The 2004 International Federation of Disabled Sailors Two-Person World Championship has been scheduled to be sailed from St.Petersburg Sailing Center on March 29-April 3.
The center has steadily grown in reputation as a destination for disabled sailors. With improvements in accessibility, it is among the world's best venues. Thus, it was chosen to highlight a potential new discipline in the Olympics: two-person, severely-disabled sailing.
Two boats are in line for consideration for the category. The Access Dinghy is small, with a single sail, more akin to a frostbite dinghy. The Martin 16 is a favorite of the athletes, as it is a higher performance keelboat with mainsail and jib and sporting an asymmetrical spinnaker. The Access had its regatta in Australia. The Martin 16 will be highlighted for this event.
The Olympic organizers are striving to allow the more severely disabled to compete.
Athletes are rated according to the severity, with a quadriplegic rating a 1 and a double-leg amputee above the knee a 6. The maximum number of combined points on a two-person boat is seven. Men and women are equal for the purpose of rating points.
There is some movement to assign 0 points to an athlete who has no movement below the neck.
Their controls are manipulated through metal straws that a sailor can puff or sip with breath to activate servos wired to motors, which pull on or release lines or turn to port or starboard. There are talented sailors who do quite well on the course using this aid.
Co-chairmen Ken Carpenter and Dan McCoy invite businesses and individuals to help sponsor the regatta. This will be a high-profile event with worldwide media coverage that will highlight the sailors and our prime sailing area.
For information, call (727) 822-3873.
MULTICLASS REGATTA: Bob Johnson's race committee had its hands full keeping six disparate classes of sailboats going around the course all at once. The wind was light but never a drifter.
St.Petersburg's Lin Robson won the Flying Dutchman class, sailing with boat owner Jonathan Clapp as crew. Competition was close, with one point separating first and second place. Stan Hyatt and his father, William, of Tampa, took fourth.
Ethan and Trudy Bixby dominated the Windmill class. The one race they did not win was when Allen Chauvenet and his daughter, Christina, took a flyer out to the left and won by a wide margin. Lon Ethington and Meg Gimmi of Redington Shores were third.
The Snipe Dead of Winter regatta was combined with this event, drawing the largest fleet. Billy Schoenberg, who learned to sail locally, and crew Michele Sumpton posted the victory. Colin and Karen Park of the local fleet finished second. Chris and Antoinette Klotz tied for third but lost the tie-breaker to a Milwaukee sailor.
The Moth class was the original participant in this regatta before it became a multi-division event. Weather in the Northeast kept some boats away. The best St.Petersburg boat was Rod Koch, who had to count the points from two races when his sail fell to the deck. He ended up fourth.
The Jet 14 fleet was small due to travel difficulties, and there were no local boats.
The F18-HT catamaran is a new addition to Tampa Bay racing. This is a high tech cat with no jib but with a large asymmetrical spinnaker. Speeds, even in the weekend's light air, were impressive. This is the boat chosen for the East Coast race formerly known as the Worrell 1,000. Andy Herbick showed that it is not a wimpy sport at this level, as he ended up in the hospital with a dislocated shoulder before the first event began.
TALBOT WILL BE MISSED: We have lost Patrick Talbot, a respected sailing personality for decades who died last week.
Hailing from the isle of Jersey off England, he had the accent and demeanor to match. Talbot chaired many events and protest committees over the years and founded the St.Petersburg Sailing Association to promote local keelboats racing. His wife, Gwinneth, who resides in Jersey, survives him.