Home News Local news Wind Abates to Make for Great Rolex Racing

Wind Abates to Make for Great Rolex Racing


March 31, 2008 — After Friday's winds of over 20 knots, the weather relented, seas became calmer and Rolex sailors enjoyed great racing on Saturday and Sunday.
With Saturday's 15- to 20-knot winds, day two was less about broaching, blown chutes and breakage and more about technical racing. Fewer casualties and equipment failures made the racing just south of Pillsbury Sound the kind of experience about which all sailors dream.
Sunday's racing was even better, with winds mostly below 18 knots and the seas calmer. Sailors were pleased with the less rigorous conditions and were able to employ technical tricks to make racing even more competitive and exciting.
Contenders came to the St. Thomas Yacht Club from all over the Caribbean, the United States and Europe to compete in several hotly contested classes. Bad Girl of St. Croix, in Spinnaker Racing 1, was the only V.I. class winner.
The most wins went to Puerto Rico, with four winners. The new IRC divisions brought competitors to Rolex from the United States. the British.Virgin.Islands, Germany, and Great Britain.
The IRC boats, which raced in the regatta for the first time this year, brought a "whole new dimension of boats to Rolex," said Bill Canfield, St. Thomas Yacht Club manager. "We support the Caribbean Sailing Association rule now and forever, but we believe we should open Rolex to outsiders who want to race the rules used around the rest of the world,".
Peter Holmberg, in the IRC 2 class, is skippering Ondeck Bandit. Holmberg said racing had gone well for his boat Saturday after blowing a spinnaker Friday. Ondeck Bandit finished third after the second day, behind boats Three Harkoms and Oystercatcher XXVI.
Ondeck Bandit was to move up to second place behind Three Harkoms after the third day of racing.
"We sailed pretty darn good. Three Harkoms has a nice rating and it’s pretty tough to beat them," Holmberg said Sunday. "I am really happy with how my guys did. There were no mistakes."
The Farr 40's crew is made up of four local sailors, handpicked by Holmberg, plus six members of the Ondeck team. "I brought a few of my guys on board. The Ondeck team are sailors that we are helping turn into racers."
On Saturday, with the exception of the non-spinnaker class, which had a 26-mile race, the race committee started four, twice-around-the-buoys races, for most of the classes. The last races started well after 3 p.m. on Saturday.
"I think the race committee was a bit ambitious giving us four races," Holmberg said on Saturday. "Three races might have been the right balance of racing time and camaraderie after racing."
Holmerg, who has recently returned home to St. Thomas from a globe-trotting career of racing America's Cup boats, is thrilled to be back in his native waters.
Holmberg said that his number one take-away for Saturday's racing was "for sure, classic, beautiful Caribbean sailing. This is my home. It's kinda neat, you know, to see conditions of 15 to 20 (knots), winds out of the southeast, sunny, 87.6 degrees. What else do you want?"
Sunday's one 13-nautical-mile race in Pillsbury Sound tested sailors’ knowledge of currents, and ability to judge where the most favorable conditions were for the upwind and downwind legs.
Robert Armstrong's Bad Girl, which won the Spinnaker Racing One, stayed on the St. Thomas side of the course. Native Crucian Jens Hookansen said Bad Girl played the current better than their competition.
Crewmate Carlos Skov agreed, "This paid off for us. There was definitely more pressure on the St. Thomas side all day. We had current charts and all the local boys were on the same side as we were, giving us reassurance that it was the right thing to do."
Bad Girl's crew spoke highly of their competition, Devil Cubed, crewed by the Stanton brothers and Sydney Jones, all of St. Croix. Hookansen said that Devil Cubed sailed a great regatta and sent congratulations to them.
If there was a sweetheart story of this year's regatta, it had to go to Medalla Light, from Puerto Rico. With two brand new crewmates, one of whom had not raced in a regatta before, the J/24 was unable to compete in its regular class, and went to the Non-Spinnaker Racing First class.
"We didn't feel like we had enough boat handling experience to compete in the J/24 class," said Fink.
Using all the tactics, tuning and discipline they use against their usual one-design competitors, they schooled the rest of the class in how to shape a team for a win in their class, by doing it.
For regatta results and photos, please see the official International Rolex Regatta website at www.rolexcupregatta.com.
Back Talk

Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here