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Sailors Breeze In for Charlotte Amalie Spectacle

With a strong Easterly to propel it, the fleet competing in the three-day International Rolex Regatta put on a colorful show for spectators in St. Thomas today. Day two’s "town" race took the regatta’s six classes from a start off the East End of the Caribbean island, where the event has been hosted for 36 years by St. Thomas Yacht Club, to the bustling commercial harbor of Charlotte Amalie, where cruise ships against dramatic hills became the backdrop for the race’s finish and a subsequent start of another race to return home.

"It was beautiful to see," said a guest at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, which is perched atop a hill at the entrance to the harbor. "The colorful spinnakers of the boats coming in and the impressive speed of the larger boats as they made their way back out — it makes you want to be onboard."

Though it all looked lovely, lots of work went into every sailor’s day today. The 10 miles between start and finish were stretched for certain classes to 16 miles in the first race and 13 in the second when the Race Committee added extra legs for added challenge.

In IRC class, Jim Mitchell’s (SUI) RP 52 Vincitore turned in two solid victories to knock Phil and Wendy Lotz’s (New Canaan, Conn./Newport, R.I.) Arethusa down one notch from its top spot on the leader board. Meanwhile, Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) Cookson 50 Privateer moved up to third position on the strength of two second-place finishes to displace David Aisher’s (Tonbridge, UK) Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXII.

"The crew aboard Privateer is pretty well switched on," said Aisher, noting that if it and Vincitore "get away" from him, there is no way to catch up. "And Privateer has a canting keel so it works well on the beats and even on tight reaches to help the boat sail flatter." Aisher said the fleet saw 24 knots on the top end of the wind scale today and boats like his were surfing down waves at 15-18 knots.

Another significant lead change occurred in CSA Spinnaker Racing/Cruising class when Bruce MacNeil’s (Lincoln, Mass.) Morris 48 Barra won both races today. Yesterday’s leader, Lost Horizon, a J/122 skippered by James Dobbs (ANT), had been tied on points with two other boats, and it was thought that it would be a three-way battle today until Barra emerged from the seaspray as the new boat to beat.

Barra’s tactician Jack Slattery (Marblehead, Mass.) explained that because of the boat’s CSA handicap rating, his team has to stay four minutes ahead of Lost Horizon to beat it. "We don’t really watch what they are doing so closely; we just try to get out of our own way and sail ahead. Sometimes we watch the locals to see what they are doing. We did that yesterday and gained some boats by following what the Beach Cats were doing." Lost Horizon, having posted a 2-4 today, is only one point behind Barra and again tied on points with James Hudleston’s (Tortola) Farr 44 Three Harkoms.

In CSA Spinnaker Racing Class, no one could pass Dave West’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Jurakan, which posted two firsts to maintain its lead from yesterday. "That boat planes like crazy," said Jim Jamison, navigator aboard Chris Thompson’s seventh-placed local entrant J Walker, a J/27. "We have to read it in the paper the next day that they’ve finished, because after the start they’re just gone and we don’t see them again," he added, laughing.

Puerto Rico’s Fraito Lugo, who has won this event seven times in various classes, looks to be up to his old tricks after climbing past Colin Rathbun’s (Tortola, BVI) Lime in the overall standings for IC 24 class.

In CSA Non-Spinnaker class, Thomas Mullen’s (Campton, N.H.) J/120 Shamrock V rose to the top of the scoreboard after taking two seconds today, while in Beach Cats, Chris Schreiber (Christiansted, USVI) sailed his Hobie 16 Auto-Manic to a 1-2 to secure his new lead.

Racing concludes tomorrow and will be followed by the Rolex Awards Ceremony at St. Thomas Yacht Club.

Rolex is title sponsor of the event, with active involvement from A.H. Riise, its Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on Charlotte Amalie’s historic waterfront. Other sponsors of this event are Island Global Yachting, USVI Tourism, Mount Gay Rum and Bellows International.

