic overlooks and other vantage points along the island’s hilly coastline. After a rainbow of spinnakers graced a downwind finish, the fleet turned around and headed back from where they came, counting the return trip as their second race.

“We went with a spinnaker almost all the way to town…like a party!” laughed Kike Gonzalez (San Juan, PR), the skipper of the J/80 Otrakosa, who posted a 1-2 in CSA Spinnaker 3 class for second place overall. “Mag 7 (a J/27 skippered by St. Thomian Paul Davis) was winning, but in the last 15 minutes of the race we made the right decision, and we were able to pass them.” Back at the dock, Gonzalez had calculated that he would be at the top of the scoreboard and pointed out Timothy Molony’s (New Orleans, La.) Wild at Heart as a good upwind design that he’d have to watch for, along with Mag 7, tomorrow. When overall scores were posted, however, Wild at Heart proved itself more of an immediate threat than Gonzalez had thought. Its score line of 2-1, the reverse of Otrakosa’s, was also good for three points and the fleet lead as well, after tie-breaking rules were applied. (Mag 7 finished third overall.)

 

 Kyle Smith, a crew member aboard Wild at Heart, explained before racing this morning that his fellow crew mates were all from Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. “We don’t have big expectations,” he said humbly, “because it’s a chartered boat and this is our first time to race it in the islands.”

In CSA Spinnaker 1, Mark Plaxton’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Team INTAC/CROWLEY finished 1-2 today to lead, leaving second to Andrea Scarabelli’s (St. Maarten, AHO) Melges 24 Budget Marine and third to another Melges 32, David West’s (Tortola, BVI) Jurakan.

“Budget Marine is always, always a boat to think about on the race course,” said Ben Beer (St. Thomas), crew aboard INTAC/CROWLEY. “It’s difficult, however, because we can’t race boat-for-boat with them because of their smaller size, and we have to race boat-for-boat with the other Melges 32. It’s a balance of racing the boat next to you and watching the other boats in the fleet—if you’re not careful, you can fight the battle but lose the war.”

Beer added that he is involved in developing a plan to entice the large group of Melges 32s in the States to put Caribbean racing, including the International Rolex Regatta, on their one-design class racing schedule. “The class is highly competitive, it’s a technical boat–fast, well sailed–and we would get our own one-design start. I mean, look around; it doesn’t matter if you are sailing an IC 24 or a TP52, it’s the best sailing in the world here.”

Other Classes

In CSA Spinnaker 2 class, two Floridians hold first and second place in the 11-boat fleet: Richard Wesslund’s (Miami) J/120 El Ocaso has five points after finishing 4-1 today, while Calvin Reed’s (Tampa, Fla.) Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra of Hamble also has five points, on merit of a 3-2.

interlodge

Interlodge (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Three TP52s took podium positions after cumulative scores were tabulated in the six-boat IRC 1 class. Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) Vesper/Team Moneypenny holds three points over the five posted by Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I.) Interlodge. (Richard Oland’s Canadian entry Vela Veloce, in third place, also accumulated five points.)

Antilope, Willem Wester’s (NED) Grand Soleil in the nine-boat IRC 2 class, is leading after winning both races today. In second, with finishes of 3-2 is Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Club Swan 42 Arethusa.

Bernardo Gonzalez’s (Dorado, PR) Beneteau First 35s5 Bonne Chance is leading the 10-boat CSA Non-Spinnaker class after posting a 1-3 today, worth four points, while Tony Sanpere’s (St. Croix, USVI) J/36 Cayennita Grande is in second, also with four points, after finishing 2-2.

The IC 24 One- Design class, with 16 boats, added one more short distance race to its schedule today after finishing the “town races.” Jorge Santiago’s DonQ Cristal, leads with 12 points, but both the second- and third-place finishers share the same point score. They are Chris Cuerreri’s (St. Thomas) Soggy Dollar BVI and William Bailey’s (St. Thomas) Team INTAC JV.

In Beach Cat class, Jorge Ramos’s (San Juan, PR) Hobie 16 Universal posted a 2-1 to lead a nine-boat fleet.

Vesper (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Vesper (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Racing continues tomorrow (Saturday) with as many as eight windward/leeward races for the IC 24s, while all other classes will sail a combination of island and/or distance races on the south side of St. John. Sunday features as many as six races for IC 24s and two races for all others on Pillsbury Sound. Racing starts at 10 a.m. each morning.

The International Rolex Regatta 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, and those lucky enough to win the top classes here can also take home a Rolex watch as a prize. 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.

