Toss-up conditions turned true for testing on the second scheduled day of racing for the 2002 International Rolex Regatta.
After a postponement on land, sailors left the St. Thomas Yacht Club docks, hoping the iffy conditions would not replicate the drifter that led to yesterday's cancellation of racing. To their surprise, the light northeasterly strengthened to about ten knots by 11:30 am and charged up enough energy throughout the afternoon to allow for three races in each of the 12 racing classes.
`It was great to get out there today and race,' said John Holmberg, a St. Thomas Beach Cat sailor who has competed in this event 27 out of 29 times. `A day with no wind is not fun. The race committee did a good job yesterday, calling off racing early enough to give us the day off, and today they did an awesome job of getting in the three races. The wind was helped by thermal activity from a big cloud over St. John. It served as an engine to crank the wind up to 15 knots, even 18 knots for a while there, but when the cloud left, the wind was back down.'
Holmberg's Red Hook Agencies, an Inter 20, couldn't fend off Puerto Rico's Olympic hopeful Enrique Figueroa, who won all his races today aboard Suzuki Tornado. `Having won this regatta several times and being a world champion, he's the man to beat,' said Holmberg, `and with today's performance, it looks like he's on his way.' Though slick with his boathandling, Figueroa, who steers while hanging from a trapeze, lost control at one leeward mark while his crew was setting the spinnaker. `We had a good laugh because it was amazing to watch,' said Holmberg. `Enrique's feet came completely off the boat and he shot past his crew and then flew back to the trampoline.'
Puerto Rico's Tom Hill, sailing his Andrews 70 Titan XI, also won all three races today in the Over 50 Foot Class. His tactician Mark Ploch of Clearwater, Fla., said it was a matter of hitting the shifts. `In one race we hit two shifts that put us a minute ahead. It was challenging from that perspective.' The Custom 73 Donnybrook, skippered by James Muldoon of Washington, D.C., had to retire in race three with a torn mainsail.
In Spinnaker Racing Class 1, Paul Bodin of Burlington, Vt., who is skippering Bill Berardelli's Mermaid, was almost three-for-three until a premature start in race three spoiled his would-be perfect record. `We have good boat speed and good sails and a good crew, but when you're over you're over. It's good competition and I think it could be a mixed bag as far as results.' Bodin contemplated tomorrow's scheduled Coral World distance race and commented that he, and Mermaid, are better cut out for 'round-the-buoys racing.
Organizers may consider running several shorter races tomorrow, the final day, in light of losing the first day of racing. Wind conditions are expected to be similar to today's.
Each of today's winners in race one receive trophies from the USVI Governor's Race, which was cancelled last Wednesday when light winds made it impossible to begin the race.
Top-Three Results after Three Races (Protests Pending)
Racing Over 50 Ft. Class (3 boats)
TITAN XI, Andrews 70, Tom Hill, San Juan, P.R., 1-1-1; 3
EQUATION, Santa Cruz 68, Bill Alcott, St. Claire Shores, Mich., 2-2-2; 6
DONNYBROOK, Custom 73, James Muldoon, Washington, D.C., 3-3-4; 10
Spinnaker Racing Class 1 (7 boats)
MERMAID II, Custom 40, Bill Berardelli, Bluebell, Pa./Tortola, BVI, 1-1-3; 5
RED FEVER, Mumm 30, Gilberto Lopez, P.R., 4-3-1; 8
TWISTED LIZARD, Mumm 30, Mike Lathrope, Naperville, Ill./St. Thomas, USVI, 3-2-4; 9
Spinnaker Racing Class 2 (13 boats)
ORION, J/24, Efrain Lugo, Ponce, P.R., 1-2-1; 4
UNCLE SAM, Beneteau 10, Sam Lang, St. Thomas, USVI, 2-1-4; 7
2 CONTACT CARIB, Melges 24, Fritz Bus, St. Maarten, AHO, 3-3-2; 8
Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 1 (5 boats)
HULLABULLOO, Beneteau First, Phillip Allen, Southampton, U.K., 2-1-1; 4
PIPE DREAM, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft, Tortola, BVI, 1-2-2; 5
SPIRIT OF ISIS, Farr 65, Harry Spedding, U.K., 5-3-3; 11
Spinnaker Racer Cruiser Class 2 (5 boats)
COLD BEER 3, Tartan 10, John Schultheiss, Tortola, BVI, 1-2-1; 4
DISCO INFERNO, Sigma 33, Matt Abbiss, Herts, U.K., 3-1-2; 6
J.DOE, J/30, Cynthia Ross, St. Thomas, USVI, 2-4-3; 9
Beach Cats Class 1 (10 boats)
EXODUS-SAMBIAGO, Hobie 16, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan, P.R.1-1-1; 3
YUISA, Hobie 16, Rosarito Martinez, San Juan, P.R., 7-3-2; 12
BLAME IT ON RHEA, Prindle 19, Mark Chong, St. Thomas, USVI, 6-2-4; 12
Beach Cats Class 2 (6 boats)
SUZUKI TORNADO, Tornado 20, Enrique Figueroa, San Juan, P.R., 1-1-1; 3
RED HOOK AGENCIES, Inter 20, John Holmberg, St. Thomas, USVI, 2-2-3; 7
CENTURY 21, Tornado, Terry Jackson, St. Thomas, USVI, 3-3-2; 8
Non Spinnaker Racing Class (3 boats)
WILDFLOWER, Ron Noonan, Marion, Mass./Tortola, BVI, 1-1-1; 3
ATN, J/27, Marcus Compton, St. Thomas, USVI, 2-2-2; 6
JECY, Oceanis 461, Emanuel Giancomelli/Stefano Spangaro, Rimini, Italy,3-3-3; 9
Fun Class - Jib & Main (no pole) (5 boats)
NEMESIS, Hunter 42, Edwin Cruz, Fajardo, P.R., 2-1-1; 4
WINDFLOWER, Alberg 35, Stan Joines, St. Croix, USVI, 1-2-2; 5
FAR CRY, Bombay Clipper, Herve Chassin, St. Thomas, USVI, 4-3-3; 10
IC-24 Class (10 boats)
OLD & GRAY, Chris Rosenberg, St. Thomas, USVI, 1-1-1; 3
RED DOG, IC-24, Mike Williams/Skip King/Jessica Rosenberg, St. Thomas, USVI,2-3-4; 9
VOILA, Tracy Roberts/Anthony Kotoun, St. Thomas, USVI/Newport, R.I., 5-2-3;10
J/80 Class (4 boats)
EX MERO MOTU, J/80, Antonio Mari Jr., San Juan, P.R., 1-1-1; 3
ABRACADABRA, J/80, Carlos Camacho, P.R., 2-2-3; 7
SUN BUM II, J/80, Angel Ayala, Carolina, P.R., 3-4-2; 9
J/24 Class (7 boats)
JERSEY DEVIL, J/24, Scott/Peter Stanton, St. Croix, USVI, 1-2-1; 4
DON Q CRISTAL, Michael Serralles, P.R., 3-1-3; 7
BACARDIO/URAYO, Gilberto Rivera, P.R., 4-3-2; 9