Cruise ships against the backdrop of St. Thomas’ dramatic hills created a spectacular canvas for today’s 10-mile Harbor Course race at the International Rolex Regatta. Colorful spinnakers helped rushed 87 boats from a start off the east end of St. Thomas, where the 34-year-old event is hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club, to the bustling downtown waterfront of Charlotte Amalie.
After a finish inside the harbor, the fleet — including three spinnaker racing classes and a class each for spinnaker cruising, non-spinnaker, one-design IC-24s and Beach Cats — started a race in the reverse direction and returned to its starting point. The excursion to town was quickened by a steady 13-15 knot easterly breeze that gave the sailors a comfortable off-the-wind course for most of the way, while the 12-mile trip home tested upwind skills on a course that had a hitch out to Buck and Capella Islands for some added dimension.
Only in one class did the lead change from yesterday. That was in Spinnaker Racing Class 1 where Carlo Falcone (Antigua) and his Vallicelli 44 Caccia Alla Volpe posted a 1-2 to pick off Clive Llewellyn (Paris, France) and his Grand Soleil 48 Mad IV, which finished 3-3. "Yesterday Mad IV was ahead, but we were tied on our point scores," said Falcone, "so today I was going for my competition. I was match racing with them, holding them and never letting them go." Falcone, who now leads Mad IV by three points, has won this event four times with Caccia, one time with a Melges and another with his vintage yacht Mariella. When asked which vessel provided the most memorable Rolex victory, he said, "I love Caccia. She is almost 30 years old; she is made of plywood and is still competitive."
Doug Baker (Long Beach, Calif.) and his Olson 30 J Bird 4 turned in two bullets to maintain a perfect scoreline and hold the lead in Spinnaker Racing Class 3. Crew member Ben Beer (St. Thomas), who provided local knowledge aboard the boat, said that the J/27 Jwalker, owned by local sailor Chris Thompson and finishing 6-2 today, was their biggest threat. "They really put it to us," said Beer. "We knew where they were all the time, mainly because they were in front of us a lot." When the crews came ashore, the scoreboard had Jwalker sitting comfortably in second overall and within striking distance for tomorrow’s final race, but when Thompson heard from other sailors that his team had passed a mark of the second course on the wrong side, he retired from that race. "No one protested us or anything," said crewman Jim Jamison (St. Thomas), "and it wouldn’t have made a difference on how we finished that race at all, but Chris felt he had to do the right thing." Jwalker fell to fifth in the standings and was replaced by Gilberto Rivera (Guaynabo, PR) and his J/24 Urayo in the runnerup position.
The start of the second race made for a tricky heads-up exit from the harbor when wind that was there in one minute disappeared in the next. According to Terry Jackson, skipper of the Hobie 16 Century One, "Because of a cruise ship, there was a big wind shadow 200 yards from the starting line. If you were able to ghost through to the other side of it, you were fine." Century One’s performance at this point paled in comparison to Enrique Figueroa’s 20-foot Tornado Suzuki/Red Bull, in which the multiple world champion and Olympic hopeful for Puerto Rico blasted off to add a second first-place finish for the day. "It’s like pitting a Porsche against a Volkswagon," said Jackson, who currently sits in fourth overall to Figueroa’s first.
Aboard Martin Jacobson’s (Greenwich, Conn.) Swan 44 Crescendo, the USA’s own Olympic hopeful in the Tornado class, Robbie Daniel (Clearwater, Fla.), said Figueroa passed closely by during racing, reminding Daniel how much fun sailing the speedy catamarans can be. "It’s driving me crazy," laughed Daniel, whose Olympic crew Hunter Stunzi (Marlbehead, Mass.) is also aboard, "but I’m here purposely to get experience sailing something different. Crescendo is a proper big boat; it’s a different world." Crescendo established its dominance in the Spinnaker Racing Cruising Class on the first day of racing and finished 2-1 today to maintain its lead in that class.
