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24 June 2006, 12:15 pm
Sinn Fein And Lively Lady II Take St David's Lighthouse Divisions
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Newport Bermuda Race 2006
Hamilton, Bermuda

In what has proved to be a true navigator's race, traditional, older yachts dominated the amateur St. Davids Lighthouse Division in this year's centennial Newport Bermuda Race. Peter REBOVICH's (USA) 40 foot Sinn Fein won the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy under ORR and William HUBBARD III's (USA) 37 foot Lively Lady II took the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy under the IRC Rule. Both yachts are over 25 years old.
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'What really won this race for us was we had six great helmsman and a well prepared boat,' said New Jersey native REBOVICH, who won class honours on his trusty Cal 40 in the two previous Bermuda races, and has just completed his 13th Newport Bermuda Race. 'We sailed as close to the rhumb line as possible and when it comes to the Gulf Stream you have to sail as fast as you can. However, if you are trying to do this race without good helmsman you won't win it.'

Victory For All Women Team

For the first time in the history of the race, an all women team earned a division title aboard Lea DE HAAS' (AHO) 49 foot Synergy in their first Newport Bermuda race. The team earns the inaugural Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy as the yacht with the best corrected time in the Cruiser Division. The trophy takes its name from the skipper and yacht that won the Bermuda Race on three consecutive times from 1956 to 1962 - a feat that has yet to be repeated.

'We didn't second guess ourselves,' said Haas of St. MAARTEN whose prior competitions include solo offshore races. 'While we had a lot of very experienced sailors on the boat with many thousands of sea miles under us, we found that racing with just women was very easy.'

In the double-handed division, Raymond RENAUD's (USA) Aggressive won the IRC and ORR honours and will be awarded the Philip S. Weld Prize, donated by the Boston station of the Cruising Club of America in honour of the winning transatlantic solo sailor from Gloucester. RENAUD raced with crewmate Kristen WENZEL (USA), both of Rhode Island. The pair recently won their class in the 2005 double-handed part of the Bermuda 1-2 race.

'We find that our best strategy is to create a plan and not deviate from it,' said RENAUD who entered the Newport Bermuda race for the first time this year. 'We also work well together as I prefer the day watches and Kristen likes the night watch. We have not quite absorbed the fact that we won the division, but we know we sailed a good race.'

Royal Mail Trophy

The Royal Mail Trophy awarded to the Demonstration Division beginning with this Centennial Race, will go to Joe HARRIS' (USA) of Gryphon Solo who beat the 98 foot Maximus on corrected time. With an Open 50 and a custom designed super maxi making up the Demonstration division, it is hoped that more of the world's state of the art yachts will compete in the years ahead.

'Sailing to Bermuda has to be one of the most rewarding trips a sailor can make as it is always a challenging sail - whether due to high or low winds, or Gulf Stream currents and squalls,' said HARRIS. 'This race was especially nice in that we were able to win our class and division, defeating the 98 foot mega yacht Maximus.'

While this race drew the state of the art yachts and some of the world's best professional sailors, the amateur division and subsequent St. David Lighthouse trophies are ultimately being presented to an older breed of sailor, more familiar with paper charts and pencils than computers and satellite imaging.

'For me this race does get to be addictive and I love the tradition of it,' said HUBBARD of New York, the IRC winner on his Carter 37 Lively Lady II in the St. David's Lighthouse Division. 'I feel like I am part of an historical event but winning it in this 100th year is still difficult to absorb.'

HUBBARD Points To Family Help

HUBBARD credits his son, William, who was captain of the Columbia University sailing team this year, for interpreting the computerized technology that is so much a part of racing today.

'I have always sailed with a VHF radio and a compass - that is what I am comfortable with. I could not have done this without my son, William, who can interpret the technology,' HUBBARD said. 'I think we won it because we have sailed together for so long, we get along so well and we maintained our perspective. No one 'lost it' at any time on this boat which can be so demoralizing. We have a great team and we prepared well.'

The fact that former Admirals Cup entry Synergy is a not equipped with state of the art technology meant navigator Val DOAN (IVB) had limited information available when she plotted the course.

'We sailed our own race and since we didn't know where we stood in the fleet it did not effect our strategy until the last leg of the race,' DOAN said. 'We had no real weather information to speak of and we simply kept the boat going using good, basic sailing skills.'

Bermuda activities continued on Friday with the two race Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta, the final event of the Onion Patch Series. The first two events were the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta sailed in Newport, USA and the Newport Bermuda Race.

Prizes for the Newport Bermuda Class winners and Onion Patch awards were presented at the Gosling's party on Friday evening. Perpetual trophies and division prizes will be awarded Saturday at Bermuda Government House. The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, is the special guest of the RBYC and will present many of the trophies.

Laurie FULLERTON (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Sinn Fein:© PPL
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