Day 2 – Top-Five Results

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

IRC (IRC – 5 Boats)
1. Vincitore, RP 52, Jim Mitchell, SUI – 3, 1, 1, 1; 6
2. Arethusa, Swan 42, Philip Lotz, New Canaan, CT, USA – 1, 2, 3, 3; 9
3. Privateer, Farr/Cookson 50, Ron O’Hanley, Boston, MA, USA – 4, 3, 2, 2; 11
4. Yeoman XXXII, Rogers 46, David Aisher, Tonbridge, UK – 2, 4, 4, 4; 14
5. Donnybrook, Custom SC73, James P. Muldoon, Washington, DC, USA – 5, 7/DNS, 5, 6/DNS; 23

Spinnaker Racing (CSA – 14 Boats)
1. Jurakan, Melges 32, Dave West, Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 1, 1, 1; 5
2. Team Coors Light, Melges 24, Frits Bus, St. Maarten, N.A. – 5, 2, 2, 2; 11
3. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Kirby 25, John Foster, St. Thomas, VI, USVI – 1, 5, 3, 6; 15
4. Urayo, J 24, Gilberto E. Rivera, Guayanabo, PR, USA – 6, 4, 4, 3; 17
5. J. Doe, J 30, Cynthia & Eduardo Ross Luaces, Miami, FL, USA – 9, 3, 6, 4; 22

Spinnaker Racing/Cruising (CSA – 13 Boats)
1. Barra, Morris 48 Bruce MacNeil, Lincoln, MA, USA – 8, 2, 1, 1; 12
2. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs, ANT – 6, 1, 2, 4; 13
3. Three Harkoms, Farr 44, James Hudleston, Tortola, VG – 4, 3, 4, 2; 13
4. D-Trip, Grand Soleil 43, Sergey Boer, Curacao – 7, 4, 3, 3; 17
5. Kick ‘Em Jenny, Beneteau First 36.7, Ian Hope-Ross, Philipsburg, ANT – 1, 14/DSQ, 5, 5; 25

Non-Spinnaker Racing (CSA – 12 Boats)
1. Shamrock V, J 120, Thomas Mullen, Campton, NH, USA – 5, 1, 2, 2; 10
2. Dragon Fly Plus, Swan 53, Ulrich Rohde, Marco Island, FL, USA – 7, 3, 6, 1; 17
3. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere, Christiansted, VI, USVI – 1, 13/RAF, 1, 3; 18
4. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35S5, Bernardo Gonzalez, Dorado, PR, USA – 2, 2, 3, 11; 18
5. The Last of the Normal Prople, Swan 47, P. Milo Frawley, St. Thomas, VI, USVI – 10, 4, 4, 6; 24

IC 24 (One Design – 13 Boats)
1. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo, PONCE, PR, USA – 5, 3, 3, 3, 3, 1; 18
2. Lime, IC 24, Colin Rathbun, Tortola, BVI – 9, 1, 2, 1, 5, 7; 25
3. Brand-New Second Hand, IC 24, Christopher Curreri, St. Thomas, VI, USVI – 10, 2, 8, 4, 2, 2; 28
4. Bambooshay, IC 24, Suki Rosenberg, Atlanta, GA, USA – 2, 7, 5, 6, 6, 3; 29
5. Boat Drinks, IC 24, Mark Van Den Driessche, St. Thomas, VI, USA – 1, 9, 12, 5, 1, 9; 37

Large Multi Hulls (CSA – 1 Boats)
1. Piglet, Newick 23, Joseph San Martin, Christiansted, VI, USVI – 1, 1, 1, 1; 4

Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 6 Boats)
1. Auto-Manic, Hobie 16, Chris Schreiber, Christiansted, VI, USVI – 1, 2, 1, 2; 6
2. Caribbean Auto Mart, Nacra Inter 20, Thomas Ainger, Christiansted, VI, USVI – 3, 5, 3, 1; 12
3. Blame it on Rhea, Nacra Inter 20, Mark Chong, St. Thomas, VI, USVI – 4, 4, 2, 4; 14
4. Discovery Bay, Hobie Tiger 18, Francisco Figueroa, San Juan, PR – 2, 1, 7/DNS, 7/DNS; 17
5. Island Sol, Hobie 16, Paul Stoeken, St. Thomas, VI, USVI – 5, 3, 7/DNS, 3; 18

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