Sparkling finish

International Rolex Regatta concludes in St Thomas

Monday March 28th 2005, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: Caribbean
Spinnakers in all the colors associated with Easter filled Pillsbury Sound today as hundreds of sailors completed their final day of racing at the 2005 International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas, USVI. The 32 year old event, which started on Friday, hosted 79 boats and served up superb tropical weather conditions, culminating with today's warm 12-15 knot breezes under skies that matched the sapphire blue of the water below. At day's end, on the beach at St Thomas Yacht Club, winners in nine classes received Rolex Submariner watches as prizes, a tradition that, along with stiff competition and festive parties ashore, sets this Caribbean regatta apart from the others.

Today's long distance race, with multiple legs through and around the islands, was 'do or die' for two Melges 24s battling in Spinnaker Racing Class 3. Mistress Quickly, owned by Guy Eldridge of Roadtown, Tortola trailed Don Q Limon, skippered by Enrique Torruella of Guayanabo, Puerto Rico, by one point going into today's races but hunted down Don Q Limon at the start, ultimately finishing second to Don Q Limon's third. In overall scoring, the boats shared the same number of points but Mistress Quickly won the regatta on a tiebreaker.

"We got the better of the start today," said Eldridge, noting that his skipper, national match racing champion Barry Parkin from the UK, used match racing methods to control Don Q Limon and force the boat to an undesirable position beneath them. Eldridge has been aboard a winning boat at the International Rolex Regatta before but gets the Rolex watch for his efforts this time. "I'm real pumped about that," said Eldridge.

The start was also intense today for Spinnaker Racing Class 2 winner Temptress, an IMX45 skippered by Richard Shulman. Temptress fouled second-place finisher Caccia Alla Volpe, the Vallicelli 44 skippered by Carlo Falcone and performed two quick penalty turns to exonerate itself. Despite the setback, which placed it at the back of the class, Temptress went on to win the race. "We played the current a lot better than the others on both windward legs," said tactician Dan Neri. "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." Caccia Alla Volpe finished in second for the race and the regatta, four points behind the leader.

Puerto Rico's Fraito Lugo sailing Orion in the J/24 class, took his victory cleanly and easily today. "We were so far ahead, finishing ten minutes ahead of the fleet," said Lugo. "We knew to sail close to the shore on the left." Even though Lugo had to take a DNS in the first race of the series for going to the wrong race circle, he and his crew of nine years went on to win five of their next six races. The performance gave the team the top spot on the leaderboard and Lugo, a multiple past winner at this event, his sixth Rolex watch. Seven points behind in second overall was another Puerto Rican entry Urayo, skippered by Gilberto Rivera.

Another early series leader, Puerto Rican sailing star Enrique Figueroa, also secured his class victory today with a brilliant performance in the Beach Cat class. The four-time Olympian and former World Champion, sailing with his wife Carla aboard their Hobie 16 Suzuki/Red Bull, caught the biggest cat in the fleet - the 20ft Caribbean Auto Mart, skippered by Tom Ainger from St. Croix - in the race's last 200 yards to claim a first-to-finish victory. "We don't normally cross the finish line first, because we are one of the smallest boats," said Figueroa, who nevertheless had previously strung together four victories in as many races by using a handicap rating to correct out ahead of his adversaries. "We normally just work to keep as close as possible, but they flipped, we passed them, they caught us again, and then we passed them at the end." The episode will stand out as one to remember for Figueroa, even though he has won this event more times than he can remember. "This year has been the best ever," he added, commenting on a new mix of racing-around the buoys on the first day followed by two distance races yesterday and today's Pillsbury Sound race. "Yesterday we were all a bit tired, but that's what you come here to do, these kinds of races."

Figueroa finished a full 11 points ahead of Exodus, a Hobie 16 sailed by another Enrique Figueroa (no relation) of Puerto Rico.

In other action, Tom Hill's Titan 12 turned in a seventh victory today to top off the seven race series held for Spinnaker Racing Class 1, while Lost Horizon II, skippered by James Dobbs posted his fifth bullet in the six races for Spinnaker Racing Class 4.

The IC-24 sailors did their own thing on a separate race circle today, turning in three buoy races to complete a nine-race series. The boats are uniquely altered J/24s and have become hot commodities for island racing, quenching the competitive thirst of some of the area's best local talent. Winning was Sea Hawk, skippered by three-time Olympian Robby Hirst and his brother Michael.

In Spinnaker Racer/Cruiser Class Lazy Dog skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, topped the fleet, while in Non-Spinnaker Racing Class, Antonio and Ellen Sanpere's Cayennita prevailed to win. Antonio sailed in the very first International Rolex Regatta in 1974. Said a delighted Antonio: "I guess you could say I've been waiting 32 years to win this Rolex."

More photos on the following pages...

Results - Day 3

Position, Boat Name, Skipper, Hometown, Country, Boat Type, 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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