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    Jennings repeats as Master's champion

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 23, 2002

    "I goofed Poppa," said a young John Jennings. All he had to do was sail the course in the last race to win the Sears Cup, emblematic of the North American junior crown back in the late 1950s. But his boat's boom brushed the pin end of the starting line. In those days any touch of a mark meant disqualification. Nobody saw the touch except Jennings. Nevertheless, he immediately dropped out and said those words to his dad, St. Petersburg Yacht Club Commodore W.W. Jennings.

    Who remembers who ended up winning that title? But many of us remember the sportsmanship shown that day.

    Happily, many other victories followed, and Jennings' love of the sport and fair play has been passed on through years of association with the St. Petersburg Sailing Center.

    This will be the second year that John Jennings will wear the Green Jacket of the Masters title, sailed at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. Just about all the big names in sailing have competed in this regatta for older sailors on large boats. This year Lowell North, the founder of a sailmaking company, and Keith Musto, whose name is on many sailing products, were among the skippers of the dozen J-105s on the Bay.

    "Winds this year were in the 12-15 knot range," said tactician and mainsail trimmer Phil Smithies, owner of Fresco's on the approach to the Pier. "It was very tactical racing.'

    Other crewmembers were Ron 'Hacksaw" Hyatt, who serves as foredeck on the Henderson 30 New Wave, and the owner's representative, Rob Moore.

    * * *

    BRUCE WATTERS REGATTA: The Bruce Watters regatta, named for the Beach Drive jeweler who long has supported junior sailing, is for youngsters who just learned to sail over the summer. Usually there is a great range of skill level, but racing without having to compete against those who have had more experience is more fun.

    Two races were run for the 39 competitors from the Tampa Bay region. Clearwater Yacht Club sailors James Beyer and Julia Ceraolo were the top two finishers. Sarasota Sailing Squadron's Abby Featherstone was third with Matthew Hood of St. Petersburg fourth.

    TAMPA SAILING SQUADRON FALL REGATTA: Two races were held on the east side of the bay as part of the series for boats from TSS, Davis Island Yacht Club and St. Petersburg Sailing Association.

    Kuli Kulinichenko sailed the Melges 24 Blade Runner to win the Spinnaker A with George Cussin on his J-105 Fire & Ice second and Tack Tic, a Martin 24 with Mike Siedlecki, third.

    Ed and Scott Peters' Abbot 33 Tigress won the three-boat Spinnaker B class.

    In Spinnaker C, Haley's Comet, a J-24 sailed by Robert Wetmore, was followed by Jackal, Allen Davidson's Morgan 30 and Shrew, Gene DiNisiao's Creekmore 23.

    The Non-Spinnaker class was taken by Woody Fraser's Thunder, a Morgan 27. Second was Richard Neal's Soveral 26 Back Off, followed by A1A, a Newport 28 sailed by Bill Mann.

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