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Chippewa Wins St. Croix Intl Regatta

Sailing isn’t about going fast, says Dave West, the
Bayfield, Wisconsin,
skipper who helmed his Farr 395, Chippewa,
to an overall win at the St. Croix International Regatta and earned his weight
in Cruzan Rum, “It’s about not going slow.”

Puzzling
out conditions and keeping ahead of the local boats was West’s aim from
the start. “We trucked the boat down to Florida
in November, then put it on Dockwise
transport to St. Thomas
in January. We got it here to St. Croix the
day before the regatta. Our first practice races were really just to be sure
the gear was working and for the crew to gel together.”

West
decided to make the leap from Great Lakes sailing to the Caribbean when he
realized that he had over 20 friends who sailed with him regularly and would be
willing to take turns flying in and out, from one Caribbean regatta to another,
to fill the nine-crew complement the boat needed for
maximum performance. They chose the St. Croix event to kick-off their Caribbean season.

“We
had a great crew for this regatta. There were six former national champions and
four of them are regulars who sail with me,” says West.

Local
knowledge proved to be the element Chippewa
was lacking the first day. “We were fully powered up a quarter of the
time. The rest of the time, we were looking for power by staying out of the
current and going to the lifts off the islands.”

The
strategy worked as West and his crew pulled Chippewa
onto the top of the scoreboard by a slim point spread. Even though they
never relinquished their lead during the three days of racing, the competition
was ever-present.

“We
buckled down the second day, but still had some difficulties at the starts. The
other boats were showing off their expertise. Even to the last race, they
weren’t about to lay down and play dead for us. It was exciting all the
way,” West recalls.

Chippewa was one of 32 boats competing
in this regatta, and event that marks the start of the Caribbean Ocean Racing
Triangle (C.O.R.T.) Series. Conditions were idyllic and competition stiff in
all classes.

It was
the battle of the BVI boats that played out in the Racer Cruiser class. Pat
Nolan and her crew aboard the J/33 Boomerang, ultimately pulled out a two-point lead over Peter
Haycraft’s Sirena 38,
Pipedream.

Nolan
explains, “The first day our crew work was off. We had to work out a lot
of issues. The second day we came back dialed in and we stayed focus right to
the end, right through a lot of dueling.”

Shamrock V, a J/120 helmed by New Hampshire’s
Tom Mullen, won the Performance Cruising Class. “We saw some great racing
this weekend. I think this class, and the option to
use a spinnaker or now, provides a nice opportunity for older guys like me with
heavy boats to still enjoy some comfort, but still be able to turn it on when
the opportunity presents itself.”

St. Croix’s
Llewellyn Westerman prevailed in the Large Multihull Class aboard his Mongoose 37,
Charis. “We sailed with a
reefed main the first day, that’s how we lost to Joe (San Martin, aboard
Piglet). We fixed it after that and
stayed out in front.”

In the
Beach Cat Class, St. Croix’s Doug DeReu and crew Jae Tonachel,
scored a flawless series of bullets throughout the three days of racing.
“We fixed a hole in the hull and got the boat tuned right before the
regatta. Once we started sailing, everything clicked.”

The IC24
Class saw some of the closest competition. “The racing was so close that
we all thought we were in third place after the first day,” says St. Thomas’ Chris
Curreri, who won aboard Brand New Second Hand with Carlos Aguilar calling
tactics. “If you try to beat your closest competitor, you end up with all
the other boats going past you. You need to play the whole game, play with the
whole deck of cards to win.”

Eighteen
boats are participating in the CORT Series. The Series continues with the
Heineken Culebra International Regatta, March 17-19 and concludes with the BVI
Spring Regatta March 31-April 2.

RESULTS

 

SPINNAKER RACING

1. Chippewa, Farr
395, Dave West, Wisconsin, USA (23)

2. Mistress Quickly,
Melges 24, Guy Eldridge, Tortola,
BVI (32)

3. Sorceress,
J/29, Morgan Dale, St. Croix, USVI (36.5)

 

RACER CRUISER

1. Boomerang,
J/33, Pat Nolan, Tortola, BVI (11)

2. Pipe Dream, Sirena 38, Tortola, BVI
(13)

3. Tempest,
Beneteau 38, John Haracivet, St. Thomas, USVI (24)

 

PERFORMANCE CRUISER

1. Shamrock V,
J/120, Tom Mullen, New Hampshire, USA
(8)

2. Ambivalence,
S279, James Kloss, St. Croix,
USVI (13)

3. Cayennita,
S27, Tony Sanpere, St. Croix,
USVI (15)

 

MULTIHULL

1. Charis+,
Mongoose 37, Llewellyn Westerman, St.
Croix, USVI (14)

2. Piglet, Teegull 23, Joe San Martin, St. Croix,
USVI (17)

3. Chaos, Tremolino 23, Inglore Westerman, St. Croix, USVI
(32)

 

BEACH CATS

1. Wave Magnet, Nacra 5.8, Doug DeReu, St. Croix, USVI (9)

2. Caribbean Auto Mart,
Nacra 5.8, Tom Ainger, St. Croix, USVI (19)

3. Love Never Fails,
Inter 17, Bruce Andryc, St.
Croix, USVI (31)

 

IC24

1. Brand New Second
Hand
, Chris Curreri, St. Thomas,
USVI

2. Fiona, Colin Rathbun, Tortola, BVI

3. Conch-querer, Andrew Waters, Tortola,
BVI

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