Harbor Start Of Class IRC 2 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

Harbor Start Of Class IRC 2 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

International Rolex Regatta 2011

Day 1

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IIC 24 (One Design – 16 Boats)
1. Team Maximus – DonQ Cristal, IC 24, Jorge Santiago , Ponce, PR, USA – 3, 1, 8, ; 12
2. Soggy Dollar BVI, IC 24, Chris Cuerreri , St. Thomas , USVI – 2, 8, 2, ; 12
3. Team INTAC JV, IC 24, William Bailey , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 6, 3, 3, ; 12

CSA Spinnaker 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Team INTAC/CROWLEY, Melges 32, Mark Plaxton , Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, ; 3
2. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 3, 1, ; 4
3. Jurakan, Melges 32, David West , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, ; 5

CSA Spinnaker 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. El Ocaso, J 120, Richard Wesslund , Miami, FL, USA – 4, 1, ; 5
2. Elandra of Hamble, Beneteau First 40.7, Calvin Reed , Tampa, FL, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Pipe Dream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 1, 6, ; 7

CSA Spinnaker 3 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Wild At Heart, JOD 35, Timothy Molony , New Orleans, LA, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Otrakosa, J 80, Kike Gonzalez , San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
3. Mag 7, J 27, Paul Davis , Charlotte amalie, VI, USA – 3, 3, ; 6

CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 10 Boats)
1. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35s5, Bernardo Gonzalez , Dorado, PR, USA – 1, 3, ; 4
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 2, 2, ; 4
3. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs , Falmouth, ANT – 5, 1, ; 6

IRC 1 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, James Swartz , Park City, Utah, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Interlodge, JV 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 4, ; 5
3. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross 52, Richard Oland , Saint John, NB, CAN – 3, 2, ; 5

IRC 2 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Antilope, Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 1, 1, ; 2
2. Arethusa, Club Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Three Harkoms, Oceanis 44, James Hudleston , St. Petersburg, FL, USA – 2, 4, ; 6

Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge L Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Island Girl, Hobie 16, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 5, 3, ; 8

Shamrock VII , Cayennita Grande and Bonne Chance

Shamrock VII , Cayennita Grande and Bonne Chance (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

 

Rolex St Thomas Yacht Club ( Photo by Rolex/ St. Thomas  Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Rolex St Thomas Yacht Club ( Photo by Rolex/ St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Thirty eight years ago the first International Rolex Regatta took place in St. Thomas and so began an annual tradition that endures to this day. The three-day event, which starts tomorrow, has increased its participants over last year, with 77 teams signed up in IRC, CSA (Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker), IC 24 and Beach Cat classes. The gamut of keelboat sizes runs from 90 feet (the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s canting keel Maxi Yacht Genuine Risk, chartered by Sweden’s Hugo Stenbeck and competing in IRC) down to 24 feet (three feisty Melges 24 sport boats competing in CSA Spinnaker 1 class and 16 “homegrown” IC 24s sailing in their own one-design class). Likewise, there are plenty of established teams with “rock star” crews from the top end of the international sailing spectrum and heaps of lesser knowns with otherwise enormous talent from around the globe, surrounding islands, and St. Thomas itself.

Genuine Risk (Photo by George Bekris)

Genuine Risk (Photo by George Bekris)

 IRC and CSA Fleet Racing

Certainly one of the best known names here is Bouwe Bekking (DEN), who will be calling tactics on the Grand Soleil 43 Antilope in IRC 2 class. Bekking has five around the world races under his belt (most notably as skipper of the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race entry Telefonica Blue, which finished third), and has also won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race once and the Cape Town to Rio Race three times.

Antilope is owned by Willem Wester (SUI), who will serve as navigator onboard, and though it is Antilope’s first time to compete in the International Rolex Regatta, Bekking says its core team has been together for several very successful years. As for other recognizable names on the crew, he says, “they are all well known back home. On the international scene; however, our helmsman Philippe Bergmans has two Olympics under his belt in the Laser class, and another crew member Bert Schandevyl sailed in the last Volvo on Delta Lloyd and sails on heaps of good boats.”

For all of his accomplishments, Bekking says this regatta is as important as any other, and he doesn’t have a particular win that he considers his “Holy Grail.” “I like to win even when it is a Wednesday night race; you are only as good as your last result,” said Bekking.

IRC 2 class will also get a show from the likes of Peter Corr’s (St. Thomas) new Warwick 82 Aiyana, which will have Steve Benjamin (South Norwalk, Conn., USA) aboard as tactician. Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Swan 42 Arethusa, who won here two years ago, practiced against Aiyana today and was impressed. “They had good speed and a symmetrical chute, so it will be interesting,” said Lotz, explaining that “with Arethusa using an asymmetrical chute, we won’t be sailing the same angles downwind.” He also had good things to say about Pat Eudy’s (Charleston, S.C., USA) Lutra 42 Big Booty. “Big Booty is a good boat; it’s always right there. We sailed against them at the US-IRC Nationals and two years ago here.” Among the other contenders is Tea Ekengren-Sauren’s (FIN) Swan 45 Blue Nights.

