March 29, 2003 – A bigger breeze and sightseeing course that wound around the islands set the scene for the second day of racing at the International Rolex Regatta.
"We didn't get to see too much because we were flying pretty fast," said Jim Stone, driving Soul Surfer, an Inter 20 and one of a seven-boat beach cat contingent from the U.S. mainland sailing in St. Thomas for the first time.
Starts got under way just after 10 a.m., with partly cloudy skies, choppy seas and winds 10 to 15 knots with higher gusts. There was a general recall in the Spinnaker Racing classes, while several other boats in other classes also made false starts in what turned out to be the one and only race of the day.
The course, called the Middle Passage, began just north of Great St. James Island. Then it took sailors out past Thatch Cay to two buoys in the roly-poly seas of the Atlantic before rounding back by Durlo Cays, Two Brothers Rocks and finally to the finish just off St. Thomas' Cabrita Point.
St. Croix's Scott McChain, crewing with Thomas Ainger on Ainger's Inter 20, Caribbean Auto Mart, said after the race: "It was a blast to see all the wind and sea changes."
Soul Surfer – a beach cat sailed by Stone and crewed by Robert Remers, both from Texas – flipped in the heavier winds and swell just near Thatch Cay.
"We were in good position in the fleet, going downwind and riding on the puffs," Stone said. "Then there was a shift, a bigger shift than I thought. We were flying the spinnaker at the time and bam. When an Inter 20 stalls, you can kiss it good-by. Over we went.
"Eventually, we righted it, but then we noticed that the snuffer bag was ripped and the spinnaker was falling out. We tried to push it back in, and we did, making pretty good time sailing up through the pack. Then the mainsail came out of the track. It was just islands, just rocks out there, nowhere to pull in to make a repair. So at that point, we just sailed back in. Guess it's 'better luck tomorrow,'" Stone explained.
Another boat with a rough day was Formula 1 Racing, which ran aground on the reef by the Durlo Cays. Regatta Director Ruth Miller, who was riding in a chase boat, pulled the Farr 65, named Spirit of Juno, free of the reef. In the grounding, two crew injured ribs, ankles, wrists and suffered abrasions. A nurse, traveling on one of the regatta's rescue boats, hopped on the boat and started treating the sailors, who were ultimately taken to the hospital for treatment. Formula 1 Sailing is a UK-based company that charters Farr 65s for racing competitions throughout the Caribbean during the winter months.
But while some boats had a not-so-good day, others reveled in the conditions. "It was a ball, a blast," said Rick Bliss, a two-time Nacra 6.0 North American champion and grueling Worrell 1000 veteran from Massachusetts.
St. Croix skipper Stan Joines, aboard his Auburg 35, Windflower, in the Jib & Main Class, said: "It was so different from the light air of yesterday. Everybody moved. Not everybody won, but everybody moved."
"We had a great day. Beat our closest competitor, Urayo, by eight minutes at the finish," said Efrain "Fraito" Lugo, from Puerto Rico, skippering his J/24, Orion. Lugo and his long time crew are preparing to compete in J/24 for the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic in August 2003.
Though the courses were around the islands, having his home island in sight wasn't a big factor, said St. Thomas' Marcus Thompson on his J/27, ATN. "Basically, the boats with a larger waterline did better; that's what the conditions favored. It was more so boat type and conditions than local knowledge."
The Middle Passage course was a surprise for some sailors who expected more windward-leeward racing on the south shore like the day before.
Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio said, "Last year, we never had enough wind to run this course. This year there was, and we did."
Racing continues Sunday at 10 a.m., with final awards and awarding of Rolex watches to winners of each of the 10 classes in the evening under the tents at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

Racing – Over 50 Ft. (2 entries)
1.(t) Equation, Andrews 68, Bill Alcott, Detroit, Mich., USA, 1-2-2-1; 6
1.(t) Donnybrook, Cstm 72, James Muldoon, Washington, DC, USA, 2-1-1-2; 6

Spinnaker Racing 1 (13 boats)
1. Flirt, Cstm 49, Richard Matthews, Ipswich, UK,1-1-1-2; 5
2. Caccia Alla Volpe, Cstm 44, Carlo Falcone, Antigua, 3-4-4-1; 12
3. NOA X-Base, IMX45, Soren Holst Thomsen, Palma de Mallorca, ESP, 2-3-2-9;

Spinnaker Racing 2 (10 boats)
1. 2 Contact Carib,Melges 24, Frits Bus, Phillipsburg, St. Maarten, 1-2-1-3;
2. Don Q Limon, Melges 24, Enrique Torruella, Guaynabo, PUR, 5-3-2-1; 11
3. Slam, Melges 24, Robbie Ferron, St. Maarten, AHO, 2-1-3-7; 13

Spinnaker Racer/Cruiser (16 boats)
1. Cold Beer 3, Tartan Ten, John Schultheiss, Tortola, BVI, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. Pipe Dream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, Tortola, BVI, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. Dehlerious, Dehler 34, Bungie Flynn, Tortola, BVI, 4-3-3-3; 13

Non-Spinnaker Racing (7)
1. Serendip, Prima 38, Craig Dymock , London, UK, 1-1-1, 3
2. Wildflower, Sabre 402, Ron Noonan, Marion, Mass., USA, 2-2-4; 8
3. Igoodia, Jeanneau 52.2, Milt Baehr, Incline Village, Calif, USA, 3-5-2;

Jib and Main (8 boats)
1. Whippet, Jenneau 39, William McConnell, St. Thomas, USVI
2. ATN, J/27, M. Compton, St. Thomas, USVI
3. Nemesis, Hunter 42, Edwin Romeo, Fajardo, PUR

Trial Cat (1 boat)
1. Cover Shot, Cstm 33, Roger Webb, Miami, Fla., 1-1-1; 3

Beach Cats Spinnaker (7 boats)
1. Movie Star/Suzuki, Tornado, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan, PUR, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. Century 21, Terry Jackson, Tornado, St. Thomas, USVI, 2-4-3-2; 11
3. Yellow, Nacra 6.0, Richard Bliss, Mansfield, Mass., USA, 4-2-2-4; 12

Beach Cats – Non-Spinnaker (14 boats)
1. Exodus/Ensysa, Hobie 16, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan, PUR, 4-3-1-2; 10
2. Yuisa, Hobie 16, Rosarito Martinez, Carolina, PUR, 6-2-2-1; 11
3. HF Mortgage Bankers, Hobie 16, Ibrahim Mustafia, San Juan, PUR, 3-1-5-3;

IC24 (13 boats)
1. Stinger, IC24, John Holmberg, St. Thomas, USVI, 1-3-4-1; 9
2. Boat Drinks, IC24, Bill Canfield, St. Thomas, USVI, 5-1-2-3; 11
3. Old And Gray, IC24, Pepe Sanchis , Ft. Lauderdale, USA, 3-2-7-2; 14

J/24 (6 boats)
1. Orion/Coors Light, J/24, Fraito Lugo, Ponce, PUR, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. Tax Return, J/24, Carlos Feliciano, Caguas, PUR, 2-2-4-4; 12
3. XX-TU, J/24, Juan Jose Mari, San Juan, PUR, 3-4-3-3; 13

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here