Leaders in the IC-24 class are Robby and Michael Hirst (Tortola, BVI) on Mio Broadband. They posted a 1-1 today. In Spinnaker Racing Class 2, leader Chris Stanton (St. Croix, USVI) added two more victories today to his perfect scoreline aboard the Melges 24 Devil 3. In Non-Spinnaker class, Christopher Lloyd’s (Tortola, BVI) Beneteau 442 Three Harkoms, posted a 1-1 and also has a perfect scoreline.
The International Rolex Regatta is part of the US-IRC Gulf Stream Series 2007.
Live results by Interactive Creations ( www.yachtscoring.com) will be posted on www.rolexcupregatta.com, where hometown rosters, nightly reports and photos also can be found. Daily video coverage will be available on demand by 9 p.m. each night at www.t2p.tv or by clicking on the TV icon on the regatta web site.
A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the event. The St. Thomas duty free shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie. Rolex is known for sponsoring high quality events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds.
International Rolex Regatta – Day Two
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Skipper’s Name, Hometown, Results, Total Points
IC-24 One Design (One Design – 19 Boats)
1. Mio Broadband, IC-24, Robby & Michael Hirst, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, 3, 1, 3, 10, 1, 1; 22
2. bMobile, IC-24, Fred Ruebeck, Roadtown, Tortola, BVI – 7, 8, 2, 4, 2, 1, 5, 4; 33
3. Mio-Roaming, IC-24, Andrew Waters, Tortola, BVI – 6, 7, 4, 3, 5, 4, 2, 3; 34
Spinnaker Racing 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Caccia Alla Volpe, Vallicelli 44, Carlo Falcone, Antigua – 1, 3, 2, 1, 2; 9
2. Mad IV, Grand Soleil 48, Clive Llewellyn, Paris, FRA – 4, 1, 1, 3, 3; 12
3. Yeoman XXXII, Rogers 46, David Aisher, Tonbridge, Kent, UK – 2, 2, 3, 5, 1; 13
Spinnaker Racing 2 (CSA – 9 Boats)
1. Devil 3, Melges 24, Chris Stanton, St. Croix, USVI – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1; 5
2. Crash Test Dummies, Melges 32, Tim Kimpton, Diego Martin, Trinidad – 2, 4, 5, 2, 2; 15
3. Expensive Habit, J/100, Robert Armstrong, Christiansted, USVI, USA – 3, 2, 2, 4, 4; 15
Spinnaker Racing 3 (CSA – 17 Boats)
1. J Bird 4, Olson 30, Doug Baker, Long Beach, CA, USA – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1; 5
2. Urayo, J/24, Gilberto E. Rivera, Guaynabo, PR, USA – 7, 2, 4, 2, 5; 20
3. The Good The Bad and The Ugly, Kirby 25, John Foster, St. Thomas, USVI – 4, 6, 2, 4, 4; 20
Non-spinnaker Racing 1 (CSA – 16 Boats)
1. Three Harkoms, Mod. Beneteau 442, Christopher Lloyd, Tortola, BVI – 1, 1, 1; 3
2. Affinity, Frers 49, Jack Desmond, Marion, MA, USA – 2, 5, 2; 9
3. El Presidente, Thomas 35, Jeffrey Fangmann, St. Croix, USVI – 3, 4, 3; 10
Spinnaker Racing Cruising (CSA – 9 Boats)
1. Crescendo, Swan 44, Martin Jacobson, Greenwich, CT, USA – 2, 1, 1, 2, 1; 7
2. Shamrock V, J /120, Thomas Mullen, Campton, NH, USA – 1, 3, 3, 5, 2; 14
3. Team Paul Mitchell, Beneteau First 40.7, Mark Palermo, Slidell, LA, USA – 3, 2, 2, 3, 4; 14
Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 12 Boats)
1. DRD/Suzuki/Red Bull, Tornado 20, Enrique Figeroa, San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 1, 2, 1, 1; 6
2. Heineken, Hobie 16, Francisco Figueroa, San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 2, 3, 2, 2; 11
3. Fitness Warehouse, Hobie 16, Dennys Junco, Carolina, PR, USA – 6, 3, 4, 4, 3; 20