In the matter of weather for the final day of the St Thomas International Regatta, it was the mixture as before- plenty of easterly breeze and perpetual sunshine – ideal for those who enjoy exciting downwind legs to compensate for bashing to windward in the steep waves offshore of the islands.
The grins told their own story as the sailors came ashore to share their “lies”. They had enjoyed it all.
First away was the pair of Gunboat 60s with not a quarter given on the starting line. Stephan Cucchiaro’s Flow had a reef in her carbon mainsail while Robert Alexander eschewed shortening sail on Fault Tolerant. Greater control perhaps saw Flow go into the lead upwind on the Dog Island course and increase that lead downwind under spinnaker. It provided her with a third successive victory. Another win in the second race gave her the overall series on points after countback.
The pure magnificence of Steve and Heidi Benjamin’s TP 52, Spookie, has been a feature of this regatta. With local ace. Olympic silver medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman, Peter Holmberg, providing the tactical input, she strode away from the CSA 1 opposition on the upwind leg before turning the top mark and setting her huge white ’chute to open a vast distance over her smaller opponents.
It was a matter of deja-vu that she took her fifth consecutive corrected time victory. Luis Juarbe’s Melges 32, Soca, was twenty minutes behind Spookie on the water, which was reduced to five minutes on corrected time. In the afternoon, Spookie did it again in the next race to post a perfect scoreline for the six race series.
by Bob FisherDoug Baker is having a similar regatta with his J-122 El Ocaso in CSA 2. His starboard tack start left his rivals gasping for clear air on the first leg and gave him a strategic advantage over his rival Peter Corr in the King 40, Corr’s Lite Racing. El Ocaso finished two minutes clear, which was extended to three minutes on handicap. In the afternoon, El Ocaso had a runaway victory over Corr’s Lite Racing to post six wins in six races.
While the Melges 24, Team Island Water World of Frits Bus found the boisterous conditions much to her liking to take the corrected time victory in CSA 3, this class is proving to be a battleground for the two J-105s, Jonathon Lipuscek’s Dark Star and Jordan Mindich’s Solstice. A win in the second race to add to her second place in the morning provided overall victory to Dark Star.
The non-spinnaker CSA boat battle was between two Swans, the 48 Affinity of Jack Desmond and the 53 Bella Vela of Claudia Nicolow. A beautifully placed lee bow by the 48 gave her the initial advantage in the morning race as she was able to work her way ahead of the 53 as they headed into the St James Passage. It gave her the lead, which she extended both upwind and down to beat her rival by a minute on the water and slightly more on handicap. In the second race of the day, Kevin Gregory’s First 44.7 came into the mix, separating Affinity and Bella Vela, which ensures the overall victory for Affinity by three points.
Christian Rosenberg’s Bill T, a local boat, stormed to victory in the IC 24 class with seven first places in the 12 race series. He was pushed hard throughout by Puerto Rico’s Ramon Gonzalez with Sembrador and fellow local Jens Hookanson with Stinger.
In the exciting VXOne class Timothy Pitts claimed overall victory with Cruzan Rhode by three points from Jeff Eiber in This Side Down. Justin Howard’s Rosebud was third.
The weather was too much for the majority of the Beach Cat sailors, so Annie Gardner’s two wins using Teri McKenna’s Nacra 17, Flight Risk on the opening day provided her with the overall victory.
by Bob Fisher