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Some Things Old, Some Things New, Rolex Sails on Ocean Blue

The 2005 International Rolex Regatta started the first day with
clean seas and a steady 12 knot breeze and just improved from there. The first
day was windward-leewards for all classes but the cruising non-spinnaker. Some
participants among the J-24s and Cruising boats did not read their racing
instructions carefully and ended up at the wrong starting circle, but this did
not prove to be an insurmountable obstacle to the best racers.

At
the end of the first day, 75′ Titan XII dominated the big boat class with three
first place finishes.Many of the other
classes are showing the tight competition expected from "The Rolex."
Classes 2, 3 and four had one point or ties separating the top scorers.
In the Racer/Cruiser class two sister ships
from opposite sides of the Atlantic were tied for first.
Anticipation from Cowes, UK was even with
Lazy Dog from San Juan, PR.

The
battle in the 15 strong IC-24 class was a smaller version with St. Thomians
Chris Rosenberg and John Holmberg chasing Michael and Robbie Hirst of the BVI
after four races. The standard J-24’s had Cruzan Jeff Fangman in second place
in a mostly Puerto Rican class.

The
second day brought a change of pace from past years. The competitors traded in
short-course buoy racing for a coastal romp that took them from Cowpet Bay,
where host St. Thomas Yacht Club is located, to a finish line inside the harbor
of Charlotte Amalie. This first race of the day featured an unusual downwind
start with helmsmen, tacticians, and crews working on ways to hit the start
line at the correct moment and with a spinnaker up or on its way up. The IC-24s
and J/24s reached the harbor first, taking the most direct course for the
coastal distance of six miles, while the bigger boats and beach cats added
around-the-buoys extensions to their routes, making the longest of the courses
a 16-miler. After a brief upwind leg outside the harbor, Spinnaker class boats
were able to carry chutes right to the finish line bringing the Rolex Regatta
right by several docked cruise ships into the heart of historic Charlotte
Amalie harbor.

The 79-boat fleet
then reversed course for the second race of the day and beat back upwind in
12-15 knot breezes to St. Thomas Yacht Club where a beach party awaited the
tired but happy competitors. In general, the race into the harbor was
considered great fun by the sailors, with many feeling that the second
"upwind" race could have been shortened by a few miles without bruising
any egos, as many of the competitors finished after four in the afternoon.

The
final day was almost made to order for sailing with a slight increase of wind
at the start. The Virgin Islands trade winds, bright sun and tidal current
tactics brought the 32nd International Rolex Regatta to a brilliant
finish. The starting area on the south side of St. Thomas had four to six foot
waves with tide going against the trades winds current flow, but the warm sun
deflected crews from complaining about the occasional wash down.

For
Easter Sunday, the second leg of the race filled Pilsbury Sound between St.
Thomas and St. John with colored spinnakers to compete with any Easter egg. The
area was critical to tactical decisions for many of the racers.

"We played the current a lot
better than the others on both windward legs," said tactician Dan Neri of
Class 2 winner Temptress "On the first one, we made big gains by going in
near the rocks; then on our spinnaker run we were in adverse current, so we
made note of it and played it to our advantage on the next beat."
Neri, now living in Rhode Island, is no stranger to this area, formerly working
in a St. Thomas sail loft, and racing in more Rolex Regattas that some of the
local sailors.

Although some classes were easy to
call after Saturday’s races down into the Charlotte Amalie harbor and back to
the east end of the island, two classes came down to the last race and final
finishing positions.

In Racing class three, three Melges
24’s representing St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands were
fighting for the top spot. Frits Bus of St. Maarten won the final race, But it
was only a moral victory. The second place finish of Guy Eldridge of Tortola,
BVI tied Enrique Torruella of Puerto Rico, with Eldridge taking home the Rolex
Submariner on a tiebreaker.

In
the IC-24 Class, Robbie and Mike Hirst beat out Chris Rosenberg by a single
point after nine races winning the 16 boat class.
Rosenberg had presented Robbie with a winner’s Rolex after Hirst
had served as tactician during a previous Rolex Regatta, so brother Mike Hirst
was in line for the watch after this win.

As
expected Titan XII was dominating the big boat class 1, but the race for second
between Donnybrook and Equation was going down to the wire.