Battling with Genuine Risk in IRC 1 class will be Richard Oland’s (CAN) Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce, which won last year and will have America’s Cup skipper Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA) calling tactics and Richard Clarke (CAN) steering. Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I., USA) IRC 52 Interlodge gave them a run for the money last year, up until the last race which they lost by a hair, so the challenge is on. Bill Alcott’s chartered Swan 601 Aquarius will also be on the starting line along with Jim Swartz’s (Edgartown, Mass., USA) Vesper/Team Moneypenny and Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) Cookson 50 Privateer. The Privateer team was so intent on doing this regatta that they sailed the boat down from Florida last week and will deliver it back immediately after the event is over.

 

After class splits were determined this afternoon, CSA Spinnaker 1 class shook out to include three Melges 24s, two Melges 32s and a Henderson 30. “It’s nice to have sport boats all in one class,” said Kevin Rigley (BVI), headsail trimmer on fellow BVI sailor Dave West’s Melges 32 Jurakan. “Our boat speeds are faster on the 32s, but with the handicaps, racing against the 24s is always tight. The 24s might favor lighter conditions (he predicts 12 knots, max 15 over the next three days), but in anything over 15 knots and under 10 knots we might have the edge.”

CSA Spinnaker 2 class features everything from Peter Haycrafts’s (Tortola, BVI) Sirena 38 Pipe Dream to Tony McBride’s (GBR) Beneteau First 50 Bigamist and Sergio Sagramosa’s (San Juan, PR) Grand Soleil 54 Lazy Dog, while CSA Spinnaker 3 class will see plenty of action from the two J/27s Mag 7, skippered by Paul Davis (St. Thomas), and No Sea Dem, skippered by Christopher Hardin (St. Thomas); Robert Read’s (Seekonk, Mass.) J/40 Nepenthe; and Kike Gonzalez’s (San Juan, PR) Otrakosa, among others.

In CSA Non Spinnaker class, Antonio Sanpere (St. Croix, USVI) holds all the cards as defending champion and perhaps the best prepared of the entrants. The crew of his J/36 Cayennita Grande returns with him each year, but there are new faces on the race course for 2011. An all-woman sailing team, GirlsforSail, will step up to the plate, with Annie O’Sullivan (GBR) skippering. Once a buyer for Woolworth’s, O’Sullivan quit that job after seeing famous yachtswoman Ellen McArthur speak and started a company that encouraged women to sail. “It was ten years ago when not many would have asked me to race, and women weren’t given the same chances as men, so I said ‘I’ll have to do it myself,’” said O’Sullivan, who has since skippered her GirlsforSail team on three Atlantic crossings and to victories in such events as Antigua Race Week.

 Other classes

The IC 24 class, the largest with 16 entries here, is hugely popular here in St. Thomas, in large part because the one-design class was developed locally as a way to increase inter-island competition with a fun, easy boat to own and sail. The resulting hybrid of a J/24 hull and Melges 24-style deck did the trick, convincing hordes of talented island sailors to give up whatever they had sailed before and join the class, which at the International Rolex Regatta typically features lead changes on every leg and at every mark rounding on short courses set close to shore. Top IC 24 skippers from St. Thomas include Verian Aquilar on Green Boat, Chris Cuerreri on Soggy Dollar, Paul Stoeken on Island Sol, and Mike Williams on Red Dog. But the fiercest competition will come from off-island from no  less than four Puerto Rican teams, including eight-time winner at this event, Fraito Lugo (Ponce), skippering Orion.

In Beach Cat class, defending champion John Holmberg and his 12-year-old son Kai have proven in recent regattas that they still have what it takes to repeat last year’s performance here. Sailing Hobie One Canobie, the duo will match up with other local Hobie 16 teams Island Girl, skippered by Teri McKenna, and Chancletero, skippered by Mike Williams, while Mark Chong’s (St. Thomas) Blame it on Rhea, Pedro Colon’s (PR) Furia Roja and Jason Siska’s (Fox River Grove, Ill., USA) Puma round out the fleet with Nacra 20, Hobie 20 and Prindle 20 teams, respectively.
 

Race Formats and Schedule

First up on the three-day race schedule are tomorrow’s colorful “town races” that start at St. Thomas Yacht Club and finish in Charlotte Amalie Harbour at lunchtime before starting again around 1 p.m. for a return to the yacht club.  Visitors and residents alike will be able to catch the spectacle from vantage points around the island, including Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, where a bird’s eye view of multi-colored spinnakers can be had.  Racing will continue on Saturday with as many as eight windward/leeward races for the IC 24s, while all other classes will sail a combination of island and/or distance races on the south side of St. John. Sunday features as many as six races for IC 24s and two races for all others on Pillsbury Sound. Racing starts at 10 a.m. each morning.

The International Rolex Regatta 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, and those lucky enough to win the top classes here can also take home a Rolex watch as a prize. 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.

.

Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)

Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)