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Sarasota races continue to be big attraction

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 11, 2002

Time was when racing small sailboats meant attending an all-class regatta.

The Veteran's Day Regatta off the pier now is on Boca Ciega Bay. The Mount Dora regatta is popular, and the massive Red Lobster Cup at Sanford is no more.

But the Sarasota Labor Day regatta continues to draw significant numbers -- 315 boats this year, about half of them Opti's.

The sport is not good at these events, as there are too many starts and short courses. However, sailors attend for the interaction of divisions and the camaraderie.

This season was the usual light air affair. Just one course, sailed by Vanguard 15, 420, Portsmouth Handicap fleet and Moths, had five races of two laps around the windward/leeward buoys.

The Optimist Green fleet competed near shore and managed two races for the weekend. The SR 21 class had two races. All other divisions had just one for both days.

St.Petersburg Optimist sailor Chris Vetter captured first in the Red fleet and second overall. DIYC sailor Ben Whitman was third in the fleet.

In the Blue fleet, Zeke Horowitz took third. In the White, John Wallace of SPYC was first, Clearwater's Mary Kate Hall second and SPYC's Kyle Sowers third.

Twenty-five sunfish were led by Conner Blouin of Tampa. Following was Mindy Strauley, who edged her husband, Paul.

In Lasers, Tampa's Buzzy Heausler is the state champion. St.Petersburg's Ian Lineberger placed third.

Paige Railey of Clearwater continued her dominance of the Laser Radial division, and was trailed by Parker Dwyer and Chris Pisciotta.

Brad Kadau finally got the better of Charlie Clifton in the SR 21 class. Bill Embree was third.

The Portsmouth Handicap fleet races those boats without five for a fleet. Patrick Krump, with Allison Jolly as crew, earned first in his Fireball.

Moths had a division for the first time in decades, with three kinds of hulls competing in the 11-foot development class.

Jeff Linton won all five races in his O.H. Rogers Wedge design. Jamey Rabbit took third.

There was a 21-boat 420 fleet for competitors aged out of Opti's and eyeing college sailing.

If the amount of rocking, sculling and protests are any indication, many in the fleet are ready for the college scene.

One young sailor protested because of a 180-degree wind shift.

FLYING DUTCHMAN WORLDS: Lin Robson and Serge Jorgensen finished eighth in Tavica, Portugal, last week.

Sailors from Hungary, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Australia led the fleet.

The next USA finisher was 37th in the 49-boat fleet.

SPSA RACE 1: The St.Petersburg Sailing Association encourages all keelboats to come out and race, usually once a month, off the St.Petersburg Pier.

It took about 11/2 hours to round the buoys in the first race of the new season.

The winners included Andy Cheney's Kelly in Spinnaker class I and David Beatson's No It's Not in II.

In non-spinnaker, M. McGough's Sonar was the winner.

TBYRA: The Tampa Bay Yacht Race Association is another keelboat group inviting participants to its first event of the season Saturday.

For information, go online to DIYC.orgwebsite.

INDUSTRY NOTES: With Sailnet moving operations to Charleston, S.C., and Bill Wright and Ken Clark reopening JSI on the Gandy Boulevard site, it looked as if south St.Petersburg would lose Bluewater Sailing Supplies.

Not so.

Mark Dufeny, a well-known local sailor who of late was Sailnet's Director of Operations and head of manufacturing and distribution, has taken up Bluewater's reigns at 22nd Avenue South and 31st street.

Dufeny has hired Chris Kaufman, the head sailmaker at Sailnet, and they will handle AirForce Sails and do repair work.

A full rigging shop is on site with a swage machine, as well as canvas and hardware. Wholesale and retail is welcomed.

In Clearwater, folks have been phoning Ross Yachts, wondering if it was true that the venerable boat yard had been sold.

As it turns out, Courtney Ross has sold to Quality Yachts.

It was time to step back from running the whole show after many decades and concentrate on being a yacht broker.

Ross' son, Sterling, is the manager, so the yard continues its reputation.

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