Non-spinnaker racing featured some
long time International Rolex Regatta competitors and former winners.
Tony and Ellen Sanpere edged out former
winner Rudy Thompson on TNT 76 and last year’s runner up
Jack Desmond on Affinity to win the class.
Sanpere sailed in the very first International Rolex Regatta in 1974. Said a
delighted Sanpere: "I guess you could say I’ve been waiting 32 years to
win this Rolex."

Final results and the first three places follow:

Position, Boat , Skipper, Hometown, Country,
Boat , Finish Positions, Score

Spinnaker Racing 1 (5 boats)

1. Titan 12, Tom Hill, San Juan, PR, USA, R/P 75,
1-1-1-1-1-1, 6

2. Donnybrook, James P. Muldoon, Washington, DC,
USA, Custom 73, 2-3-4-5-2-2, 19

3. Equation, Bill Alcott, St. Clair Shores, MI, USA,
Andrews, 5-2-5-2-3-3, 20

Spinnaker Racing 2 (5
boats)

1. Temptress, Richard Shulman, Riverside, RI, USA,
IMX45, 1-1-2-1-1-1,7

2. Caccia Alla Volpe, Carlo Falcone, Antigua, ANT,
Vallicelli 44, 2-2-1-2-2-2, 11

3. Cosmic War Lord, Michael Shlens, Los Angeles, CA,
USA, Express 37, 3-3-3-3-3-3, 18

Spinnaker Racing 3 (6
boats)

1. Mistress Quickly, Guy Eldridge, Roadtown,
Tortola, BVI, Melges 24, 4-2-1-1-2-2, 12

2. Don Q Limon, Enrique Torruella, Guaynabo, PR,
Melges 24, 1-3-2-2-1-3, 12

3. Contact Carib 2, Frits Bus, Philipsburg, St.
Martin, NA, Melges 24, 2-1-4-3-3-1, 14

Spinnaker Racing 4 (11
boats)

1. Lost Horizon II, James Dobbs, ANT, Olson 30,
1-2-1-1-1-1, 7

2. Magnificent Seven, John Foster, St. Thomas, USVI,
J/27, 2-1-2-2-2-2, 11

3. Broken Drum, Jack Bishop, St. Croix, VI, USA,
7-5-3-6-3-4, 28

Spinnaker Racer/Cruiser (7
boats)

1. Lazy Dog, Sergio Sagramoso, San Juan, PR, FIRST
40.7, 1-3-1-1-1-4, 11

2. Pipe Dream, Peter Haycraft, Roadtown, Tortola,
BVI, Sirena 38, 3-4-3-2-3-2, 16

3. Anticipation, Peter Newlands, Cowes, Isle of
Wight, UK, Beneteau 40.7, 2-1-2-3-8-1, 17

Beach Cats (11 boats)

1. Suzuki/Red Bull, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan, PR,
USA, Hobie Cat 16, 1-1-1-1-1, 6

2. Exodus, Keke Figueroa, San Juan, PR, Hobie Cat
16, 2-5-3-3-2-2, 17

3. Waterfit, Dennys Junco/Carolina Graulau,
Carolina, PR, Hobie Cat 16, 5-6-5-2-3-3, 24

Non Spinnaker Racing (11
boats)

1. Cayennita, Antonio/Ellen Sanpere, Christiansted,
USVI, Soverel 27, 2-3-4-4, 13

2. Affinity, Jack Desmond, Boston, MA, USA, 1-9-3-2,
15

3. TNT 76, Rudy Thompson, St. Thomas, USVI, Sonar
23, 3-4-5-3, 15

J-24 (7 boats)

1. Orion, Fraito Lugo, Ponce, PR, USA,
DNS-1-1-1-2-1-1, 15

2. Urayo, Gilberto Rivera, Guayanabo, PR, USA,
DNS-2-2-5-1-2-2, 22

3. El Shaddai II, Jeff Fangmann, Christiansted, St.
Croix, USVI, 1-4-7-3-6-3-3, 27

IC-24 (16 boats)

1. Sea Hawk, Robert/Michael Hirst, Tortola, BVI,
2-1-2-3-2-2-4-6-3, 25

2. BamBoushay, Chris Rosenberg, St. Thomas, USVI,
3-4-3-2-1-1-3-5-4, 26

3. Stinger, John Holmberg, St. Thomas, USVI,
1-3-1-9-3-5-6-3-1, 32

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